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Charles Rangel, Wrangler

That Ol' Country Bumpkin

n looking for some other kind of information on his site, I happened to see that my congressman, Charlie Rangel, lists something like 30 congressional "caucuses" he's a member of. He's a founding member of the Congressional Black Caucus. He's a member of the Progessive Caucus. He's a member of the Army Caucus and the Navy/Marine Caucus. (He was a staff sergeant in the Army and earned a Purple Heart and a Bronze Star in Korea, by the way.) He's a member of the Caribbean Caucus, which takes some chutzpah, given the trouble he's gotten into with unreported rental income on a villa he owns in the Dominican Republic. (Which may explain why he's also a member of the Real Estate Caucus.) He's a member of several caucuses that don't reflect his own history but rather the causes he chooses to support: the Caucus for Women's Issues, the Caucus for Armenian Issues, the Fire Services Caucus, etc., etc.

One caucus he belongs to, however, just cracked me up: the Rural Housing Caucus. Now, sure, he can be interested in the issue of rural housing, and let's give him the benefit of the doubt and say he is. But still it seems strange. Rangel represents the densest Congressional district in the United States. That is to say, each member of the House of Representatives represents approximately 600,000 people, but Rangel's district is geographically the smallest, covering just a little over 10 square miles of northern Manhattan, Rikers Island (definitely not a rural population there), and a tiny part of Queens that is, true, very lightly populated — because it mostly consists of a Con Ed power plant.

But, hey, good for him if he's interested in rural housing. Just so long as it doesn't take away from his work with the Kidney and Glaucoma caucuses, for example. Or the Caucus on Hellenic Issues. Or the Boating Caucus. Or... .