When Here is not Really Here

There is so much to ask Congressman Lincoln Diaz-Balart.

South Florida’s tenured Cuban-American Congressman became Governor Charlie Crist’s surprise list-topper to fill the temporary caretaking post of retiring Mel Martinez’s U.S. Senate seat.  A chess move in Republican Party strategy?  Conservative credential-building for the Governor?  What’s in it for the Congressman to be a temporary placeholder? 

The questions go unanswered today because the Congressman’s Miami district office staffers said he is missing.

Not missing as in South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford Argentina-Hook-Up-via-Hiking-the-Appalachian-Trail missing.  Just incommunicado, unreachable.

Respectfully, if Diaz-Balart didn’t want to talk about the pending Senate pick, he might have had his staff say something like “I’d rather not comment until the Governor makes his decision.” Or something as simple as “I appreciate the call, but I won’t be available today.”  (Even without the appreciation part.)

Instead, congressional staffers simply said they could not get in touch with him, didn’t even know where he was.   And that led to some baffling exchanges.

First, the call to the Miami district office about 9:30 Monday morning:

“Hello, This is Glenna Milberg at Local10 News.  I’m hoping the Congressman is available to talk today.”

“Oh, I’ll have to have someone call you back.”

“OK,” I said.  “Is he in Miami or Washington today?”   I didn’t think that would be a tough question.

“I’m not sure.  Let me have someone call you back.”

And so we waited about an hour, leaving other messages in the meantime for the Congressman’s Chief of Staff and press liaison in Washington.  Then, another call to the Miami district office.

“Hello, it’s Glenna Milberg again.  While I’m waiting for the press secretary, can you just tell me whether the Congressman is in Miami or Washington?  Because if he is not physcially in Miami, I’ll say thank you and be on my merry way.”

“Ok, hold please.”  A few minutes pass.  “Hello, ok I’m going to have someone call you back.”

“Can you just tell me whether the Congressman is in town?  Really, just his physical whereabouts, that’s all I’m asking at the moment.”  I try not to sound desperate.

“No, his scheduler is on a conference call.”

“You mean to say not one person in Congressman Diaz-Balart’s office even knows what city he is located in right now?”  I try not to sound condescending.  I really don’t mean to be.

“No, I’m sorry.” 

You may want to stop reading here, but keep going, it gets better.

I call the Washington office.

“Hello, this is Glenna Milberg, Local10 News in Miami.  Can you tell me whether the Congressman is in Washington or Miami today?”

“He’s in Miami today.”  

Ok, thank you.  Hmmm – back to calling the district office.  The next few conversations went much the same as the earlier ones.  No one knows where he is, if he is, or how to get in touch with him.

We decide to just go to the district office.

The very nice receptionist lady comes to the window.

“Hello, we were waiting for call backs for the last two hours and so we decided to stop by.  Is the Congressman here?”

“Yes, he is.  Wait one second.”

Ok, I think, progress.  Photographer Bob goes out to the news car to get his camera and gear.

But in the meantime, another woman comes out to the lobby to say that the Congressman isn’t in the office.

“But the receptionist just told me he was here.”

“No, she didn’t mean he was here here.  She meant he was here in Miami.”

Uh, no.  That is absolutely not what she meant.  

She continued.  “I will call you as soon as I hear from him.”

Have you heard from them?  I haven’t either.

The one person who did return the call late in the day was Diaz-Balart’s Washington DC-based press secretary, graciously apologizing for his delay.

He said the Congressman is pretty busy today, as it is his first day back working in the Miami district office. 

Hmmm ……

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4 Responses

  1. hes such a loser..cant wait till the old cuban community passes and we can make our own new view on cuban policy.

  2. THANK YOU….Please put some heat on that BOZO we have representing us…

  3. Maybe he went to Argentina with Governor Sanford and found himself a mistress and decided to stay there.

  4. Maybe he’s back in Cuba… hope he stays there.

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