Political Animal


July 28, 2011 12:35 PM Joe Walsh and the virtues of fiscal responsibility

By Steve Benen

Rep. Joe Walsh (R-Ill.), an ignominious right-wing freshman, loves to talk about the importance of fiscal responsibility and meeting one’s financial obligations. He’s equally fond of incorporating his own family into his talking points, saying things like, “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!”

With this in mind, it’s worth noting that Walsh, already something of a laughingstock, is still capable of looking even worse.

Freshman U.S. Rep. Joe Walsh, a tax-bashing Tea Party champion who sharply lectures President Barack Obama and other Democrats on fiscal responsibility, owes more than $100,000 in child support to his ex-wife and three children, according to documents his ex-wife filed in their divorce case in December.

After a series of missteps and bad decisions, Walsh reportedly struggled with financial problems, which in turn led to a nine-year child support battle with his ex-wife. Walsh’s argument was that his inability to hold steady employment made it impossible for him to make child-support payments.

This caused some trouble, however, when Walsh loaned his 2010 campaign $35,000 of his own money, and took foreign vacations with his girlfriend, which suggested he wasn’t quite as broke as he’d led his children and ex-wife to believe.

Walsh’s attorney conceded that the congressman owes unpaid child support, but added Walsh has “had no more problems with child support than any other average guy.”

I have no idea what this means. The “average guy” talks about looking out for his children’s financial well being while simultaneously refusing to pay child support?

On CNN this morning, Walsh acknowledged his “financial troubles” and argued, “This is where real America is.”

Real America is made up of deadbeat dads? I shudder to think of what happens in Fake America.

Alex Pareene added, “You know how bad pundits and annoying politicians like to pretend the Federal government is like a household when they talk about how we need to balance our books? If we take that flawed analogy seriously, it does not really make a lot of sense to trust the budget to someone Joe Walsh, a private sector failure who is hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt, whose condo was foreclosed on, and who is unable to make his child support payments. On a six-figure salary!”

Steve Benen is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly, joining the publication in August, 2008 as chief blogger for the Washington Monthly blog, Political Animal.


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  • jlt on July 28, 2011 12:39 PM:

    The worst kind of scumbagger..A crude little man who does not support his children!

    Bet he is not the only one to have dubious actions and cheating in their background!

    Ban this yutz from TV and put his but in jail like the rest of the DEAD BEATS!

  • Beetwasher on July 28, 2011 12:39 PM:

    Actually, this makes perfect sense. He's cutting their revenue, just like a good conservative. He now just needs to demand they cut their spending. His kids may starve death, but dammit! How else to keep fiscal discipline in a fine, upstanding, divorced, conservative ex family?

  • dj spellchecka on July 28, 2011 12:40 PM:

    i'm espcially impressed with taking the girl friend on vacation while stiffing the wife and kids....as joe walsh once said "the smoker you are, the player you get."

  • CDW on July 28, 2011 12:43 PM:

    He probably couldn't find and keep a job anywhere except the dysfunctional House of Representatives. It's the republican solution to the unemployment problem.

  • Trollop on July 28, 2011 12:43 PM:

    Well, doesn't that just figure! This is where America is alright, America is checking out another bullshit artist!

  • c u n d gulag on July 28, 2011 12:44 PM:

    Can you imagine if Hunter S. Thompson had written a fictional character like this characterless character into a book called, I don't know, something like "Fear and Loathing on the Teabagger Trail?"

    A moralizing budget whacko who "can't afford" child support payments, yet can run around on foreign vacations with his girlfriend, and give $35,000 to his own campaign. And he has a foreclosed condo, yet feels perfectly fine lecturing others about fiscal responsibility.

    His editors would have told Hunter, "Look, we put up with a lot of drug and alcohol abuse from you, because we think you have your finger on the pulse of Weird America with your Gonzo Journalism. But this, Hunter, THIS is TOO FAR! Have you gone insane? Who will believe a character like that? Put the guns down, we're staging an intervention. NOW!!!"

    Congessmen "WELCHER:"
    What, an ASSHOLE!!!

  • jjm on July 28, 2011 12:44 PM:

    Oh, he's playing for sympathy from all the other deadbeat dads? For men who financially harm the women who married them and bore their children?

    If that is 'real America' is it not any place I want to live...

  • Ron Byers on July 28, 2011 12:48 PM:

    Don't be too harsh on old Joe. He loves his kids. He was depressed by his inability to pay his child support. The European vacation made it all better.

    What do you want to bet he is one of the dads who believes the ex-wife doesn't need his hard earned money and certainly doesn't use it on the kids.

  • T2 on July 28, 2011 12:51 PM:

    I saw this creep interviewed on TV and thought he was a typical uninformed braggart loud-mouth TeaBagger....turns out, he's even worse than that.

  • Kohn on July 28, 2011 12:54 PM:

    I wonder if his ex supports his kids with state aid.

  • June on July 28, 2011 12:55 PM:

    I have to ask again - who are the fracking idiots who thought this absolute POS was worthy of representing them in Congress?

  • Molly Weasley on July 28, 2011 1:02 PM:

    I saw the headline about Walsh when I got off the El this morning in downtown Chicago and nearly collapsed with laughter. He's become the Teabagger darling about the debt ceiling, but now we know why: He doesn't think you should have to pay ANY bills.

    Apparently he didn't pay his campaign manager, either, according to the Chicago Sun-Times story. I didn't think it was possible for him to be any more of an asshole, but I was wrong.

    This is way more offensive than "tweeting his meat," ala Anthony Weiner. The scumbag needs to resign. Will he? Of course not. He won his district over the Dem incumbent by only 500-plus votes, but claims he has a "mandate."

    If the networks and the cable channels had any guts, they would cut him off as a spokesman, pronto. Of course, you know that the Fox propaganda network will give him all the air time he wants.

  • nitpicker on July 28, 2011 1:02 PM:

    His children just have to realize their support doesn't fit under his personal debt ceiling.

  • st john on July 28, 2011 1:02 PM:

    So many threads to follow: he is traveling with a girlfriend? Is this a platonic relationship, with no sexual activity? What of his Christian & Family Values (I'm assuming since he is a Republican, that is his identity). How does one get into debt to the tune of hundreds of thousands of dollars if one is not abusing the "debt ceiling?" Reduce spending and live within your means I believe is the mantra of fiscal conservatives.

    Does the average family also have to fund military operations in other peoples' neighborhoods as part of their family budget?

    Anything to add?

  • stormskies on July 28, 2011 1:03 PM:

    pretty sure he has enough money for his viagra though ...

  • Marko on July 28, 2011 1:13 PM:

    Walsh: Do as I say, not as I do.

  • Brenna on July 28, 2011 1:41 PM:

    So much for cut, cap and balanced.

    Joe Walsh is a political grifter who happened to get lucky with the timing of the Tea Party movement. Just like Christene O'Donnell. Opportunists and hypocrites! They don't believe the crap coming out of their own mouths.

  • C.S. on July 28, 2011 1:46 PM:

    Well, sure he's an asshole, but I still get a kick out of "Life's Been Good To Me So Far."

  • Kathryn on July 28, 2011 1:47 PM:

    Glad to see Chicago papers exposing this fraud. His puss is on the cables daily and I'm going to sprain ankle lunging for the mute button. Probably won't be on MSNBC so much now, too many questions to avoid or lie about.

    MSNBC reported that Chris Christie was taken to the hospital with breathing problems, apparently he has asthma, which I'm sure is helped greatly by his eating habits and charming temperament. Have been busy so have not heard any more.

  • j on July 28, 2011 1:47 PM:

    This scumbag is one of the people they want to manage the finances of this country, what a tragedy we are living in. Just watching the Thom Hartman show and it is now proven that Bush stole the 2004 elections aided and abetted by Karl Rove, they were saying what a different country this would be if Bush had never been in the White House.
    It is time to call for Walsh's resignation!

  • G.Kerby on July 28, 2011 2:18 PM:

    He had a condo foreclosed ?? You mean that he lived beyond his means and took out a mortgage??? THE HORROR!! I thought that moms & pops balance their checkbooks every Sunday night around the kitchen table and NEVER spend more than they have. They just wait until they save up enough to buy those cars and houses/condos, but NEVER borrow for them. At least that's what every repig keeps repeating.

    At least this guy is consistent, though. He deficit-spent $$ he didn't have to buy his condo, but didn't honor his "Full Faith and Credit" commitment. Instead he defaulted on his loan ... just like he wants the US to do.

  • Schtick on July 28, 2011 2:21 PM:

    Typical repubbagger. Promoting family values and fiscal responsibility, but only for you. Do as I say, not as I do.

    crapcha....contour eivedord....is that new?

  • SYSPROG on July 28, 2011 2:32 PM:

    He's a stupid jerk. #1 is comparing the macro-economic budget of the US to the family kitchen table. #2 is this kid/grandkid crap. MAYBE if he wasn't such an 'entitled' weenie he would realize exactly what his PARENTS AND GRANDPARENTS did for HIM to allow access to education, retirement, home ownership, etc. etc. He is the WORSE kind of dickhead.

  • JS on July 28, 2011 2:56 PM:

    The good news is that (a) as pointed out above, he squeaked in by a few hundred votes in a GOP 'wave' election, and (b) you may not know that he has been re-districted to the scrap heap in any case.

    No doubt his whole 'accidental' Congressional career is an extended tryout for getting himself a spot on Fox "News" Channel, or some other wingnut welfare sinecure.

  • MsJoanne on July 28, 2011 3:08 PM:

    What kills me, I mean absolutely kills me, is if you read the article at the Chicago Sun Times or Politico, the freaking teabagging wingers are doing some of the most amazing mental gymnastics to say how much this doesn't matter. It's his personal life. It's a hit piece. Jesus H. Freaking Christ On A Cracker. I couldn't get my mind to bend like that if I took enough acid to trip the Titanic to the bottom of the ocean floor.

    The other thing is that this "family values" asshole is voting to ban abortion, no? His typical teabaggy abortion-is-bad-for-the-preborn-kids bit. Well, guess what, so is not having any money growing up. This story gets to the absolute crux of the abortion debate. Some Dr. Asshole at Fox decided that men should have sole discretion over the abortion debate. It was much more important for men to liege (yeah, yeah, I used it as a verb, sue me) over women. Yet these clowns who insist on forcing that baby on the woman are the same assholes who refuse to pay for them once they've been spit out.

    Hey, Joe. Fuck you. You're a deadbeat teabagger who is a liar, a cheat and a fraud.

    And to my fellow Illinoisans who elected this schmuck, did we not get enough embarrassment from Blago?

  • BARB on July 28, 2011 3:13 PM:



  • Things Are Bad on July 28, 2011 3:22 PM:

    [Comment removed by moderator.]

  • wvmcl2 on July 28, 2011 3:25 PM:

    I've thought for a long time that a big part of the explanation for all these "angry white males" is that a lot, if not most, of them have been divorced. They are seething with resentment at the money they are forced to pay to the hated ex, who they probably think is living high on the hog.

    I would bet that if you took a random sample of teabaggers, you would find a higher than expected percentage of divorced males paying alimony or child support.

  • Things Are Bad on July 28, 2011 3:27 PM:

    [Comment from one deadbeat dad in support of another have been removed.]

  • Joe on July 28, 2011 3:35 PM:

    It's not right to call for weiner to resign and not call for walsh to get the hell out of the country's affairs. Walsh must resign. Immediately. A real dead beat!!!! I did not make nearly as much but I did pay every penny for my girls, because its the right thing to do.

  • Texas Aggie on July 28, 2011 5:09 PM:

    On the deadbeat father bit, I find it disgusting. He claims he doesn't owe $117,436 or whatever it is, but he won't say how much he really owes, at least not that I've seen. If he can afford an international vacation, he should have taken his kids, not his girl friend. He owes them more than he owes her, unless she is the one who paid for it. And if she was supporting him, what does that say about him?

    And what kind of a jerk doesn't start paying back as soon as he gets a job that pays as well as his present job?

  • earthboundmisfit on July 29, 2011 12:16 PM:

    Joe is simply applying tough love to those deadbeat dependent children who are too lazy to support themselves and want to live off of childcare entitlements.

  • fishertom on July 29, 2011 2:32 PM:

    Joe: " hey you kids, get off the entitlement nipple, suck it up and be responsible for yourselves"
    Can this scumbag be recalled?

  • carol stanton on July 30, 2011 11:44 AM:

    He had trouble finding and keeping work, maybe he wont be able to keep this job either when the other do rightwingers see what a hypocrit he is.