- The Washington Times - Tuesday, June 15, 2010

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Congressional Democrats went on a rampage three months ago to paint Tea Party activists as violent extremists, despite zero evidence that the movement’s rallies have been anything but peaceful. House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer, Maryland Democrat, took a media tour, somberly informing viewers of CBS’ “The Early Show” that, “We’ve had a lot of serious disagreements on tax bills, on war and peace and other matters, and I haven’t seen the level of, frankly, threats or anger or threatening of violent acts that I’ve seen recently.”

Mr. Hoyer must have been referring to members of his own caucus, such as overnight YouTube sensation Rep. Bob Etheridge.

This North Carolina Democrat demonstrated in a video posted Friday that civility is about more than citizens being respectful to legislators during a protest. It’s about public servants not pretending they are somehow better than the public they represent.

Most Americans wouldn’t think it provocative to greet a Democratic elected official on the street and politely ask, “Do you fully support the Obama agenda?” Yet those were fighting words to Mr. Etheridge, who violently grabbed the inquiring student by the wrist. “Who are you?” the rabid congressman asked nearly a dozen times. Unsatisfied by the response, Mr. Etheridge yanked the college kid by the neck in a tight grasp The Washington Post’s Dave Weigel whitewashed as a “hug.” Given the youth’s plea - “Please let me go” - this was clearly an unwanted advance.

The hypocrisy of Mr. Etheridge’s claim that “I have a right to know who you are” could only have been greater had the Tar Heel State representative asked for the citizenship status of his captive. Mr. Etheridge later admitted his outburst was in the wrong, but it’s troubling that this is just the most recent instance of a disturbing trend of congressional violence.

In March 2006, then-Rep. Cynthia A. McKinney, Georgia Democrat, struck a Capitol policeman in the chest because the officer failed to acknowledge her as a member of Congress. Ms. McKinney hurled charges of racism against her victim, and a grand jury later declined to pursue assault charges filed against the lawmaker.

In 2000, the parents of an 8-year-old filed a complaint against Rep. James P. Moran after the Virginia Democrat terrorized him. “He choked me and then cussed at me,” the boy told The Washington Times. “I thought he was going to kidnap or kill me. … All I told him was that I liked his car.” Mr. Moran, who is white, insisted the 85-pound black child was a carjacker, claiming after the incident, “I just wanted to hug him.”

It’s hard to imagine Mr. Hoyer’s reaction had Tea Party members engaged in the sort of “hugging” favored by Democratic congressmen such as Mr. Moran and Mr. Etheridge. In the future, when Democrats decry violence, they ought to start by cleaning out their own House first.

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