Eric Massa did not step down quietly. Under fire for allegedly sexually harassing a male staffer, the Democratic congressman from New York blasted his party's leaders for allegedly forcing him out of office as part of their damn-the-torpedos quest to pass the health care bill. Here's a timeline of Massa's brief legislative career:
Nov. 20, 2008: Massa is elected to an upstate New York district that hadn't picked a Democrat since 1986.
Nov. 7, 2009: Massa votes against the Democrats' health care bill because, he says, it doesn't have a public option, much less the single-payer government system he backs.
Dec. 31, 2009: Massa attends a wedding of a junior aide. He explains later that after "15 gin and tonics and goodness only knows how many bottles of champagne," he responded to a staffer's suggestion that he sleep with a bridesmaid by grabbing "the staff member sitting next to me and I said, 'What I really ought to be doing is fracking you,' and then tousled the guy's hair and left." ("Fracking" is a fictional obscenity from the sci-fi series Battlestar Galatica.)
Feb. 8: Massa's deputy chief of staff Ronald Hikel goes to House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D, Md.) with the allegations that Massa was sexually harassing a male aide; Hoyer tells Hikel to take the charges to the House ethics committee within 48 hours or he will do so himself.
Mar. 3: Massa says he will not seek reelection in November because he is fighting a recurrence of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. Politico reports that the House ethics committee is looking into allegations that Massa "made unwanted advances" toward a male aide.
Mar. 5: Massa says he will step down, effective March 8, because of the ethics investigation. "It's not that I can fight or beat these allegations, I'm guilty," Massa tells his staff. "It's my fault and I can't blame anyone but myself."
Mar. 7: Massa accuses Democratic leaders of orchestrating his ouster to make it easier to pass health care: "Mine is now the deciding vote on the health care bill and this administration and this House leadership have said, quote-unquote, they will stop at nothing to pass this health care bill, and now they’ve gotten rid of me and it will pass. You connect the dots." He also characterizes White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel as “the son of the devil’s spawn” and claims Emanuel verbally accosted him while both men were nude in the locker room of the House gym.
Mar. 8: Massa officially resigns.