People Actually Showed Up To Charlie Rangel's Sad Birthday Party Fundraiser

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Can't say no to that face.Charlie Rangel's birthday party was very inconvenient for state Democratic politicians. On the one hand, he is an utter disgrace slowly being brought down, at long last, by ethics charges. On the other hand, there were free "heaping plates of roast beef, goat cheese and onion rings." But Charlie Rangel resorted to pitifully desperate measures to shame people into showing up, and most of them did! You never turn your back on somebody who provides you lots of money. So these lawmakers ended up coming, mostly, and the result was a lot of awkwardness and then a New York Times account of this awkwardness. And also photos to be used against them in the future in attack ads.


Democratic lawmakers agonized about showing up. Republicans threatened to turn an R.S.V.P. into a campaign issue. And Mr. Rangel, whose actual birthday is June 11, all but pleaded with would-be guests to make an appearance.

June 11? You have soiled the sanctity of birfdays in this Christian nation, Charlie Rangel.

But the intense speculation about an anemic turnout seemed to embolden rather than deflate Mr. Rangel, who appeared determined to prove the naysayers wrong. His staff recorded an automated phone message, which it delivered to dozens of invited guests, pleading with them to attend. "Hi. This is Charlie Rangel," the message said. ā€œIā€™m sorry I missed you, but I'm calling to let you know that there's a birthday party.ā€

Ask your moms if it's okay to come over, you guys! Birfday party!

The soiree doubled as a re-election fund-raiser -- tickets started at $200 -- and a crucial test of Mr. Rangel's appeal as a candidate as he seeks a 21st term. Traditionally a prodigious fund-raiser, he has struggled in the latest election cycle. He has spent far more than he has brought in, and has $517,000 left in his account, far more than his four opponents, but hardly a formidable war chest.

But it appeared that in their rush to corral guests, Mr. Rangel's aides invited some people who gave no money at all. Miriam Berger and her husband, Meir, who live in Bergen County, N.J., said they were invited at the last minute by Mr. Rangel's chief of staff, but were not asked for a donation. "They really wanted people here," Ms. Berger said.

If you're just giving out invites to fill the room, could you maybe have given some to the people of Harlem instead, Charlie? Surely these rich Bergen County types enjoy heaping piles of roast beef, goat cheese, and onion rings, but perhaps the homeless people and hungry children of your district would appreciate it more. JUST A THOUGHT. THAT would have been a party!

Oh, also a former New York mayor gave protesters the finger. Suck it, people who aren't friends with Charlie! [NYT]

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