"We're run by children," comedian Jon Stewart concluded Wednesday night when he gave The Daily Show treatment to a now-infamous exchange starring U.S. Rep. Alcee Hastings, a Miramar Democrat.
In case you weren't glued to C-SPAN's Monday night coverage of the House Rules Committee, the fireworks started when Texas Republican Rep. Michael Burgess said President Obama's administration "hid the ball" on the Affordable Care Act. The debate was over states like Texas and Florida choosing not to create their own insurance exchanges under Obamacare.
"Had the administration worked with the governors! Had the governors worked with the administration, we might not be in this position," Hastings responded. "I don't know about in your state, which I think is a crazy state to begin with -– and I mean that just as I said it."
("You're from Florida and you're calling Texas crazy?" Stewart said.)
Hastings was interrupted by the committee chairwoman's gavel. Burgess was insulted.
"The gentleman made a very defamatory statement about my state, and I will not stand here and listen to it," he said.
"Well, fine. Then you don't have to listen," Hastings fired back. "You can leave if you choose. I told you what I think about Texas. I wouldn't live there for all the tea in China. And that's how I feel."
He continued. But then Burgess got the floor back.
Burgess: "I'm used to attacks, invective being tossed my way. That's part and parcel of the territory. But there is no reason at all to impugn the people, the governor, of a state of this country, and I will await the gentleman's apology."
Hastings: "You will wait until hell freezes over for me to say anything in an apology. I would apologize to you if I was directing my comments to you..."
By Tuesday, all 25 members of Texas' congressional delegation had demanded an apology, and issued this statement, according to the Houston Chronicle: "Don't mess with Texas."
The relevant portion in the video below starts at about 4:35.