News Politics

While Country Celebrates Patriotism, Joe Walsh Says Duckworth Isn’t a Hero

Robin Marty

Most people spend the Fourth celebrating the America and the people who have made the country great.  Congressman Walsh spent his brushing off blowback from calling his rival and former veteran "not a true hero."

Patriotism tends to run high around Independence Day. Flags wave, people are sporting red, white and blue, and it seems like nearly everyone suddenly has a little Sousa in their step.

But while most of us are thinking fireworks and hotdogs, politicians are in their best glad-handing mode, marching in parades, making speeches and shoring up their votes. Which makes it a really odd time for Illinois Representative Joe Walsh to once more attack his opponent, former Iraq war veteran Tammy Duckworth, by saying she’s not a “true hero” like others in the military.

Duckworth, who lost both legs while serving in Iraq, has been spending too much time talking about her time in the military, Walsh complained at a Sunday event.  “Now I’m running against a woman who, I mean, my God — that’s all she talks about. Our true heroes, the men and women who served us, it’s the last thing in the world they talk about.”

VoteVets, a non-partisan PAC that supports veterans issues, took offense at the comments, and especially their timing. In a statement to Think Progress, VoteVets said:

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“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.”

Walsh isn’t daunted, and has continued to criticize Duckworth even in his half-hearted apology.

“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. Her service demands our thanks and respect, but not our vote.”

This is by no means the first time Walsh has dismissed Duckworth’s military record.  In April, Walsh had to apologize after belittling Duckworth during an interview with Politico.

“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.”

Walsh is a freshman Republican in the Illinois 8th district. His district has now been redrawn and is considered to lean Democratic in 2012.

News Politics

Misogynists Just Can’t Seem to Help Themselves: Cong. Joe Walsh Tells Sandra Fluke to “Get a Job”

Jodi Jacobson

Talking Points Memo reported today that Illinois Congressman Joe Walsh, already controversial for his demeaning and offensive comments, and his support for Congressman Todd Akin, attacked law student and women's health advocate Sandra Fluke.

 HT to Credo Mobile and our colleague Sarah Lane for alerting us to this story.

Talking Points Memo reported today that Illinois Congressman Joe Walsh, already controversial for his demeaning and offensive comments, and his support for Congressman Todd Akin, attacked law student and women’s health advocate Sandra Fluke for her support for the birth control benefit established under the Affordable Care Act, and telling her to “get a job.”

As TPM reports,

“So at the Democratic Convention Wednesday night their first prime time speaker was Sandra Fluke, whatever her name is,” Walsh said. “Think about this, a 31-32 year old law student who has been a student for life, who gets up there in front of a national audience and tells the American people, ‘I want America to pay for my contraceptives.’ You’re kidding me. Go get a job. Go get a job Sandra Fluke.”

“This a woman who feels entitled that we all should pay for her contraceptives,” he said. “This is what we are teaching Americans? That was embarrassing. That was embarrassing.”

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It may not surprise anyone that Walsh has his facts wrong: Insurance coverage of birth control–like every other covered service–is not taxpayer-fund, but the individuals who pay for their premiums out of pocket, earn coverage as part of their compensation package at work, or pay for part of their health care under their employer’s plan. It is no different than well-woman care, pre-natal care, or any other kind of covered benefit.

Credo’s new media staff captured a video of captured video of Walsh, and the transcript of his comments follows below.

The transcript:

How about this? This one kills me, then I’ll be done with my rant.

So at the Democratic Convention Wednesday night their first prime time speaker was Sandra Fluke — Fluke, Fluke, whatever her name is.

Think about this: a 31-32 year old law student who’s been a student for life, who gets up there in front of a national audience and tells the American people, “I want America to pay for my contraceptives.” You’re kidding me. Go get a job. Go get a job Sandra Fluke.

This is what, I was offended. We’ve got Americans who are struggling. We’ve got parents in this country who are struggling to buy sneakers that their kids can wear to school that just started. We’ve got parents up and down my district who are barely keeping their house. And, and, and, we have to be confronted by a woman, the Democratic Party this is what they stand for. Their going to put a woman in front of us who is complaining that the country — you, me and you — won’t pay the 9 dollars per month to pay for her contraceptives.

How crazy is this? In a way it’s not her fault, because we teach people this stuff. You go back to fairness, we teach young people this. Don’t worry, government will take care of you. You’re having trouble with your student loans? Don’t worry, government will be there for you.

We are raising the Sandra Flukes of the world. We’re raising Americans who don’t know how to take care of themselves, who feel entitled. This a woman who feels entitled that we all should pay for her contraceptives. This is what we are teaching Americans? That was embarrassing. That was embarrassing.

It’s a funny thing: Those who scream most loudly about our “freedoms” seem also to be the loudest to decry anyone who exercises those freedoms by advocating for an issue in which they believe or on behalf of others.

News Politics

Campaign Misogyny Doesn’t Stop for Political Conventions

Robin Marty

No wonder women still tend to shy away from politics.

We are entering the height of campaign season, and it’s typical that at this point in the cycle mud begins to fly. Sadly, when it comes to women candidates and political figures, that mudslinging tends to be sexist, too.

Congressman Joe Walsh already has an uphill battle trying to win re-election in a newly drawn, more liberal Illinois district. But his attacks on competitor Tammy Duckworth, already noted as petty and dismissive, are now misogynistic, too.

Laura Bassett writes:

Rep. Joe Walsh (R-Ill.) this week mocked Democratic opponent Tammy Duckworth, an Iraq war veteran and double amputee, for speaking at the Democratic National Convention, charging that the only issue Duckworth cares about is her outfit.

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“Ms. Duckworth has continued to show more interest in rubbing elbows with big name party insiders, then [SIC] staying home and tackling the tough issues facing voters in the district,” he said in a statement on his website. “It has become abundantly clear that at this point the only debate Ms. Duckworth is actually interested in having is which outfit she’ll be wearing for her big speech.”

The “concerned about her looks/frivolous/self-absorbed” accusations are the most common used against female political figures, and activst Sandra Fluke bore the brunt of them on twitter after she finished her speech at the Democratic National Convention.  Think Progress rounded up some of the worst of the worst.

@AnnCoulterSandra wants taxpayers to pay for her tanning appointments.

@DLoesch Don’t lecture conservative women about empowerment while demanding that we pay for what goes on in your bedroom

@michellemalkin Shorter @SandraFluke speech: Me me me me me me. Free free free free B(irth) C(ontrol). Eeeeevil GOP.

But sexism doesn’t just come from rival campaigns or partisan pundits, it can come from reporters, too. Name It, Change It points to a recent Chicago Sun Times article where reporters ask a potential female candidate for governor if she really believes she can handle holding office and properly caring for two young children at the same time.

[Attorney General Lisa] Madigan and her husband, Pat Byrnes, have two young children, ages 7 and 4. She was asked whether she could serve as governor and still raise her kids the way she wants to.

“Wow. Does anybody ever ask that question?” she said. “I’m very lucky to have the support of my family. My husband helps take care of our kids. But, I think more people should ask that of men running for office as well.”

Pressed further on whether she could simultaneously hold both jobs — governor and mom — she said, “I can be the attorney general and do that. There are plenty of women who juggle.”

Reminded that being governor is a lot more demanding than attorney general, she said, “All of these jobs are very demanding. And people who, unfortunately, have to work three jobs and don’t necessarily have health-care coverage — they’re even in a worse situation. So nobody needs to give any pity on what elected officials have to endure.”

Despite the alleged desire to win over female voters, it appears that this cycle isn’t going to be much different from any other when it comes to attacks on women.