Rep. Joe Walsh (R-IL) is usually a mild-mannered guy with a heavy Midwestern accent. But during a town hall meeting on Sunday, he let his emotions fly while answering constituent questions on the banking industry and government regulation.
The “Cup of joe with Joe Walsh” event at a Gurnee, IL UNO bar and grill seemed to start off cordial enough. Video of the event picks up with a calm Walsh discussing random bills, taking a shot at John McCain, and calming a veteran’s fear about veterans benefits. But about six minutes in, a constituent brings up AT&T wanting to buy T-Mobile, and how it has the potential to be a monopoly. That eventually led to a discussion on government regulation and intervention, and some attendees took shots at big banks being in bed with government. Walsh had about enough of that.
Here’s a transcript (which we have fixed and added to in some places):
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. [...] The government sets the rules. 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! [...]
CONSTITUENT: You don’t have to scream at me.
WALSH: No, you know what, because this pisses me off! Too many people don’t listen. [...] Government screwed this problem up. What do you want? Well you know what you got, you got Dodd-Frank. [...]
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.
Walsh even passionately confronted a female constituent during the argument:
You can watch the relevant part below:
The full 50-minute video is available here.
It should be noted that during the exchange Walsh yelled out, “I need more coffee,” and those in attendance chuckled and told the restaurant to bring him decaf, showing the mood was more of a passionate debate than an angry politician making everyone uncomfortable. And Despite the passion, Walsh also seemed to know the people he was talking with, addressing two of them by their first names, and no one ever seemed to be afraid of Walsh’s demeanor. Additionally, the end of the video shows that the people stuck around, and Walsh even shook hands with the female constituent he had argued with earlier.