Written by Lee Fang, ThinkProgress
Freshman Rep. Joe Walsh (R-IL) is known for his anti-Obama rhetoric on cable television and his inability to pay his child support payments. But during a recent meeting with constituents in his Chicago-area suburban district, Walsh lost his cool when several attendees asked about why banks have so much power in government. At one point, Walsh even threatened to a eject a man who calmly asked Walsh about the revolving door of bank lobbyists infiltrating Congress and financial regulatory agencies.
Walsh at one point screamed, “don’t blame the banks … this pisses me off!” After several constituents accurately pointed out that bank lobbyists occupy key positions within Congress, the SEC, and other oversight bodies that are supposed to supervise bank practices, Walsh began sticking his finger close to his constituent’s faces, yelling, “quiet for a minute or I’ll have to ask you to leave.” The constituent, who had calmly asked his question before being cut-off midway through his sentence, obliged:
WALSH: That’s not the problem! The problem is you’ve got to be consistent. And I dont want government meddling in the marketplace. Yeah, they move from Goldman Sachs to the White House, I understand all of that. But you gotta’ be consistent. And it’s not the private marketplace that created this mess. What created mess was your government, which has demanded for years that everybody be in a home. And we’ve made it easy as possible for people to be in homes. [...] Don’t blame banks, and don’t blame the marketplace for the mess we’re in right now! I am tired of hearing that crap! This pisses me off! Too many people don’t listen. [...]
WALSH: Quiet for a minute! Quiet for a minute!
CONSTITUENT: Joe, what did I say–
WALSH: Quiet for a minute or I’m going to ask you to leave. You need to listen, or I’m going to ask you to leave.
The conversation moved from talking about influence of the bank lobby to larger structural problems in government. Walsh absurdly claimed that worker unions have more power and money than corporations in America. But he was quickly rebutted by his constituent, who said that in any case, unions serve worker interests while corporate lobbies push for private, selfish interests. The video of the exchange, which occurred during Walsh’s “Cup of Joe with Joe Walsh” event on Sunday in the town of Gurnee, Illinois, was posted on YouTube last night.
This post was originally published by ThinkProgress.
Photo from Gage Skidmore via flickr