It’s always nice when you see one of your own colleagues doing well, isn’t it? That’s why we took particular note of a New York Times story this morning suggesting that Salem radio host (and former congressman) Joe Walsh was getting ready to challenge President Trump in the GOP primary. If nothing else, he’s at least got more national name recognition with the GOP base than many other elected officials thanks to his media platform.
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 stands virtually no chance of wresting the Republican presidential nomination from Mr. Trump, whose approval rating with Republican voters is consistently in the high 80s, and whose political aides have been aggressively moving to tighten their control over state parties to thwart primary challenges.
But those encouraging Mr. Walsh, a Tea Party conservative who served one term in the House and went from staunch Trump supporter to acerbic critic, hope he can appeal to reluctant Trump voters who are open to an alternative.
This isn’t a done deal yet. Joe was on CNN during the seven o’clock block this morning and clearly stated that he hasn’t made up his mind yet, though he’s strongly considering it.
Should we be surprised? Nope. I chat with Joe on Twitter occasionally and follow his feed in my “must watch” list. Once an ardent Trump supporter, Walsh has nothing but vitriol for the President now, rarely having anything approaching a kind word for him. (And let’s be fair here… Donald Trump really seems to go out of his way to inflame passions both for and against him.)
With all that said, it’s kind of difficult to see this as anything other than a “statement campaign” if Walsh actually does toss his hat in the ring. Joe Walsh is far from stupid and he obviously realizes that Trump’s approval rating among Republicans remains stubbornly up in the 80s, if not 90s. There are already a couple of other Republicans who are declared primary candidates and you rarely (if ever) see any headlines about them in the MSM. The reason is obvious. They’re not gaining any traction.
Could it be different for our friend and colleague Joe Walsh? As I said, he has a national platform with a direct line into the ears of the GOP base of voters. He has legitimate political experience and a great voice for speeches and earned media appearances. He’s not going to turn into some sort of Bidenesque gaffe machine. But even with all he has going for him, that’s one heck of a mountain to climb. And as I already said, I’m not telling you anything that Joe doesn’t already know.