Joe Walsh is challenging Donald Trump for the Republican Presidential Nomination. Presumably, he’ll be challenging Trump from the right while Bill Weld challenges Trump from the left. It’s hard not to be reminded of the 1972 election, in which Nixon was challenged by Pete McCloskey and John Ashbrook while the Democrats split their votes among several different candidates and ended up nominating someone so far to the left that there was no way that he could win.
In 2016, Walsh was so enthusiastic about Trump that he said that he’d pick up “a musket” if Trump wasn’t sworn in as President. Walsh’s enthusiasm didn’t last long. As soon as he became a prominent Trump critic, many people in the media forgot about Walsh’s long history of accusing Barack Obama a Kenyan-born Muslim.
When Walsh first ran for office in 1996, he claimed to be a pro-choice moderate who would not vote lockstep with the conservatives in his party. Walsh didn’t win that election but he ran again in 2010, this time as a full-throated conservative, and he was elected in the Tea Party wave. He only held onto his seat for one term. Walsh was pro-Trump when it paid and now he’s anti-Trump when that pays even more. If Bernie Sanders is ever elected President, Walsh will probably announce that he’s always enjoyed reading Karl Marx.
Walsh is now running and it’s sad to see formerly respectable figures like Bill Kristol tweeting out positive sentiments about the prospect. Walsh was a grifter before Trump and he’ll continue to be one after. If nothing else, the Age of Trump has been good for grifters.