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Opinion: Joe Walsh's Manhood Gap

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Opinion: Joe Walsh's Manhood Gap

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I’ve been trying to figure out the motivation behind Rep. Joe Walsh’s sexist behavior to Tammy Duckworth. At their debate last week, Walsh held up a photo of Duckworth looking at dresses before her speech at the Democratic National Convention.

“I was marching in a parade in Schaumburg Sunday, two days before the Democratic convention, when Tammy Duckworth was on a stage down in Charlotte picking out a dress for her speech Tuesday night.”

The implication: Walsh is a man who takes campaigning seriously -- what could be more serious than a parade in Schaumburg? -- while Duckworth is a frivolous female who takes forever to get dressed. (I don’t think the phrase “I was marching” was idly chosen, either.)

I think Walsh flashed that picture because he’s trying to close the manhood gap with Duckworth. Walsh is an insecure bully who needs to point out that Duckworth is more of a woman than he is to overcome the fact that she’s also more of a man than he is. Let’s look at their biographies.

  • Duckworth is a lieutenant colonel in the Illinois National Guard, and a veteran of the Iraq War, where she won a Purple Heart, an Air Medal and an Army Commendation Medal after the Black Hawk helicopter she piloted was shot down by insurgents; Walsh has never served in the military.
  • Walsh failed in the most basic responsibility of manhood, supporting his wife and children: his ex-wife sued him for $117,000 in back child support.
  • Duckworth is the strong, silent type; Walsh cannot stop talking.

Duckworth had a comeback for Walsh’s accusation that she’s a fashion plate. “Yes, I do sometimes look at the clothes that I wear,” she said, “but for most of my adult life, I’ve worn one color. It’s called camouflage.” If Duckworth really were a fashion plate, she would never call camouflage a color.

 

This month, Ward Room blogger Edward McClelland’s Young Mr. Obama: Chicago and the Making of a Black President will be available on Kindle for $9.99. Tracing Obama’s career in Chicago from his arrival as a community organizer to his election to the U.S. Senate, Young Mr. Obama tells the story of how a callow, presumptuous young man became a master politician, and of why only Chicago could have produced our first black president.

Related Topics Opinion, Joe Walsh
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