The Massa Mess

I was just reading this article in Politico talking about how Eric Massa is now a conservative media hero. Yeah – it seems like red meat to them. A Democrat claiming that he is being pushed out of Congress by his own party for not supporting their agenda. But hey – Massa lasted 6 years in the Democratic Party! Remember – he was a Republican until 2004. But that isn’t what has got me going.

Politico did a recap of what Massa said occurred on the night that lead to the sexual harassment charge:

“I danced with the bride, and I danced with the bridesmaid. Absolutely nothing occurred,” Massa recounted. “I said goodnight to the bridesmaid. I sat down at the table where my whole staff was — all of them, by the way, bachelors. 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. His points were clear, and his words were far more colorful than that.

“And I grabbed the staff member sitting next to me, and I said, ‘What I really ought to be doing is fracking you,’ and then tousled the guy’s hair and left, went to my room, because I knew the party was getting to a point where I shouldn’t be there.”

First thing that really sticks out at me if 15 gin and tonics, plus an unknown amount of champagne. I used to be a bartender and if someone had 15 gin and tonics they would be beyond that point of being cut off, and that’s without the added little boost of the bubbly.

Second, Massa admits to the charges. What he did was sexual harassment. This is straight from the EEOC:

Sexual harassment can occur in a variety of circumstances, including but not limited to the following:

  • The victim as well as the harasser may be a woman or a man. The victim does not have to be of the opposite sex.
  • The harasser can be the victim's supervisor, an agent of the employer, a supervisor in another area, a co-worker, or a non-employee.
  • The victim does not have to be the person harassed but could be anyone affected by the offensive conduct.
  • Unlawful sexual harassment may occur without economic injury to or discharge of the victim.
  • The harasser's conduct must be unwelcome.

So what happened, even though it does sound like some drunken joking around, still fell within all but 1 of these points. Even Massa admits what he said as inappropriate.

But what leaves me scratching my head is the question of “what happened next?” Let’s put the timeline together.

Massa was at a wedding reception on New Year’s Eve and there was one of his staffers there. I’m sure there were more there, and we don’t really know who the wedding was for. Somehow a private conversation Massa had with his aide was brought to the attention of the House leadership. The only way I can see that happening is that the staffer he made the comments to said something to them.

This brings us to the key of the whole mess. We have a subordinate finding suggestions from one of his supervisors to be harassing. That subordinate then brings it to the attention of their supervisors supervisor and now an investigation is happening. A story like this doesn’t have to take place in Congress. Hell it could be in any company USA. We have laws about sexual harassment and policies that companies are supposed to follow.

Could you imagine if this story got to Hoyer and he tried to brush it under the carpet? It would be far worse than it is today, kind of like a speaker of the House not taking action on reports of a member of his party sending sexually suggestive emails to underage house pages.

But back to the whole premise of the Politico article. Of course Massa is a hero to people like Limbaugh and Beck. These are people who absolutely hate sexual harassment laws. Rush has admitted as much countless times on his show. Now they have someone to point to as a martyr to their causes.

And what’s next for Massa? I really doubt he would have been expelled from Congress for his actions. I’ve seen worse in the work place and it didn’t lead to termination. It sounds like Massa is trying to make himself a martyr for the opposition to health care. And will this mark the end of Massa’s short tenure as a Democrat? Will he head back to the GOP now, until they do something else he doesn’t like?

This story has become something out of a Lifetime movie, and I believe is no where near dying. I always did like Eric Massa, but putting everything together, it appears that the guy might have some problems. And for some on the right to prop him up as a hero is not sitting well with some other conservative figures. No matter what, the next couple of days will provide us some more interesting insight into what happened.