Battle Hymn of the Tiger Congressman
February 23, 2011 7:59 PM   Subscribe

David Wu will cut you, with his claws. Representative David Wu (D-OR) sends out pictures of himself in a tiger costume, his staffers wonder about his mental state; he denies any issues claiming he feels GRRRRREAT! (scroll down on the MSNBC page for tigery picture goodness).

Previous Wu in the News:
Unprosecuted sexual assault of a former girlfriend.

and personal favorite:
Klingons in the Whitehouse.

previously in the blue: Chinese-American congressman denied entrance to Department of Energy offices
posted by aloiv2 (62 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite

 
This goes well with Portlandia. It's like a salad dressing on the fruit salad.
posted by alteredcarbon at 8:05 PM on February 23, 2011


He's really just a shadow of the man that I once knew.
posted by Joe Beese at 8:06 PM on February 23, 2011 [7 favorites]


Is he crazy? Is he high?
posted by Trochanter at 8:07 PM on February 23, 2011 [7 favorites]


Wow, yeah guys, hilarious. Mental illness is a hoot. (And yes, I get the stupid Steely Dan ref)
posted by tristeza at 8:09 PM on February 23, 2011 [6 favorites]


They don't call him El Tigre Chino for nothing.
posted by mhum at 8:09 PM on February 23, 2011 [4 favorites]


I think he's just an ordinary guy...
posted by Windopaene at 8:10 PM on February 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


I wrote a palindrome in his honor:

"Oh, Wu. Who?"
posted by msalt at 8:19 PM on February 23, 2011 [7 favorites]


Are you sure it's mental illness at not just a guy who freaks out a bit under pressure?
posted by Hoopo at 8:20 PM on February 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


Hold me tightly 21st century, hold me and never let me go.
posted by The Whelk at 8:20 PM on February 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


Thank god for the future.
posted by clavdivs at 8:25 PM on February 23, 2011


Are you sure it's mental illness at not just a guy who freaks out a bit under pressure?

I'm not a mental health professional so I guess I can't say. But from the many things I've read and heard about him? I believe so, unprofessionally.
posted by tristeza at 8:27 PM on February 23, 2011


Señor Chang, is that you?
posted by davel at 8:27 PM on February 23, 2011 [9 favorites]


Nontroversy.
posted by kittyprecious at 8:28 PM on February 23, 2011 [7 favorites]


So, he 1) wore a Hallowe'en costume on Hallowe'en, and 2) took painkillers when he was in pain.

Is there something I'm missing? Like, say, any sort of scandal whatsoever?
posted by Sys Rq at 8:28 PM on February 23, 2011 [25 favorites]


There's some information missing here. Staffers are calling for him to seek psychiatric treatment, and the only evidence of anything wrong mentioned is a photo of him in a cheap halloween costume, and a speech, where he responds to someone mentioning Vulcans advising the White House by saying that they aren't Vulcans, but are Klingons.

In other words, theres nothing here. Nothing. If he's done something deserving of psychiatric treatment, either people aren't talking or the reporter is clueless.
posted by eye of newt at 8:29 PM on February 23, 2011 [7 favorites]


Mental illness notwithstanding. Wearing a tiger suit with your kids: don't think it counts for mental illness...
Found the guy interesting, then I found my way to the Klingons, and couldn't avoid posting the sexual assault article.

In my opinion the article doesn't show any conclusive evidence of mental illness (something quite personal to me), and mostly just shows someone under enormous pressure as a single father taking care of his mother AND working in an infuriating congress.

oh yeah, and the Tony the Tiger reference? That was just me diddling myself.

I just find the guy amusing.
posted by aloiv2 at 8:32 PM on February 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


There's something here, but it's tough to say just what. More details.
posted by danblaker at 8:32 PM on February 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


What is this post about, really?
posted by George_Spiggott at 8:33 PM on February 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


who the Romulans are
posted by clavdivs at 8:34 PM on February 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


America's first furry congressman?
posted by Grimgrin at 8:37 PM on February 23, 2011 [3 favorites]


That was just me diddling myself.

Ick?
posted by jessamyn at 8:39 PM on February 23, 2011 [10 favorites]


There's several other questionable-at-best things he did. One I remember is he wrote his staffers some odd emails under the guise of his children & took rather a while to own up to it. I'm pretty convinced there's something real going on with him & as funny as some of the incidents are, I'm uncomfortable having that fun at his expense.
posted by scalefree at 8:45 PM on February 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


ha ha, oh Julius Agrippa you and your tiger suit, oh ha ha. hey wait, what is that burning smell? does anyone else smell that?
posted by boo_radley at 8:49 PM on February 23, 2011


“This was a very difficult time in my life,” Wu said on ABC. “Last October was not a good month. It was very stressful. I did some things, I said some things, which I sincerely regret now.”

But, he said, he has sought out “professional help” and is “continuing to consult medical help as I need it.”


Good for him for getting help. I'm not comfortable making fun of this guy. (Until he votes in a way I disagree with, of course.)
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 8:54 PM on February 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


He's just risin' up to the challenge of his rivals.
posted by Abiezer at 8:57 PM on February 23, 2011 [9 favorites]


So, if the neocon Bush Administration were Klingons, does that mean the Tea Party is the redesigned ones with the ridged forehead thing? Although I feel like the Tea Party has less depth than the flowing narrative and persona the Bush administration had going, while it was kind of the opposite with the Klingon's evolution from space warlords to a proud society with a complex heritage with the exaggerated characteristic of being hawkish.

They're not really Ferrangi, although they do provide comic relief and simplistic parodies of capitalism.

Far too reliant on emotional appeals to be Vulcans. I mean, you'd think they'd move on from that Death Pannel thing much faster if they cared about facts and reason. Romulans are too well organized, although the Tea Party seems to be catching up as they get more and more Koch and Dick Aremy busses.

Definitely not Q. They're fairly impotent in a lot of ways thanks to not having the executive branch or the senate. And although Q was a master troll, there was some logic and wisdom to his trolling, and he fell for all the .

The borg seem to be better at social networking and winning over a variety of demographics (young people are such a pain to assimilate), although they do pride themselves on being "decentralized" and all that stuff. Sarah Palin as the Borg Queen is an interesting concept, and worthy of at least one piece of DeviantArt.

I'm sure I'm missing like a billion species, but that's all I care to remember off the top of my head.
posted by mccarty.tim at 8:57 PM on February 23, 2011 [5 favorites]


Seriously, I feel like it's actually a good thing we have a congressperson who has had mental health issues. It's an issue that people tend to sweep under the rug, and which deserves the attention and resources a congressperson can give it.

Hopefully he remains stable enough to continue, and his voters don't vote him out because of stigma.

I mean, yes, if his mental health issues are shown to interfere with his job again in a serious way, that's a good reason to vote him out, but otherwise, give the guy a break. He had a problem, and he got help rather than being a proud politician who doesn't want to face backlash for appearing vulnerable.
posted by mccarty.tim at 9:02 PM on February 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


Seriously, I feel like it's actually a good thing we have a congressperson who has had mental health issues.

I guess megalomania, narcissism and sociopathology don't count?
posted by kittens for breakfast at 9:12 PM on February 23, 2011 [5 favorites]


Seriously, I feel like it's actually a good thing we have a congressperson who has had mental health issues.

A Congressperson?
posted by fshgrl at 9:13 PM on February 23, 2011


I too think the costume is a non-issue, but it does seem like there are other issues here, unfortunately. I've heard that he's notoriously creepy to most women he encounters and drinks too much, but I'm not sure that's unusual behavior in his profession (or worthy of resignation, unless he's done something outright illegal). It's too bad because, as someone who used to be in his constituency for many years, I've always liked him.
posted by nonmerci at 9:25 PM on February 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


Chinese-American congressman Wu was clearly drawing on his cultural legacy here, making a clever allusion to the "paper tiger" reactionaries in the Republican/Tea Party camp. I'd expect a statement confirming this as soon as he's finished the Long March, now in progress.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 9:32 PM on February 23, 2011


Is it a tiger costume, or a Tigger costume?
posted by jb at 9:32 PM on February 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


I really appreciate how the staffers quit after the vote so they wouldn't mess up the re-election of someone they believed to be mentally ill and in need of help. I guess better the halls of government than the streets, right?
posted by codswallop at 9:40 PM on February 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


This Willamette Week (Portland alt. weekly) article doesn't shed any more light on his actual mental state, but it details some of the incidents that raised eyebrows, and the staffers' reactions.
posted by anotherbrick at 9:50 PM on February 23, 2011


The late night e-mails to worried staffers, fine PR work by the kids.......paul.
posted by clavdivs at 9:54 PM on February 23, 2011


Why would staffers be "appalled" by photos of Wu in a tiger costume - looking rather innocuous and jolly? Probably not the height of professionalism on his part...other political candidates have dressed up in worse and no one called into question their very sanity.

Don't. Understand.
posted by jnnla at 10:23 PM on February 23, 2011


As a constituient I do find this worrying. I've been following it for a while and it's pretty clear there are aspects yet to be reported. I'll just quote a BlueOregon commenter, it pretty much sums up how this appears to me:
We are not talking about one staffer and one incident.

We're talking about the entire senior leadership of his official and campaign operations. Folks who had been with him for over a decade, defending him, fighting for him, working for him. Some left to lesser positions; some to no position at all (in this economy! and right when hundreds of congressional staffers were thrown out of work by the voters - not something done lightly.)

We may not know - we may never know - exactly what happened here. But we know that a lot of good and serious people who had invested their lives and careers in David Wu found the situation untenable.
And that the confrontation occurred at a pharmacy... has me wondering if this is also about more than the two oxycodone pills.
posted by floam at 10:23 PM on February 23, 2011


And I kind of regret the direction aloiv2 took this post. The tiger photo is certainly pretty damn funny, but that's not what this should have been about. I wish he would have linked to the meat and potatoes stories instead of stultifying the guy's behavior with zero context.
posted by floam at 10:36 PM on February 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


I think the concern I had is that Wu is in Oregon's 1st district, which has SW Portland, very democratic (duh), but also has most of Washington, Yamhill, Clatsop and Columbia counties, which are fairly Republican. This is the kind of thing to cause him to lose in 2012.
posted by Mister Fabulous at 10:37 PM on February 23, 2011


I think the concern I had is that Wu is in Oregon's 1st district, which has SW Portland, very democratic (duh), but also has most of Washington, Yamhill, Clatsop and Columbia counties, which are fairly Republican. This is the kind of thing to cause him to lose in 2012.

Washington county is certainly more Republican than Portland, but on its own, it has shown to be pretty darn Democratic. This district is widely considered pretty much a lock for Democrats. Not very many people live in the other counties you mention. I look at it this way: All this was going down. His campaign headquarters was pretty much shut down while it should have been all hands on deck in the days leading up to the election. It's 2010 and not a good year for Democrats. Not even trying, he still beat his opponent 81% to 42%.
posted by floam at 10:50 PM on February 23, 2011


The way this is being reported is fascinating; huge divide between the apparent seriousness of whatever has gone on (judging from his staff's reaction) and the euphemisms/circumlocutions being used in the articles. I wonder if there are concrete things that happened, or if it was a lot of incidents of "if you had seen him [doing innocuous thing x in a non-innocuous way] you would immediately have known something was seriously wrong."
posted by LobsterMitten at 10:51 PM on February 23, 2011


I'm sure I'm missing like a billion species, but that's all I care to remember off the top of my head.

I think Cardassians are a better fit for the Bush White House. Not an exact match, but...
posted by Philofacts at 11:23 PM on February 23, 2011


What's worse than a Furry?
Congressional Furries.
Not a pretty sight.
posted by Poet_Lariat at 12:00 AM on February 24, 2011


So, if the neocon Bush Administration were Klingons, does that mean the Tea Party is the redesigned ones with the ridged forehead thing?

The Tea Party are Pakled (admission: had to look that up)

Remember that episode of TNG where Geordi was captured by the Space Morons? The ones that said things like "We like Geordi! Geordi knows things. Things that make us go!"

Them.

Also, the neocon Bush Administration was Harcourt Fenton Mudd.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 12:09 AM on February 24, 2011 [8 favorites]


Not even trying, he still beat his opponent 81% to 42%.

Wu's so crazy he even broke the laws of math.
posted by gyc at 12:15 AM on February 24, 2011 [8 favorites]


Ok, I have no idea how I did that. It was really 55-42.
posted by floam at 12:27 AM on February 24, 2011


I really appreciate how the staffers quit after the vote so they wouldn't mess up the re-election of someone they believed to be mentally ill and in need of help. I guess better the halls of government than the streets, right?

They just didn't want the poor bastard to bankrupt himself seeing a psychiatrist without a good medical plan.
posted by benzenedream at 1:11 AM on February 24, 2011


The way this is being reported is fascinating; huge divide between the apparent seriousness of whatever has gone on (judging from his staff's reaction) and the euphemisms/circumlocutions being used in the articles.

It's the kind of journalism you see when papers have material that's not completely nailed down (or cleared by their lawyers in jurisdictions friendlier to libel suits) or want to complete the story with some direct quotes from the subject. It's placeholder reporting. It sends a message that there's more to come, and serves as a request to answer their calls.
posted by holgate at 2:30 AM on February 24, 2011


Here is the thing: many staffers have resigned recently including some major behind the scenes players in Oregon politics. A few questionable items have been brought to light and the local press is desperately try to find out where's the beef. But, so far nothing substantial has surfaced and that to the dull world of local journalism is the worst cock tease of all.

I have met Wu a few times on the campaign trail last election. He seemed like a politician running for reelection. I have met a few members of his campaign staff. To me they lived under the assumption that Wu is vulnerable though the district is half of Portland, blueish burbs, and a few red, empty counties. I imagine they got this from Wu or his chief of staff because nothing is less rational than a politician up for election (a COS being a lady in waiting).

Until we get some live boys or dead girls this is a bunch of articles in search of a story.
posted by munchingzombie at 2:42 AM on February 24, 2011


So let's get this straight, the guy has a dumb photo - not a sexy photo - which he mailed internally. This isn't something that was picked off craigslist, he wasn't soliciting minors, not hanging out in a leather bar, and so on and so forth... He's a little off beat, certainly uncontrolable, but hardly definitively mentally ill.

Honestly, if I were him and they told me to get help, I'd tell themto get bent.
posted by Nanukthedog at 3:12 AM on February 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


Are you with me Doctor Wu
Are you really just a shadow
Of the man that I once knew
Are you crazy are you high
Or just an ordinary guy
Have you done all you can do
Are you with me Doctor
posted by tommasz at 5:36 AM on February 24, 2011


Tigers are mean
Tigers are fierce
Tigers have teeth
And claws that pierce.

Tigers are great
They can't be beat
If I was a tiger
That would be neat!

Tigers are nimble
And light on their toes
My REspect for tigers
Continually grows.

Tigers are perfect
The e-pit-o-me
Of good looks and grace
And quiet dignity!

Tigers are great
They're the toast of town
Life's always better
When a tiger's around!
posted by ricochet biscuit at 5:43 AM on February 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


Tiger tyger legislating brite.
posted by The Whelk at 5:48 AM on February 24, 2011


Yeah, I am having a hard time finding the scandal here. I would actually be happy to see more politicians dressed up in silly Hallowe'en costumes; remember when George W. pretended to be a navy pilot?

Of course, I live in a country where the PM occasionally dresses as a gay cowboy, so what do I know?
posted by ricochet biscuit at 6:10 AM on February 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


A month ago a dem staffer I see at the bar said that Wu was bleeding staff at a prodigious rate and that there was an obvious scandal in there somewhere.

Guess he was right.

A friend summed it up, referring to Sen Vitter's scandal: he'd rather be a furby than wear a diaper.
posted by Ironmouth at 6:10 AM on February 24, 2011


Comment from a MeFite who would prefer to remain anonymous.
I'd like to clarify what has gone on in Congressman Wu’s office.

A disclaimer first: though I've worked with Congressman Wu's staff, I've only had fleeting connection with them over the last couple of years. I've asked for this to be posted anonymously purely because this is a world I still have connections in, I have nothing but the deepest respect for the Congressman and his staff. The following information is only what I have read in the papers, I have little personal knowledge to add. I just want to clarify why this is important from what has been reported so far.

Some background: In December 2009, Congressman Wu and his wife divorced, they had two children, one an early teen, the other pre-teen. He also cares for his 88 year-old mother.

The problems seem to have really manifested itself October. However, I imagine that they started earlier. It was obvious that the Congerssman was facing a really hard fight. Despite being a Cook PVI +8 Democratic district, he had a very close battle, so the most stressful time of a campaign was especially stressful for him and the whole campaign. (He ultimately won 55-42, which was small compared to previous years of winning by huge margins of 20% or more).

The Congressman had been acting oddly in the weeks leading up to election night, he had been saying odd things to his staffers, and losing his temper much more often. This is about when also took Oxycodone from a campaign doner. This is a man that was usually very level-headed and treated his staff with respect. By the last week, he was giving increasingly negative speeches at public appearances and pissing off voters, and yelling at people who used to supported him.

The staff was worried enough that they were looking for mental health facilities to check him into. When the staff confronted him for a final time on October 30 (including his psychiatrist), he left the meeting, and later berated his mostly female staff as being "overly emotional." Later, he talked his way through airport security to meet his children who were flying in only to solicit people for votes, this is a huge no-no. That weekend, he later sent really odd emails to his staff including a few in the voice of his children to "cut him some slack, man" (this is when he sent the photograph). I doubt he would have done any of these things if he was in a healthy mental state at the time.

He didn't hold any public events after the October 30 meeting, and the campaign essentially shut down. During a time where the candidate's time is usually packed with events and planned by the minute, he held absolutely no public events until after he won re-election.

In the month after the election, a huge chunk of his staff left, including his chief of staff, scheduler, and his chief pollster/fundraiser.

Now, the Congressman's legislative and campaign staff were close-nit groups and deeply loyal. While many congressional staffers would move between offices, on and off the Hill an average of about 24-30 months, much of the Rep. Wu's staff were there for far longer including a few who had been with him for more than 10 years. His (former) Chief of Staff, Julie Tippen had been with him since he was first elected. This sort of loyalty and longevity in staffers is powerfully rare on the Hill. So the fact that so many people left at the same time is pretty telling that something was up.

He has since acknowldeged and apologized for his ill behavior, including the photograph, emails. However, he just lost his long-time campaign treasurer and named himself treasurer (a very odd occurance). So something strange still seems to be going on, though people do eventually move on. We don't know what is going on and anything I could say would be pure speculation. However, his press secretary has said that they are preparing to do press interviews this week, so we should find out more soon.
posted by jessamyn at 6:11 AM on February 24, 2011 [9 favorites]


Tom Vilsack as Pooh.
posted by cjorgensen at 6:39 AM on February 24, 2011


So-o-o, a congressman has engaged in various kinds of odd behavior that may mean anything from he's medicated and trying to deal with it to he's mentally ill to he's just plain weird, all over the course of some time, and the STORY is that he appeared in a costume, in a context in which lots of people might appear in a costume...

Behold the visual media...
posted by randomkeystrike at 6:52 AM on February 24, 2011


This is the problem with democracy; the election cycle, combined with the free press is such that insane people can't stay in office long enough to really become colorful and outragous the way they can in a monarchy. So if we really want someone like Mad King Ludwig, we're going to have to make some changes to our political system.
posted by happyroach at 10:47 AM on February 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


When Howard Dean was Governor of Vermont he used to dress up in a plush dinosaur costume and show up at elementary schools.

I thought it was awesome.
posted by Bango Skank at 12:54 PM on February 24, 2011


Anonymous commenter, thank you for writing that up. I hope Congressperson Wu gets the help he needs, and becomes well again.
posted by one teak forest at 8:34 PM on February 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


"Battle Hymn of the Tiger Congressman"? ...seriously?
posted by threeants at 11:07 PM on February 24, 2011


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