There are times in life, and especially in politics, when it helps to step back and take a bemused look at the long view. Just such a moment has arrived for the residents (and I am one) of New York’s 29th congressional district — represented, at least until today, by former Rep. Eric Massa.
Effective as of today, March 9, as the monstrous health care plan crawls toward consummation, our district has no representative in Congress. Google Massa’s congressional web site, and you get a page headed “Current Vacancies.” If you want to see Eric Massa, you can tune in to replays of today’s Glenn Beck Show, where Massa just regaled the TV audience with locker room tales of a nude confrontation with presidential chief of staff Rahm Emanuel, and a romper-room birthday tickling fight with a male staffer — text messages, perhaps, to follow? (Credit Glenn Beck, at least he apologized to his audience for Massa’s performance).
Massa, child of a political era in which the only word more important than “is” is “I,” made the obligatory show of taking responsibility, saying “I own this behavior.”
Sorry, Mr. Massa, but you were elected not to serve yourself — but to serve your constituents. Your assessment of Rahm Emanuel — as someone who would tie your kids to the railroad tracks — may be right on target. Your stand against the “healthcare” horror was commendable. But did you have to “own” behavior that made it so easy to eject you from a seat that belongs not to you, but to your district? Not everyone in the 29th District voted for you, but this is a democracy, and once you won that seat, they were all depending on you. There are a lot of decent folks in your former district, working hard to make a living, working harder all the time to pay the sky-high taxes, watching one big-government grab after another, and very worried about where this is all going. There’s quite a mutter going on in the town meetings. Now what?
Massa’s former web site explains that constituent interests will for now be served under the supervision of the Clerk of the House of Representatives. Constituents are advised that if they wish to express opinions “on legislation or issues” they can contact their Senators, or wait till a new representative is elected and takes office.
Hmmm… our Senators. Let’s see. One of those, until last year, was Hillary Clinton, who of course would never have dreamed of using the Empire State as a mere springboard from her 1993-2001 stint as First Lady to her 2008 run for the Democratic presidential nomination and onward ticket to Secretary of State. She really cared about New York, or so she said. She was full of plans for “targeted tax credits” and “entrepreneurial incubators” — especially for upstate areas, like Massa’s district, where she couldn’t count on New-York-City-style knee-jerk support.
These days, forget the entrepreneurial incubators, please just send copies of the umpteen-thousand-page “healthcare” legislation — given the decrepit state of the upstate roads, it might make good filler for the potholes. Though that problem is hardly limited to upstate — just try ka-bumping around New York City these days, where Mayor Bloomberg has vanquished trans-fats, but is losing the battle to provide paved access from the Lincoln Tunnel into midtown, or to keep the squeegee guys, removed under Rudy Giuliani, from reappearing to prowl the broken asphalt.
Who else is looking out for New Yorkers? Well, there’s our governor, David “I-don’t-have-any-plans-to-resign” Paterson. And, of course, there are folks in Washington looking out for all of us. Let us pause to savor Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s “healthcare” Quote of the Day (as Ed Driscoll nails it): “We have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it.” And then there’s President Barack Obama, whose concern for our well-being extends not only to controlling the CO2 we exhale and the medical care we may receive, but also — it now appears — to ensuring we do not fish ourselves to death. (As for stopping the Iranian bomb — well, bomb schmomb, we’ll all be covered by Pelosibamacare, so who cares what the mullahs do with their U-235?).
Adam Smith is supposed to have said “There is a great deal of ruin in a nation.” Yes, but enough, already.