As Matt G points out, and Blunt Object expounds on, the whole Bob Etheridge kerfuffle is being misinterpreted. It matters not whether Mr. Etheridge has a golden donkey on his altar, or a golden elephant, or a golden calf.
There is a whole lot of sucking up in politics, irrespective of party. When I worked for big county office, the elected official was described in glowing terms, she was the most intelligent, her jokes were the funniest, and she had a beautiful singing voice. On more than one occasion, she was called an angel. On one memorable occasion, a local power broker called her the angel of death.
Now, power attracts people sucking up. When the people in power begin to demand sucking up, things start to dribble off the court. If Mr Etheridge had kept his cool, been polite, “Excuse me, I can’t talk right now.” or even been brusque-“gotta go”, no reasonable person could say anything. Congressman Etheridge, by demanding to know who the kid was and laying hands on him, those actions showed that he was angered by not getting the deference that he felt was his due.
There’s an old phrase “Hey, pick on someone you’re own size.” I think it applies here. The Congressman is a bully in a suit.