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It happened Wednesday night at the beginning of a debate between Democratic incumbent Melissa Bean, GOP challenger Joe Walsh and Green Party candidate Bill Scheurer.  The debate for Illinois 8th congressional district took place at Grayslake Central High School. While League of Women Voters moderator Kathy Tate-Bradish began explaining the rules of the debate an audience member raised his hand and (when called upon) asked if they were going to start with the Pledge of Allegiance. When she said no, the audience booed and 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 saying they are not allowed to disrespect her.(If you cannot see videos below click here)

Ms Tate-Bradish took offense to the move and blamed it on the GOP candidate.

What seemed like a unanimous spontaneous show of Patriotism, gave Ms Tate-Bradish an opportunity to criticize the GOP Candidate in the press, saying that it was all the fault of the unruly republicans, the Executive director of the group echoed her sentiments. What  the press didn’t report that both the moderator and the Executive Director have been very active in the progressive movement.

Ms Tate-Bradish, the moderator was very involved in the Illinois effort to make Barak Obama president, she even hosted campaign events for Obama in her own home.

Illinois League of Women Voters Executive Director Jan Czarnik said what happened at the debate and subsequent criticism directed at moderator Kathy Tate-Bradish was an attempt by supporters of Republican candidate Joe Walsh and tea party members to bully the organization.

By all of the press reports almost all of the crowd stood up to cite the pledge, so is Czarnik saying that Democrats don’t believe in reciting the pledge?

I am sure her criticism of  Republicans and the Tea Party had absolutely nothing to do with the Fact she used to work for progressive mainstays such as ACORN’s Project Vote, and the Progressive People for the American Way. Below is the notice of Ms Czarnik’s hiring by the League.

“It’s a phony patriotism issue is what it is,” she said. “They must think it helps their campaign.”

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.

….Island Lake resident Joseph Ptak, a Walsh supporter, claimed Friday he asked for the pledge at the debate. Provenzano said he was not certain who made the request.

Ptak, 58, a U.S. Air Force veteran, said the pledge was a proper way to begin the event that was in a high school and had student participation. He said many veterans were in the audience, and he objects to Czarnik questioning the request’s sincerity.

“I’m a Joe Walsh supporter, but first and foremost I’m an American,” Ptak said.

According to its website, the mission of the Illinois League of Woman Voters says that it is supposed to be non-partisan:

The League takes positions on issues, but neither supports nor opposes any political party or candidate (appointed or elected) for public office.

Judging by their backgrounds and their reaction to a spontaneous public display of patriotism, neither Jan Czarnik nor Kathy Tate-Bradish fit a reasonable definition of non-partisan.

STORY UPDATE:  Found another video of the incident, which shows much more of the debate including the “don’t disrespect me” line and the fact that Tate-Bradish did not seem to moderate fairly.

UPDATE #2:  Just received this from Joe Ptak, the gentleman who asked for the Pledge:

My name is Joe Ptak and I live in Island Lake, Illinois. I attended the Joe Walsh-Melissa Bean “forum” and I WAS THE INDIVIDUAL who stood up and wanted to know why the pledge of allegiance was not going to be recited…I thought it might have been an oversight. I was flabbergasted and stunned to hear the LEAGUE OF WOMEN VOTERS moderator say to me, and the audience, that it was never part of their program at these events and will not allowed.

Please keep in mind that this “forum” was organized in Grayslake High School for the benefit of the students, who were asking the questions. Furthermore, there were numerous students present (gaining extra credit) as well as 350 adults and media who packed the auditorium.

I served in the USAFR’s for ten (10) years and there were many veterans in attendance. I was so proud when the audience rose up one by one, then in mass to recite the pledge of allegiance with loud and heavy emphasis on the words LIBERTY AND JUSTICE FOR ALL. The moderator then had the gall to admonish the audience and for “disrespecting her”…my wife told me if that woman did not shut up she was going to get her “Brooklyn up” (being from NY).

I happen to be an Hispanic immigrant from Peru, South America, who was brought to this great country by my parents, along with three other siblings in 1960, when I was eight years old. I was raised in Chicago, have seen, and experienced a lot in this world. People are literary dying each day for just the OPPORTUNITY to live in this great land I call my home.

There are ignorant people in this land who do not have the slightest idea, nor understand, what it means to be an AMERICAN. Our Liberty, Freedom of Speech and the Press are never guaranteed and we must always fight to maintain them. I think our students in attendance witnessed that first hand and gained a lot of extra credit for themselves.

Update #3 What is it with Progressives and the Pledge of Allegiance

Ed Morrissey of Hot Air found this little ditty, back in 2002 Minnesota’s Congresswoman Betty McCollum, who’s defending the seat against a strong challenge from Republican Teresa Collett in the 4th CD this year, was honored with leading the House in the Pledge. On the video McCollum intentionally stops talking when she got to the words “under God”.  Click Here to see this must watch video at Hot Air

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