The story about a Rutgers professor confronting Rep. Paul Ryan at a Washington, D.C., restaurant over the cost of wine ordered by people at Ryan’s table rightly has been criticized, including by me.
But most of the criticism deals with the professor being a busy-body and snoop, not to mention a hypocrite.
But this statement by “someone close to” Ryan, reprinted in a Byron York article about how the professor will not answer any questions, highlights perhaps a more important point (emphasis mine):
“I would hope that it was just one woman who had a little too much to drink and had a little too much fire in her belly and just decided to cross a line. Paul is more than happy to have a debate and understands that people disagree with him, but there’s a right way and a wrong way to do that.”
There is a disturbing tendency recently for liberals upset with non-liberal politicians to take the fight to places where the fight should not be taken.
A restaurant is one such place. Are we now to confront politicians with whom we disagree every time they go out to eat?
It would have been bad enough for the professor to be snapping photos and then running to TPM, but the confrontation in the restaurant took it to another level, and could — by her own initial account — have resulted in physical violence between her husband and the guests at Ryan’s table.
We see this with increasing frequency, as SEIU sends protesters to the homes of politicians, immigration activists attempt to intimidate neighbors of an Attorney General, and high level Democrats threaten to punch Republican politicians. The mobs in Wisconsin were the embodiment of this “get in their face” attitude, the fulfillment of Obama’s suggestion during the 2008 that people get in their neighbors’ faces.
One of these days, someone is going to get hurt.