Democratic Rep. Eric Massa has suddenly become a conservative hero now that he charges that the White House and Democrats in effect indulged in a conspiracy to force him to resign on what he suggests are trumped up charges — and that it was all done to get rid of him so that health care reform could pass. But now some conservatives are saying: “Not so fast.”
That may not matter all that much. Glenn Beck will have Massa on his show for an hour — meaning Massa has not just burned his bridges to the Democratic party but nuked them. Rush Limbaugh reportedly is vowing to help spread Massa’s account. And can an appearance on Sean Hannity be far behind (an easy bet in Vegas on that one)?
There are some minor hitches, though.
There is this lingering question: if allegations (even silly ones) had forced Massa out and he was battling them but wasn’t charging that it was part of a conspiracy but called Rahm Emmanuel honorable and respectful and said his leaving had nothing to do with trying to ram through health care reform, would Beck and Limbaugh be championing him as the newest Democrat to win conservative hearts — perhaps just a tad shy of (the former Democrat) Joe Lieberman? The answer: fat chance (also: fat chance that you’ll find a ton of people calling Emanuel respectful..)
And then there is the question of the allegation against him. Silly, overblown or not, those championing him are totally sweeping any allegations against him under the rug. Suppose more info comes out on that in coming days (unlikely since it probably would have come out already)? (It’d probably be dismissed as lies from the mainstream media or Obama’s Chicago style politics when Obama’s politics has come to resemble patty cake more than Chicago style politics).
But then there is this fact: some conservatives who are more insistent on conservatives having a longer memory aren’t giving him — and by implication Beck and others now enamored with Massa — a pass on this one.
For instance, Michelle Malkin, a conservative blogger whose posts often don’t mince words and are filled with tons of useful links to news stories and other blog posts, doesn’t mince words here either about her feelings for Massa or another Democrat:
As I mentioned this afternoon, Democrat Rep. Eric Massa owes much of his career and political success to anti-war nutball Gen. Wesley Clark.
Massa served under Clark and worked on Clark’s doomed presidential campaign. Clark provided the cash-strapped Massa critical PAC support, nutroots help, and funding for Massa’s congressional bid.
Gen. Clark, you may recall, was also the speech-stifling zealot who led the backdoor “Fairness Doctrine” drive to kick Rush Limbaugh off of Armed Forces Radio in 2007. The pretext for that censorship campaign was Harry Reid and the Left’s false claim that Rush had “smeared” American troops because he dared to mention the disturbing trend of phony, anti-war soldiers like the infamous Jesse MacBeth (see here and here for refresher courses on Winter Soldier Syndrome). You may remember that Rush turned the Democrats’ attack on its head and raised millions of dollars to benefit the Marine Corps Law Enforcement Foundation by auctioning off Reid’s bully letter.
Well, here’s another reminder that the relentlessly opportunistic Massa chimed in on the side of Clark, Reid, and the leftists providing cover for anti-war fraudsters like MacBeth and his ilk. In fact, he recorded a YouTube campaign spot attacking Rush that as of 11:40pm Eastern tonight, was still featured on his MassaforCongress channel:
Go to the link to see the You Tubes and her post.
She summarizes her reaction to the new conservative love affair with Massa this way:
“Conservative hero” my foot.
“Crapweasel” is too kind a description for the desperate, bottom-feeding Massa. He is not a useful idiot. He’s just an idiot.
Malkin’s reaction is refreshing in 21st century America for a reason:
The modus operendi of partisans in both parties now is to try and discreetely shove under the rug past statements, positions, policies, behaviors, etc of those who are supported in a given moment in an ongoing charade to go after the other side and protect those who can be useful to advancing their own side’s agenda. In fact, there IS nuance in Massa, if conservatives look at it. Malkin points it out (even though she is no fan of Obama, Obama’s health care reform or the Democrats).
Was he nudged aside by the White House? Perhaps. Were the charges against him trumped up? Time will tell. Did they want to dump him to advance health care reform? Perhaps.
But MSNBC’s First Read also stands back, takes a look at it and doesn’t see this controversy as clear cut as many may think — or hope — it is at first glance.
For instance they offer this take:
*** More Massa mess: Per NBC’s Shawna Thomas, Rep. Eric Massa’s (D) resignation notice will be read on the House floor at 2:00 pm ET. And later this afternoon, the ex-congressman will appear on Glenn Beck’s show (and then on Larry King). Indeed, Massa has suddenly become a cause célèbre among conservatives after his suggestion that Democratic leaders wanted him out of Congress because of his “no” vote on health care last year. “Now they’ve gotten rid of me and it will pass,” he told a New York state radio station on Sunday. (These conservatives, including Drudge, have focused less attention to his story that he told a male subordinate, “Well, what I really ought to be doing is fracking you” and then touched the subordinate’s hair, which would be a fire-able offense at most private companies, or at least cause for a lawsuit.) But as the New York Daily News reported yesterday, Massa’s timeline alleging he was forced out due to his health-care vote doesn’t make much sense. Democrats’ magic number to pass health care was already at 216 when House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer’s office revealed, on March 3, that it had received a complaint of sexual harassment by Massa. Then, on March 4, GOP Rep. Nathan Deal announced he was postponing his resignation, which brought the magic number up to 217.
And this one, too.
*** The timeline doesn’t make much sense: Massa’s resignation now brings the magic number back to 216. But it’s difficult to allege that Hoyer’s office wanted him out when it revealed the news on March 3, because his resignation then — before the Deal news — would have left the magic number at 216 (a majority of 430 House members is still 216). Here’s one other irony to the fact that Massa has now become a hero among conservatives: A la Dennis Kucinich, he opposed the House health-care last year because it WASN’T EXPANSIVE ENOUGH. “While this bill does contain a public option, it is far from a ‘robust’ one and Rep. Massa pledged, in a letter months ago, to vote against anything less than that,” Massa’s statement back then said. “The public option in this bill is available for only about 2% of the American population and its premium rates will match private health insurance, guaranteeing no effective competition in the marketplace.” One final question: If Massa is so upset with Democrats why quit? This story has “side show” and “shiny metal object” written all over it.
But the glitter and side show is what gets ratings so GOP partisans will turn out in force tonight to probably give Beck and Fox News one of the most whopping ratings ever, Limbaugh will pick up the torch after that, Hannity and of course weblogs will hammer home the parts of his comments that support their ongoing arguments about Obama, the Democrats and the health care reform
And if you hear a sound, it’s probably the sound of some some things being discreetly swept under the rug that may not fit in with the ongoing emerging narrative about Massa.
Now he’s at the GOP’s Beck and call.
For more on this controversy GO HERE.
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Joe Gandelman is a former fulltime journalist who freelanced in India, Spain, Bangladesh and Cypress writing for publications such as the Christian Science Monitor and Newsweek. He also did radio reports from Madrid for NPR’s All Things Considered. He has worked on two U.S. newspapers and quit the news biz in 1990 to go into entertainment. He also has written for The Week and several online publications, did a column for Cagle Cartoons Syndicate and has appeared on CNN.