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Joe Walsh: Just your average, regular deadbeat dad kind of a guy

Among the Tea Party Republican freshmen from Illinois, 8th district Rep.
Joe Walsh, of suburban Chicago, is among the most self-righteous and
cantankerous. Bookers for cable shout-shows love him.

He’ll be in particular demand today, because he’s poised to vote against
yesterday’s debt-ceiling dealing. “This isn’t even as strong as the
Boehner plan,” he complained.

It’s useful to remember this morning how Joe Walsh has managed his own finances.

A couple of weeks ago, in a videotaped
tirade against President Obama and wasteful government spending, he
said, among other things: “Quit lying to the American people … Show
some leadership for a change … You don’t like ultimatums? Tough …
You’re either in over your head … or are hell-bent in turning us into
some European, big-government wasteland. … I won’t place one more
dollar of debt upon the backs of my kids and grandkids unless we
structurally reform the way this town spends money.”

Two weeks later the Sun-Times’s Abdon Pallasch reported that Walsh, 49, is allegedly $117,437 in arrears on child support payments to his ex-wife for their three kids.

When Walsh seemingly came out of nowhere to beat popular incumbent Democrat Melissa Bean in the general election last year, one of his most popular campaign lines presented him as “just a regular Joe who knows what it’s like to be foreclosed on.” (His Evanston condo was foreclosed on.)

Walsh’s attorney attempted to spin the child support suit as just another bit of evidence that Joe is just like every other dad who can’t scrape the dollars together to make his child support payments. Pallasch quoted Walsh’s attorney, R. Steven Polachek, as saying, “Joe Walsh hasn’t been a big-time wage-earner politician until recently — he’s had no more problems with child support than any other average guy.” 

On CNN the next morning, asked about his child support debt and other financial woes, Walsh made a similar excuse: “I ran as a guy who lost his home and had had financial struggles like a lot of Americans. … This is where a lot of Americans come from right now. It’s why they sent so many of us to Washington to do something about this, because we’re living this experience.”

What a stretch! Supporting one’s own children would seem to be at the center of the family values that informs so much of the Tea Party treatise, including that part which is fiercely anti-abortion.

Walsh lucked out that the Sun-Times scoop hit at the height of the frenzy over the debt-limit deadline. But he might not be so lucky in 2012, when he’ll be in a tough reelection fight — made tougher by the Democratic remap, currently being challenged by Republicans.

The label “deadbeat dad” won’t help him; any woman who has battled an ex for child support might be looking for someone else to support.  

A joke making the rounds during the 2008 primary battle between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama was that Hillary reminded men of their first wives; Walsh might remind too many women of their first husbands.

In that Obama-bashing video, Walsh borrows the famous line — “Have you no shame, sir?” — aiming it at the president. Walsh could find a significant voting bloc, heavily populated by women, that would like an answer to that question — not from President Obama, but from Joe Walsh.

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