You know the drinking game “Hi, Bob,” right? You watch The Bob Newhart Show and drink every time someone greets the star. Well, here’s a political version. It’s called “Ashleigh,” and it stars Rep. Joe Walsh, R-Ill., and CNN anchor Ashleigh Banfield. All you need is a DVR and four cases of beer. You’re going to have to pause a lot and drink a lot.
Banfield interviewed Walsh about his suggestion that opponent Tammy Duckworth is not a “true hero” because she brags about her military service. Walsh shouted “Ashleigh” 90 times in 12 minutes, in an attempt to get his interlocutor’s attention. To be fair to Walsh, Banfield was abrasive and sarcastic, and clearly took Duckworth’s side. But the Huffington Post produced a mashup video that condensed every “Ashleigh” into less than two minutes.
Between all the Ashleigh’s, here’s what Walsh said to Banfield:
“I don’t regret anything I said. Understand me, every man and woman who’s worn the uniform is a hero in my book. I’ve said that thousands of times. I’ve called Tammy Duckworth a hero hundreds of times. This is a manufactured issue because when I’m out there, this is the lay of the land out there now. I’m being taped by Tammy Duckworth’s people. They are manufacturing this crisis. …What I said was she’s a war hero, but she’s running for Congress. I don’t know about you, Ashleigh, but hopefully, voters think, like every other candidate for Congress, tell us where you stand on issues, and for some reason, Ashleigh, she hasn’t done that.”
Banfield responded by reading a list of issues Duckworth has discussed, including partisanship, the economy, health care reform, food stamps and Pell grants. It appeared to be a printout from Duckworth’s website.
“She spends a lot of time talking about her war service. I’ve asked her to debate me monthly. She won’t. She will not get in front of voters and take questions directly from voters. Because she’s a war hero, Ashleigh, that demands our respect, but that doesn’t demand our vote.”
Banfield then read a list of Duckworth’s accomplishments, such as starting a 24-hour crisis hotline for veterans.
“When it comes to issues, that’s why we should elect people. So I’m taking it that you don’t think someone who served automatically ought to get elected when they’re running for Congress. It comes to what you’ve done and where you stand on the important issues of our time.”
Of course, Walsh won’t be remembered for what he said, but for how often -- and how loudly -- he shouted at the person to whom he was saying it. Cable news’s product is shouting, conflict and bad manners. Right now, no politician in America provides those three elements better than Joe Walsh.