California Democratic Congressman Tom Lantos passed away this morning. A Holocaust survivor and fervent anti-communist, the Hungarian-born Lantos’s thick accent and propensity for hyperbole made him one of Congress’s more colorful characters.
While I didn’t agree with him on much beside the evil of communism, I did have the pleasure of witnessing one of his last controversial episodes, during his speech at the dedication of the Victims of Communism Memorial in Washington, D.C. in June 2007, where he caused a small row with Germany when he blasted former Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, calling him a “political prostitute, now that he’s taking big checks from Putin,” and quipped that “the sex workers in my district objected so I will no longer use that phrase.” Former French President Jacques Chirac came in for some verbal abuse as well. Whatever one thinks of the Iraq War, it’s always fun to watch politicians tear each other down. RIP.