Rep. Tim Murphy and Right Wing Virtue Signalling

Rep. Tim Murphy (R-Pennsylvania) reminds us that Republicans and right wingers can virtue signal with the best of them. Murphy is a solidly pro-life Republican who urged a woman with whom he was having an affair to get an abortion (emphasis added),

A text message sent in January to U.S. Rep. Tim Murphy by a woman with whom he had an extra-marital relationship took him to task for an anti-abortion statement posted on Facebook from his office’s public account.

“And you have zero issue posting your pro-life stance all over the place when you had no issue asking me to abort our unborn child just last week when we thought that was one of the options,” Shannon Edwards, a forensic psychologist in Pittsburgh with whom the congressman admitted last month to having a relationship, wrote to Mr. Murphy on Jan. 25, in the midst of an unfounded pregnancy scare.

A text from Mr. Murphy’s cell phone number that same day in response says, “I get what you say about my March for life messages. I’ve never written them. Staff does them. I read them and winced. I told staff don’t write any more. I will.”

. . .

It was early this year that the text exchange over abortion was prompted by a Jan. 24 Facebook post by Mr. Murphy: “The United States is one of just seven countries worldwide that permits elective abortion more than halfway through pregnancy (beyond 20 weeks). It is a tragic shame that America is leading the world in discarding and disregarding the most vulnerable,” he wrote.

It’s interesting that one of the criticism’s of the term “virtue signaling” as commonly used is that it is uncharitable, citing Sam Bowman as writing,

The other problem with the term is that it assumes your opponents are disingenuous. This is of course very common but it is probably the single worst thing about political debate. It comes from an underlying assumption that the world is straightforward and your views are obviously correct.

An alternative analysis would be that much political debate in the United States is disingenous and the arguments therein too often are mere window dressings and facades.

Just ask Tim Murphy.

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