There is a right way and a wrong way to handle it, when a stranger comes up to you with a flip camera and asks you a question you don’t want to answer. Democrat Congressman Bod Etheridge demonstrates the wrong way.
Cameras are ubiquitous to the culture, and elected officials who (at least in theory) “serve” at the pleasure of the citizenry need to deal with that fact. If a citizen steps in the way and asks a question, and the elected official hasn’t the time or the inclination to parley, he can say that; he can ignore them; he or she can crack a joke or manage a pleasant brush off (Democrat Congressman Barney Frank, to his credit, is a master at the pleasant brush off); he can even say, “get away, kid, ya bother me, ” ala W. C. Fields, but he or she may not get physical.
Is congress feeling ambushed? Does congress perhaps have an inkling that the public–watching the profligate spending of “representatives” who have enacted legislation contrary to their wishes–is feeling ambushed, as well?
For a populace feeling ambushed by a bait-and-switch, ran-as-moderate-governs-as-radical-prince president and his congress, “do you fully support the Obama agenda” is a perfectly relevant question for this election year. I am wondering why the face of the “student” is blocked out, though, and who he is.
I have reached out to Etheridge’s press secretary, hoping for a response to just those questions. If you would like to ask the congressman something similar, his number is (202) 225-4531. His staff is being very polite, so be sweet back; they seem to have been caught off-guard on this.
Instapundit has more links and info on Etheridge’s opponent
Hot Air notes that, as is almost predictable, these days, You Tube had pulled the video, but has since restored it. UPDATE: Breitbart, not You Tube pulled and restored the video.
Yeah – he comes off as a jerk, but…when in Rome. It will be interesting to follow how this story plays out in the news media. Will it be a big story? Probably not, but apparently being prepared for ambush interviews from eager college kids is the next phase of media training for many on Capitol Hill.
I think I’ll file this one under “Remaking America.” Indeed.
UPDATE 1: A statement from Etheridge’s office:
“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.”
To his credit, he does not issue an apology “in any were offended.” It does seem to fall short, however; his response was not merely “poor” but violent. Without the video, would he ever have acknowledged his “poor” response? Your thoughts? Is the apology enough? Does the story go away, now? Should it?
Althouse has questions.
Ed Driscoll notes the trend of Dem violence
Ed Morrissey: More violence in this video than in all the tea parties, combined.
Moe Lane links to raw footage
Right Wing News has reaction from Etheridge’s opponent, Renee Ellmers
Jim Geraghty: has the cleverest headline
O/T but also of interest: Robert Reich says Obama should take over BP.