TOO BAD REP. JOE WALSH WHO IS A SPLENDID MAN IS BAHAVING SO BADLY WITH RESPECT TO HIS OPPONENT…..RSK
Americans have traditionally respected military service, and have over the years chosen many veterans as political leaders. George Washington had been a general in the Continental Army. Teddy Roosevelt rode up San Juan Hill and into the White House. Harry Truman was an artillery officer in WWI. Dwight Eisenhower was a renowned general and theater commander during WWII. John Kennedy was famed for his service aboard the PT-109. There are many other examples.Aspiring politicians have long-known and exploited the link between military service and electability. Military experience is usually an asset with voters, provided the candidate in question handles his service tastefully and in a manner that is not overtly manipulative. Then-Senator John Kennedy ran successfully for the White House in 1960 partly on the strength of his wartime service in the U.S. Navy aboard the now-famous PT-109. His opponent, Richard Nixon, had also served in the U.S.N. during WWII and military service – or lack of it – did not become a major issue during the campaign.
Conversely, an obviously-staged photo of Democrat presidential candidate Michael Dukakis (a U.S. Army veteran) posed in an M1 Abrams tank in September, 1988 – may have cost him the election that fall. Rightly or wrongly, “Dukakis in a tank” has since entered the public relations lexicon as shorthand for a mishandled photo op.
Who can forget John Kerry’s appearance at the Democratic National Convention in 2004, sporting the very same medals he allegedly had thrown away in disgust thirty years earlier over the Vietnam War? Candidate Kerry accepted the Democrat Party nomination with a salute and the words “Reporting for duty” – but the voters didn’t buy it. He lost to George W. Bush.
These and other episodes come to mind in the wake of the tawdry and unseeming dust-up between incumbent Congressman Joe Walsh (R-IL, 8th District) and Democrat Tammy Duckworth, who will oppose him in the fall election.
Duckworth, an army officer and helicopter pilot, lost both of her legs in action in Iraq in 2004, when an RPG hit her UH-60 “Blackhawk” helicopter. Walsh, who is not a veteran, has accused Duckworth of exploiting her military service for political gain. Said Walsh, “Now I’m running against a woman who, I mean– my God– that’s all she talks about,” Walsh told an audience in Elk Grove, Ill. “Our true heroes, the men and women who served us, it’s the last thing in the world they talk about.” Duckworth campaign manager Kaitlin Fahey fired back in a July 3rd statement, “Congressman Walsh’s comments insult those who sacrificed to make this country free.” Duckworth herself, appearing on MSNBC’s “Hardball” in an interview with Michael Smerconish, said that “that she never claimed to be a hero” and that Walsh’s charges were “irresponsible.”