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 »
STAFF PICKS
These (Supposed) Iowa and NH Escorts Tell All
8 hours ago
NATIONAL JOURNAL AFTER DARK

Before we get to the specifics of this exposé about escorts working the Iowa and New Hampshire primary crowds, let’s get three things out of the way: 1.) It’s from Cosmopolitan; 2.) most of the women quoted use fake (if colorful) names; and 3.) again, it’s from Cosmopolitan. That said, here’s what we learned:

  • Business was booming: one escort who says she typically gets two inquiries a weekend got 15 requests in the pre-primary weekend.
  • Their primary season clientele is a bit older than normal—”40s through mid-60s, compared with mostly twentysomething regulars” and “they’ve clearly done this before.”
  • They seemed more nervous than other clients, because “the stakes are higher when you’re working for a possible future president” but “all practiced impeccable manners.”
  • One escort “typically enjoy[s] the company of Democrats more, just because I feel like our views line up a lot more.”
Source:
STATE VS. FEDERAL
Restoring Some Sanity to Encryption
8 hours ago
WHY WE CARE

No matter where you stand on mandating companies to include a backdoor in encryption technologies, it doesn’t make sense to allow that decision to be made on a state level. “The problem with state-level legislation of this nature is that it manages to be both wildly impractical and entirely unenforceable,” writes Brian Barrett at Wired. There is a solution to this problem. “California Congressman Ted Lieu has introduced the ‘Ensuring National Constitutional Rights for Your Private Telecommunications Act of 2016,’ which we’ll call ENCRYPT. It’s a short, straightforward bill with a simple aim: to preempt states from attempting to implement their own anti-encryption policies at a state level.”

Source:
STAFF PICKS
What the Current Crop of Candidates Could Learn from JFK
8 hours ago
WHY WE CARE

Much has been made of David Brooks’s recent New York Times column, in which confesses to missing already the civility and humanity of Barack Obama, compared to who might take his place. In NewYorker.com, Jeffrey Frank reminds us how critical such attributes are to foreign policy. “It’s hard to imagine Kennedy so casually referring to the leader of Russia as a gangster or a thug. For that matter, it’s hard to imagine any president comparing the Russian leader to Hitler [as] Hillary Clinton did at a private fund-raiser. … Kennedy, who always worried that miscalculation could lead to war, paid close attention to the language of diplomacy.”

Source:
STAFF PICKS
Hillary Is Running Against the Bill of 1992
8 hours ago
WHY WE CARE

The New Covenant. The Third Way. The Democratic Leadership Council style. Call it what you will, but whatever centrist triangulation Bill Clinton embraced in 1992, Hillary Clinton wants no part of it in 2016. Writing for Bloomberg, Sasha Issenberg and Margaret Talev explore how Hillary’s campaign has “diverged pointedly” from what made Bill so successful: “For Hillary to survive, Clintonism had to die.” Bill’s positions in 1992—from capital punishment to free trade—“represented a carefully calibrated diversion from the liberal orthodoxy of the previous decade.” But in New Hampshire, Hillary “worked to juggle nostalgia for past Clinton primary campaigns in the state with the fact that the Bill of 1992 or the Hillary of 2008 would likely be a marginal figure within today’s Democratic politics.”

Source:
STAFF PICKS
Trevor Noah Needs to Find His Voice. And Fast.
9 hours ago
WHY WE CARE

At first, “it was pleasant” to see Trevor Noah “smiling away and deeply dimpling in the Stewart seat, the seat that had lately grown gray hairs,” writes The Atlantic‘s James Parker in assessing the new host of the once-indispensable Daily Show. But where Jon Stewart was a heavyweight, Noah is “a very able lightweight, [who] needs time too. But he won’t get any. As a culture, we’re not about to nurture this talent, to give it room to grow. Our patience was exhausted long ago, by some other guy. We’re going to pass judgment and move on. There’s a reason Simon Cowell is so rich. Impress us today or get thee hence. So it comes to this: It’s now or never, Trevor.”

Source:
×