In a flame-fanning tirade on Spanish-language radio last week, Díaz-Balart called the tax hike [to pay for SCHIP] an "attack on the Cuban-American community." He added: "It would hurt an industry specifically in Miami-Dade, in South Florida, an industry that is almost entirely Hispanic: those who make cigars by hand, which is a cultural tradition. That industry will not survive."
The House had a meltdown today in the middle of the memorial service for the late Rep. Tom Lantos, a Holocaust survivor who was chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee. The service, in the Capitol's historic Statuary Hall, was disrupted when a Republican House member unexpectedly called for a procedural vote.
And that's when all hell broke loose.
House Democrats were furious, charging the procedural motion was disrespectful. "Very bad taste, very" as one senior House Democratic aide put it.
Republicans were apparently worried that Democrats were about to force debate on contempt-of-Congress citations against White House Chief of Staff Josh Bolten and former White House counsel Harriet Miers. Rep. Lincoln Diaz-Balart (R-Fla.) is the member who hit the panic button, so to speak, and called the procedural vote. His real purpose in calling the procedural motion was to protest the lack of a vote on the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act - before the contempt debate started.
The chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Fla., said the ad "is outrageous and it is deplorable" and called upon her "colleagues on both sides of the aisle" to condemn the ad and, somewhat inexplicably, to apologize to the general for the impugning of his integrity.
Democrats everywhere know that we don't need people like this in Congress. It goes without saying that the DCCC leadership should realize this, too.