Not Even Bill Kristol Is Serious About Joe Walsh Giving President Trump a Primary Challenge

Joe Walsh speaking at CPAC by Gage Skidmore, licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0/Original

Joe Walsh speaking at CPAC by Gage Skidmore, licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0/Original


All the rage among Bulwarkians and NeverTrumpers is the idea that they will recruit someone to primary President Trump. The main candidate apparently is Joe Walsh. That would be the former congressman and talk show host, not the Real Joe Walsh


Joe Walsh, a conservative radio show host and former Republican congressman from Illinois, is expected to announce he is running for president as early as this weekend, presenting President Trump with a challenger from the right his critics hope will weaken the president in the 2020 election.

Mr. Walsh is being encouraged by William Kristol, the conservative writer and former editor of the now defunct magazine The Weekly Standard. Mr. Kristol has been a “Never Trump” Republican since Mr. Trump was elected in 2016 and has been working hard over the past year to recruit someone to run against him.

Mr. Kristol said Mr. Walsh’s comfort with the in-your-face format of conservative talk radio makes him a potentially more effective combatant against Mr. Trump than someone like William Weld, the genteel former governor of Massachusetts, whose own primary challenge to the president has gained little traction.

“He has a different appeal than Bill Weld,” Mr. Kristol said. “The fact that he was a Tea Party congressman who voted for Trump in 2016 gives him an ability to speak to Republican primary voters that ‘Never Trumpers’ like me don’t have.”

Just a few facts are in order.

Walsh ran for Congress as a moderate and a pro-abort. His challenge to Trump is not from “the right,” to the extent that Walsh’s as yet unannounced campaign is a challenge, it is straight from the GOPe types.


Other than making a career out of hating Trump, it is difficult to see what Walsh brings to the table that would attract anyone not on Pierre Omidyars’ payroll. Walsh won one of his three elections. So it isn’t like he’s a terribly successful or astute politician. If you are looking for some kind of break from Trump’s checkered personnel life, well, you won’t find Walsh banging porn stars but, according to he “watchdog group” Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW)–I’m only using them because for a while it was fashionable here to quote whatever bullsh** they were throwing at Trump and billing them as some high minded civic group instead to the leftwing suckweasels that they are:

Court records show Rep. Walsh was ordered to pay his ex-wife $2,134 a month in child support beginning in November 2005, but he made only partial payments through March 2008. Between April 2008 and December 2010, Rep. Walsh allegedly made no payments at all, leaving him with a debt of $117,437.25. The congressman failed to disclose this obligation on his personal financial disclosure forms.

Rep. Walsh’s reports of his income have been inconsistent. He told a reporter his 2009 income was between $30,000 and $40,000, and he reported about $65,000 to the IRS. On his financial disclosure forms for the first 9 months of the year, he claimed $21,000 in earned income with an additional $20,000-$60,000 in other income. On the other hand, he told his ex-wife he had no income, and in a 2011 court filing reported just $29,000 for the year.

Oddly enough, Rep. Walsh also paid $3,300 per month in rent in 2009, totaling almost $40,000 for the year, which would have left him penniless or in debt. Nevertheless, Rep. Walsh still managed to loan his election campaign $35,500 between November 2009 and August 2010.

The freshman congressman has a long history of financial problems, including tax liens, lawsuits regarding failure to pay debts, and a foreclosure on a condominium.


So you have all the bad stuff but of the most banal and uninteresting kind.

If you objected to Trump and his flirtation with birtherism…

racism, you say…

Essentially what you have is a very weak retail politician with more baggage and less support that President Trump.

Nope. Whatever the question is, Joe Walsh is not the answer. This is, at best, a publicity stunt and given who is involved, you know there has to be grifting out the wazoo. But don’t worry. Bill Kristol has cast a wide net and there are more waiting in the wings.



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