Reps. Joe Walsh (R-Ill.) and Allen West (R-Fla.) are rhetorical bomb-throwers. But just when you think they have exhausted their ability to offend, they come up with another gasp-worthy comment that lowers the bar of political discourse. I’ll come back to West in a bit, but first, let’s take the “gentleman” from Illinois, shall we?
Walsh is defending his congressional seat against a challenge from Tammy Duckworth, a Democrat. Duckworth served 20 years in the military. She rose to the rank of lieutenant colonel. And she earned a Purple Heart, an Air Medal and an Army Commendation Medal after losing both of her legs in 2004, when her helicopter was hit by a rocket-propelled grenade in Iraq. Yet, as a video from ThinkProgress shows, Walsh would rather Duckworth shut up about all that.
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.
Despicable. Duckworth is nothing short of a hero whose service should be heralded on a nonpartisan basis. But we shouldn’t be surprised by Walsh’s impertinence. This is the same loose cannon who called President Obama a liar a year ago this month. This is also the deadbeat dad who was sued by his ex-wife for back child support. (The matter has since been settled.)
But what is unsettling is that voters in his district could send him back to Washington to further humiliate them and debase our national debate. We all deserve better.