As Congressman Joe Walsh's legal team preps for a pretrial conference in his child-support suit next week, his primary election opponent, Congressman Randy Hultgren, has taken a poll that among other issues, looks at how Walsh's personal past might cost him politically.
The poll, the first conducted by the Tarrance Group for the Hultgren campaign, sampled residents of the new 14th Congressional District, Hultgren campaign officials said. [...]
After hearing from constituents that the poll contained a number of questions on child support and his financial past, Walsh is calling the effort a “push poll” — a political campaign technique designed to influence voters by disseminating negative and false information — and evidence of a dirty campaign.
“If he raises his voice and calls into question who I am as a father, I'll punch him in the face, figuratively speaking,” said Walsh [...]
Seriously, guy? The whole country is calling into question who you are as a father. Have you not heard the news? Read the blogs? Seen the pictures of you with "deadbeat" written under them? (No, seriously, look up.) If you're going to start punching people in the face, figuratively speaking, then figuratively speaking you are going to have a really, really sore hand afterwards.
While this is probably the most macho way I've ever seen a Republican play the victim card ("Grr! I'm angry! Deadbeat dad smash!"), the simple fact remains that if Rep. Joe Walsh would just pay his court-ordered child support, this wouldn't be an issue. He says he had a verbal agreement with his ex-wife that he wouldn't be paying it—the same ex-wife who's been rather publicly trying to get him to pay it—so it would seem she has a rather different understanding. He has yet to offer any other coherent explanation to the judge for why he won't pay. He recently wrote a $35,000 check to his own reelection campaign, so I'd say it's not that he doesn't have the cash.
If Walsh wants to not pay his child support, then "family values congressman keeps dodging his child support payments" seems a perfectly valid news item. It's even all right to bring it up in the context of campaigning—for example, to say something like "while Joe Walsh talks bullshit about his supposed values at every opportunity, he won't even support his own kids."
You want people to stop bringing up how you won't pay your child support? Then pay your damn child support already. Jackass.