I'm sure you've seen the video of Blue Dog Etheridge basically assaulting probably a couple of Breitbart-flunkie-wannabe jackasses. I'll never trust anything that Breitbart releases unless we got the entire video--unedited, but still there is no defense for Blue Dog Bob's behavior. He released a statement about it and apologizes for his outburst.
"I deeply and profoundly regret my reaction and I apologize to all involved," Etheridge said. "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."
Glenn thinks he should be charged with a crime. I'm all for it. (Recently I had a close encounter with a conservacreep whose name appears in the original article which I'll discuss at a later date.)
Brad Woodhouse makes a good case that motives matter especially when right wing hatchet men are most likely behind it, but since Blue Dog Bob took responsibility for his actions, Woodhouse's response doesn't negate the crime. Maybe he could go for jury nullification if Brad is the defense attorney and Blue Dog Bob was on trial, but GGreenwald would know more about that. I picked the idea up from a great documentary called Terror's Advocate that we reviewed here on C&L and also Law & Order type shows--which I also love--delve into that tactic. My initial reaction was satirical and I wondered if Blue Dog Bob's inner conservative lashed out, but there is never any excuse for violence when a politician is being approached with or without some form of video camera or recorder.
This idea that politicians, regardless of party affiliation, are allowed to assault citizens who ask them questions is beyond the pale, no matter who the questioner is. It's a tough gig, I know, but they chose it and they have to be answerable to the people. Even if one of them is an Andrew Breitbart stooge (which this kid probably wasn't, btw.)
But it should be noted that this kind of thing is hardly unprecedented and it never gets prosecuted. Recall Mike Stark questioning George Allen?
This Etheridge incident is disturbing. But it's just the latest in a long line of incidents in which people are physically assaulted for asking questions of politicians.
Wasn't it Ari Fleischer who said "watch what you say?" These guys mean it.
It's happening more and more in our society on a whole. Digby reminds us of the tasering at a Kerry event which wss sickening and more recently we had the tasering of a fan running onto the field of a Phillies game and the fans cheering for more.
Do you see a pattern developing?