Eric Massa's latest episode
Eric Massa, the former member of Congress from upstate New York who resigned abruptly in March for a variety of reasons, but mostly for the stuff about groping male staffers, is more than a little off. See, for example, his profile in the June issue of Esquire. Writer Ryan D'Agostino reveals a man whose narrative in his head doesn't match the facts on the ground.
Forget about Massa's tickle fights and his living in a group house with staffers more than half his age. The Esquire piece has so many vignettes to choose from I don't know where to begin. There's the excitement Massa has over the suggestion by his lawyers that the Esquire article could be turned into a movie. "I mean, imagine if it won an Oscar," he said. As if. "Clueless" has already been made. Although it didn't win an Oscar, it did turn Alicia Silverstone into a star -- briefly. He tells D'Agostino that after a night of drinking with some staff, he wound up at the Washington Monument in an Ambien-induced haze. He texted some of the fellas at 4 a.m. to come get him after he couldn't find his way home.
But it's Massa's allegation that Gen. David Petraeus is scheming with former vice president Dick Cheney to run for president in 2012 that is the most fascinating -- and the craziest.
If what I've been told is true -- and I believe it is -- General David Petraeus, a commander with soldiers deployed in two theaters of war, has had multiple meetings with Dick Cheney, the former vice-president of the United States, to discuss Petraeus's candidacy for the Republican nomination for the presidency. And in fact, that's more than a constitutional crisis. That's treason....
We have to see this for what it is," Massa said, his voice pleading. "There is a reason that we have in this country civilian leadership of the military. It is, among other things, to avoid something like this. Because in order to succeed electorally, General Petraeus must fail militarily. You understand? In order to succeed electorally, he must fail in his mission. Were he to run and win -- and if he were to run, he would win in a landslide -- we would be witness to an American coup d'état. It is the functional equivalent of the political overthrow of the commander in chief.
When Massa was challenged by Esquire editors in their February meeting whether this qualified as a coup d'etat, the soon-to-be-less-than-one-term congressman said, "I know something about the Uniform Code of Military Justice, and I want you to tell me how this is not a coup," he said. "You've got a commander with armies in the field, and he's plotting with Dick Cheney to bring down his commander in chief. How is that not a coup? It's Seven Days in May!"
Ok, if you're a member of Congress with an outsize ego and bombshell news like that why not go to The Post, which is down the street from the Capitol? Or the New York Times, since it's the giant national newspaper in your home state? After their meeting, even D'Agostino concluded, "Congressman Eric Massa was a little bit crazy." But there is a scene featuring himself that D'Agostino highlights from the end of that secret meeting that would foreshadow the trouble to come for Massa.
"What are you, seventeen?" He turned to another editor and pointed at me. "What is he, seventeen?" Turning back to me, he laughed and said, "You better watch yourself around gay bars, my friend. It could get interesting."
After reading the Esquire story I couldn't help but feel sorry for the guy. He's got some major demons -- and not a clue how to deal with them.
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