Former congressman Massa: Democrats set me up over health care

AJ Contributor
Font Size:

Recently resigned New York Democrat Eric Massa has leveled charges that the Democratic leadership, specifically White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, forced him to resign his congressional seat. And Massa will be on Glenn Beck Tuesday night to continue his media offensive.

With him out of the picture it is easier for Democrats to get a majority of members to vote for President Obama’s health-care legislation.  House Speaker Nancy Pelosi now only needs to garner 216 votes instead of the previous 218. White House spokesman Robert Gibbs dismissed the accusations Tuesday on ABC’s Good Morning America:

“I think this whole story is ridiculous. I think the latest excuse is silly and ridiculous.” He accused Massa of continually changing the reasons for leaving Congress. Massa, a Democrat whose resignation took effect Monday, is facing a harassment complaint from a male staffer.

Massa’s reasons for resigning have ranged from health concerns (he has cancer) to vociferous criticism of the Democratic Party:

Conservatives have seized on Massa as a way to slow down or stop President Obama’s health-care bill that seems to be heading towards passage using the legislative procedure known as reconciliation.

The Washington Post reports:

Conservative activists rallied Monday to the side of a liberal New York Democrat who had resigned from the House, after he charged that his party’s leaders had conspired to oust him over his opposition to President Obama’s health-care legislation.

Rush Limbaugh devoted a segment of his Monday radio show to Massa, saying the lawmaker “warns us what we all know, but I think you need to hear it from a Democrat being forced out by Obama and Steny Hoyer and Pelosi.” And the most popular conservative on television, Fox News Channel’s Glenn Beck, announced that he will conduct an hour-long interview with the Democrat on Tuesday

Democrats think Massa is melting down and they’re more than happy to let Republicans and conservatives jump on the sinking ship.

At Politico, Democratic strategist Mo Elleithee writes:

If the right wing wants to embrace a guy who is accused of sexual harassment and ADMITS to a pattern of inappropriate behavior dating back to his days in the Navy, I say have at it. It just further underscores that they have no productive vision for our nation. Massa may be good for their ratings, but his bizarre rants certainly aren’t adding anything to the national dialogue. The more he speaks out, the more he solidifies his position as the kookiest ex-congressman in America. Given that, Glenn Beck may just be the PERFECT platform for him.

Massa’s resignation on Monday night is striking because besides offering blistering criticism of Democratic leadership, there doesn’t seem any issue pertaining to the health reform legislation that would actually force him to step down.

By stepping down Massa does avoid a potentially revealing ethics investigation into his self-admitted inappropriate sexual conduct, which one of his own staffers said had been continuing for eight months.