"Then why aren't you a Congressman?"
This is just a small part of the exchange between councilmen Charles Dertinger and Ron Angle following Thursday night's council meeting. They had sparred earlier over who gets credit for an ordinance adopted months ago. I thought their little tiff was over. I thought wrong.
At the end of Thursday's lengthy meeting, Express Times reporter extraordinare Sarah Cassi beelined right to Dertinger, and began asking questions. Unlike most public figures, Angle is drawn to the press like a moth to the flame. It was only a matter of moments before Angle and Dertinger were together.
Now I don't know exactly what Ron said or how he said it because I was in the peanut gallery, but Dertinger exploded. He launched an obscenity laced tirade as Angle tried to leave council chambers. He cornered the more diminutive Angle, pointing fingers in his face, getting closer, louder and redder. Deputy sheriffs were nowhere in sight. Council members were practically running out of the room, pretending not to notice what was going on. Lamont McClure gave me a little smile, and ran.
Thanks a lot! So much for his frickin' Code of Civility!
"I beat you Angle. And I can beat you again."
"Get out of my personal space. You're in my personal space."
I kept trying to put myself between the two, but only succeeded momentarily. It was a silly exchange, the kind of thing that might happen in grade school recess. I was beginning to think Dertinger would deck Angle when the lava flow suddenly stopped.
At this point, Angle turned to me and smiled, "Hey Bernie, I think I'll ask Charles to join us at Tic Toc Diner."
Now there is no doubt in my mind that Angle instigated whatever happened. And Dertinger is just coming off a congressional loss. But frankly, Dertinger demonstrated he is a not ready for prime time player. First, he lost control and let Angle get to him. Second, he acted like a schoolyard bully. Third, he was petty. This was no passionate argument over Iraq or our economy, but was instead over who is more wonderful. Did Angle behave badly? You bet, but he never claimed he belonged in congress. Last, Dertinger is wrong. He lost Northampton County, his home township, and even his own precinct.