Let me explain. First there was this in Illinois:
Emotions ran high Wednesday evening at the first moderated forum featuring all three candidates for the 8th Congressional District.Now about that schedule. It was agreed to by all the parties before hand:
The League of Women Voters of Lake County moderator found herself having to moderate not only candidates Melissa Bean, Joe Walsh and Bill Scheurer, but also Walsh’s many supporters in the 350-member audience at Grayslake Central High School.
The debate, hosted by the league and the school’s students, got off to a contentious start when the audience broke out into the Pledge of Allegiance after moderator Kathy Tate-Bradish said it was not on the schedule when asked from the crowd. Tate-Bradish throughout the debate had to ask people to be civil because comments made among them could be heard at the front stage.
Tate-Bradish stood by her handling of the request and said she's been surprised by personal attacks directed toward her on the Internet since the forum, particularly posts stating she “hates America.” She said she ran the debate in the format established by some Grayslake High students and agreed to by all three candidates, none of whom asked for the pledge in advance. [emphasis added.]Well teh crazie hit local. Here's McNulty of the P-G:
blockquote>A nationwide conservative outcry about the Pledge of Allegiance at political debates touched down in Peters this week, when a crowd at an 18th District congressional forum sponsored by the League of Women Voters charged ahead with the pledge when it was not on the league's agenda.
U.S. Rep. Tim Murphy, R-Upper St. Clair, and Democrat Dan Connolly were about to give their opening remarks at a debate at Peters Middle School Tuesday when Mr. Murphy asked the moderator if the pledge was being recited. When she hesitated, saying that was "not a usual way" the league started the forums, members of the crowd stood and recited the pledge anyway.This time, note that it wasn't an audience member who asked. It was Murphy. Who's campaign ok-ed the agenda beforehand:
The League of Women Voters, founded in 1920, typically includes the pledge only when a forum's hosts request one, said the co-chair of the greater Pittsburgh chapter, Arlene Levy. She said the league adheres strictly to its agendas -- whether they include a pledge or not -- to stay on schedule and keep the rules (which are pre-approved by campaigns) the same for everyone.This is the telling part:
She helped host a 14th District debate, with no pledge, at Pittsburgh's Brashear High School Wednesday, with no complaints from the candidates or student-heavy crowd. [emphasis added.]
"There have been some groups who want to cause a ruckus, call attention to something, and using the pledge to the flag and making it seem like the League is unpatriotic," said the Highland Park resident. "We have no problems doing [the pledge]. It's patriotic to have candidates forums. We feel we're doing a public service by having nonpartisan candidates forums."Neutrality is the new Un-American. And a new reason to bully.
At Tuesday's meeting, two members of the Peters GOP committee, Buzz Rich and Bob Woeber, were discussing the Illinois incident at a GOP event before Tuesday's debate and decided to ask a League representative if the pledge would be recited. They understood it would, Mr. Woeber said. But when Mr. Murphy raised the issue at the forum and was told the pledge was not on the agenda, Mr. Woeber stood up and shouted "That is unacceptable and un-American!"
The pair began reciting it, whereupon the two candidates, the moderator and the crowd jumped in.