Dead beat dad Joe Walsh tells American hero Tammy Duckworth to STFU

[warning: the following is sarcasm. I'm writing this so I don't pull my hair out and scream at the screen.] Joe Walsh is one classy guy. He continues to attack Tammy Duckworth for rubbing her service and sacrifice for this country in everyone’s faces. Every time she shows up anywhere she has to remind people she lost two legs and an arm when her helicopter was ambushed in Iraq. Can’t she, like, cover them up? It’s enough already. She may have fought for her country but Joe Walsh is also a warrior. He fought against paying over $100,000 in child support. But he is too humble and selfless to draw attention to his tireless fight against his own children. He also has fought against Tammy Duckworth for being a veteran, as he did in a Politico interview in April:

“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.”

And the tireless warrior Walsh continues to call out Duckworth for playing the whole war hero, veterans advocate, triple amputee card. This time, he’s asking why Duckworth can’t be as humble and self effacing about her military service as John McCain. What? John McCain served? I had no idea! (As Spencer Ackerman pointed out in 2008, “they should probably talk about that more.” )

At a town hall meeting on Sunday, Joe said:

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.

Oh, now that Walsh brings it up, I kinda do vaguely remember McCain talking about his military service. But he did it in a very, “I’m only doing this because my adviser throws me against a wall and hits me over the head if I don’t and that gets painful after a while” way. Anyway, Walsh went on to contrast humble McCain with haughty Duckworth to imply she is not a real hero: “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.”

Duckworth responded by saying “He really disrespected 23 million veterans across this nation with those comments…. Anyone who has worn the uniform of this great nation for a single day has done more for their nation than Joe Walsh has ever done.” And Vote Vets, a progressive veterans group, said in a statement to Think Progress, “Telling a veteran to shut up on the 4th of July is beyond the pale. We are past the point of calling on Joe Walsh to apologize. He should step aside and and stop embarrassing his district and America.”

Yesterday, Walsh offered an explanation, but by no means an apology to Duckworth.

“Of course Tammy Duckworth is a hero. I have called her a hero 100’s of times in the past four months. Just like every man and woman who has worn the uniform, her service demands — demands — our utmost respect. That’s why I recognize our veterans at the beginning of every one of my public town halls. However, unlike most veterans I have had the honor to meet since my election to Congress, who rarely if ever talk about their service or the combat they’ve seen, that is darn near all of what Tammy Duckworth talks about.”

Joe, I think the best way for you to fight back is to start bragging about the way you served your country! Talk about the times you, like, uhh, refused to pay child support, or screamed at your constituents, or called the president a liar and a “tyrant,” or said he was only elected because he was black or trivialized the sacrifices of veterans. What’s more patriotic than that?


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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