I Love, Er, Loathe New York

Posted on Sun 03/14/2010 by

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Satire by  Shawn Goodwin

In the good old days when somebody mentioned the phrase, “political corruption,” most Americans thought of Washington, D.C., Chicago, Illinois, or New Orleans, Louisiana. They were the trendsetters, the areas that set the bar so low not even the most flexible Jamaican could limbo under it. Then, just when you think that no one can slide under that rigid piece of bamboo, the state of New York slithers underneath with room to spare. There are currently no less than three political scandals plaguing New York politicians: Gov. David Paterson, Congressman Eric Massa, and Congressman Charlie Rangel. Can New York go any lower? That is doubtful.

Despite what some voters believe, politics is a business. Like the hierarchy of most businesses, the garbage rolls downhill. The politician on the top of New York’s dung heap is Gov. David Paterson; a man who is involved in so many scandals that even Bill Clinton thinks he’s an embarrassment to the Party:

The governor has faced increasing calls that he resign after it was revealed that he intervened in a domestic violence case against his top aide, David Johnson. Paterson has admitted to talking to Johnson’s victim, Sherr-una Booker on Feb. 7 – he says to offer her comfort. But the next day, Booker did not show up in court, leading the judge to dismiss the abuse case.

The fact that Booker failed to appear in court is a complete non-sequitur. The governor was simply attending to the needs of a friend, and took it upon himself to be there for Ms. Booker. Paterson talked to her, comforted her, and hugged her tightly until the courts closed. Where is the harm? Besides, Paterson said that no one makes Johnson’s motor run like his Sherr-una, and the governor was merely saving their relationship.

Of course, the fallout from this latest scandal was more disturbing than Johnny Depp’s makeup in Alice in Wonderland. Two New York State Police Superintendants – Harry S. Corbitt and Pedro J. Perez – retired within a week of each other after the scandal was uncovered. No one wants to be near Paterson when the other shoe drops, and the governor is about as popular as Dennis Kucinich right now. Not good.

If the governor’s scandal appears uglier than Eleanor Roosevelt, the recent events surrounding (now former) New York Rep. Eric Massa make Paterson’s problems look like Christina Hendricks in a low-cut gown. Interestingly enough, like the gorgeous Ms. Hendricks, Massa is also getting stares . . . but not in a good way. The Democrat congressman resigned this week after he became the target of a sexual harassment investigation involving a male staffer. When you are a Democrat in this country only the president is allowed to sexually harass staffers. Didn’t Massa get the memo?

“It doesn’t make any difference what my intentions were, it’s how it’s perceived by the individual who receives that action,” Massa, D-N.Y., said on conservative commentator Glenn Beck’s Fox News Channel show. “I’m telling you I was wrong. I was wrong. … My behavior was wrong. I should have never allowed myself to be as familiar with my staff as I was.”

The Washington Post, citing anonymous sources, reported Tuesday that the House ethics panel is investigating allegations Massa groped multiple male staffers in his office. Massa has previously claimed his misconduct was limited to using inappropriate language with staffers.

It is uncertain as to where former Rep. Massa received his etiquette training, but in our society it is impolite to “goose” the members of your staff. Unless, of course, the congressional staff is comprised of exotic dancers and Playboy Playmates, but the nation’s capital has not seen that since the Kennedy administration. Similarly, the use of inappropriate and vulgar language with staffers is a major faux pas. Television’s Jersey Shore and The Sopranos are works of fiction, Mr. Massa. Real people do not throw out the “F-word” every three minutes, and just because Cokie Roberts does it does not mean that it is acceptable behavior. Believing otherwise is stupid at best and career-ending at worst.

New York Congressman Charlie Rangel knows a thing or two about stupidity. In fact, he wrote the book on it. (Corruption for Dunderheads is available online at Amazon. Reserve your copy now!) Sadly, even a brilliant intellect like Rangel’s can make a mistake or three. In this case, the congressman thought that no one would notice his two corporate-sponsored trips to island getaways. Even if they did, no one would call him on it, because he’s Charlie Rangel. Moments later, Rangel picked himself up off the floor and started wiping the tire tracks off his back. No one caught the number of that bus, but witnesses said the driver looked suspiciously like President Obama.

An ethics investigation convened and Rangel was forced to step down as the chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee. After that, no politician would take Rangel’s calls, his key to the taxpayer-funded Executive Martini Lounge was confiscated, and his reserved seat at the Beltway Taco Bell was given to Scott Brown. Rangel, like the other disgraced New York politicos, pleaded his innocence to an unsympathetic populace.

Three powerful elected officials make the front page of the scandal sheets in a month. Someone desperately needs to get to Albany to take control and clean house. In order to survive, the Empire State needs a Darth Vader.

FamilySecurityMatters.org’s official satirist, Shawn Goodwin, is a blogger and police detective from Philly.

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