Friday, December 14, 2007

Yes to torture, says Diaz-Balart

Our three Republican members of the U.S. House have voted for torture. Yes, let’s reaffirm that: Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (FL-18), Lincoln Diaz-Balart (FL-21), and Mario Diaz-Balart (FL-25) voted Thursday with 186 other Republicans on the Nay side of a measure that the Democratic majority put forward to bar CIA agents from using waterboarding while questioning suspected terrorists.

Thank goodness that the Republicans no longer are in the majority in the House – the measure passed in a 222-199 vote. Let it not be said that the Democrats are worthless in Washington.

That said, we don’t know what will happen when this measure hits the Senate with its lovely rules and scant Democratic majority.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Door’s still open for Draft Joe Garcia – Raul Martinez, too

For those not on the email list of the Miami-Dade County Democratic Party, here’s what Joe Garcia said in response to the rush of interest in drafting him for Congress: “While I am still far from making a decision, I do want to say that your kindness and support are very humbling and much appreciated!”

Regarding the on-line mention of his name having appeared in the Cuban regime newspaper Granma, he said, “Let me be clear that this paper is the communist propaganda newspaper and it makes assertions about the community and Congresspeople that are slanderous. And, although I may completely disagree with the Republican congressional delegation, these assertions by Granma are patently false.”

Granma had written an article about U.S. news reports on the South Florida congressional races and used its normal “Mafia” terminology in referring to the South Florida Republicans in Congress, This caused a little eruption of injured pride among some Cuban Americans. Garcia -- of Cuban background himself -- called one who protested, and issued his statement to make sure his distance from Havana was clear.

Garcia’s email concluded with mention of the new web site, so I think it’s safe to say he’s not against running against Mario Diaz-Balart in District 25. In an interview Friday with Nicole Sandler on WINZ AM940, he said it was a matter of convincing his wife and young daughter that it was right for the family.

Expect a decision by the second half of January, he said.

Uh, Joe, isn’t that when we’ll be in the thick of the runup to the Jan. 29 Florida presidential primary? Well, at least people will be thinking about politics.

Meanwhile, it’s heartening to hear enthusiasm for the Garcia candidacy. Nicole Sandler said on WINZ, “How awesome it would be to have Joe Garcia in the House of Representatives.”

On Stuck on the Palmetto, blogger Rick said he liked the way Joe debates the hardliners on the radio and provided a link to one of the best examples. I’ll repeat it here, along with Rick’s advice to let the link download, and then advance the slider to about 19:00. It runs for about a half-hour until the host, Henry Gomez, is so thoroughly defeated that he mutes Joe Garcia.

Rick concluded: “Joe has said he would run if he was asked. Let’s ask. Let’s start tossing out relics of the past and start looking forward.”

Meanwhile, there’s a growing web site to draft Raul Martinez, former mayor of Hialeah, to run for Congressional District 21, the seat held by Lincoln Diaz-Balart. You can hear Joe Garcia encouraging Martinez to run, in that clip on WINZ. Again, a decision likely in January.

Garcia said he knows of a handful of possible candidates to run against Ileana Ros-Lehtinen in Congressional District 18, and he’s encouraging them to consider it strongly.

What’s needed is a super majority in Congress to end the war and deal with health care – all the reverses needed after two terms of George W. Bush – and we should not shrink from thinking landslide Democratic victory in this supposed Republican stronghold.

Sweet dreams, everyone – five Democrats in the U.S. House from Miami-Dade.

We’re not the only ones thinking about it. From farther afield, hope springs from the Swing State Project, with a post that went up on Friday noting the moves to draft Garcia and Martinez. Read through the long string of comments to see how other races in Florida would be affected, and how progressives around the country will be encouraged to help us sweep the Republicans out in South Florida.

In case you forget how to get the links to draft Garcia and Martinez, they are on the main page of Miami-Dade Dems, in the Links section down in the right-hand column. Don't just sit there -- go to the sites and sign up!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Draft Joe Garcia – great idea!

It’s tempting to think that this is emerging now via the “Cuban newspapers” because the mails are so slow between Washington and Havana. Ha ha. Actually, the Cuban Interests section in Washington was hot on the Internet as soon as The Hill published this topic back on Oct. 18, and Havana learned in a microsecond that Joe Garcia was tempted enough to be saying to The Hill he’d run for Congress if the party asked him.

“Ouch!” They said there in Havana. (What’s Espanol for Ouch?) “Bad for us if Joe Garcia takes over in the House of Representatives from one of those shirt-tail relatives of our Leader.” So they probably said in Havana.

And then it took them almost a month to figure out how to say it in their press.

So here’s the way I imagine their triple-twist thinking went:

  1. “The Diaz-Balart brothers and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen – don’t forget Mel Martinez! – are so useful to keeping us Communists in power that we can’t imagine life without their neo-con faces in the House and Senate.” [This occupied them for a week.]
  2. “But if we came out and said we favor their being re-elected in 2008, the voters there would think it was a trick, and then Joe Garcia and Raul Martinez would run and be elected.” [This took two more weeks of deep thought.]
  3. “So we’ll publish a subtle analysis of the Miami political situation in Granma, our party organ, and appear to approve the likely challenges by Joe Garcia and Raul Martinez against the Diaz-Balarts, whom we’ll label as ‘Batista supporters,’ and, Voila! The Diaz-Balarts and their gang will be elected again as the voters react against what we endorse.” [Another week passed working this up.]

Here in peaceful South Florida, we raise our heads from the newspapers and TV screens full of news of police and criminals killing each other, and realize slowly that Cuba is messing around in our politics. Damn! That’s what they’re trying, is it? We’ll show them! Let’s Draft Joe Garcia and show them they can’t discourage us with their triple-twist trick!

Well, this may – or may not – be what happened, but in any case it’s a good idea. The Florida Politics blog has a diary up since last night with that goal – Draft Joe Garcia – and it’s also up on DailyKos with a way to vote and say whether you’d be willing to donate $5 to get him to run. Check it out. All the links are therein.

Next step: the future. Time for change.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Lincoln's Philosophy

Most people decide which party to join based on their political principles or based on attempting to win elections in a partisan political environment. What led Lincoln to becoming a Republican? He didn't think Chris Dodd hated Castro enough:

"Incidentally," Norlinger writes. "The Miami Republican Lincoln Diaz-Balart once told me that Dodd had much to do with his becoming a Republican — with his leaving the Democratic party for the Republican."

We really need someone to challenge this guy in 2008.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Good Diaz-Balart

Contrary to popular belief, the point of this blog is not to make Diaz-Balart look bad. The point is to draw an accurate picture of Lincoln and let him make himself look bad. That means from time to time, he might actually look good on certain issues:

Sen. Mel Martinez, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and Lincoln Diaz-Balart say they're ready to vote to override the presidential veto. The Water Resources Development Act HR 1495 contains more than $2 billion for Everglades restoration efforts.

Martinez said "at the end of the day, as a Floridian, Everglades restoration is such an integral part of this WRDA bill we have to take the good with the bad."

Rep. Connie Mack, R-Cape Coral, assailed the presidential veto. "I'm confident that both the House and Senate can override his veto," Mack said. "And I hope we do so without delay."

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Big tobacco helps keep him in Congress

I almost missed this from the Saturday Miami Herald, which was not part of my hectic day at the Florida Democratic Party convention in Orlando. Thanks for the tip, my friend.

We're starting to see more clearly into the haze around our three Republican members of the U.S. House, and it's cigar smoke and money in that haze. It's why (they say) they vote against SCHIP. Golly, it's "an attack on the Cuban-American community," Mario Diaz-Balart (FL-25) is quoted as saying in Beth Reinhard's weekly column in the Miami Herald.

Many posts back I was puzzled at a fragment I heard on the radio in which one of the D-B brothers said something about cigar-rollers being the victims of the SCHIP bill. How so? I wondered. Then I heard that the connection was that increased tobacco taxes would fund the extra outlay for children's health insurance, and our South Florida cigar-rollers would fall by the wayside.

Now the Herald column makes it even more clear: tobacco interests are big donors to Lincoln (FL-21) and Mario Diaz-Balart and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (FL-18).

Well, let's try to develop that more in the coming days.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Will Raul run? And Joe? The Hill asks

This article in The Hill, the congressional newspaper, lays out what may be our races for the U.S. House of Representatives in Miami-Dade County. Raul Martinez vs. Lincoln Diaz-Balart. Joe Garcia vs. Mario Diaz-Balart. Someone vs. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen.

Raul Martinez has been in this blog before as a potential candidate for Congress. Joe Garcia hasn’t. Now, as many of you know, Joe Garcia is my boss, and I could ask him what he intends. But I’m waiting for him to tell me, and what he told me was that The Hill article has it right.

And what does Joe say in The Hill article? He would run if the party asked him.

Raul says he will decide in the next few weeks, so that someone else who’s thinking about the challenge will have plenty of time.

Read it here and factor it into your plan for political donations for the ‘o8 campaign. And keep in mind that the national party sent a nice signal of future support when the DCCC took out ads on Spanish radio this week against the three Republican House members. That hasn't happened in many years.

And, oh yes, drop in to the DCCC website and see what they announced for their fund-raising accomplishments in the third quarter. "Record fund-raising" brought in $16 million in the third quarter and the DCCC has $28.3 million on hand. This was the third consecutive strong quarter.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Lincoln Diaz-Balart sees landslide, and it ain't his

We’ve been demonstrating in the streets against them -- the three Republican members of Congress from Miami-Dade County. The Democrats up in Washington must have heard us: The Democratic Party is starting to run radio ads against the three for their support of President Bush’s veto of the SCHIP bill on children’s health insurance.

And true to their ghastly form, they trotted out all the tired adjectives and adverbs in response: “extreme left,” “pathetic partisan,” “distorting the truth,” “massively raising taxes.”

Don’t you wonder what they’d say if something really were wrong? Why don’t they say that about the disastrous war? The humongous deficit?

Hey, folks -- we’re talking about health insurance for children here. A ton of your Republican colleagues in the House voted for the bill that Bush vetoed. Are they all pathetic left-wingers too?

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee announced Tuesday it was buying ad time on Spanish-language radio to target Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (FL-18), Lincoln Diaz-Balart (FL-21) and Mario Diaz-Balart (FL-25).

"In their districts, Republicans are feeling the heat for supporting President Bush instead of the health care for Florida's kids," DCCC Chairman Chris Van Hollen said. "We will continue to go district by district to hold Republicans who continue to vote in lockstep with President Bush and against children accountable."

The name of the campaign is “Putting Children First." The initial ad buy is for one week.

The ad running against Lincoln Diaz-Balart says: "El Presidente Bush en contra de los niños estadounidenses. El Congresista Diaz-Balart tiene que tomar una decisión entre el seguro médico para 10 millones de niños o en continuar su apoyo a Presidente Bush, quien esta dispuesto a quitárselos. Dígale a Lincoln Diaz-Balart que escoja a nuestros niños."

English Translation: "President Bush versus America's kids. Congressman Diaz-Balart has a choice: health care for 10 million children or continue to stand with Bush to block it. Tell Lincoln Diaz-Balart to choose our kids."

Mario Diaz-Balart and Ros-Lehtinen have similar ads targeting them.

And of course, they’re running with a disclaimer: “The DCCC is responsible for the content of this advertising, not authorized by any candidate or candidate's committee.”

Which brings up the fact that there are no Democratic announced candidates for the three seats. Former Hialeah Mayor Raul Martinez has been in the news as a possible candidate against Lincoln Diaz-Balart, but hasn’t announced.

The election is still 13 months away. But the campaigns have started. Look out, you anti-kid Republicans! There’s a landslide coming!

The Miami Herald hopped on the story quickly -- a link to the Herald story.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

FaceBook group grows like topsy against Republican congressmen

They called it "South Floridians for New Leadership" and got it started on Facebook last week, Oct. 4. Its targets are the three Republican members of Congress in Miami-Dade County, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (FL-18), Lincoln Diaz-Balart (FL-21) and Mario Diaz-Balart (FL-25). Within a few hours it had more Facebook signups than its targets did, and now it's around 150. If you're on FaceBook, sign up and join. Otherwise, sign up for Facebook, and then join. Here's the link to the site.

Thanks to the students at Florida International University for starting the group.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

12-year-old boy takes heat from wingnuts

Here, too, we have kids opposing the veto of SCHIP. From Oct. 4 protest at Lincoln Diaz-Balart's office in Miami.

Last weekend the Democratic weekly radio speech was given by a 12-year-old Baltimore boy, Graeme Frost, who talked about the way the SCHIP program had helped his low-income family overcome injuries that he and one of his sisters suffered in an auto accident. The far right wingnuts not only attack SCHIP, they go after the C in the acronym -- the CHILD who dares to speak against them. You'd think a kid would be safe from political combat, but no, the wingnuts are after him full blast: read about it here on DailyKos.

Here in Miami-Dade our Chairman Joe Garcia criticized Rep. Lincoln Diaz-Balart (FL-21) with a rather mild comment on the Republican congressman, who votes against SCHIP for American children but then enjoys publicity for helping handicapped Ukrainian youngsters. The congressman's taxpayer-financed office ripped into Joe as "pathetic and pathological." Well, goodness, such heat.

They must be so nervous as they see oblivion ahead -- the permanent minority status that their cold ideology deserves.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Take instruction from Flipper – Please!

One day he votes against the health needs of children in the United States, another day he extends himself for the children of the Ukraine.

That’s our Republican congressman from South Florida, Lincoln Diaz-Balart (FL-21), who was going to the Miami Seaquarium Monday for a “press availability” with handicapped Ukrainian children receiving treatment in Florida. This is wonderful in itself, except for the wider context of his votes against the SCHIP program.

We can only hope that the congressman takes inspiration from Flipper and changes his mind before the Oct. 18 scheduled vote to over-ride the veto.

Friday, October 5, 2007

Lincoln Loves Bush

Pushing Rope notes the percentage of the time Florida Republicans vote in line with President Bush, one of the worst presidents in American history. Not surprisingly, Lincoln loves Bush:

2007 - 71%
2006 - 87%

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Potential Challenger

Former Hialeah Mayor Raul Martinez may challenge Lincoln in next year's election.

Lincoln Hates the Law

He apparently doesn't care much for campaign finance law...


Lincoln Diaz-Balart for Congress failed to disclose the identities of 32 contributors who gave a combined total of $11,800. Notably, one of the contributions the committee failed to report was made by the husband of Rep. Ileana Ros –Lehtinen (R-FL). Because the FEC investigated Rep. Diaz-Balart’s 1998 campaign committee for the same type of violation, it appears that the 2006 violations may be deliberate.

Miami New Times:

The FEC audit of the Diaz-Balart campaign, however, reveals an operation with little regard for federal election laws. The report describes a stunning array of campaign finance violations and stupid mistakes, all discovered largely without the help of an evasive and uncooperative Diaz-Balart staff. Auditors cite dozens of illegal campaign contributions, missing cash, bookkeeping errors amounting to hundreds of thousands of dollars, and failure to report a variety of monetary receipts and expenditures. To top it off, aides never produced all the records and documentation requested by auditors.

Despite its disturbing contents, the audit has never attracted much public attention, and even Diaz-Balart's worst enemies don't deceive themselves into thinking the congressman's campaign finance irregularities will tarnish his bright political prospects. This past May Diaz-Balart agreed to pay a $30,000 fine, to come from his abundant campaign funds. (The FEC did not announce the penalty until July 18.) In February of this year, the campaign paid a $5500 fine for filing late disclosure reports. While the $30,000 fine is considered "steep" compared with other FEC enforcement actions against congressional campaigns, it is far less than the $100,000 to $200,000 some political insiders had been predicting and believed was appropriate -- and which is closer to the scale of the violations cited by the FEC.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Lincoln Hates Children and the Elderly

Congress recently had a chance to help out children and seniors across the country. Guess which way the Florida delegation voted?

FL-1: Jeff Miller (R) - Nay
FL-2: Allen Boyd (D) - Yea
FL-3: Corrine Brown (D) - Yea
FL-4: Ander Crenshaw (R) - Did not vote
FL-5: Ginny Brown-Waite (R) - Nay
FL-6: Cliff Stearns (R) - Nay
FL-7: John Mica (R) - Nay
FL-8: Ric Keller (R) - Nay
FL-9: Gus Bilirakis (R) - Nay
FL-10: CW Bill Young (R) - Nay
FL-11: Kathy Castor (D) - Yea
FL-12: Adam Putnam (R) - Nay
FL-13: Vern Buchanan (R) - Nay
FL-14: Connie Mack (R) - Nay
FL-15: Dave Weldon (R) - Nay
FL-16: Tim Mahoney (D) - Yea
FL-17: Kendrick Meek (D) - Yea
FL-18: Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R) - Nay
FL-19: Robert Wexler (D) - Yea
FL-20: Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D) - Yea
FL-21: Lincoln Diaz-Balart (R) - Nay
FL-22: Ron Klein (D) - Yea
FL-23: Alcee Hastings (D) - Yea
FL-24: Tom Feeney (R) - Nay
FL-25: Mario Diaz-Balart (R) - Nay

Let these people know what you think about them. Go to their page at the FPC Wiki to find their contact info.

Lincoln Diaz-Balart Resources

For those interested in learning more about Lincoln, here are a list of relevant resources:

FPC Wiki Page

Official House Site

Official Campaign Site

Wikipedia Page

Congresspedia Page

WaPo Voting Database

FEC Report

On the Issues


Project Vote Smart

Friday, August 3, 2007


This is a new local blog for Florida's twenty-first Congressional district and watching the actions of Lincoln Diaz-Balart, the Republican representative who misserves us in Washington.

If you are interested in posting at The Lincoln Observer, drop me a line at with some idea of your Democratic and/or progressive credentials and I'll add you as a blogger.