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Inside the dark, dark mind of the tea party: A case study



Joe Walsh is a former congressman from Illinois who ran on a tea party platform in his 2010 campaign. He won, but in 2012, too right wing even for his own district, he was beaten by the Democrat Tammy Duckworth, the Iraq War veteran who is now Illinois’ junior Senator.

Walsh was violently anti-Obama during his one term in office. Now, he’s even more belligerent towards those he perceives as enemies: liberals, blacks, Muslims and the gay community. Last year, in a tweet that has since been deleted, possibly because he sensed it was a threat against a sitting President, he wrote, “This is now war” against Obama, and warned the then-President to “watch out.”

In another tweet, he wrote, “…Obama is Muslim” and “has always been,” which, Walsh alleged, “explains Obama’s hatred toward Israel and explains his weakening of America.” In yet another outburst on Twitter, Walsh accused Obama and unidentified “thugs”—a code word for black people–of being “Cop haters.”

Walsh doesn’t just hate on Obama and black people; he is also a militant homophobe. The Chicago website Ward Room, which covers local politics, observed that Walsh is “a fire-and-brimstone tea party homophobe” who received “a zero rating” from the Human Rights Campaign. Just yesterday on Twitter, he celebrated the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision that protected so-called “offensive trademarks” even if they are derogatory to certain groups. The original case rested in the complaint of a rock group, The Slants, a name considered offensive to East Asians even though The Slants themselves are Asian-American. The SCOTUS ruled in favor of The Slants–a decision I agree with–but, bizarrely, Walsh chose to interpret the decision in an anti-gay way: “Supreme Court upholds offensive trademarks as form of free speech. Great. Sorry, guppies,” he tweeted, using the acronym for “gay urban professionals” even though gay people had absolutely nothing to do with the case.

As for Muslims, yesterday, following the most recent Paris car attack, Walsh tweeted that “EVERYDAY Muslims commit terror in the name of Islam.” ““Looks like, smells like Muslim terror,” he said, even before any investigation had taken place. In Walsh’s world view, apparently, there are no decent Muslims. All are evil terrorists.

Of course, when somebody actually kills gays or Muslims, Walsh doesn’t seem to be upset. Did he have anything to say about the Orlando Pulse nightclub murders, which targeted gays? Did he have anything to say about the latest London car attack, which targeted Muslims?  Did he have anything to say about the news, earlier this week, about the young white male suspected of murdering a teenaged Muslim girl, whose body was found in Virginia? You tell me.

Walsh continues with his tea party provocations. Like his hero, Donald J. Trump, he obsessively announces his twisted thoughts on Twitter. From yesterday: Scott Pelley, you are a liberal, elite asshole.” “Build the wall.” Muslims are “freaks with no religion.” And, from the day before, a rhetorical question that lets us know the innermost promptings of his dark mind, and is possibly a dog whistle to his talk radio fans: “What does revolution look like?”

Either Walsh really believes these things, in which case he’s deranged and dangerous, or he’s just trying to be the next Michael Savage (one of the most violent radio shock jocks in America), in which case he’s—well, deranged and dangerous. On the other hand, Michael Savage’s net worth is nearly $20 million, making him an economic role model for an ex-congressman who was evicted from his condo when the bank foreclosed on it, and whose ex-wife sued him for “past due child support.”

What? An upstanding, fine, family values, religious Republican who doesn’t pay his bills, and who stirs up hate in order to get rich? Nah. Only liberals do that.


  1. Bob Rossi says:

    It’s astonishing that someone like Walsh can get elected to a position like US Congressman. But then there’s Steve King, who repeatedly gets reelected.

  2. Yes, King is a piece of work. But the Republican caucus in the House is an asylum of bible thumpers, xenophobes and social reprobates.

  3. Bill Haydon says:

    Just a thought and not in any way a rationale for extremism and hatred. From the perspective of politics, however, do you think that a Democratic Party unmoored from its New Deal roots and constantly pushing right has any causality with a Republican Party that, at the same time, becomes further and further radicalized. When the Democratic Party becomes the party of Wall Street deregulation, free trade deals (really outsourcing deals that destroyed the power of private sector unions) and the Heritage Foundation concocted private-mandate healthcare “reform,” where does it leave the Republicans to go? I would argue that it pushes them to the radical extreme where they give voice to people like Walsh and Savage and ultimately Trump who would have been fringe figures a generation ago before Clintonism (or call it what you will: Third Way, Triangulation, DLC Centrism) became the driving philosophy of the Democratic Party.

  4. Bill Haydon, you make some excellent points. I’ve had this discussion many, many times with my leftie friends in Oakland who were ardent Sanders or Jill Stein supporters, and who believe the Democratic Party has become “unmoored from its roots” as you say. My response is: Certainly the Democratic Party is less progressive than it used to be. The Republicans have dragged it rightward, even as they themselves have moved further to the right and become a party of Christian autocracy and fascism. However–and this is a big however–we need to play the game of politics in a smart way. Lefties can get all pissed off at the DNC and refuse to vote for Democrats–which will inevitably let Republicans win elections, as happened in 2016–OR they can realize that politics is about COMPROMISE. You give a little to get a little more. I doubt that any Democratic candidate in the near future will satisfy the lefties, but in my opinion I’d rather have a slightly conservative Democrat in office than just about any Republican. (Besides, all Democrats are in union on things like gay marriage and raising taxes on the superrich.) I always remember that old saying, “Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good.” Unfortunately, that is a truth that too many lefties don’t understand.

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