What Rep. Lee's Bare Chest Will Cost Republicans

Illustration for article titled What Rep. Lee's Bare Chest Will Cost Republicans

Yesterday, our brother site Gawker brought down a congressman in three hours flat.


Or, perhaps, he brought down himself, by using his real email address, his real name, and showing his face. The lack of Internet savvy alone is embarrassing.

This self-described "fit fun classy guy" pretended to be a divorced, 39-year-old lobbyist. When the woman he corresponded with on Craigslist popped his email address into Facebook, a friend persuaded her to pass it on to Gawker. "First reaction was holy sh*t," she told The Loop 21 in an interview today. "Second was, he's probably done this before. Third was, he's married. Fourth was, oh my God he's 46-years-old."

The swiftness of his resignation could suggest that this was the tip of the iceberg. Or that John Boehner has a no-tolerance policy — "Lee, sources said, was one of several junior GOP lawmakers that Boehner allegedly warned to 'knock it off' with regard to his partying with female lobbyists last year." (Meanwhile, John Ensign is still in the Senate.) It remains to be seen who will take the special election to replace Lee in his Western New York District. Let's hope it's an improvement on Lee's voting record: He voted yes on the Stupak amendment to refuse funding for abortion in the new heath insurance exchanges, against repealing Don't Ask, Don't Tell, against the expansion of hate crimes laws, against the DREAM Act, and against amendments to fight the wage gap.

Oh, and there was the time that he warned people about the dangers of the Internet:

Private information and images can so easily be transmitted to friends and strangers alike.

Indeed, for as much promise as the Internet offers young people in the form of educational resources and social connections, there is great concern about the dangers and unknowns associated with a medium that is growing by several billion web pages per day.


Needless to say, this is not good news for House Republicans — the resignation provided another bullet point for a Times story today on how hard it is for Republicans to actually do something but just oppose Obama, particularly with a new crop of hard-right congressmen. "The infighting foreshadowed potential difficulties for Republicans in holding their troops together for clashes with the White House and the Democratically controlled Senate as well as their ability to corral reluctant Republicans to vote to increase the federal debt limit," according to the story.

What's next for Lee? Actor John Fugelsang cracked, "Married GOP Congressman Chris Lee tells Craig's List woman he's divorced lobbyist — which he will be, in 2 years." His guess is as good as ours. Meanwhile, the woman was described by TheLoop21's Danielle Belton as "a professional, single and successful, 34-year-old African American woman...Having lived in the area for eight years now, she's a regular scenester in D.C. nightspots and didn't feel like getting her name dragged into the fray. After all, the leggy-glamazon works in government." She said of Gawker's story, "I didn't appreciate being called a middle-aged woman but besides that it was great. Thirty-four is not middle-aged."


Rep. Lee Resigns Over Suggestive Photos [Politico]
Craigslist Congressman Warned Teens About Dangers Of The Internet [Gawker]
Married GOP Congressman Sent Sexy Pictures To Craigslist Babe [Gawker]
Republicans In House Battle Turmoil In Their Ranks [NYT]
The Woman Behind Craigslist Congressman's Downfall [The Loop 21]



"Middle aged" is such a nebulous, meaningless term that I wouldn't get offended by its use. If one takes it literally, my father was middle-aged at 10, my sister's best friend at 6, and my great-aunt Mary didn't hit middle age until 52.