The video of Congressman Bob Etheridge, a Democrat from North Carolina, assaulting a student journalist for asking him if he supported the Obama agenda, is starting to get a reaction from Etheridge’s fellow Democrats.
The Democrats suggest that the issue is not so much that a United States congressman was caught on video physically assaulting someone, but that he was somehow “set up” by the evil vast right wing conspiracy.
Reported by Ben Smith in the Politico, the Democratic talking points are:
“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:”
The talking points suggest that the student journalists were hired by Andrew Breitbart, who was the first to put up the video on his Big Government website. This may be true, but irrelevant. Asking a Democratic congressman if he supports the Obama agenda is a very mild question. If the intent was to incite some kind of reaction, Etheridge could have foiled that evil plan by replying, “Sorry, no comment. I’m late for a meeting.” Then he could have walked away.
Hannity, on his radio show, imagined himself as a Republican Congressman being asked, “Do you support the Reagan agenda?” The answer would have been, “Of course.”
If I had been Congressman Etheridge and wanted to engage the student journalists, I would have responded by asking, “What do you mean by ‘Obama agenda’?” Then they would have been forced to be specific, allowing for some specific answers.
And, what is this about “debunked ACORN videos?” The James O’Keefe/Hannah Giles videos of ACORN workers helping them plot to set up kiddy brothels and a sex trafficking ring are now famous. No one has ever suggested that the videos were faked. Indeed, ACORN has been obligated to disband, though it is coming back piecemeal under other names.
The Democratic talking points seem to be an attempt to excuse felonious assault. The young student journalist, had he been able to, would have been well within his rights to put the Congressman on the deck in self-defense. As it is, Congressman Etheridge himself did more damage than any Kung Fu chop could have.
If Congressman Etheridge has developed anger management issues, as apparently he has, he might want to consider if having a high-pressure, high-stress job in politics is the right career path for him. If he doesn’t, that decision may be made for him by the voters in November.
Source: Congressman Bob Etheridge D-North Carolina Assaults a Student (Video), Mark R. Whittington, Associated Content, June 14th, 2010
Dems defend Etheridge, attack Breitbart, Ben Smith, Politico, June 14th, 2010