Joe Walsh Implodes

During the summer of 2012, I campaigned for Joe Walsh.  I manned the phones for him, I went door to door for him, and I attended his events.  That October, I witnessed the third debate between Walsh and Tammy Duckworth (who would go on to win the election), which was not so much a debate than it was a large-scale shoutdown by the latter’s supporters.  Outside the event, I wasted fifteen minutes trying to get a sentence in against some rambunctious, spittle-drenched animal who mistook his arrant girth for intimidation. 

I supported Joe Walsh because he had spent the previous two years in Congress doing what he had campaigned to do.  He forewent government provided healthcare for himself and his wife, in principled opposition to socialized medicine.  When in D.C., he slept on an air mattress in his office rather than use taxpayer funds to stay in posh hotels.  During his tenure, he held 363 town hall meetings, all open to the public, which was more than any other congressperson.  He refused to budge an inch on increasing the deficit.  I met him a few times, and he seemed an over-caffeinated yet nice enough bloke.  But he put his money where his mouth was, and for that reason I was willing to donate my time and efforts to his campaign. 

After his campaign loss, he continued to support local conservative candidates and engage in political activity.  In 2013 he launched a radio show.  At first, I tuned in regularly.  But Walsh’s on-air shtick is “always yelling, always angry, all the time,” and it wears on a listener fairly quickly.  He also has an insufferably irritating habit of taking an exorbitant amount of time to hover around a point before finally expressing it.  I was one radio knob turn away from plenty of conservative commentators who could consolidate in under a minute ideas that took Walsh an entire segment.  That, coupled with his increasing tendency to market himself as an “independent” conservative (spoiler alert!) who doesn’t toe the Limbaugh/Hannity line, made those knob turns a daily occurrence.  After a few weeks, I couldn’t listen anymore in anything other than acutely limited doses.

But now, out of the blue, comes his unserious presidential run.  How do we know it’s unserious?  Because, as of this writing, his campaign website has zero information on it other than an anti-Trump rant and a way to donate money.  Because immediately following his announcement, he genuflected to the media (ABC, MSNBC, and CNN, to name a few) with a groveling apology tour.  Because he recruited George Conway and William “Kiss of Death” Kristol for his campaign.  Because no serious Republican contender quips that they’re on the verge of voting for socialists like Elizabeth Warren or Bernie Sanders rather than the man who’s done more to advance conservatism than anyone since Reagan.

And because anyone who has paid attention to either his time in office or his radio show knows that his overnight transformation reeks of crass opportunism.  The race had just lost its weathervane candidate when Kirsten Gillibrand collapsed over the first hurdle, and few seem enthusiastic about Walsh picking up her baton. 

Maybe he honestly thinks he can win.  I have no pretense to discerning his thought process, nor do I wish him any misfortune (other than losing his bid).  But something about Walsh changed between election night 2012 and now.  Maybe his radio show went to his head.  Maybe he’s pining for a “contributor” gig a la Max Boot.  If so, I hope he had the MSNBC contract signed and sealed before declaring his dead-on-arrival presidential run.  

And he should tread carefully.  His newfound “allies” are anything but.  The serpentine David Brock likely represents the overall leftist psyche when he dismisses Walsh as a “half baked, racist ripoff,” yet banks on his stillborn campaign to peel just enough support from Trump to hand the election to whatever pajama boy crosses their own primary finish line.  Having served his purpose, Walsh should expect to be dropped like Economics 101 at Berkeley. 

The Walsh presidential campaign will not make it off the tarmac.  It will trundle harmlessly into the runway blast fence, where it will putter to an inglorious stop.  It won’t even qualify for a conciliatory asterisk in the history books.  It’s a one-man circus whose performer outnumbers its fan base.  Soon the media voyeurs of this publicity stunt roadkill will drift away to gawk at the next lifeless spectacle. 

Either Walsh understands this and is cashing in on his Ephialtes impersonation for as long as possible, or he doesn’t understand this, and honestly thinks his enablers are his friends, with both his and the country’s best interests in mind, who aren’t snickering behind his back with relish for the day they can “accidentally” lose grip of his grasping hand and send him plunging to the sharks.  Either way, he has reduced himself to a shadow of his former service and, ironically, this man known for his clamor will evaporate with nary a whimper. 

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