Charlie Rangel's ethics problems pose a serious political threat to the Democrats. If Rangel insists on fighting the charges, a high-profile trial will take place in the run-up the the November elections, and put the most unattractive possible face on the Democratic Party.

Naturally, Bill Kristol advises Rangel to go through with the trial:

President Obama has offered this patronizing advice to Rep. Charlie Rangel:
"And he's somebody who's at the end of his career. Eighty years old. I'm sure that what he wants is to be able to end his career with dignity. And my hope is that it happens."

News flash: Our president really is a self-centered elitist (and ageist!).

Here's my advice to Charlie: Defend yourself, make your case, fight for your reputation, and if need be accept a reprimand (or even censure)--but let your constituents render the real verdict, not the D.C. mob. If you do this, you have a good chance of extending your political career...beyond Obama's.

In any case, do not follow Obama's prescription of political death with dignity. "Do not go gentle into that good night."

I once had a bloggingheads discussion with Ross Douthat. He ventured that most opinion writers say what they really think. I volunteered that everything Bill Kristol writes should be presumed in service of a political agenda. This is the kind of thing I was talking about.