Let’s all do something nice for Joe Walsh (the singer, not the scumbag)

Here’s a brief list of things you ought to know about Joe Walsh, the Republican Congressman from Illinois who’s currently running for reelection against Democratic candidate and Iraq War veteran Tammy Duckworth:

  • He’s a former moderate conservative whose political ideology has taken a sharp right turn in recent years. He found favour with the Tea Party in 2010, during a campaign that received little support from the mainstream Republican Party.
  • He has repeatedly disparaged Duckworth’s military service, which cost her both of her legs and severely damaged her right arm. “I’m running against a woman who, my God, that’s all she talks about,” Walsh said at a town hall meeting in July. “Our true heroes, it’s the last thing in the world they talk about.” And Walsh would know, because unlike Duckworth and the twenty-three million other Americans he’s insulted with such statements, he has never served in the military.
  • His official stance on climate change is that “man’s potential role in global warming has not been definitively determined.”
  • He’s a deadbeat dad who fought for years to avoid paying over $100,000 in child support to his ex-wife Laura, who’s the mother of three of his five children.
  • Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington named him one of their nineteen “most corrupt” members of Congress in an annual report issued in September of 2011, due to alleged inaccuracies on his financial disclosure forms, which were highly relevant to his child support case.
  • Despite running failed campaigns as a pro-choice candidate in the nineties, he announced on Thursday that he opposes all abortions, “without exception.” When asked if that included cases where the mother’s life is at risk, he replied that thanks to “modern technology and science, you can’t find one instance” where that’s the case. In truth, pregnancy-related deaths in the United States are not only prevalent, but on the rise.

Bearing all of this in mind, I think it’s also important to note that this Joe Walsh is not the same Joe Walsh who played guitar for the Eagles and the James Gang, and who just released his first solo album in twenty years. That’s a different Joe Walsh. Let’s call them “the good Joe Walsh” and “the bad Joe Walsh.”

The bad Joe Walsh has a history of trading on the good Joe Walsh’s name. When he tried to adopt a rewritten version of the James Gang song “Walk Away” as a campaign theme in 2010, the good Joe Walsh took legal action. And in June of this year, the good Joe Walsh publicly endorsed Tammy Duckworth, calling her “the right choice for Congress.”

You’ve really got to feel for the good Joe Walsh. I mean, what if you shared your name with an ignorant gasbag who was always in the news because he just couldn’t stop saying idiotic things, yelling at his constituents, or dodging child support payments? And what if you were more famous than he was, and you had every reason to worry that people might think it was you who was saying and doing these things? Wouldn’t that suck?

I guess that’s why I logged into the iTunes Store this morning and bought a copy the good Joe Walsh’s 1973 classic “Rocky Mountain Way.” I know it’s not much, but I figured he deserved a little something. In fact, from this point forward, I’ll be glad to buy another track by the good Joe Walsh whenever the bad Joe Walsh publicly sullies their shared name.

Come on, guys. Let’s do something nice for the good Joe Walsh. I know life’s been good to him, but that doesn’t mean we can’t make it a little better.

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