Completely awesome anecdote about Pete Stark, new House Ways and Means chair

by: Chris Bowers

Wed Mar 03, 2010 at 13:01


Two years ago, a source on Capitol Hill who used to work in Representative Pete Stark's office told me a great anecdote about Representative Stark.

One day, a lobbyist from a large energy company entered the lobby of Representative Stark's office.  When he heard who was in the lobby, Representative Stark yelled from another room "get the f*ck out of here!"  When the lobbyist laughed a bit and didn't leave, Representative Stark came into the lobby and yelled again "no, get the f*ck out of here!"  The lobbyist then left.

Now, as Charles Rangel is stepping aside, Pete Stark will be the new chair of the House Ways and Means committee

Speaker Nancy Pelosi has picked liberal firebrand Rep. Pete Stark to replace ousted Chairman Charles Rangel on the tax-writing committee, according to a House leadership aide.

The decision was made during a Wednesday morning leadership meeting following Rangel's announcement that he would temporarily step aside as chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, the aide said.

Rangel (N.Y.) had come under growing pressure in the wake of several ethics investigations, and he faced a vote Wednesday on a GOP-backed privileged resolution to force his ouster.

This good news.   Rangel steps aside while facing real ethics questions, which is both the right thing to do and helps Democrats look less hypocritical about fighting corruption in D.C.  Also, it puts Pete Stark, who is as uncorruptible and as solid a progressive and as anyone in Congress, in charge of the committee.

Chris Bowers :: Completely awesome anecdote about Pete Stark, new House Ways and Means chair

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Pete Stark (4.00 / 3)
I registered to vote for the first time so I could vote for Rep Stark in the Dem Primary.  I left California 38 years ago, but I am very pleased I was there for Rep Stark's first run.

This is the best news from the house (4.00 / 3)
This is the best news from the house I've heard in a while. Ways and Means is huge appointment, and this is one of the biggest progressive changes Pelosi's made since she became Speaker.

The USA still needs a lot of reform to tax codes. The fact that rich people pay a much, much lower percentage of their income that middle class people, is guaranteed by our current tax code. At a minimum, the Social Security cap has to be removed, and the capital gains tax break has to be eliminated. In addition, we need tariffs to make up for lost tax revenue when jobs are shipped overseas. I could go on and on, but ALL that stuff has to go though Ways and Means.  

ec=-8.50 soc=-8.41   (3,967 Watts)


Agree (4.00 / 3)
My hope is that he'll pass tax legislation for the super wealthy that, even if it never gets passed, at least gets public attention that gets people to ask, "Why not?" And let's have some public hearings, too, on the impact of tax policies on working people compared to Warren Buffett, Lloyd Blankfein, Jamie Dimon, and all the rest.

It is rather amazing to hear people defend the capital gains tax as double taxation and a brake on small investors when, in truth, it benefits the wealthiest of the wealthy the most. Indeed, capital gains probably should be zero for anyone who makes less than $250,000 W2 income and holds an investment for some number of years.

Whatever happens, this is excellent news. And kudos to Pelosi for letting Stark have the reins.


[ Parent ]
Pete Stark? Chairing Ways and Means? (4.00 / 1)
Man, it just doesn't get any better than that.  

Atheistic (3.60 / 10)
Chairman Stark is also likely the only atheistic member of congress willing to reveal his views in public. I say atheistic because he is a Unitarian that does not believe in a supreme being.

http://articles.sfgate.com/200...

As a member of this very marginalized part of the body politic, it heartens me to see a compadre rise to his position.

We need more atheists and fewer theocrats in this country, in my view.

Did they get you to trade your heroes for ghosts? Hot ashes for trees? Hot air for a cool breeze? And cold comfort for change?


Really? (0.00 / 0)
Is expressing a viewpoint about one of Stark's characteristics really troll-worthy Lord Mike? I think it reflects poorly on you to do so if you are a believer, particularly as my point was about how marginal secularism and atheism are in the popular political discourse. Going agro on me for expressing my view just kind of underscores my point about the intolerance and rigidity of the political class vis a vis religiosity.

Perhaps you thought I was making the claim that all believers are theocrats. I hold no such view and never have. The revolutionary priests I met in Nicaragua, moved by liberation theology, were the most inspiring people I have ever met. I celebrate and participate in the social justice activities related to urban agriculture affiliated with the Capuchin's here in Detroit.

Balance. More balance is all I seek and having Stark - 1 person of 435 - in such a position is a small, a very, very, small step toward balance and representation for those holding my views.  I come from Scandinavia, the region with the highest percentage of non-believers, and grew up in Oregon, the state with the lowest percentage church-goers in the nation.

Your troll rating basically sends the message that people of such views and from such backgrounds are not welcome members of the Democratic coalition. I do not believe that is really the message you should wish to send.  

Did they get you to trade your heroes for ghosts? Hot ashes for trees? Hot air for a cool breeze? And cold comfort for change?


[ Parent ]
Don't jump to conclusions (4.00 / 5)
It is very easy to accidentally hit 0 when you are trying to hit 4. I've been on both the giving and receiving end of this kind of error.

Montani semper liberi

[ Parent ]
Good point (4.00 / 4)


Did they get you to trade your heroes for ghosts? Hot ashes for trees? Hot air for a cool breeze? And cold comfort for change?

[ Parent ]
Hooray! (0.00 / 0)
Way to go, Nancy!

What's the assessment of Rangel? (0.00 / 0)
Obviously corrupt and should be given the boot if possible, guy who has done enough good that it mitigates any mistakes he may have made, or somewhere in between?

Things You Don't Talk About in Polite Company: Religion, Politics, the Occasional Intersection of Both

Mistakes? (4.00 / 1)
I think not. He's knowingly corrupt from what I've read, and there's simply no excusing or mitigating that, even if he has "done good", which I'm sure he has. The only reason he's still in office is because he has very powerful friends and it's extremely hard to get a member of congress in either party to leave.

"Those who stand for nothing fall for anything...Mankind are forever destined to be the dupes of bold & cunning imposture" -- Alexander Hamilton

[ Parent ]
I had to reassure myself that it's not April 1st when I read this (4.00 / 4)
Damn is this a good development. Someone I know who's an insurance company exec hates Stark because he's so tough on insurers, which is a huge plus in my book. I assume this means that California will finally get some of the aid that it needs (ethically, of course, and not in a Ben Nelson sort of way), which helps get Boxer and congressional Dems reelected and a Dem to replace Arnold. Plus better and more progressive use of taxpayer dollars.

Oh, and the followup to Stark's words to that lobbyist should have been "And don't come back until you have a real job!".

"Those who stand for nothing fall for anything...Mankind are forever destined to be the dupes of bold & cunning imposture" -- Alexander Hamilton


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