Rep. Joe Walsh, Tea Party-Ill., does not sound impressed with Tammy Duckworth’s service in Iraq. Duckworth lost both her legs after her Black Hawk helicopter was shot down by insurgents. Here’s what Walsh had to say about that during an interview with Politico at an Elgin coffee shop:
“I have so much respect for what she did in the fact that she sacrificed her body for this country,” said Walsh, simultaneously lowering his voice as he leaned forward before pausing for dramatic effect. “Ehhh. Now let’s move on.”
“What else has she done? Female, wounded veteran … ehhh,” he continued. “She is nothing more than a handpicked Washington bureaucrat. David Axelrod, Rahm Emanuel just picked her up and dropped her into this district.”
Is Walsh reading out of the Swift Boat playbook? In 2004, the Republicans questioned Sen. John Kerry’s service in Vietnam by funding a group called Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, which insinuated that the wounds for which Kerry had won medals were exaggerated. The aim was to turn Kerry’s greatest strength as a candidate -- his military service -- into a liability. Walsh hasn’t gone so far as to form “Black Hawk Veterans For Truth,” but he seems to be belittling Duckworth’s military service.
Tact is not really part of Joe Walsh’s makeup, but he should keep his mouth shut on this issue. George W. Bush and Dick Cheney needed to tear down Kerry’s military credentials because they were two guys who’d never served in a war, but had started a war themselves. Making Kerry’s military service the issue distracted attention from their own draft evasion.
Eight years later, with the U.S. out of Iraq, war is not an issue in this congressional election. The economy is the issue. It’s true that Duckworth’s war wounds are one reason she’s been promoted as a candidate by the Democrats. Peter Roskam didn’t point that out when he ran against Duckworth in 2006. He won. Walsh just sounds like a cad when he talks about it. If he keeps it up, he’ll lose badly, but when he does, he’ll probably declare himself a martyr to political correctness, and start a right-wing talk show, which will allow him to insult women and wounded veterans with impunity.
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