Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Suspension of Disbelief Not Possible

A Congressman who steps down because of his health, announces it:

  in his district;

  in a well-planned event;

  in front of the cameras, to record for posterity his bittersweet valedictory moment;

  surrounded by family and friends, whom he talks about fondly, and thanks; and

  answers questions from the press.
And we are likely to have heard of a possible health issue affecting re-election before he makes his announcement.

A Congressman who steps down one jump ahead of breaking news that a male staffer accuses him of sex harassment, announces it:
  suddenly, out of the blue;

  from wherever he happens to be when news of the allegation is about to break;

 takes no questions from the press; and

  does it by phone call, thereby leaving no record to live forever on YouTube, to show his demeanor as he speaks, or turning his back on reporters as they attempt questions.
Massa's statement reads like a hastily cobbled piece of dissembling.  Not, "I have [name of disease]", but "This last December I underwent my third major cancer recurrence scare."   The term "health scare" commonly is used to indicate "I thought I might have a bad disease and it turned out that I didn't."

Massa then jumped to, "I am a direct, salty guy who runs at 100 mph and my doctors have now clearly told me that I can no longer do that."   Wow.   First, the anticipatory excuse for the harassment charge (direct, salty guy) that's oddly out of context and that would never be part of an "I'm leaving because I'm sick" speech.   Second, the doctors' advice that you can't "run at 100 mph" -- the advice they'd give to any 50 year old, sick or not.

Both sentences put together, in that order, to create the impression in the listener's mind that "He found out he has cancer and doctors are telling him he shouldn't run for re-election."

No class.


AllanBlockhead said...

Spot on, as usual, Philbrick!

Congressman Massa has resigned and looking ahead, could you offer some analysis and predictions regarding the 29th CD? Although the situation remains in flux (to say the least!), many of the key players have already stepped forward or otherwise been identified.

Assuming Governor Patterson calls an early special election, who might the designee of each party be? In each instance, would Southern Tier or "upstate" interests prevail?

Moving on to the November elections, which of the parties might see a primary and who would the participants be? In November, will the Republicans be able to use favorable enrollment numbers to their advantage? OK, so that last question is an easy one!

Many people suggest that the 29th CD might disappear as a result of the forthcoming redistricting. Should this issue affect a candidate's decision to run?

Finally, an analysis of bench strength cannot be overlooked. Many potential candidates (such as CE Brooks and DA Green) are highly regarded in their current positions. Should this be a factor in their decision to stay local or run in the 29th? If not, who might their potential successors be?

There's a lot here, but if anyone can do it, you can...thanks!

Philbrick said...

I may be able to do it, but the guy who can do it better, and has, is Rottenchester, on his blog The Fighting 29th.

You'll find the best analysis of your questions in Rottenchester's postings since last Wednesday.