Illinois’ very own Tea Party Congressman Joe Walsh recently blasted President Obama for his campaign style bus tour through the Midwest. Walsh said:
If taxpayers are going to foot the bill for this new $1.1 million bus and all the expenses that come with this trip, the President better not use this tax dollar-funded trip to give just another campaign stump speech. It is for this reason that I would like to invite the President to co-host a town hall meeting with me at his earliest convenience. This will make certain the President hears the same unfiltered message I hear every day from Illinois residents.
There are at least two ironies about Walsh’s statement. First, that Walsh, for many months over the last three years, would not have been able to drive the bus because his license was suspended by the Illinois Secretary of State.
Second, that President Bush traveled around the Midwest in a similar bus in 2004 for his “Yes America Can” bus tour. Someone recently gave me a pretty good bumper sticker for the Tea Party: “Tea Party: Outraged About Government Spending Since January 20, 2009.” Considering the then record deficits George W. Bush amassed by funding the Iraq War while cutting taxes, the bumper sticker is appropriate.
Unfortunately, we deal with idiotic partisan bickering daily, so we have come to expect Republicans bashing President Obama for doing the same things George W. Bush did while in office. People with a memory or access to Google can figure that out for themselves.
The problem with Joe Walsh’s invitation to President Obama is Joe Walsh. If you can’t drive your car because you’re not financially responsible enough to maintain car insurance—while you’re a Congressman no less—then you shouldn’t be preaching financial responsibility. Wednesday’s Chicago Tribune reported as much:
For almost nine months ending in April 2009, Walsh lost his driving privileges because of a failure to appear in court on a traffic case, according to Elizabeth Kaufman, a spokeswoman for the secretary of state.
Walsh’s license was again suspended again this past April—while he was in Congress—because he did not abide by a state requirement to maintain high risk car insurance known as SR-22, which is used by the state to monitor what it calls problem drivers, Kaufman said.
Under SR-22 insurance, if the policy lapses—either because the policy holder missed a payment or canceled coverage—the state automatically suspends his license.
Walsh got his driving privileges back last month, the secretary of state’s office said.
A Congressman not being able to maintain his driver’s license is bad enough, however, dirtbags who do not pay child support payments, should not be allowed to keep Congressional office.
Last month Walsh’s ex-wife filed court pleadings alleging that he owes over $117,000.00 in child support. Walsh denies only that he owes the amount claimed and said that he will “fight those allegations until my last breath.”
Maybe instead of fighting the allegations with his last breath, he should fight to make the payments he owes to his former wife to support his children with equal fervor.
I have a friend who has three children and earns roughly $60,000.00 annually. Her ex-husband earns in excess of $200,000.00. He is often in arrears with his child support. And it’s not only the monthly support payments owed—but it’s also payments towards mounting medical expenses, school and college tuition and fees, and extracurricular activities. My friend had to take her ex-husband to court regularly to get these arrearages, a no-win proposition for her having to pay her lawyer to get what was owed. The financial stress she continues to go through, which includes a foreclosure and bankruptcy, and the constant financial assistance of her family, because she married a jerk who chose to not support his children as a way of getting back at her, continues to make the people around her pretty angry. I’m sure a lot of people in Joe Walsh’s district (although he was probably redistricted out of a job by Illinois Democrats) are angry too. Maybe he doesn’t owe his ex-wife $117,000, but he certainly owes her something. It now makes it highly ironic that the Northern Illinois Patriots would hold a meeting billed as a “Pro-Family Event” featuring Joe Walsh considering he has failed to support his own children.
Joe Walsh’s message about getting our country out of the fiscal mess we’re in should not be lost. However, a deadbeat who doesn’t support his children should not be lecturing anyone on fiscal restraint. And we certainly shouldn’t be celebrating him as a messenger.