Politics

I didn’t get home in time to catch the whole thing, but the concluding parts of the Eric Massa interview on Glenn Beck’s show that I did see have me wondering whether Beck or Massa is the crazier of the two. But this much I’m sure about: You have to give Beck full credit for admitting and even apologizing for, as he put it, “wasting” an hour of his audience’s time interviewing the now-former New York Congressman, who faces increased scrutiny of his behavior while in office.

Beck’s apology followed repeated attempts to get Massa to name names or provide some juicy nugget about President Obama, White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, House Democrats or, really, any of the people he claims “forced him out” of office–as Massa, who resigned his seat yesterday, has repeatedly claimed. As for his own behavior, Massa insisted that he never groped anyone, “did nothing illegal or sexually inappropriate” but admitted he used inappropriate language and must “own this misbehavior.”

Beck pressed him to go further, asking Massa if there would be other shoes to drop–emails or phone messages or text messages to come that will embarrass Massa. “I’m sure there are text messages,” said Massa. Ruh-roh.

Massa continued to lodge generic complaints about the behavior of the White House, Emanuel’s in particular. “He made it very clear that I better vote with the President,” said Massa of Emanuel’s attempts to pressure Massa into voting for healthcare reform. Massa said he regrets saying during a recent appearance on his radio show that Emanuel “would tie his own children to the railroad tracks” to get a vote from Congress, but then added sarcastically that Emanuel would only tie Massa’s children to the tracks to gain a vote. Open mouth, remove foot presently lodged there, insert other foot.

Meanwhile, Massa spent a lot of breath complaining about–this just in!–the poisoning effect partisanship is having on our political system; he called for an end to hyper-partisanship. At one point he said he identifies with Tea Partiers because he is a fiscal conservative, but that they can’t go to rallies pretending that the national debt somehow started in 2009.

By the end, however, a frustrated Beck clearly had heard enough of Massa’s vague and shopworn complaints–he depicted the whip system in Congress as corruption–and his lack of any real evidence to back up his public charges. Turning directly to the camera to address his viewers, Beck confessed, “I think I’ve wasted an hour of your time.” It was one of the most honest moments I have ever seen on television.

It’s hard to out-crazy Glenn Beck, whose show is sponsored by the Yoshi Knife, and gold brokers running ads featuring Gordon Liddy and the dude Matt Damon chumped down in the famous bar scene from Good Will Hunting. But this afternoon, Massa did just that.

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