Tea Party Candidate Picks a Fight Over Pledge of Allegiance
Illinois’ top League of Women Voters official said “phony patriotism” is driving criticism over a moderator’s reaction when she was asked if the Pledge of Allegiance would be recited before an 8th Congressional District debate this week.
Executive Director Jan Czarnik said what happened at Wednesday’s debate and subsequent criticism directed at moderator Kathy Tate-Bradish was an attempt by supporters of Republican candidate Joe Walsh of McHenry and tea party members to bully the organization.
Czarnik said someone is not a better American just by reciting the Pledge of Allegiance.
“It’s a phony patriotism issue is what it is,” she said. “They must think it helps their campaign.”
Brought in from the League of Women Voters Evanston branch because she doesn’t live in the 8th Congressional District, Tate-Bradish handled the event at Grayslake Central High School that featured Democratic U.S. Rep. Melissa Bean of Barrington, the Green Party’s Bill Scheurer and Walsh.
Tate-Bradish was asked whether the Pledge of Allegiance would be recited after she went over some ground rules and directed the candidates to make opening statements. The query came from a man in the audience.
As Tate-Bradish explained the debate was not scheduled to start with the pledge, almost all in the crowd of more than 300 stood and enthusiastically recited it anyway. Tate-Bradish, who joined in the pledge, issued a scolding when the crowd finished.
Walsh campaign manager Nick Provenzano said he still did not understand why Tate-Bradish did not appear to welcome the Pledge of Allegiance suggestion. He said it was spontaneous and not orchestrated by Walsh’s campaign.
“That neutral stance (by Tate-Bradish) toward the Pledge of Allegiance is troublesome,” he said.
There are a lot of things about this incident that are “troublesome,” but Tate-Bradish’s actions are not among them.