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Illinois Rep. Joe Walsh Handles Losing About How We Expected

By Chuck Sudo in News on Nov 7, 2012 9:40PM

When wrestling legend Ric Flair was in his prime as a performer it was often said he could wrestle a broom and make an audience believe the broom had a chance of winning the match. It’s possible Democratic strategists could have slated a broom against Rep. Joe Walsh and it would have garnered 15 percent of the vote. That’s how unlikable the abrasive Walsh came across in sound bite form.

Instead, they placed their support behind Tammy Duckworth and voters responded by electing her to Congress in an Eighth Congressional District whose boundaries were redrawn specifically to make Walsh a one-term congressman. We feel Duckworth will make a fine representative for IL-8, but believe the election was less about Duckworth winning and more about whether constituents in the district wanted another two years of a raging asshole as their representative.

Surprisingly, 45 percent of voters who turned out to the polls Tuesday wanted that—a sign that Walsh was able to connect with the frustrations of his constituency. (Even Ric Flair, at his most dastardly, had a vocal fan base.) The majority was simply tired of Walsh’s race-baiting; his bitching about how war hero Duckworth touted her military service in her campaign; yelling at constituents at town hall meetings; his claims that science made late-term abortions to save the life of a woman moot; his persistent trumpeting of limited government and personal accountability. And voters didn’t want lectures on pulling up the bootstraps from a man who owed $117,000 in child support payments to his ex-wife.

As NBC 5’s political editor and Sun-Times columnist Carol Marin noted, it was Walsh’s dunderheaded comments about abortion that finally provided the final boost Duckworth needed to convincingly pull ahead in the polls. (Duckworth deserves credit for seizing on Walsh’s comments like a dog faced with red meat.) Until then, Walsh focused on the fiscal concerns of his constituency. Marin writes:

But in the news conferences that followed their debate, Walsh traveled down the same path that has likely doomed the U.S. Senate bids of two of his Tea Party comrades, Todd Akin of Missouri and Richard Mourdock of Indiana. Like them, Walsh offered up absurd psuedo-science about women and their bodies, arguing that medical advances make abortion unnecessary to save the life of a mother. A small army of doctors, within hours, furiously disagreed.

And so did women voters who are, like Walsh, deeply concerned about jobs and the economy. But who are outraged when Walsh, Akin and Mourdock lecture them about their legal reproductive rights. Or about rape and conception.

Walsh, in his concession speech, refused to yield and preached to the choir he would continue to “fight” to bring America back to its core values.

Oh, yeah. He'll be missed.

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