Tuesday, March 8, 2011
A New Hero of the Stupid
WARNING: This photo, on the right, of Rep. Christopher Lee [R, NY] will turn your creep-meter purple. The photo on the left shows Lee with his shirt on. The meter will be slightly less than purple.
Word came yesterday that our old, dear friend, Sen. John Ensign [R, Nev.] is going to rob us of six more years of fodder by not running for reelection in 2012. Ensign's announcement reminded me that I filed away a story I wanted to write about back in early February. Ensign's pending departure is the perfect time to bring out that file.
On February 9th, Rep. Christopher Lee [R, NY] resigned from Congress but accepted the Hero of the Stupid 2011 Award from Evil B. Why did he feel the need to stop dining at the public trough? Well, like many middle-aged guys with blue balls, he went onto Craiglist to try to get laid. Oh, I neglected two things: he's married and he emailed shirtless photos of himself to a potential suitor.
Lee's brilliance made his second term in Congress one of the briefest in the 221-year history of the institution. The scandal broke on Gawker.com. Rather than giving us days of brilliant blog fodder, however, the cowardly bastard submitted his letter of resignation to the House Clerk in just a few hours.
At least he left us a statement of contrition to chuckle over: "It has been a tremendous honor to serve the people of Western New York. I regret the harm that my actions have caused my family, my staff and my constituents. I deeply and sincerely apologize to them all. I have made profound mistakes and I promise to work as hard as I can to seek their forgiveness. The challenges we face in Western New York and across the country are too serious for me to allow this distraction to continue, and so I am announcing that I have resigned my seat in Congress effective immediately."
In what must have been a bit of a shock to his sensibilities, Lee was outed by the recipient of the emailed photos. Of course, looking at one of the photos [above], I can see why she felt the need to dime him out: it was probably the greatest service to her nation that she'll ever do. The woman - from Maryland - emailed the photos to Gawker. Lee was responding to a Craiglist ad the woman had placed that asked quaintly: "Will someone prove to me not all CL men look like toads?" No, I have no idea what CL means. I've been wracking my brain and the only thing I can come up with is Centenarian Loser.
Lee responded to the ad with an email claiming to be a 40-year old divorced lobbyist. Lee is actually 46-years old but the good news is he probably will soon be a divorced lobbyist.
The disturbing photos show Lee flexing what would apparently be his muscles. One of the emails described him as a "fit fun classy guy." He also sent them from his own personal Gmail account, making it about as easy to track him down as it would have been if he'd taken the photos from the Speaker's lectern of the House.
It took the woman approximately 30 minutes to match the photos to Lee's official Congressional portrait [on Wikipedia]. It took her slightly less time to email the material to Gawker.
Lee had a completely undistinguished career in two-plus years. He generated many press releases by taking advantage of a tragedy when a plane crashed into a house in Clarence, part of his Buffalo-area district, on February 12, 2009, killing 49 people aboard the plane and the home's owner. Ironically, the pilot of that plane was the winner of the Hero for the Stupid 2009 Award. Lee promised to launch an investigation to get to the bottom of the tragedy. His constituents are still waiting.
Lee's exit triggers a special election, which prickly Gov. Andrew Cuomo [D, NY] must call. Lee was first elected in 2008 with 55% of the vote. Lee was then reelected in 2010 with 74% of the vote.
New York is the state that keeps on giving: Lee's resignation comes almost a year after Rep. Eric Massa [D, NY] resigned his seat in western New York's 29th Congressional District amid an investigation into whether he sexually harassed male staffers.
By the way, we're now accepting applications for the Hero of the Stupid 2012 Award. Tell a friend.
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