The biggest question I have about former Rep. Eric Massa is: How have we missed this guy for so long?
For those of you who have been hanging around the teacher's parking lot smoking cigarettes for the past week instead of sitting in class, there is this guy, Eric Massa, who, until Monday, was a DEMOCRAT Member of Congress from Western New York.
Massa resigned on Monday saying he was being forced out of office by Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and Majority Leader Steny Hoyer because he was going to vote "No" on the health care bill when it came to the floor.
Without Massa, the number of votes needed for an absolute majority in the House goes down to 216 because of vacancies for one reason or another.
It appears Massa was going to vote "No" not because he is a moderate Democrat, but because he refused to support the bill without a public option.
Massa maintained that his was the deciding vote - that by voting with the Republicans the bill would have been defeated. That is like me claiming I cast the deciding vote in the Virginia race for Governor last November. If Massa was correct about that, then the bill would have been on the floor yesterday.
It wasn't and it isn't going to be any time soon because now that Sen. Mary Landrieu (the Louisiana Purchase) and Sen. Ben Nelson (the Cornhusker Kickback) have shown how much the deciding vote is actually worth, we have been witnessing a headlong rush by members of the House Democratic Caucus to stay undecided as long as possible.
The proximate cause for Massa's resignation was a complaint that he sexually harassed a male member of his staff. His explanation is not much better than whatever visions just ran through your head. Massa says it stopped at "ruffling" the hair of the staffer (while they were at another staffer's wedding) after Massa suggested he was more interested in the male staffer than in any of the bridesmaids.Don't know what the bridesmaids looked like so, in fairness, we cannot not accurately judge the choice.
Massa resigned saying he wanted to avoid an Ethics Committee investigation which would go back to the day he was born and said he is a "deeply flawed and imperfect person" which may be, could be, might be, construed by some people of a harsher temperament as something of an understatement.
Wait! There's more! According to Dana Milbank's Washington Post piece, on a radio show over the weekend Massa described an … encounter … with White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emmanuel in the shower in the House gym:
"I'm sitting there showering, naked as a jaybird, and here comes Rahm Emanuel, not even with a towel wrapped around his tush, poking his finger in my chest. . . . Do you know how awkward it is to have a political argument with a naked man?"
The House Democratic Leadership decided it better get in front of this story, so to speak, so they allowed it to be leaked that Massa was also being investigated for actually, sexually groping a male staffer.
With all this swirling around, Glen Beck decided Massa would be a great guest for his Fox News Channel program and booked him for the full hour. Beck asked Massa about the new charge.
Again, according to Milbank's column:
"Now they're saying I groped a male staffer," he volunteered. "Yeah, I did. Not only did I grope him, I tickled him until he couldn't breathe and then four guys jumped on top of me. It was my 50th birthday."
Oh. It was a BIRTHday party. Well, who wouldn't celebrate their Big Five-Oh that way? I mean, really.
The good news, is that the GOP will probably win that district. Governor David Paterson, who is under siege himself, will probably call a special election fairly quickly if only to irritate the White House which would rather the seat remain vacant for the time being.
Massa has a mass o' dirty laundry of which, I suspect, this is only the first pair of gym socks.