Here’s some advice when running against a double-amputee war veteran: Do not accuse her of not being a “true hero.” Rep. Joe Walsh (R-IL) was defeated by Iraq-war veteran Tammy Duckworth, who lost both her legs when a rocket-propelled grenade took down her helicopter. Walsh complained Duckworth was too focused on her military career, and had little else going for her. “What else has she done?” Walsh said. “Female, wounded veteran … ehhh.” Later in the campaign, Walsh claimed a woman’s life could not be threatened by a pregnancy. Apparently, voters have a limit to how much stupidity they will tolerate.
Walsh may have lost his job, but his rantings won’t soon be forgotten. In fact, Ward Room predicts he’ll become one of the best-remembered one-term congressmen in history, along with these folks:
Rep. Eric Massa, D-N.Y., 2009-10: The congressman who accused Rahm Emanuel of confronting him naked in the shower, Massa resigned after he was accused of sexually harassing a male member of his staff.
Rep. Michael Patrick Flanagan, R-Ill., 1995-97: During the Republican Revolution of 1994, Flanagan defeated House Ways and Means Committee chairman Dan Rostenkowski after Rosty was indicted in the House Postal scandal. But his real ignominy is in how he left Congress -- losing his seat to another future federal inmate, Rod Blagojevich.
Rep. Marjorie Margolies-Mezvinsky, D-Pa., 1993-95: Margolies-Mezvinsky lost her suburban Philadelphia seat after casting the deciding vote for Bill Clinton’s 1993 budget. Clinton paid her back by letting his daughter, Chelsea, marry her son, Mark.
Rep. Michael Huffington, R-Calif., 1993-1995: After spending $5.4 million for a seat in Congress, the natural gas heir quit after one term to unsuccessfully challenge Sen. Dianne Feinstein. His name lives on at the Huffington Post, founded by his ex-wife, Arianna.
Rep. Richard Vander Veen, D-Mich., 1974-77: By running against President Nixon during Watergate, Vander Veen won a special election to replace Gerald Ford, who had been elevated to the vice presidency. His victory -- the first by a Democrat in the district since 1912 -- helped convince Republicans that Nixon had to go.
Rep. Allard Lowenstein, D-N.Y., 1969-71: A legendary liberal activist, Lowenstein had founded the “Dump Johnson” that hounded the president out of office in 1968, over the Vietnam War. Defeated after his seat was gerrymandered, he went on to head Americans for Democratic Action.
Rep. Sherman Adams, R-N.H., 1945-47: Adams later became famous as Dwight Eisenhower’s White House Chief of Staff. Because Ike was inattentive to his office, Adams was so powerful that Washingtonian joked Eisenhower would become president if he died. Adams was forced to resign after accepting a vicuna overcoat as a gift from a textile manufacturer who did business with the government.
Rep. Will Rogers Jr., D-Calif., 1943-45: Better known for playing his father in The Will Rogers Story.
Rep. Jeannette Rankin, R-Mont., 1917-19, 1941-43: Rankin was actually a double one-termer, but coincidentally, her terms occurred when the U.S. entered World War I and World War II. Rankin voted against both declarations of war. In both cases, the votes cost Rankin re-election.
Rep. Abraham Lincoln, Whig-Ill., 1847-49: There’s hope for you yet, Joe Walsh.