Anti-War, Anti-Establishment Republican Defeats Challenger

Celebrate with a plate of French fries.The media's big takeaway from yesterday's North Carolina primaries seems to be that the GOP establishment has defeated the Tea Party insurgents. So it's worth noting that the candidate last night who had the longest record of defying his party's leadership—Rep. Walter Jones, an anti-war, anti-TARP Republican who has held his seat for 10 terms—beat back a well-funded challenge from former Bush official Taylor Griffin.

Jones began the Iraq War as a superhawk, infamously reacting to France's reluctance to go to war by urging the House cafeteria to start calling French fries "freedom fries." But when Jones turned against the conflict, he turned hard, moving close to Ron Paul and losing out on committee appointments because of his stands. His rhetoric got pretty fiery, too. Speaking at a Young Americans for Liberty conference last year, he said, "Lyndon Johnson's probably rotting in hell right now because of the Vietnam War, and he probably needs to move over for Dick Cheney." Ballsy stuff, especially for a congressman whose district includes Camp Lejeune.

There are plenty of issues where I disagree with Jones, from gay marriage to Citizens United, but he is generally preferable to the modal House Republican and, more to the point, infinitely preferable to the fellow he defeated handily last night. I'm glad the small caucus of antiwar Republicans didn't lose a man.

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  • From the Tundra||

    Dude was a "Superhawk" when polling showed it was a strong position. Found religion when the support dropped.


  • Jesse Walker||

    No, that pretty much isn't what happened at all.

  • From the Tundra||

    Lol. That's a kind way of telling me to RTFAs!

    He still looks like a pretty typical R to me, particularly when I think a lot of his constituents are sick of military adventurism. We'll see - anti-war and anti-trade is an excellent start.

  • CampingInYourPark||

    Yeah, you're not too familiar with his constituents either. This is a good place to just stop.

  • From the Tundra||

    fuck. TARP, not trade.

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    He bucked the party for sure.

    The original GOP anti Iraq War voter, Lincoln Chafee, got drummed out of the party.

  • Sudden||

    Lincoln Chafee was considered a RINO in a number of regards, not just the war issue. His legislative history was hardly a dedication to the conservative worldview.

    Walter Jones, by contrast, is very much a conservative and adheres to conservative orthodoxy on a wider variety of issues and his shift into the anti-war camp may be coming more from a conservative, realist approach to foreign policy.

  • Lord Humungus||

    59 percent of self-identified Tea Party supporters felt positively about Tillis; 24 percent felt unfavorably.

    but hey... keep running with it - link

  • Sally Oh||

    Hahaha, the media needs to get straight on the definition of TEA Party candidate. Walter Jones sounds like a TEA Party legislator. I'd vote for him. (Co-Founder, Lexington KY TEA Party)

  • Andrew S.||

    Unfortunately, Thom Tillis, who's about as an establishment Republican as it gets, won the race to see who gets to beat Kay Hagan in November.

  • Cytotoxic||

    Other than this guy, is there truth to the GOP establishment beat the TP candidates narrative? If so, I'm calling time on the TP. It's basically toast.

  • eyeroller||

    infinitely preferable

    Exaggerating much?

  • Jesse Walker||



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