Who Are You, Bob Etheridge?

by EDWARD CLINE June 21, 2010
Watching the video, it was hard to determine if North Carolina Representative and Democrat Bob Etheridge was drunk or sober. There was a nasty, tell-tale slur in his words that suggested alcoholic inebriation. But, on the other hand, that might have been the influence of another notorious intoxicant: political power and its constant companion, arrogance. Or, it might have just been his naturally abrupt and abrasive Southern speaking style, coupled with a not-too wholesome character.

Did the students detect in him an odor of alcohol, or an odor of sanctimony? Or a combination of the aromas? He was leaving a Nancy Pelosi fundraiser. Only the college students whom he attacked would know for sure. 

Etheridge issued an “apology” when news of the incident spread like wildfire. His public statement was not specifically addressed to the students, but to the “public.” So, it was less an apology, and more an expression of panic. Etheridge regrets, but does not apologize. 
“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.”

Not exactly a tear-jerker. He has “always tried to treat people from all viewpoints with respect.” Except when he thinks they are questioning his character and political leanings. His manhandling of the student did not “justify a poor response.” If anyone else had tried such a “poor response” on the student, he could have been arrested for and charged with assault. He will “always work to promote a civil public discourse,” except when he’s in a nasty mood and feeling touchy about his reelection prospects and doesn’t feel like having discourse with the public.

Etheridge was addressed -- not accosted -- on a public street by the students. They didn’t approach or stalk him. He approached them, and was “ambushed” by an inconvenient question. He wasn’t the first. Other Democrats have been “ambushed” and ignored or told the questioners to get themselves to a nunnery. 

He was elected to represent his district, but, like many of his Democratic and Republican brethren, behaves like he owns the seat and needn’t answer to well-dressed and well-mannered strangers who ask him a simple question. “Do you fully support the Obama agenda?” The students continued to call him “Sir” even when the representative got violent. 

Granted, it was a loaded question. The students were angling for a hypothetical “Yes, I fully support the Obama agenda,” which could have been an admission of guilt for endorsing an administration’s agenda that is playing havoc with the economy and whittling down our liberties to zero. 

Robert Gibbs, White House press secretary, and once on Etheridge’s staff, had this to say about the North Carolinian‘s statement: 
“I’ve known Bob Etheridge for more than a thirteen years and I am proud to have worked for him. He is one of the most honorable people I know. Everyone makes mistakes, and I’m proud of Bob for taking responsibility and apologizing for his.”

But, it wasn’t an apology. It was false humility tailored for voter consumption. Democrats “don’t need no stinking badges.” They’re the majority, and they’ll do as they like. 

The “Obama agenda” has been so excoriated by the blogosphere that Democrats have become super-sensitive to any questions about it. Was he really “ambushed” by the college students, as some MSM commentators charge? The students apparently were working for Andrew Breitbart’s Big Government news outlet. Etheridge couldn’t have known that at the time, otherwise he wouldn’t have kept repeating “Who are you? I want to know who you are,.” all the while manhandling the student. 

Breitbart’s troops are famous -- some say notorious -- for entrapping on video politicians, government employees, and professional parasites with a line into government money, or anyone who deserves to be snared in behavior, attitude and speech, and all of whom are complicit in the growth of the federal government and the ongoing diminution of freedom. 

Etheridge’s voting record is spectacularly undistinguished. That is, it is nearly the straight “Obama agenda” party platform. The college students couldn’t be blamed for loading their question. Of all his nearly one hundred and ninety “yes” and “no” votes, only one stood out. In April 2001 he voted “yes” on eliminating the estate or “death” tax. But his voting record puts him solidly in the Obama camp. And as a Southern Christian “new” Democrat, his stances on abortion, free trade, TARP, and other issues are as fuzzy and bollixed as any other “moderate” Democrat’s. 

Every member of Congress should be similarly “ambushed.” Every president should be “ambushed.” It is practically the only means left of drawing out the true character and attitude of those who would be kings, queens, and Congressional courtiers. 

We, the people, have a right to know who they are.
FamilySecurityMatters.org Contributing Editor Edward Cline is the author of a number of novels, and his essays, books, reviews, and other nonfiction have appeared in a number of high-profile periodicals.

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