According to Illinois Rep. Joe Walsh (R-Chicken Hawk), “true heroes” don’t ever, ever talk about their time in combat. Especially when they’re running for office. If you’re a war veteran, just shut the eff up, according to Mr. Walsh. Joe’s looking at you, Tammy Duckworth.
At a town hall meeting on July 3, 2012, Walsh extolled the virtues of John McCain refusing to talk about his experience as a fighter pilot during the Vietnam War on the 2008 campaign trail. Walsh then took that example as reason to diss his opponent, Tammy Duckworth, for mentioning her 20 years of military service and her most recent service during the Iraq war:
WALSH: Understand something about John McCain. His political advisers, day after day, had to take him and almost throw him against a wall and hit him against the head and say, “Senator, you have to let people know you served! You have to talk about what you did!” He didn’t want to do it, wouldn’t do it. Day after day they had to convince him. Finally, he talked a little bit about it, but it was very uncomfortable for him. That’s what’s so noble about our heroes. Now I’m running against a woman who, my God, that’s all she talks about. Our true heroes, it’s the last thing in the world they talk about. That’s why we’re so indebted and in awe of what they’ve done.
You can watch the video in its entirety here. I have to admit, I didn’t watch; mostly because I didn’t want to witness a mob of Teabaggers fawning over their Anointed One. I have a feeling they pruned the ‘difficult’ questions anyway.
Now, as for John McCain not wanting to mention his Vietnam war stint. He was not reticent about his military service, and his experience as a POW, during the 2000 Presidential primary. Which was perfectly okay by me. McCain also wrote about his military experiences in his memoir, Faith of My Fathers: A Family Memoir. The reason for John McCain eschewing mention of his military service in 2008 probably had something to do with his 2000 Republican Presidential primary opponent, George W. Bush. Operatives within the Bush campaign (unjustly, IMHO) accused McCain of being a coward and a traitor, that he must have struck some dark deal with the North Vietnamese in order to be sprung from prison. Yep, while John McCain, Navy fighter pilot, was rotting away for five and a half years in a Viet Cong tiger cage, noshing on cockroaches and rain water, George W. Bush was enjoying kegger parties with his fellow Texas Air National Guardsmen. Way to treat a ‘noble hero,’ eh?
Back to Joe Walsh (R-Deadbeat Dad) and his “Ashleigh, Ashleigh, ASHLEIGH” shoutfest with Ms. Banfield on CNN. Which was epic. Ms. Banfield attempted to inform Walsh that by accusing Ms. Duckworth of constantly blabbing about her military experience, he was indirectly cuckolding all military veterans for so much as whispering about their service…and for God’s sake, do NOT tell any combat stories. Never mind that Tammy Duckworth survived a horrific helicopter crash in Iraq, losing both legs and has only partial use of one arm. I think she’s kinda reminded of her war experience every time she has to strap on her prosthetic legs.
Despite telling Ashleigh Banfield that he “doesn’t regret anything” he said in the town hall, Walsh backpedaled a little by mentioning, “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.” So, Walsh admits that Duckworth is indeed a hero…she should just shut up about it. Then she would be promoted, according to Joe Walsh, to ‘noble hero’ status. Oy.
In between the myriad “Ashleigh, Ashleigh, ASHLEIGH” wailings, Walsh continued his mantra that Illinois voters know nothing about where Tammy Duckworth stands on important issues. That she refuses to appear with him in debates and at town halls. I guess the debate held in May of this year didn’t count, right?
Here’s an excerpt:
On job creation, Duckworth said the federal government should do more to press banks to lend money for start-up businesses and those wishing to expand, saying taxpayers bailed financial institutions out only to have banks sit on money. Duckworth said she supports targeted tax credits to encourage companies to hire and would support an infrastructure plan that would create jobs and jump-start spending in the district.
Walsh said that kind of government interference is crippling the economy. “Government does not create jobs,” said Walsh, of McHenry. “Businessmen in Elk Grove and Carpentersville and Elgin and Schaumburg create jobs. And what they want from their government is just basically, ‘Give me the rules of the road, and get out of the way.'”
Gee, one sounds like an actual plan and the other sounds like an editorial. Oy.
So, here’s the thing. As far as I’m concerned, a hero is someone who is willing to put themselves in harm’s way to help or protect others with little or no regard for their own safety. Take it a step further and ask yourself if you would volunteer to go to war, or take a job where you had to run into burning buildings on a regular basis. Would you take a job where you’d have to stop a bank robbery or get in the middle of a knife fight? I think most of us would rather avoid situations which might cause maiming or death. That said, all veterans running for office whether they’re Democrat, Republican, Libertarian, whatever, should be allowed to speak about their service to this country as much as they’d like. They have all definitely earned that right, and it would behoove all of us to listen to those stories.
As an addendum: The ex-Eagle, Joe Walsh, supports Tammy Duckworth. W00t!