Weekly Pulse: Eric Massa Backs off Health Care Conspiracy, Glenn Beck Apologizes to the Entire Country

By Lindsay Beyerstein, Media Consortium blogger

Former Rep. Eric Massa (D-NY) punked conservative talk show host Glenn Beck yesterday by recanting his earlier allegations that House Democrats forced him out of office because he refused to vote for health care reform. Massa resigned on Monday amidst allegations that he sexually harassed one or more male staffers.

Adele Stan has a nice recap of the implosion of Massa’s political career at AlterNet. Massa initially said he was stepping down because he had cancer. Then the news broke that the House Ethics Committee was probing allegations that Massa sexually harassed a male staffer.

Beck gave Massa the entire show. Clearly Beck was hoping the former congressman would lay bare nefarious wheeling and dealing by House Democrats to pass health care reform. Steve Benen of the Washington Monthly argues that the Massa train wreck shows the weakness in the whole Beck schtick. Beck didn’t bother to find out whether there was a conspiracy. He just assumed Massa was going to tell him what he wanted to hear.

Massa and the health care reform conspiracy

As Tim Fernholtz points out in TAPPED, the notion that Massa was forced out over his stance on health care reform was never very promising, even by conspiracy theory standards: Why would Massa take this moment to start listening to the Democratic leadership, having blithely ignored them throughout his brief political career?

More to the point, White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel didn’t force Eric Massa to act like a drunken sailor in front of his staff. Clearly, the Dems are relieved to see Massa go. In addition to a near total lack of interpersonal boundaries, he was an unshakable “no” on health reform. The guy is clearly a loose cannon, in the saltiest and most nautical sense. If House Dems had seized the opportunity to get rid of him, that would have been more sound management than conspiracy.

‘I failed.’

But under the bright lights, Massa dropped the conspiracy allegations and blamed himself for ethical lapses, according Eric Kleefeld of TPMDC. “I wasn’t forced out. I forced myself out. I failed,” said Massa.

In fact, Massa seemed eager to preemptively confess to even more inappropriate behavior: “Now, they’re saying I groped a male staffer. Yes, I did. Not only did I grope him, I tickled him until he couldn’t breathe and four guys jumped on top of me,” Massa told Beck, “It was my 50th birthday. It was kill the old guy.”

Massa even brought visual aids to assist in his own indictment. He showed Beck a scrapbook of a “crossing the line” ceremony from his Navy days. “It looks like an orgy in Caligula,” Massa chirped. His point being that he never got out of the creepy, gropey habits he picked up in the Navy.

He even whipped out an x-ray of his own gut to prove that he really does—or at any rate, really might—have cancer.

By the end of the show, Beck apologized to America for wasting the country’s time.

Kucinich still opposed to reform

Meanwhile, Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) remains steadfast in his opposition to health care reform, calling it a giveaway to the insurance companies. On the Ed Schultz Show, insurance company whistleblower Wendell Potter urged Kucinich to quit posturing and take the deal, according to Ruth Conniff of The Progressive. Potter agrees that the deal is a massive giveaway to insurers, but he thinks Kucinich is unrealistic to hold out for a better deal.

Stupak smoke signals

Fervent anti-choicer Rep. Bart Stupak (D-MI) has been threatening for months to derail health care reform over the abortion issue. This week, Stupak was back in the news with some cryptic remarks. He told a town meeting that there was “no such thing as a compromise” on the abortion issue, but he also said that he was more optimistic than he was a week ago that the House leadership could offer him some kind of acceptable accommodation. Stupack insisted that any such deal would have to be written before the bill goes to the Senate for a vote.

This post features links to the best independent, progressive reporting about health care by members of The Media Consortium. It is free to reprint. Visit the Pulse for a complete list of articles on health care reform, or follow us on Twitter. And for the best progressive reporting on critical economy, environment, health care and immigration issues, check out The Audit, The Mulch, and The Diaspora. This is a project of The Media Consortium, a network of leading independent media outlets.

 

 

Help Scott Murphy In NY-20

A couple of MyDDers are up in NY-20 today knocking on doors to urge people to vote for Scott Murphy on Tuesday but for those of us who can't make it to the district, there is something we can do. Rep. Eric Massa has a diary up at dailykos promoting the DCCC's new phonebank from home tool. Watch Eric's video below practicing what he preaches.

Go HERE to help Eric turn out the vote for Scott in NY-20 on Tuesday.

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First, let's start off with the current House and Senate members who voted against this bill.  They do deserve credit, as it's their jobs on the line.

Follow me below the fold to see the dozens of Democratic challengers who are standing up for the Constitution, and are against this FISA bill and retroactive immunity.

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The Big News in NY-29 today is the fourth quarter fundraising by Netroots Superstar Eric Massa.  He outraised his opponent Randy Kuhl for the third straight quarter.  Both NY state blog The Albany Project and local blogs like Rochester Turning have this part of the story.  From October 1st to December 31st, 2007, Massa raised a total of $267,960.18, bringing his campaign war chest of cash on hand to $414,603.90.  Kuhl raised $156,736 in Q4 and has $326,513 cash on hand.  More on the flip.

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Someone we can all support: Eric Massa

Crossposted from dKos
In the ugliness of the Democratic presidential primary season it is a good thing when we find something we can all agree on.  As we approach the primaries we also come to the end of the fundraising quarter. And I think we can all agree that supporting Eric Massa is a good thing.  Here are 10 good reasons to support him:

1.  He is running in a pro-Republican gerrymandered district that is currently represented by a Bush Rubber Stamp. (link, link)
2.  He came close to winning that district in 2006, among the top 15 districts that Democrats narrowly lost. (link)

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Diaries

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