Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Florida Congressional District 18: famous squatting

Thanks for the tip! Sorry to be late catching up with this one.

Some terrible people in Washington are making fun of my representative in the U.S. House. Darn, what is that Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (FL-18) doing to make them snarky?

She’s got all this influence, you know, from her zillion years in the House, so what’s wrong with her “squatting” there in the House so that she can get a little extra time with the Commander in Chief?

Wait, maybe it’s not exactly extra time. Maybe this is the only time she gets with Bush. So she squats there trying for a spot on the aisle so she can have a second or two with him. Then she goes home and flashes the photo – See! Me and the President having a chat!

Sorry, that’s it. All she got this year was three or four seats in from the aisle – maybe a wave or a fingertip brush – and that’s it for the last year of a presidential term.

And – people were watching and writing it up on blogs. Some with impolite terms of reference, which you may see if you Google “Ileana Ros Lehtinen squatting.”

Here’s part of Politico’s writeup:

Lawmakers like Eliot L. Engel (D-N.Y.), Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas), Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), Todd R. Platts (R-Pa.), Jean Schmidt (R-Ohio), Mary Bono (R-Calif.), Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.) are so-called State of the Union Day squatters.

Bachmann, you may recall, drew headlines last year after she kept her hand on Bush’s shoulder for a record 30 seconds and then reached in for a smooch.


“Being there, in that place, on that night,” Ros-Lehtinen echoed, “it’s just thrilling.”

The day of waiting, however, is not, the congresswomen said. Ros-Lehtinen always brings a “mountain of paperwork” to the chamber to kill time.


If Capito has to walk away, she always leaves the stack of paperwork on her seat, a signal to her colleagues that someone has already reserved that spot — or if she has to go far or use the facilities, she has Ros-Lehtinen hold her place for her.

“She watches my back and I watch hers,” Ros-Lehtinen confirmed.

But being on the aisle only goes so far. One must stand out in a room of black, steel gray and navy blue, the lawmakers said.

Despite her best efforts, Ros-Lehtinen couldn’t secure a seat soon enough. She and Capito had to settle for spots three and four seats away from the aisle.

“I’m not too disappointed,” Ros-Lehtinen said Monday evening. “I’ll still reach over and talk to the president about the [Florida] primary tomorrow.”

Next time we send someone to Washington from FL-18, how about a little depth? A person who will win influence? Not a fawner? We are so ready for change.