Over the weekend, a group of students confronted North Carolina Congressman, Bob Etheridge (Democrat – Lillington), regarding the Obama agenda. He asked the group of students who they were, and before they could realistically respond, the Congressman assaulted one of the students.
Watch Video Here
It would be reasonable for one to think that an incident as serious as this would be above partisan politics, but sadly it is not. Although the Congressman did apologize for his absurd behavior, there are several Democrats who are defending his actions. Etheridge issued the following statement:
“I have seen the video posted on several blogs. I deeply and profoundly regret my reaction and I apologize to all involved. Throughout my many years of service to the people of North Carolina, I have always tried to treat people from all viewpoints with respect. No matter how intrusive and partisan our politics can become, this does not justify a poor response. I have and I will always work to promote a civil public discourse.”
It would have been smart for Democrats to leave it alone after the Congressman apologized, but instead DNC spokesman, Brad Woodhouse, said: “Motives matter, and I think you can see who was behind this." "This was a Republican party tracking operation. “If it wasn't a party tracker or intern, why is the face blurred and why is the source hidden?”
In addition, a national Democratic Party official e-mailed around a set of talking points, under the subject heading, "Etheridge Gotcha Video Background."
1. There is always the part of the story that you can’t see in these gotcha style videos — what were these folks doing, how did they approach him, how were the cameraman and/or others off camera acting?
2. Why would any legitimate student doing a project or a journalist shagging a story not identify themselves? Motives matter — what was the motivation here? To incite this very type of reaction?
3. This is clearly the work of the Republican Party and the “interviewer” is clearly a low level staffer or intern. That’s what explains blurring the face of the “interviewer” and refusing to identify the entity this was done for. The Republicans know if they were caught engaging in this type of gotcha tactic it would undermine their own credibility — yet if it was an individual acting on his own there is no reason that person would have blurred themselves out of the video — and if it was the work of a right wing blog they would have their logo on the video and be shouting their involvement from the roof top.
4. This was a purposefully partisan hit job designed to incite a reaction for political reasons — but it is a tactic so low — the parties involved are remaining anonymous.
5. The fact that no one wants to take credit for this should raise real questions in the minds of voters and the press.
6. Push hard w/ blogs the lack of credibility inherent to anything Breitbart does/posts, given its role in the debunked ACORN videos.
Are these people SERIOUS? There is so much wrong with this, one would have difficulty finding a starting point, but we’ll make an attempt. First, why would the student identify himself? If “Joe the Plumber’s” fifteen minutes of fame gone bad doesn’t give you a clue, then you’ve been too far removed from the political arena to continue reading. It’s safe to say that the folks running the Republican Party may not be the sharpest tools in the shed, but I’m certain they can devise a better “hatchet” job than this student popping the million dollar “gotcha” question “Do you fully support the Obama Agenda?” They must have spent weeks coming up with that one…
Second, it is completely irrelevant what these kids’ motives were, who they were, and if they were part of a group with a political agenda. So what if they were? It doesn’t matter if they devised this wicked little scheme up on Friday night; regardless, they have a right to QUESTION an ELECTED OFFICIAL. They did so in a manner that was not threatening to Etheridge. They approached him politely, and asked a very simple question. Etheridge assaulted the student when he posed absolutely no threat. To be clear, Etheridge did have the right to ask the students to identify themselves, and it was his right to decline an interview; however, he had no right whatsoever to break the law. Why is it that elected officials feel they are above the law? Any civilian could be arrested for this type of behavior.
Lastly, and most important, is the fact that any defense of Etheridge’s behavior is a move against free speech, and the FREEDOM to question the people who work for the citizens of this country. If people are not allowed to politely question their elected officials, then this is a country without freedom, and those in Congress are rulers instead of representatives elected to carry out the people’s business. Why can no one question not only the Obama Administration, but folks in Congress who staunchly approve of the Administration’s agenda? From the continual nonsensical bashing of FOX News to the attempts to denigrate any writer or organization that disagrees with this Administration smacks of the very ideology that they try so desperately to deny. Everyone who reads my columns on a regular basis knows I did not vote for George W. Bush for either of his terms, and while I spent eight years sharply criticizing his Administration – especially economic policies, I never saw these kinds of attempts to silence people regardless of how vile the attacks became. If this video of Etheridge doesn’t offend you, then you are part of the problem.
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