TribLIVE

| News

 
Larger text Larger text Smaller text Smaller text | Order Photo Reprints

Pledge of Allegiance a prop for politician'

Email Newsletters

Click here to sign up for one of our email newsletters.

Daily Photo Galleries

'American Coyotes' Series

Traveling by Jeep, boat and foot, Tribune-Review investigative reporter Carl Prine and photojournalist Justin Merriman covered nearly 2,000 miles over two months along the border with Mexico to report on coyotes — the human traffickers who bring illegal immigrants into the United States. Most are Americans working for money and/or drugs. This series reports how their operations have a major impact on life for residents and the environment along the border — and beyond.

Friday, Oct. 29, 2010
 

Nice to know that both candidates in the 18th Congressional District are pro-Pledge of Allegiance.

Glad that's cleared up. But a pivotal question remains unanswered after Tuesday's debate at Peters Middle School between Rep. Tim Murphy, R-Upper St. Clair, and Democratic challenger Dan Connolly.

Did Murphy make patriotism as much a prop at the event as a mask would be in a traveling production of "The Phantom of the Opera"?

For those whose cable company somehow carries ESPN but not Peters Township Community Television (if you're in that group, you really should complain), here's what happened:

Murphy, Connolly and a League of Woman Voters moderator were onstage about to begin the debate when Murphy asked if the pledge would be recited.

The moderator, obviously caught off guard, didn't immediately respond affirmatively. So both candidates and the crowd rose to profess the oath of loyalty.

Seemingly satisfied that no subversives had crashed the event, everyone then sat down.

Murphy's inquiry appeared to lack spontaneity. The pledge uttered in the auditorium followed by about 24 hours Glenn Beck's show on the Fox News Channel that aired a similar scene.

In the clip, a League of Women Voters moderator more aggressively attempts to prevent the pledge from being uttered at a recent congressional debate in Illinois.

In that instance, the crowd took matters into its own hands -- er, make that mouths. Beck applauded their efforts and was incredulous over the league's attempt to stifle the pledge.

"What good reason is there not to say it in that setting?" he said.

A good question, certainly. An even better one, at least for the purposes of this column, is this: Did Murphy decide to dine at a table that Beck set for him the previous night?

Being that Connolly occupies a ballot position directly opposite Murphy, the South Park attorney isn't the most objective person to offer an opinion. He said he believes Murphy engaged in a "baseless political stunt" designed to distract people from his record.

"A day after Glenn Beck puts this out, and (Murphy) waits until the cameras are turned on to say something about the pledge," Connolly said. "We had several discussions about the rules (prior to the debate), and it could have been brought up then."

See what I mean about Connolly's lack of objectivity•

Still, he has a point. The league has no specific prohibition against reciting the pledge, but strictly adheres to debate formats candidates agree to long before they take the stage.

Murphy, who did not immediately respond to an interview request made through his campaign manager Thursday, should know that. No political novice, the incumbent is seeking his fifth term in Congress.

Did Murphy engage in an act of stunt patriotism• While I would never suggest that, I will note his campaign has posted three pledge-related videos on YouTube since the debate.

If Murphy ever decides to take up acting, all indications are he would use his props proficiently.

Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.

 

 

 


Show commenting policy

Most-Read Stories

  1. United Airlines hack coincided with incursion into government employee data
  2. Pirates acquire pitcher Blanton from Royals for cash
  3. Starkey: Garoppolo baffles Steelers
  4. Inside the Steelers: Williams’ quickness out of backfield evident in drills
  5. Peduto blasts Wolf’s plan to borrow $3B to shore up pensions
  6. Area coaches prefer staying put for camp
  7. Steelers notebook: LB Dupree sits out backs-on–backers drill
  8. Pirates notebook: Melancon bails out Watson with extended outing
  9. McCutchen, Pirates cruise to interleague victory over Twins
  10. Tight ends’ role in Steelers passing game continues to lessen but players remain selfless
  11. Steelers’ Bell unsure why NFL reduced his suspension