Conservative media make hero of soap-opera Democrat Eric Massa -- bad politics for Republicans
He resigned to duck House Ethics Committee charges that he sexually harassed a male staffer. Then he blamed Democrats in the White House and in Congress for pushing him out because he voted against healthcare reform legislation.
Eric Massa's charges would be laughable if they weren't so lurid -- his latest accusation is that White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel lobbied him on healthcare reform while both were showering in the House gym.
Any opportunity to dump on Emanuel was like catnip for the conservative media, which rushed to embrace the less-than-one-term Democrat from upstate New York. Rush Limbaugh vowed to make a “national story” out of Massa. "He going to have so much support from people,” said the conservative commentator. This despite the fact that Massa once called Limbaugh "a pompous coward."
Now some Republicans are warning their conservative colleagues to do their homework.
"'Conservative hero' my foot," said blogger Michelle Malkin, who called Massa a political opportunist and lifelong progressive zealot. "Crapweasel is too kind a description for the desperate, bottom-feeding Massa," she wrote. "He is not a useful idiot. He’s just an idiot."
The irony is that Massa voted against the healthcare bill from the left -- because it did not include a public option.
All in all, Democrats might be forgiven if they look for a silver lining here. One Democratic strategist told Politico: “If the stories that are circulating are true about what really happened, the Republicans are going to hold up someone as the cause célèbre who harassed male members of his staff. Is that really where they want to be?”
Sadly, this is not the last we've heard of Massa, who first claimed that he was leaving Congress because of a recurrence of cancer. Fox News' Glenn Beck plans to have Massa on his show for “the full hour” Tuesday because “all Americans need to hear him.”
-- Johanna Neuman
Photo: Eric Massa, en route from Corning, N.Y., to his January 2009 swearing-in ceremony in Washington, tops off the tank of his fuel cell vehicle. Credit: General Motors