There is little question that Rangel is nearing the end. First elected 43 years ago, after having defeated the man whose name adorns the building where the congressman keeps his office, he is musing aloud now about what he once forbade anyone to discuss with him: his own retirement.
But even at 83, dressed in a blue bow tie and crisp gray suit, Rangel is relentless toward those who he feels are slowing the forces of progress.
House Republicans? Have done more damage to American competitiveness than al Qaeda ever could. "What is happening is sabotage. Terrorists couldn't do a better job than the Republicans are doing."
The Tea Party? Defeat them the same way segregation was beaten. "It is the same group we faced in the South with those white crackers and the dogs and the police. They didn't care about how they looked. It was just fierce indifference to human life that caused America to say enough is enough. 'I don't want to see it and I am not a part of it.' What the hell! If you have to bomb little kids and send dogs out against human beings, give me a break."