Rep. Paul Broun: Failing the Duty to Confront and Failing America

"Who's going to shoot Obama?"

Conservative Rep. Paul Broun,  one of President Obama’s toughest critics, was holding a town hall meeting this week and received this question from an elderly supporter: “Who’s going to shoot Obama?”

The audience laughed (With embarrassment? With enjoyment at the thought?) and Broun chuckled. (Nervousness? Amusement?)  Then he said:

“The thing is, I know there’s a lot of frustration with this president. We’re going to have an election next year. Hopefully, we’ll elect somebody that’s going to be a conservative, limited-government president that will take a smaller, who will sign a bill to repeal and replace Obamacare.”

Wrong answer.

Broun had a duty to confront the man, and say, “Sir, however much we may disagree with the President, he is the elected leader of the United States of America, and deserves our respect and allegiance. We do not settle our disagreements by murder or riots in this country, but by reason, debate and elections. And for all of you who laughed: one of my colleagues, Rep. Giffords of Arizona, is recuperating today from an attack on her life, and your laughter is deeply offensive to me and disrespectful of her ordeal. Assassination isn’t funny, and we should not make light of it. I’ll accept your apologies on behalf of the United States of America. And I don’t want to hear anything like that again at one of my town meetings.”

Broun didn’t  say any of that, however. Later, he lied, releasing a statement that denied the sequence of events reported by onlookers:

“…I was stunned by the question and chose not to dignify it with a response; therefore, at that moment I moved on to the next person with a question. After the event, my office took action with the appropriate authorities. I deeply regret that this incident happened at all. Furthermore, I condemn all statements–made in sincerity or jest–that threaten or suggest the use of violence against the President of the United States or any other public official. Such rhetoric cannot and will not be tolerated.”

But you did tolerate it, Congressman. You tolerated it by not addressing the statement and the sentiment it represented directly when it was made and when the man who asked the question was right in front of you. Condemning it now is self-serving and easy. You had a duty to confront and condemn it then. Anything less is a passive endorsement.

Rep. Paul Broun, by trying to curry favor with the worst of our citizenry and failing his duty to confront calls to violence that are antithetical to free political discourse and American values, has thoroughly disgraced himself.

7 thoughts on “Rep. Paul Broun: Failing the Duty to Confront and Failing America

  1. I respect and have allegiance to the “Office of the President” and to our Constitutional Republic. My respect and allegiance to a human occupying an elected office has to be earned. As for the current President I’m extremely disappointed how he almost consistently and openly degrades our country. Where is his respect and allegiance?

    There is never any excuse for immoral or vicious speech and hopefully most elected officials would quickly remember to address it whenever it occurs during their meetings. Being human, however, we don’t always do what should be done. In hindsight we can normally review and realize how we could have better served a group situation.

    As to Rep. Paul Broun later lying, you lost me. From first hand accounts he did ask for the next question.

    In the end the Secret Service did take over and found there was nothing to be concerned about. It was not a threat; it was an inappropriate question that should have been immediately addressed as such.

    P.S. – Your headline spelling “Brown” should be “Broun.”

    • As far as I can tell, his “The thing is..”comment WAS a response to the question, or at least to the fact that it was asked.

      As long as an individual hold the office, respect for the office and respect for the man are inextricable. Respect for the the man holding the office does not have to be earned…it comes with the job. It can be lost, however. Losing respect for someone and wanting him killed are two different things. One is unfortunate; the other is intolerable.

      • As usual the mainstrem media normally doesn’t check all of it’s facts. I did a little research and found people who were at the meeting. A lot of them didn’t even hear the original question but it was confirmed by Broun’s people. The people at the meeting were aware that he did ask for the next question before he made his statement.
        . . . and “yes” it’s unfortunate when one can’t respect the person.
        We are also supposed to respect our judges; yet it’s difficult when so many of them are proven unworthy. Ex: The latest tragedy in Pennsylvania.

  2. I agree that he should have offered a mild reproof, Jack; particularly in view of the upsurge of violence we’ve seen lately. But I have to give him the benefit of a doubt, here. Could it be that he was so stunned by this outrageous faux paux that he did just try to talk around it to save embarrassment across the board? A number of people would have, rather than call down a supporter who probably just let his mouth run away with him. I can’t resist a partisan note here in pointing out that the vast bulk of threatening or violent politically based activity does not originate with the sort of people that the Congressman could count as supporters. Those deeds speak louder than a stray word or two.

  3. I was just going off some of my own experiences like this, Jack. Anyone can get caught off-guard during an open forum, no matter how experienced a public speaker or leader. I assume this was one such occasion. I remember once how I was conducting a precinct convention and a neighborhood man I knew on and off came in, listened to the proposed resolutions, and then added one that almost made my hair stand on end. I had no idea that we had an actual klansman in the precinct! Things like that can really throw you off balance! And I didn’t have cameras recording things for posterity.

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