Daphne Macklin
4 min readDec 15, 2019

The Joe Walsh (not the musician) Problem

The picture of the buttons is from an Amazon on-line ad. You can buy them as a set.

According to an article published on Huffington Post, former Congressman, former Tea Party stalwart, former right-wing radio card-carrying Obama basher and supporter of the candidacy of Donald J. Trump, views himself as a man without a political country. He’s now a “reformed” outlaw. His terms not mine. See https://www.huffpost.com/entry/joe-walsh-trump-new-hampshire-primary_n_5dec435fe4b00563b8523677

I don’t particularly want to feel sorry for the guy. My political principles go like this: say you’re sorry and mean it and I’ll think about forgiving you. Maybe. Say you are sorry. Mean what you say and act in accordance with that position and we may have some things to talk about, eventually.

Making sincere amends for setting the house on fire involves more than calling the fire department and making sure everyone, including the critters, are out of the house and some distance away from danger. It could include helping the neighbors spray down their house since yours is now most likely a total loss. Walsh seems to understand this. In the interview he identifies the point at which he broke faith with Trump at the Helsinki meeting with Putin. That was the point at which I realized that giving Trump any “benefit of the doubt” support as President was not warranted. POUTS as I call him, just wants to be a “Dear Leader” and all that that entails.

Walsh, bless him, is nothing if not dogged once he gets onto something. He was one of those who kept insisting that Obama was a Muslim, even when he, Walsh, knew this was a lie. That sort of thing cost Walsh his Congressional seat in the worst possible way: redistricting.

You know that thing they say about “karma” assuming she’s female. Well, for Walsh this has taken the form of essentially being banned from Fox-owned media after taking on a fawning admirer of POUTS on a Fox flagship television program. The practical effect is that Walsh is way worse than persona non grata in the clubby exclusionist universe and/or bubble of right wing media. Think Krytonite with radioactive arsenic icing.

As I read the article, my sense is that Walsh wants his old Tea Party friends back. That’s like holding out for a Beatles reunion. America has moved on from the tit-for-tat viciousness inspired by the true father of the Tea Party, Newt Gingrich. The rule now is all viciousness all the time. Just one problem: this sort of thing is unsustainable on a long term basis.

So what’s a guy to do? Walsh is running for President, as a Republican, against Trump. Walsh and Weld and Sanford, together probably don’t have as much of a showing as the least of the Democratic Presidential Primary and Steeplechase candidates. And, there are states where the Trump Republican Party apparatchiks have gone all Soviet Socialist Republic and cancelled the primary election all together.

Two suggestions from those of us who have been at the front for a while. First, go ask permission to say you’re sorry somewhere you will get some air time. I would love to see you confess your sins and promise to atone for them to Rachel Maddow. I think Rachel’s folks would even allow you to make your apologies on air to both former Pres. Obama and former Sec. Clinton. You could also allow yourself to take it on the chin on Hard Ball with Chris Matthews or with Lawrence O’Donnell on The Last Word. I am quite certain that Joe Scarborough could get together the entire reformist band of former Republicans including Congressmen to sing you into the fraternity of Gamma Omega Psi Nu.

Second suggestion: I know of three women who voted for Trump who most likely would not do that again if properly asked. Frankly, these should have been votes for HRC, but they weren’t for these reasons:

  • Compromise programs to solve serious social issues, i.e. adequate mental health care including substance abuse, had not worked for their families or their clients;
  • A lack of clear and consistent agriculture, manufacturing and trade policies had robbed them and theirs of jobs and financial stability repeatedly over the past 30 years; and
  • In the age of media politics, no one had ever bothered to sit down and talk to these women: gutsy, strong, smart, thoughtful, capable, caring.

So here’s the thing Joe: say you’re sorry and then do what it takes to create a new balance in American politics that looks at solutions to our current challenges not based on old grievances and the paradigms of self-pity. [Sound cue: David Bowie’s Heroes]