Republican Diaz-Balart Disrupts Lantos Memorial

Silliness in Congress has morphed into ugliness, including a disruption of the memorial service for recently passed colleague Tom Lantos, NBC’s Mike Viqueira reports.

Republicans are outraged. Democrats are putting forward a resolution holding White House Chief of Staff Josh Bolten and former White House Counsel Harriet Miers in contempt of Congress. House GOP rank-and-file are planning a dramatic walk out when the vote is called.

Democrats are affronted. Right in the middle of the Statuary Hall service for the late Tom Lantos, a Republican went to the floor — just steps from the solemn proceedings — and called a procedural vote, apparently out of pique.

Now that’s mature. And a fine display of “family values.”

The incident has led to a game of “but they started it.” Martin Kady II:

Minority Leader John Boehner’s spokesman Michael Steel has put out a statement blaming Democrats for the chaos during Lantos’ service.

“This morning, during the memorial service for Tom Lantos — a public servant beloved on both sides of the aisle — the House Democratic leadership violated an agreement and called the House back into session,” Steel said. “They took this action despite clearly understanding that it would trigger a series of procedural motions. This cheap, cynical political move seems to have been designed to shut down one of the few procedural tools that can be employed by the minority party in the House. Playing this sort of game during the memorial service of a great and good man is beneath the dignity of this House and should be beneath the dignity of Democratic leaders.”

Either way, the disruption of Lantos’ service looks tawdry. Jonathein Stein has videos of the incident and reports Florida’s Lincoln Diaz-Balart was the Republican in question.

Here you can watch C-SPAN interrupt their coverage of the memorial because “the House has been gaveled back into session.”

The juxtaposition of the ongoing memorial and the procedural vote is rather chilling as well:

Warning: The latter also contains the unconscionable butchering of the Beatles song “All You Need is Love.” Which, under the circumstances, is as ironic as the rendition is awful.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Wayne says:

    Yes it looks tawdry. However most of the blame goes to the Dems for starting the confrontation. They are in charge and easily could have avoided it. The Repub couldn’t have avoided the situation without letting the Dems get away with a stunt.

  2. Bike Bubba says:

    Sorry, but the fact that the House was doing business, and the fact that the House leadership was planning a political stunt during a memorial service, is solely the fault of the Democrats here. If you want someone with disrespect for the dead, let’s start talking about Nancy Pelosi.

  3. Christopher says:

    Um, yea, clearly the dems are acting like little children here. Why, James, would you choose to blame republicans? I know you are a closet liberal, but come on!

    By the way, the guy was 80. Hardly a tragedy when someone of 8 decades kicks the bucket. Celebrate his life of public service, but his “memorial” is hardly a holy event.

  4. DL says:

    Names like Wellstone – Brown come to mind.

    Democrats seem to think the beginning and end of life is little more than political opportunity to gain power.

  5. Elmo says:

    Without the blame game the web would be a tad smaller place, methinks. None the less ….

    Bono told the magazine:

    They should be afraid, because they will be held accountable for what happened on their watch …. I’m representing the poorest and the most vulnerable people. On a spiritual level, I have that with me. I’m throwing a punch, and the fist belongs to people who can’t be in the room, whose rage, whose anger, whose hurt I represent.”

    All you need is love/ZzzzzZzzzz ….