This is a perfect example of Old Media “gotcha” reporting. On July 3, the Washington Post attempted to accuse GOP Congressman Joe Walsh (Ill. 8th District) of saying that his Democrat opponent, Iraq War veteran Tammy Duckworth, is not a hero.
Not only is this perfect as an example of “gotcha” reporting, it also an example of the Washington Post following the left-wing, George Soros controlled Internet group Think Progress–because that is where this faux report originated.
Only July 1, Congressman Walsh held a townhall event near Elk Grove, Illinois, ostensibly to talk about the Obamacare decision issued by the Supreme Court of the United States a few days before. In his comments Walsh brought up those men and women that serve or have served the U.S. in our armed forces, as he always does at the beginning of his appearances. He noted that such heroes don’t usually talk about their service and he used the example of Senator John McCain, who was often reluctant to talk about his service during the 2008 campaign for President.
Eventually, in an offhanded comment, Walsh mentioned Duckworth’s touting of her own service saying, “that’s all she talks about.”
Now, before we get into this further, I was actually at this Walsh Townhall. I reported on it at my Illinois site, but I mention this so that I can tell you my impression of what actually went on there.
First of all, Walsh did not say Tammy Duckworth was not a hero. In fact, he noted in a statement that he’s said numerous times that indeed she is a hero for her service to our country.
Of course Tammy Duckworth is a hero. I have called her a hero 100’s of times in the past four months. Just like every man and woman who has worn the uniform, her service demands — demands — our utmost respect. That’s why I recognize our veterans at the beginning of every one of my public town halls. However, unlike most veterans I have had the honor to meet since my election to Congress, who rarely if ever talk about their service or the combat they’ve seen, that is darn near all of what Tammy Duckworth talks about. Her service demands our thanks and our respect but not our vote. She is running for Congress — and there are real problems in this country like our massive debt, high unemployment and the ObamaCare tax. We are about four months from Election Day and the people of Illinois have no idea where Tammy Duckworth stands on these issues because she dodges debate requests, ignores our invitations to speak at town halls, refuses to talk about solutions and constantly reminds voters of her war service. Our thoughts and prayers will always be with her for her service and her loss but these are serious times and the people of Illinois deserve to know what she thinks about real issues and what she will do as a congresswoman.
I will attest that I have heard, with my own ears, Congressman Walsh say Tammy Duckworth deserves all our thanks and respect for her service. I am in Walsh’s (new) district and I’ve covered many of his events.
Candidates who are military veterans always walk a fine line between simply mentioning their service as a fact of their background and using it as a bragging point, to be sure. It’s not always easy to know where to draw that line. Duckworth, however, does seem to make her service, her injuries, and her work surrounding them pretty much the central resume enhancer and the main reason we should vote for her. Even her about page on her campaign website talks more of her service and injury than it does about the rest of her life. Worse, that page doesn’t mention any of the ideas she’d bring to Congress. She risks the taunt of making her service a bragging point quite easily with her own website.
The truth is, Duckworth really doesn’t have much to her but her service. As was seen earlier this year when she looked sheepish and unable to keep up with Congressman Walsh in a televised debate the two participated in.
Of course, there are some things Duckworth doesn’t seem to want to talk about. Local blogger and friend John Ruberry notes that Duckworth seems to have forgotten to mention Obamacare on her campaign website. (Ruberry was also at this event and has other video on his site.)
Regardless, Congressman Walsh did not say that Democrat Tammy Duckworth is not a hero. He just didn’t. This is gotcha journalism at its worst.