Representative Douglas Bruce

I was not bothered by Douglas Bruce’s delay in assuming his office; with the delay, Bruce is eligible for another term. Though some Democrats whined that he was “gaming the system,” the Democrats are the ones who fought for the existing rules. But I figured that Bruce would count his blessings and save his vitriol for the issues that matter.

Unfortunately, Bruce got into a spat with House Speaker Andrew Romanoff over the timing of Bruce’s swearing-in. Of all the conceivable issues for Bruce to contest, surely this was among the least important. As the Rocky Mountain News reported earlier today, even the Republicans tired of Bruce’s tactics: Bruce “faced a 22-1 vote by the Republican Caucus to push for replacement of the appointed representative if he didn’t take the oath by day’s end.” Bruce gave in.

Yet, before he took his oath, Bruce inexplicably grew angry with a photographer for — get this — taking photographs, and Bruce kicked the poor guy. A video recording of the kick is presented here. Bruce has a reputation as a jerk; everybody knows that. But didn’t he realize that kicking a photographer is out of bounds? Here’s the excuse (as reported by the Rocky):

Asked by reporters in his office about the incident, Bruce said his kick was warranted and that he had warned the photographers not to take his picture during the prayer and Pledge of Allegiance.

“In 21 years, I don’t think there has ever been an instance where I had to do something to stop somebody from behaving in such a coarse and disgusting way,” Bruce said.

Arguably, such a kick could be construed as criminal assault, though obviously I think that would be taking matters way too far. But doesn’t the First Amendment apply in Colorado’s Capitol? The idea that there’s something wrong with taking photographs during a prayer at a political event is just silly. Yet regardless of whether such photographs are appropriate, doesn’t the journalist have the right to make that call?

Bruce could be a strong voice for economic liberty in the state legislature, but he seems intent on squandering his political capital on foolishness.