I know what you're saying Ironman. The "victim" did appear to make the first contact. Even if he didn't, he was clearly provoking him and acting like a total ass, poking his finger so close at him repeatedly.
It brings to mind a scene from my past, when I was on an alcohol run one Friday evening during uni and was crossing the parking lot to the grocery store when I mouthed off at some guy that was driving badly, he got out of his car, came over and asked, "what did you say, what did you say," I told him he was driving like shit, he said, "you got a problem with it?" he took off his glasses and was jabbing his finger towards me as he spoke, but I took no action till he finally jabbed my chest with his finger, but when he did that -- when he actually made contact -- that was when I threw him on the ground and kicked his ass.
I agree that the moment one goes from rude comments, arguments, insults, etc., to actually making physical contact, that is when one has crossed the boundary and committed a physical attack on the other (even if it's just a jab of a finger). In fact, that's what the law says in most jurisdictions. Assault (contrary to most people's belief) does not require any contact; it's just putting someone in reasonable fear of an imminent attack. Battery, on the other hand, is a harmful or offensive touching. It needn't cause physical injury, it needn't be violent, it could be an unwanted sexual touching or it could be some asshole poking his finger in your chest.
So I agree that the moment the "victim" in this case actually touched the pugilist with his finger (if he did), that's when he crossed the line and committed actionable battery on the pugilist, in violation of his legal rights. BUT, I don't believe that justified the pugilist's response. I told you when I was crazy young uni student going out to get drunk on a Friday night, I kicked some guy's ass because he crossed the line and poked me with his finger.
But such a response is only appropriate for crazy young uni students looking for excitement, or drunks in a bar, and the like, but not for a grown adult who has served as an elected official and is participating in a political talk show on public TV. A person such as that should show more restraint. He could have told him "don't touch me, back off, quit jabbing your finger at me." He could have moved his chair away from the guy. He could have stood up and walked away. He even could have grabbed the guys hands and shoved them away. Instead, he totally wailed on the guy. Yes, the finger wagger was an asshole and may have even initiated contact and committed battery, but I believe the pugilist's response was clearly excessive. He lost control and acted totally inappropriately for someone in his position. Consequently, I believe he has already experience repercussions for his loss of control in that DPP members were making statements afterwards condemning his actions and trying to distance themselves from him.
Lots of school children get in fights, but once one grows up and becomes an adult one is expected to resolve differences by more peaceful and legal means -- even when the other person started it.