Editor’s note: Parts of the following three-part series about former radio talk show host Joe Walsh were published a couple of weeks ago at the Illinois Family Action website in a version co-authored by David E. Smith.
Part 1 of 3.
Joe Walsh announced on August 25th that he is now a candidate for President of the United States and will challenge President Donald Trump in the Republican primaries.
This is not an article from the satire website The Onion, nor is it a draft being sent to the Babylon Bee , where a recent headline read, “Reality Criticized For Not More Clearly Distinguishing Itself From Satire.”
A few weeks ago when someone told me that Joe was thinking about running for president, I had to laugh. I then did a quick Internet search to learn more. (I must admit being surprised to learn that former Massachusetts governor William Weld was already in the race!)
According to one news source, other people considering a run against President Trump are
former Tennessee Senator Bob Corker; Mark Sanford, a former South Carolina congressman who was also the state’s governor; and former Ohio Governor John Kasich. Former Arizona Senator Jeff Flake has said he won’t run despite receiving a number of personal requests to mount a challenge.
That’s not exactly a stellar list of names.
Up front I have to say that I personally like Joe, who I met ten years ago when he entered the primary to challenge Congresswoman Melissa Bean in 2009. It happens that I like and get along with a lot of people I disagree with.
He won a crowded primary and squeaked out a win against Bean in the general election despite being dogged by a truck load of controversy along the way. Joe was behind in paying his child support. The press loved covering the drama within his campaign. Some supporters and staff claimed he was difficult to work with and for. As a longtime veteran of campaign politics let me assure you that’s very common.
His short tenure in the U.S. House of representatives was boisterous — Joe was good at getting national media coverage since he was an outspoken critic of Democrats and Republicans alike.
His record was legislatively non-productive — something non uncommon for first term congressmen. After redistricting, Joe failed to get reelected to a second term.
The Joe Show Goes on the Radio
A radio talk show hosting gig followed, and the same manic and colorful Joe took his shtick to the airwaves. For many conservatives, he was saying things in exactly the hard-hitting manner they wanted.
Then Donald Trump won the White House. Since I didn’t often listen to his drive-time radio show, I don’t know exactly when he started his criticism of the president. When his Trump-bashing severely picked up about a year ago, many of us that knew Joe were surprised at the harsh tone and tenor.
It was around that time I interacted with Joe via text, seeking to understand his reaction to the president’s Helsinki summit with Russian president Vladimir Putin. Those of us who had watched countless such summit press conferences weren’t surprised in the least that President Trump came across as diplomatic. Rarely does the leader of one country attack another in front of the cameras.
Nevertheless, Joe chose to join in full time with the Never Trumpers and the Hate Trump Media. Everything the president does is spun in the worst possible way by that crowd, and Joe was well on the way to contracting a severe case of Trump Derangement Syndrome.
It didn’t help matters that last November Joe’s wife Helene lost her state rep race despite running in a traditionally solid Republican district. Trump haters blame Trump for as many things as they can, so Trump was said to be the reason for Helene’s defeat. Her defeat wasn’t the result of a feckless Illinois GOP or a decades-long complete lack of messaging and outreach by conservatives in the Chicago suburbs. No, the guy in the White House was to blame.
Up next: Who will support Joe’s campaign?