Virulent Trump-hater and failed publisher Bill Kristol has yet another plot to take down President Donald Trump, this time with a new campaign to cajole talk show host and former Illinois Republican Joe Walsh to jump into a primary against the president.
It is an effort doomed to abject failure, of course, but the new pairing is interesting for its dynamics.
First, we have Bill Kristol who has already announced at least three other failed efforts to face Trump down with opponents. Kristol once floated National Review writer David French — a soft conservative never-Trumper — and also encouraged former Mass. Gov. Bill Weld to take on Trump. Neither had any traction at all. But he also spearheaded the total joke that was Evan McMullin’s disastrous campaign in 2016.
Touted as the perfect Trump killer, McMullin was only able to even get on the ballot in eleven states. And of those states, Utah was the sole state in which he had any support at all. His campaign was a total failure to move the dial against Trump despite his arm waving and desperate bids for press coverage.
But, while Kristol is already known as a rabid never-Trumper, his new buddy Joe Walsh has come a bit later to the no-Trump party.
Indeed, Walsh supported Trump until recently when he decided that Trump was not suited to be president.
For some, Walsh’s history of eyebrow raising tweets is enough to cast him into the ashcan of history. Human Events writer Will Chamberlain, for instance, wrote a piece on August 22 ripping Walsh on that very topic.
Joe Walsh’s Twitter history is replete with crass, racist, and bigoted tweets.
In 2014 Walsh tweeted about a seeming double-standard, complaining that he was not allowed to use the n-word in polite company — while using the n-word. In 2016, Walsh tweeted — after 5 police officers were slain in Dallas — that “real America” was “coming after” the “black lives matter punks” and that they should “watch out.” And as recently as February 2018, fourteen months after Trump was elected, Walsh tweeted about his belief that former President Obama was, in fact, a stealth Muslim.
Muslims and African-Americans weren’t the only regular targets of Walsh’s ire. Walsh once described the LGBT community as “constitutional terrorists,” and appears to have the same longing to use homophobic slurs as he does the n-word.
Chamberlain also went on to slap Walsh around for his child support payment troubles and claims by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington that Walsh was a corrupt Congressman.
But there are other concerns, here, than off-color tweets and child support issues.
Walsh is currently a radio host for Chicago’s WIND radio, and for the last few months he has been claiming that his ideals and opinions have never changed. He is as conservative now as he has always been, he says in show promos. It is just today’s Trumpian climate that has changed, he exclaims. On the radio promos he has said that today’s definition of Republican has become if you a a Trump supporter or you aren’t. But he hasn’t changed, he again insists. Only the political climate has.
This sounds good, huh? But is it true? Has the Republican Party left Joe Walsh because it is a Trump party and Walsh has principles?
Maybe not so much.
First of all, Joe Walsh has always seemed to be a very needy candidate. He has run for office in Illinois time after time and lost every time but that one time in 2008 when he went to Congress for a single two-year term.
By “needy” I mean that he seems to really need to be an elected official. For instance, he has shopped himself around in half a dozen districts over the years trying to gain a foothold. In fact, after he was turned out of Congress, he even floated the idea of running against another Republican (Rep. Randy Hultgren) in a different district from the one he lost. He ultimately decided not to do it, but the fact that he was even contemplating the idea of tossing out a fellow Republican for no gain to the party was telling about his priorities.
He is also quite an ideological chameleon. Back in the late 1990s, for instance, when he was trying to get a campaign together in Illinois Walsh claimed to be a pro-abortion but pro-business Republican. He even called himself a “social liberal.” He lost that bid for office. But fast forward to 2008, and he was suddenly a tough conservative “tea party” candidate even though right up to the time he claimed the Tea Party title he had never attended a single Tea Party event in his life. Also he was suddenly anti-abortion and socially conservative.
On top of that, in 1996 he was a strict anti-gunner that supported the 1994 assault weapons ban. By contrast, in in 2008 he was suddenly a big NRA supporter and strong Second Amendment guy.
Now, to his credit, for his two years in Congress he essentially maintained his stance as a Tea Party guy. He danced with the party what brung him. But once he lost his re-election campaign and then went on the radio, his supporters began to see his slow turn back to his 1990s liberalism.
Then came Walsh’s efforts to gain radio syndication. To win that battle, Walsh started to “distinguish” himself from other conservative talk show hosts with a slow turn against Donald Trump. It almost seems that he looked at the radio market and noticed that there were few reputed conservatives who were not high on Trump. So, he began angling for that niche.
Now that niche has aimed him right into the arms of loser Bill Kristol. Such a pair.
What will be the outcome of all this? Well, if he does make that primary run he will fail. But, maybe he’ll end up winning himself a TV gig on CNN or MSNBC… and maybe that is his goal all along?
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston.Don't forget to Like Godfather Politics on Facebook and Twitter, and visit our friends at RepublicanLegion.com.
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