Rep. Joe Walsh on “female, wounded veteran”: “Let’s move on. What else has she done?”

Whether he’s refusing to pay his child support so he can afford to fund his campaign and go on luxury vacations, lying about not being able to afford it, calling President Obama a liar, or yelling at constituents, Illinois congressman and Tea Party darling Joe Walsh knows how to keep it classy. So, I shouldn’t be surprised by his most recent disgusting comments about Tammy Duckworth, who is running against him  in Illinois’s 8th congressional district. Duckworth served as Assistant Operations Officer and a Black Hawk helicopter pilot in Iraq. After her helicopter was ambushed and hit by a grenade, she successfully landed the helicopter, but lost her legs and her right arm in the blast.

In an interview with Politico,  Walsh reflected on Duckworth’s achievements:

“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.”

Joe really knows how to pay his respects! What is more respectful than  trivializing a person’s gender, and traumatic injuries? Oh, I know: dismissing the person as worthless. But before we “eh, move on,” let’s review what else Duckworth has done.

  • After becoming a “wounded veteran,” Duckworth served as the Assistant Secretary for Public and Intergovernmental Affairs in the United States Department of Veterans Affairs.
  • Before that, she was the director of the Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs.
  • Duckworth declined her Army medical retirement and continues her service in the National Guard
  • and has written on the health risks of environmental radon and lung cancer.
  • Thanks to her advocacy for veterans and health care, Duckworth won the Hubert H. Humphrey Civil Rights Award,
  • was named the 2008 Disabled Veteran of the Year by the Disabled American Veterans,
  • was selected by Candidate Obama to deliver the presidential campaign’s key address on Veterans’ rights at the Democratic National Convention,
  • received an American Veterans (AMVETS) Silver Helmet award
  • and The George Washington University’s Colin Powell Public Service Award.

Vote Vets has released a press release which states “New Low: Deadbeat Congressman Joe Walsh Insults Veterans’ Sacrifice.” Iraq War Veteran and Chairman of PAC Jon Soltz stated,

“Just when you think Congressman Joe Walsh couldn’t sink any lower, he insults the service and sacrifice of our Veterans, particularly one like Tammy who lost her limbs in the line of duty. Congressman Walsh owes Tammy Duckworth and all Veterans an apology for his outrageous disrespect for their service…. But it’s not just that.  If you think working for America’s veterans at the VA both in Washington and Illinois is nothing, if you think working to improve the economic lives of veterans is nothing, then Joe Walsh’s record is below nothing.  He represents the do-nothing, obstructionist, extreme Tea Party wing of the GOP, not the values that Tammy stood up for.”

And writer Carol Felsenthal was right on the money when she wrote of Walsh’s statements, “the last line, especially, with its image of the legless Duckworth being dropped from the air “into [the] district” struck me as beyond tasteless.”

Check out Joe yelling at his constituents here


Born and raised on the mean streets of New York City’s Upper West Side, Katie Halper is a comic, writer, blogger, satirist and filmmaker based in New York. Katie graduated from The Dalton School (where she teaches history) and Wesleyan University (where she learned that labels are for jars.) A director of Living Liberally and co-founder/performer in Laughing Liberally, Katie has performed at Town Hall, Symphony Space, The Culture Project, D.C. Comedy Festival, all five Netroots Nations, and The Nation Magazine Cruise, where she made Howard Dean laugh! and has appeared with Lizz Winstead, Markos Moulitsas, The Yes Men, Cynthia Nixon and Jim Hightower. Her writing and videos have appeared in The New York Times, Comedy Central, The Nation Magazine, Gawker, Nerve, Jezebel, the Huffington Post, Alternet and Katie has been featured in/on NY Magazine, LA Times, In These Times, Gawker,Jezebel, MSNBC, Air America, GritTV, the Alan Colmes Show, Sirius radio (which hung up on her once) and the National Review, which called Katie “cute and some what brainy.” Katie co-produced Tim Robbins’s film Embedded, (Venice Film Festival, Sundance Channel); Estela Bravo’s Free to Fly (Havana Film Festival, LA Latino Film Festival); was outreach director for The Take, Naomi Klein/Avi Lewis documentary about Argentine workers (Toronto & Venice Film Festivals, Film Forum); co-directed New Yorkers Remember the Spanish Civil War, a video for Museum of the City of NY exhibit, and wrote/directed viral satiric videos including Jews/ Women/ Gays for McCain.

Katie is a writer, comedian, filmmaker, and New Yorker.

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