Is "salty old sailor" Eric Massa being railroaded by Democratic leaders for voting against health care, or is he actually a creep who harasses his staff? No one knows. But he had awesome things to say about Rahm Emanuel, today.
Massa is a one-term Democrat from a very conservative district in New York's southern tier. Last week, he announced that he was retiring, because his non-Hodgkin's lymphoma had come back. Then, immediately, word of an ethics violation was leaked to Politico: Massa was under investigation for sexual harassment of a male staffer.
Massa opposed the Democratic health reform bill because he is a staunch single-payer advocate. And on his weekly radio show, he gave his own version of the event that led to the harassment complaint.
Apparently he was just really drunk at a wedding and he sat down with his staff of bachelors. And then things got ribald!
"One of them looked at me and as they would do after, I don't know, 15 gin and tonics, and goodness only knows how many bottles of champagne, a staff member made an intonation to me that maybe I should be chasing after the bridesmaid and his points were clear and his words were far more colorful than that," Massa said. "And I grabbed the staff member sitting next to me and said, ‘Well, what I really ought to be doing is fracking you.' And then [I] tossled the guy's hair and left, went to my room, because I knew the party was getting to a point where it wasn't right for me to be there. Now was that inappropriate of me? Absolutely. Am I guilty? Yes."
According to Massa, the guy who he threatened to "frack" was not the guy who complained. It was some other guy at the table who told Steny Hoyer that this "fracking" thing made him uncomfortable.
Conveniently, a Massa retirement brings the threshold for passing health care down by one vote.
Oh, and also, apparently, Massa and Rahm Emanuel reenacted their favorite scenes from In The Loop on the phone, once:
"When I voted against the cap and trade bill, the phone rang and it was the chief of staff to the president of the United States of America, Rahm Emanuel, and he started swearing at me in terms and words that I hadn't heard since that crossing the line ceremony on the USS New Jersey in 1983," Massa said. "And I gave it right back to him, in terms and words that I know are physically impossible."
So. Eric Massa is perhaps just one of those people who is just not cut out for elected office.