Posted on | June 14, 2010 | 43 Comments
A Democrat in a Republican-leaning North Carolina District, Etheridge was leaving a fundraiser with Nancy Pelosi when two college kids with a video camera asked him a simple question: “Do you fully support the Obama agenda?” Madcap hijinks ensued:
A “macaca” moment for the Democrat. His Republican challenger is Renee Ellmers.
UPDATE: Department of Unflattering Headlines:
Congressman caught on camera in physical confrontation
— WRAL-TV, Raleigh, N.C.
Video shows Rep. Etheridge grabbing videographer
— Charlotte (N.C.) Observer
Congressman loses his cool, acts like a fool
— Greensboro (N.C.) News Record
When Democrats Attack!
— Ed Driscoll
Who TMZ’d Rep. Bob Etheridge?
— Washington Post
That last headline is from Dave Weigel, who writes:
“So who are the students? I don’t know. The National Republican Congressional Committee tells me they didn’t send them, and ‘DCCameraGuy’ has yet to respond to my e-mail. But without any name or organizational support, just by riling up a member of Congress, the students have created the first conservative meme of the week.”
Just a blind guess: These kids are probably from the Leadership Institute, which trains conservative students in political strategy and tactics. Campaign video “trackers” have been standard operating procedure for Democrats since 2006, at least. What’s strange is Etheridge’s assertion: “I have a right to know who you are.”
Well, does he?
UPDATE II: Instapundit has background, and Dan Riehl highlights Etheridge’s “F” grades on 2nd Amendment rights.
Checking Etheridge’s Wiki, there doesn’t seem to be anything particularly controversial in his past. He’s just a Blue Dog dinosaur, a fossil of the Clinton era elected to Congress in 1996. It’s amazing he’s survived this long, given how he flipped out the first time he was confronted by opposition video trackers.
Wonder how many other Blue Dog Democrats would react the same way to a simple question, e.g., “Rep. John Barrow, why are you trying to keep a progressive black Democrat out of Congress?”
UPDATE IV: Comment from Renee Ellmers:
“If a teacher or principal treated a student this way it would raise serious questions and he would be suspended. This kind of behavior is equally unacceptable in a Congressman.”
What [Etheridge] has is the dangerous notion that he’s exempt from the laws of the District of Columbia and from the dictates of a civil society.
Weigel is intrigued by the unwillingness of the students to identify themselves. Dave’s getting a lot of flak from conservatives for his coverage of the incident, although in his defense I’d say that the questions he’s asking — Who are these kids, who are they working for and why was Etheridge their target? — are legitimately newsworthy.
No one is likely to discover the answer to those questions any time soon. Mike Flynn hasn’t returned my calls today, but if Flynn knows the identity of these kids, he’d be a fool to burn his source. I just got off the phone with my source, the “black ops” guy — who was not involved in this operation — who pointed out that (a) by maintaining their anonymity, the kids preserve their ability to do future operati0ns, and (b) on the video, Etheridge appears to have had a few cocktails, so he probably won’t be able to ID the kids.
UPDATE VI: Wow, this is the second time in three weeks I’ve been mentioned by Allahpundit:
Not a single word is devoted to the idea that asking a question of a congressman shouldn’t mean walking away with his palm print on your neck. . . .
Breitbart and Michael Flynn say they have no idea who shot the video; assuming that the students were indeed Republican “trackers,” paid to shadow Democrats in hopes of capturing a gaffe on film, I wait with bated breath for an explanation as to why these guys are illegitimate but the guy who caught George Allen’s “macaca” line on tape is A-OK. As for why they’re anonymous, R.S. McCain offers a persuasive theory: Given the viciousness of the DNC in trying to make this a story about them, wouldn’t you want to stay anonymous too in order to avoid reprisals?
Hmmm. Staying anonymous “in order to avoid reprisals”?