Old Person Replaces Sick Person as Corrupt Person Steps Aside

Nancy Pelosi has selected Rep. Sandy Levin (D-Mich) to "temporarily" replace Charlie Rangel as Chairman of the Ways and Means committee, while Rangel's under investigation for being incredibly corrupt. Sorry, crazy Pete Stark.

The guy who was supposed to be next-in-line was crazy California Congressman Pete Stark, who is very old and who has been suffering from a mysterious illness lately that he won't tell anyone about. Stark is actually kind of awesome—he is the only avowed atheist in Congress and he's a founding member of the Progressive caucus and generally we love the guy—but the head of a committee as important as Ways and Means should not be missing a quarter of all floor votes because this weird sickness that he won't tell anyone about.

One of the big problems with congressional Democrats is their fanatical devotion to the seniority system, which is how you end up with dudes like Max Baucus in charge of the Senate Finance Committee and Kent Conrad in charge of the Budget Committee. The Democrats should be thrilled to have those gentlemen in their caucus—but committee chairmanships should actually go to people who actually do toe the party line, which is not such a bad thing if your party line is generally full of good ideas. Let your "moderate" members from conservative states and districts take their symbolic votes against things, but do not let them chair powerful committees, you idiots.

Nancy Pelosi and Steny Hoyer are generally much better at this sort of thing than Harry Reid and Dick Durbin. But while Sander Levin is a better choice than Pete Stark, as he is not suffering from a mysterious illness, he is also still 78 years old. He is the older brother of Senator Carl Levin, in fact.

Seniority is just another of the incredibly stupid things about our way of governing ourselves that the Founders invented because God told them to.