Charlie Rangel Doesn’t Get Real Men

Charlie Rangel Doesn’t Get Real Men
By Julia Gorin | January 11, 2007

When Charlie Rangel closed out the year by seconding John Kerry’s sentiment that men end up in the military by default rather than choice, he exposed something that many have long suspected not only about Rangel and Kerry, but about the Democratic Party itself: they don’t understand the nature of men.

To review Rangel’s precise words:

If there’s anyone who believes these youngsters want to fight, as the Pentagon and some generals have said, you can just forget about it. No bright young individual wants to fight just because of a bonus and just because of educational benefits. And most all of them come from communities of very, very high unemployment…If a young fella has an option of having a decent career or joining the army to fight in Iraq, you can bet your life that he would not be in Iraq.

The first faulty premise is that someone goes into the military based on a “gimme” attitude—that is, they see the military as Democrats do: a social program providing scholarships, career training, jobs and benefits. This means that Rangel is unfamiliar with the battle envy that many a man who has never served feels when in the presence of men who have. Manly men who have not served, such as my husband, often feel humbled, soft and inadequate before men who have seen battle or at least are trained for it and have worn the nation’s uniform. (To compensate, he’s lately been talking about setting up a scholarship fund for children who have lost parents in
Iraq, called the “Wish I Had Served” Foundation.) If the military were just for those who lack opportunity or are looking for “a bonus,” that gnawing, empty spot in the pit of a man’s stomach wouldn’t be there.

But such feelings are for men of character. And Rangel revealed the extent of his own character with what he said next: “Everyone will see what we already know, and that is that those who have the least opportunities in this age find themselves in the military, as I did when I was 18 years old.”


Here Rangel isn’t shy to tell us that the only reason he served is that he had no choice. Nice to know, Chuck. Thanks for sharing.

Again, Rangel’s understanding of the military is symptomatic of his party’s as a whole: They think that others are like them, that the men in the armed forces have as little character as they do and have to be dragged kicking and screaming into fighting for anything that this country stands for. In short, the fighting man is an alien creature with whom they can’t identify, which is why they bring us “men” like John Kerry, Bill Clinton, Charles Rangel, Michael Dukakis, Jesse Jackson and so on. Meanwhile, all the party’s testosterone seems to be locked up by their manly women: Hillary Clinton, Nancy Pelosi, Barbara Boxer and Diane Feinstein. That’s why this matriarchal political party is known as “the Mommy Party.” (Significantly, a much talked-about children’s book last year was titled Why Mommy is a Democrat.)

This mindset illuminates the mainstream-Left’s popular slogan “Support the Troops: Bring Them Home.” That is to say, “We support the troops—when they’re not fighting.” To a party that stands for nothing of substance, men who do stand for something just don’t compute. It’s little wonder that the same party is obsessed with stem cell research. They need all the stem cells they can get to rebuild their spines.

On the heels of Rangel’s very helpful revelation about his and his party’s character, he offered a further revelation when he responded to The New York Observer’s question, “So now that the Democrats have won control of Congress, what should they do about the war in
Iraq?”: “I never understand that question. You have a President that’s in deep sh–. He got us into the war…and then they ask, ‘What is the Democrats’ solution?'”


As James Taranto wrote in the Wall St. Journal’s Opinion Journal, “[T]he country will be dealing with [the war’s] consequences, for both good and ill, long after the president has retired. Rangel makes no pretense of even thinking about the interests of the country,” and “disclaims all responsibility for addressing the problem.”

Rangel’s second faulty premise is that people who join the military are otherwise unsuccessful. Let’s not mince words even that much. Rangel—like Kerry before him–is calling enlistees ‘losers’, whether because of their own incapacities or because of their circumstances.

And yet, in reading letters from a number of military personnel and families of military personnel, published by Opinion Journal over the holiday week, readers learned that some had earned PhDs prior to joining the armed forces, and others left thriving doctors’ practices. One letter writer mentioned cramming years of engineering study into six months of military training.

Democrats tell me that I am intelligent. It usually goes like this: “You’re Republican?! But you seem intelligent.” So let’s presume they are right and I am intelligent. However, I can’t read a map, much less understand math, science or computers. In short, I am not remotely smart enough to serve in our military. In fact, I’m probably saving American lives just by not serving. And so I have focused my energies into being a good writer—a talent that I’ve alternately tried to parlay into broadcasting, stand-up comedy, commentary, blogging or becoming some kind of reality-show or other on-air personality.

But even in such renaissance ambitions, guess who I find I’m getting competition from these days: military folks. There they are, stringing for networks and newspapers, getting their own radio shows, reality shows, gigs as Fox News or MSNBC contributors and analysts, blogging to a wider audience than I have, and giving me a run for my money on the stand-up stage. Two of my colleagues are Marines. Marines! That means that, during off-time from saving the free world, they’ve gotten as far as I have in stand-up comedy and in fact are better networkers than I am.

Add PhDs and MDs—pursuits I never even considered in my singular focus on becoming a prominent figure of some sort, something they’re effortlessly becoming as an afterthought. And when I couldn’t make ends meet even in my well-defined intellectual pursuits, I got married.

Today, with my parents’ help, my husband and I have moved into a somewhat swanky neighborhood—only to find that the Marines in the two houses across the street have bigger yards, as well as balconies and pools.

No, these people aren’t losers, Chuck; they make us look like losers. Especially those of us who go into that social program for formally educated private-sector-skipping folks: politics–where they chatter mindlessly, too dumb to realize what their own words reveal.

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