The Blog

Don't Embrace Eric Massa

Sources say the investigation into Massa will be damning.

11:17 AM, Mar 9, 2010 • By JOHN MCCORMACK
Widget tooltip
Single Page Print Larger Text Smaller Text Alerts

Reliable sources on Capitol Hill say the House ethics report on Eric Massa will be damning. Obamacare opponents, like Glenn Beck, might want to think twice before indulging Massa and letting this Democratic creep become the posterboy of Obamacare opposition.

Don't Embrace Eric Massa

It was already self-evident that Eric Massa's story didn't add up. As Jonah Goldberg notes, it doesn't pass the smell test: If Massa admits he "tousled" the hair of a male staffer and told the staffer he ought to be "fracking" him, the whole story is probably much, much worse. And as Michelle Malkin says, "Don’t trust Democrat Rep. Eric Massa any further than you can throw him."

The Atlantic's Chris Good points out that Massa's timeline doesn't make any sense, either. When the story broke about Massa's ethics violations, it would neither have helped nor hurt Democrats to have him in office as a committed "no" vote:

When news broke last Wednesday that Massa would finish out his term without seeking reelection, that he faced these allegations, and that House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer knew about them, the number of votes needed to pass health care reform was 216.

The next day, that number changed: Thursday afternoon, Republican Rep. Nathan Deal (GA) announced he would postpone his own retirement and stay in Congress long enough to vote "no" on health care. At that point, with another sitting lawmaker available for a vote, the magic number increased to 217.

Only after that point did it become beneficial, in theory, for Democratic leaders to force Massa out. The next day, Friday, Massa said he would resign effective the following Monday (today), and the number went back down to 216, helping Democratic leaders.

So Massa's staffer brought the issue to the attention of Steny Hoyer weeks ago, and the story leaked at a time when it didn't help the Democrats' health care vote one way or the other to have him in office. And Massa has changed his story--at first he said he was retiring because of health reasons, and then he resigned because he said Rahm Emanuel was out to get him. If the ethics charges are trumped up, why didn't Massa stay in the House another month to vote against health care?

Perhaps the answer is that Massa thought he might scuttle the House ethics investigation if he resigned. Traditionally, when a member resigns, the House Ethics Committee loses jurisdiction over that member. But Massa's case involves another congressional staffer, so the ethics committee will likely produce a report anyway, just as it did in Mark Foley's scandal with congressional pages.

The full story should come out eventually. And when it does, some conservatives may regret embracing Eric Massa.

Recent Blog Posts

The Weekly Standard Archives

Browse 18 Years of the Weekly Standard

Old covers