Politics in the Carolinas has been good for comedians over the last few weeks, and Congressman Bob Etheridge was able to keep it going with this now-famous video:
“Who are you?”?!? He’s a guy with a camera, genius.
That’s what makes this so hilarious: Etheridge had all the cards and lost the hand.
Option A: Some scrubby little schmuck with a camera and a blue blazer comes pointing a camera in his face, and apparently asks if he supports “the Obama Agenda.” A smile, a polite question back (“Well, what do you think the ‘Obama Agenda’ is, sir?”), and a re-framing of the issue (“I support policies that will help my constituents, and I’ll work with anyone who wants to help – yes, if they’re the President of the United States.”) and this go away. Congressman Etheridge walks away laughing, and the kid with his face blurred out has no good footage. Or, if he’s feeling especially saucy, he stays and has a civil discussion – after all, he has to have an intellectual foundation for what he believes in. If camera boy doesn’t want to be civil, chuckle and invite him to your office sometime for coffee to talk further.
Option B: Grab his arm, bear hug him like you’re posing for a picture, and ask him who he is. Gain internet fame.
Etheridge, who has obviously never heard the phrase, “Don’t lose your temper except on purpose,” chose B. He chose poorly.
The fallout could go beyond Etheridge’s own district, too. The video offers another example of Congressional egotism and entitlement. News media outlets like to talk about an anti-incumbent sentiment among the electorate, but that can’t exist without folks like Congressman Etheridge stoking the flame.