Rep. Charles Rangel had a bad day on the blogs yesterday. First Mark Tapscott completely discredits Rangel’s assertions that the all-volunteer armed services draw disproportionally from poor families in his latest research. The Heritage Foundation compares recruitment data from 1999 to 2003 by zipcode and income levels, and finds that the Clinton-era recruitment relied more heavily on lower-income enlistees:
Note the proportions of recruits from each of the five demographic quintiles, organized according to per capita income by zip code. The percentage of recruits from the poorest quintile is actually lower in 1999 and 2003 than the percentage for the richest quintile.
In fact, the percentage difference between the richest and poorest quintiles increases between 1999 and 2003! And the highest percentage is actually in the second richest quintile of recruits, followed by the richest quintile. It is no exaggeration to say America’s most prosperous families bear the greatest share of the burden of fighting in America’s defense.
So much for the mythology, pushed hardest by Rangel, that the poor have done most of the fighting and dying for the Bush administration. Rangel used this assertion to push for a new draft, asserting that the only way to get enough pressure to undermine the war on terror was to force the rich to send their kids off to war. Rangel only has two problems with this hypothesis — he has no idea how the military recruits its enlistees as the Heritage Foundation demonstrates, and no one, no one, sends their kids off to war. Men and women make that decision for themselves, something that Rangel and the rest of the nutcases on the fringe keep forgetting in their infantilization of the US armed services.
Speaking of mythology, Radioblogger stops another Rangel urban legend before it gets rolling. Rangel told a local New York reporter that Dick Cheney should resign as Vice President, because Cheney is “too old for the job, and he doesn’t have any experience.” Apparently between guffaws of laughter, Duane “Generalissimo” Patterson points out that Rangel misses a few facts regarding Cheney’s experience and the age of American politicians:
Dick Cheney was born on 1/20/41. He currently is 64 years old. At the time he was sworn into the Vice Presidency, he was a week shy of 60. As for experience, he had been a Congressman, Secretary of Defense, and White House Chief of Staff, among other government positions. He also was very successful running private sector businesses as well. I may be mistaken, but there was this little company called Halliburton that he ran. Anyway, the point being, Rangel just loses credibility when he tries to maintain with a straight face that Cheney has no experience for the job. As Chief of Staff, you’re pretty attuned to the workings of the Executive branch.
Charley Rangel, the man who thinks Cheney’s too old, was born on June 11th, 1930. He is 75 years old. But I guess ageism doesn’t count if it’s applied to Republicans.
Other Democratic notables for whom Rangel needs to reserve rooms at the retirement home:
John Kerry: 62 in December
Joe Lieberman: 63
Nancy Pelosi: 65
Robert Byrd: 87
Rangel should lead by example, and resign immediately. I’m sure the rest of the above will follow shortly. Trust us, Charlie … trust us.