West, DeMint, and Walsh: Have they learned anything?


Time for a round of “Where are they now?” featuring some Republican members of Congress who did not return for the 113th session.

There’s former Congressman Joe Walsh of Illinois, who lost his bid for reelection to Democrat Tammy Duckworth. Walsh served only one term, but still managed to rack up his share of headlines. There was his over-caffeinated reaction to a group of voters at a local restaurant. Or his remarks about Tammy Duckworth’s decision to talk about her military service during her Congressional campaign. Duckworth is an Iraq War veteran who lost both her legs in a 2004 helicopter crash in Iraq.

“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,” Walsh explained at a town hall meeting in July.

Five months have passed since the 2012 election, and Walsh is still reflecting on what went wrong in his bid for reelection.

“I traveled the entire district, and I said, ‘my name is Joe Walsh. If you vote for me, I’m not giving you a darn thing,” he said to a group of Illinois residents on Tuesday. Walsh seemed to be entering “47% territory”–suggesting that his opponent and other politicians won by essentially bribing voters with government handouts.

Walsh is not alone this week in suggesting that too many Americans are dependent on the government. On his first day as president of the conservative Heritage Foundation, former South Carolina Senator Jim DeMint issued a letter to staffers that read in part:

“Today, more people than ever before–69.5 million Americans, from college students to retirees to welfare beneficiaries–depend on the federal government for housing, food, income, student aid, or other assistance once considered to be the responsibility of individuals, families, neighborhoods, churches, and other civil society institutions.”

Then there’s former Congressman Allan West. You’ll remember him as the Florida Republican who suggested that roughly 80 House Democrats were members of the Communist Party. In January, West launched a new conservative web series entitled Next Generation. The series is subscription-only, but for those who are satisfied with just a glimpse, an introduction video features the former Congressman recounting his first impressions of Los Angeles, where he traveled as part of the gig. “I had someone ask me if I wanted to go to a real nice sushi restaurant, but I had to tell them that I don’t eat bait,” West recalled.

Take a look at the Hardball Sideshow for the full round-up.


West, DeMint, and Walsh: Have they learned anything?