Before he was running against Trump, Joe Walsh was trying to be Trump

This week, Walsh announced a long-shot primary bid against President Donald Trump, and went on TV to apologize for saying incredibly incendiary and racist things in the not-so-distant past. Back when he was in Congress, Walsh made a big show of skipping one of Obama’s joint addresses and called the president “idiotic.” One of his former Republican colleagues described him to me as one of the most “vitriolic, partisan members of our conference.” Another said they had a hard time remembering what working with Walsh was like, because they could only recall that he was “a giant pain in the ass, who liked to go on TV.” (Walsh told me in an interview that he wouldn’t normally respond to nameless comments but yes, generally, the “Republican party didn’t like me, that’s fair to say.”) Dave Weigel once quoted Walsh as saying that Obama was elected because he was “a black man who was articulate, liberal, the whole white guilt, all of that” — and described Walsh as “the biggest media hound in the freshman class.”

So actually, it made perfect sense that Walsh was there at the “Fix Congress Now” caucus press conference: It was a few months before the 2012 election, and he was about to lose. He wanted the press! And he knew that seeming like a genteel “problem solver” was one way to get it.

He’s always been a creature of whatever moment he happens to be in, and he tends to do and say whatever he thinks might get him the most airtime.