In the midst of the hysteria over Congressman Joe Walsh’s comments regarding Tammy Duckworth’s military service driven rhetoric, NBC Chicago made an interesting point Thursday morning.
‘Joe Walsh Is the Most Famous Freshman Ever’ Edward McClelland wrote, citing the congressman’s appearances on 10 different national programs. And McClelland is in large part right. With the exception of possibly Allen West (R-FL), Walsh really is the most famous freshman ever. What makes Walsh’s quick fame more stunning than West’s, though, is that Walsh had been completely written off before the 2010 election.
Trailing incumbent Melissa Bean in both dollars and name recognition, no one gave the Tea Party favorite much of a chance until the final tallies were counted on election night, ending in the 291-vote victory. Walsh’s upset victory caught the left completely off guard and he continues to ruffle their feathers while in office with his straight talking style.
Therefore, with Walsh’s resume building from said style, there will be and already is an effort to bring him down. With Think Progress’ video catching all the headlines and Walsh redrawn into a blue heavy district, the left probably feels poised to make the congressman a one termer.
However, because of the attacks and his extremely scrutinized first term in office, it is easy to forget where Walsh was a year ago compared to today. The Associated Press reported in May of 2010 that two of Walsh’s former campaign staffs were calling for him to drop out. He was facing an uphill battle with a mountain that looked to high to climb. Even many Republicans not confident in the underdog assumed the 8th district was a guaranteed loss pre-November 2010.
Obviously, they all underestimated the Tea Party wave.
Today, the fight for the freshman may be just as tough, if not tougher than 2010, being gerrymandered into a Dem leaning district, having to battle criticism and not having the advantage of riding a conservative wave. But this is not a no name, resource lacking, heavy underdog anymore.
He is the most famous freshman ever.
Joe Kaiser is interning with Illinois Review this summer -