WHERE ARE THEY NOW

Former Rep. Joe Walsh Goes From Floor Speeches in Congress to Talk Radio in Chicago

Rep.-elect Joe Walsh, R-Ill. speaks to the media during a news conference at the GOP headquarters on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Nov. 17, 2010. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)
National Journal
Cameron Smith
See more stories about...
Cameron Smith
Aug. 25, 2013, 8:30 a.m.

“Based on my two years in the House, I’d say it’s safe to say I was very out­spoken,” said former Rep. Joe Walsh, R-Ill. “I made a point to be very dir­ect.”

Walsh, 51, a tea-party act­iv­ist who ac­know­ledges that the term “light­ning rod” ap­plies to him­self, said that not long after los­ing in Novem­ber to now-Rep. Tammy Duck­worth, D-Ill., he was ap­proached by an AM ra­dio sta­tion in Chica­go dubbed “The An­swer” about do­ing a talk show.

“I’m guess­ing that them con­tact­ing me had something to do with my time on the Hill,” said Walsh, who was known for his col­or­ful lan­guage and no-com­prom­ise ap­proach to gov­ern­ing in his one term.

“I’m here to raise hell,” said Walsh of the three-hour show he hosts dur­ing the even­ing com­mute in the Chica­go area. “The Illinois Re­pub­lic­an Party is a damn joke. I’ve been go­ing hard on them. I go after D.C. and Chica­go, too. I go after [Chica­go May­or] Rahm Emanuel hard. One-third of each show is loc­al and the oth­er two-thirds is na­tion­al. So I get to go after every­body.”

The trans­ition to ra­dio was “on one level seam­less, on an­oth­er hard,” Walsh said. “Sit­ting in a stu­dio by my­self, learn­ing to speak in a dif­fer­ent en­vir­on­ment is tough. But I find it to be a great plat­form. I find the in­ter­ac­tion to be great. And to be hon­est, it’s not just tea-party act­iv­ists listen­ing in. My hunch is some of my listen­ers hate what I say.”

Walsh said that the rule of thumb is two hours of prep per hour of show, and said that he keeps up to date by read­ing on­line pub­lic­a­tions and speak­ing with his former col­leagues in Con­gress.

The ra­dio show also provides Walsh with a ven­ue to ad­voc­ate for his Grow Up and Be Free PAC, an or­gan­iz­a­tion that Walsh calls a “grass­roots move­ment” for people who look at the gov­ern­ment and say, “Don’t take care of me, I want to take care of my­self.” Ac­cord­ing to Walsh, the PAC also sup­ports worthy can­did­ates with money for cam­paigns.

“The battle lines are between people who be­lieve in free­dom and lim­ited gov­ern­ment and those that be­lieve in de­pend­ence,” said Walsh. “We’re see­ing a civil war in pub­lic policy. I’m do­ing the grass­roots army, the PAC, be­cause we’ve been trained for the gov­ern­ment to give us crap. I’m try­ing to re­train the pub­lic.”

Walsh ad­ded, “I miss the fight on Cap­it­ol Hill. It’s taken a couple months to get used to it. I could run again next year. I could run again in two years. Who knows? I’ve been trav­el­ing the state con­tinu­ing the fight for free­dom-based liberty can­did­ates. I star­ted a PAC, I’m grow­ing the move­ment. You bet­ter be­lieve I’m gonna jump back in at some point.”

Na­tion­al Journ­al Daily‘s Where Are They Now series catches up with law­makers who left of­fice in Janu­ary to find out what they are do­ing. It will run throughout Au­gust.

What We're Following See More »
SHE’LL HAVE A ROLE WITH CLINTON CAMP
Wasserman Schultz to Resign at Week’s End
8 hours ago
THE LATEST

"After hours of private talks," Debbie Wasserman Schultz agreed to step down as chair of the Democratic National Committee after the convention ends. In the wake of the convention intrigue, Hillary Clinton announced she's making Wasserman Schultz "the honorary chair of her campaign's 50-state program."

Source:
MARCIA FUDGE TO PRESIDE
Wasserman Schultz Stripped of Convention Duties
17 hours ago
THE DETAILS

Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz "will not have a major speaking role or preside over daily convention proceedings this week," and is under increasing pressure to resign. The DNC Rules Committee on Saturday named Ohio Democratic Rep. Marcia Fudge as "permanent chair of the convention." At issue: internal DNC emails leaked by Wikileaks that show how "the DNC favored Clinton during the primary and tried to take down Bernie Sanders by questioning his religion."

Source:
EARLY BUMP FOR TRUMP?
New Round of Polls Show a Tight Race
3 days ago
THE LATEST
  • A Rasmussen Reports poll shows Donald Trump ahead of Hillary Clinton, 43%-42%, the fourth week in a row he's led the poll (one of the few poll in which he's led consistently of late).
  • A Reuters/Ipsos survey shows Clinton leading 40%-36%. In a four-way race, she maintains her four-point lead, 39%-35%, with Gary Johnson and Jill Stein pulling 7% and 3%, respectively.
  • And the LA Times/USC daily tracking poll shows a dead heat, with Trump ahead by about half a percentage point.
BELLWETHER?
Candidates Deadlocked in Ohio
3 days ago
THE LATEST
17-POINT EDGE AMONG MILLENNIALS
Clinton Dominates Among Younger Voters
3 days ago
THE DETAILS

In an election between two candidates around 70 years of age, millennials strongly prefer one over the other. Hillary Clinton has a 47%-30% edge among votes 18 to 29. She also leads 46%-36% among voters aged 30 to 44.

Source:
×