Voters give Metcalfe the right to fire away
Crazy or cagey?
Perhaps Daryl Metcalfe is a bit of both.
Most of Pennsylvania's 253 lawmakers toil in relative obscurity. Many probably find unsettling the idea of being recognized by the lady behind them in the supermarket deli line.
Not Metcalfe, 46, the outrageously outspoken Republican representative from Cranberry who doesn't always play to rave reviews.
On Monday, the liberal Internet site Daily Kos recommended Metcalfe's fellow legislators shun him because, "The accumulation of jackassery he has displayed in his decade in the Legislature (has) reached a new peak."
The Kossacks were upset over Metcalfe's criticism of an organization known as Operation Free. The group of military veterans is on a 21-state bus tour lecturing people on the supposed evils of purported climate change.
Prior to the organization's stop in Pittsburgh Tuesday, Metcalfe called members of the group "traitors" and "Benedict Arnolds." He accused them of attempting to capitalize on their military service to promote a leftist agenda.
Whatever your thoughts might be on global warming, branding as traitors soldiers who served in Iraq and Afghanistan because they exercised their free speech rights is extreme.
But that's nothing new for Metcalfe. He embraces the extreme as though it was an old and extremely wealthy relative suffering from pneumonia while reworking his or her will.
Last month, Metcalfe was the lone House member voting against a seemingly harmless resolution designating October as Domestic Violence Awareness Month in Pennsylvania.
He contended the legislation advanced a homosexual agenda because it recognized that men can be victims of rape.
Last year, Metcalfe stalled passage of an innocuous resolution recognizing the U.S. chapter of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community's annual convention in Harrisburg.
His objection• "The Muslims do not recognize Jesus Christ as God," he explained at the time.
I could go on, but I believe Metcalfe's history of taking what charitably could be called unusual positions has been sufficiently documented. That does not, however, necessarily mean he is unhinged.
Perhaps Metcalfe has taken these peculiar stands for reasons more calculated than cuckoo. Perhaps he recognizes in these offbeat outbursts something his detractors do not: They obviously appeal to his constituents.
Consider: In Metcalfe's last re-election bid in 2008, he garnered 67 percent of the vote. Since he first ran for the office in 1998, he has never failed to obtain less than 62 percent in any primary or general election.
Does Metcalfe often wield the verbal equivalent of an automatic assault rifle when he shoots from the hip• Yes.
But Butler County voters keep providing him opportunities to indulge a trigger finger so itchy you would think he had perpetual poison ivy. Metcalfe yesterday attributed that to his ability to be a straight shooter.
"I have been blessed with broad and deep support in response to my leadership of speaking the truth — even when it is addressing an issue that is specifically set up to give the leftists maximum media spin," he said.
Is Metcalfe crazy or cagey?
Perhaps the best answer is that those behaviors are not necessarily mutually exclusive.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.