Speaking of Litmus Tests…

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Playing off Steve Chapman's new column… When I asked Rep. Wayne Gilchrist if he worried about a primary challenge (he's faced stiff ones before after pissing off the NRA and the Club for Growth) he demurred.

I don't worry about a primary challenge. It's inconvenient. My eternal soul will last a lot longer than my short, pathetic political career.

What we both knew was that Gilchrist probably will face his third primary challenge of the decade. Playing Lee Van Cleef to Gilchrist's Clint Eastwood will be a state senator named Andy Harris, whose reason for running is… well, take a guess.

Many Republicans say Mr. Gilchrest's support of the Democrat-backed Iraq war resolution in March and District of Columbia voting rights are the latest in a series of votes that have alienated him from the Republican base.

"People are really sick and tired of him," said Joan Harris, a Republican activist in Mr. Gilchrest's district and vice president of Citizens for Jessica's Law in Maryland, an organization that advocates tougher sex-offender laws.

Mr. Gilchrest was one of two Republican congressmen to vote with the Democrats to set a troop-withdrawal date in Iraq. The other was Walter B. Jones of North Carolina.

"That one vote has generated more anti-Gilchrest letters to the editor than all the other votes since he's been in Congress," said state Sen. Richard F. Colburn, an Eastern Shore Republican who ran against Mr. Gilchrest in 2004.

Nobody's got a divine right to be in Congress, but those are the issues Republican voters consider purge-worthy? Keeping troops in Iraq and preventing Eleanor Holmes Norton from saying "aye" and "nay"?

NEXT: Republicans Retreat From Their War History

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  1. but those are the issues Republican voters consider purge-worthy?

    I wonder if Dave would say the same if voters in a Democratic district voted out their Rep because of his support for the war.

  2. Nobody’s got a divine right to be in Congress, but those are the issues Republican voters consider purge-worthy? Keeping troops in Iraq and preventing Eleanor Holmes Norton from saying “aye” and “nay”?

    Those just happen to be two that you plucked out Dave. I am sure there are more. You probably don’t have to look really hard and a few will probably fall right into your lap.

  3. So, Dave, you think that Connecticut Dems booting Liebermann in the primary, almost entirely because of his support for the war, were acting stupidly as well?

  4. Whether or not the people in Gilchrist district boot him is up to them. If they feel he is not representing their interests then he will go.

    Weigel apparently is a dim bulb that doesn’t realize most Republicans are going to support the president and our troops in this war.

  5. Mr. Gilchrest has frequently sided with environmentalists during his tenure, testified against a proposal by former Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr., a Republican, to legalize slot machines in 2004, and has voted in support of abortion and flag burning.

    Guy Montag was right, this is from the same frickin’ article! Way to cherry-pick the quotes, Dave.

  6. Weigel apparently is a dim bulb that doesn’t realize most Republicans are going to support the president and our troops in this war.

    Don’t fall for that fascad. David is quite the crafty reporter.

  7. Never assume malice when incompetence is just as good an explanation. Maybe Dave is just crabby because it’s been so long since his last milkshake break.

  8. Weigel apparently is a dim bulb that doesn’t realize most Republicans are going to support the president and our troops in this war.

    Interesting that you would use the phrase “dim bulb” in a sentence concerning people who still support this clusterfuck, without applying the adjective to the people who still support this clusterfuck.

  9. thoreau,

    1. Weigel was the subject of that sentence
    2. “Dim bulb” isn’t an adjective.

  10. OT: Milkshake

    Never assume malice when incompetence is just as good an explanation. Maybe Dave is just crabby because it’s been so long since his last milkshake break.

    Is the milkshake thing a “before my time” H&R joke? I get it on it’s face, but was wondering if there was some important/interesting/silly history to it.

  11. crimethink-

    Regarding 1: A description could always be applied to more than one person in the same sentence (although I don’t consider Weigel a dim bulb).

    Regarding 2: I stand corrected.

  12. Guy,

    I don’t think there’s a history, it’s just something I made up a while back, and keep repeating. And TBH, now that I think of it, Dave does look like a milkshake kind of guy.

    Perhaps Dave’s milkshakes will join Unborn Angel as my enduring contributions to H&R culture.

  13. crimethink,

    Ah, well I have used it a few times too and I think I got it from you during the Webb gun story.

    Isn’t the mention count of that all the way up to ONE for reason? I believe that is when the milkshake mention came in 🙂

    If you meet David in real he really does not come across as a milkshake guy. Maybe white russians, but not milkshakes.

  14. From the FA:

    “The First Congressional District is an exceedingly conservative district, where the constituents expect their congressman to vote conservative,” Mr. Harris said.

    The First Congressional District is apparently not an exceedingly grammatical district.

  15. I’m a constituent of Gilchrest and have been quite unhappy with his efforts to stymie the modest moves the GOP has made to reduce the rate of spending, his support of gun control, his environmentalism, etc. I’ve been hoping ever since I moved to the district to have a better Republican representing this district

    Unfortunately, it now seems we’ll see a primary battle based on the war in Iraq. If it comes down to that, I guess I’ll have to choose Gilchrest. It pains me to do so, however, since he’s such a bad Congressman in so many other ways.

  16. My eternal soul will last a lot longer than my short, pathetic political career.

    For the religious politician, one would think this sort of remark would be troubling–i.e., that short, pathetic political career is more likely than most activities to endanger your eternal soul. Which is why everyone should resign after, say, two terms. For their own moral well being.

  17. Yup, “What was David thinking?” is a real head scratcher. I guess I’ll pile on the “Weigel is a partisan hack” for this one.

  18. The First Congressional District is apparently not an exceedingly grammatical district.

    I would say that is more a reflection on the reporter than the speaker.

  19. Yup, “What was David thinking?” is a real head scratcher. I guess I’ll pile on the “Weigel is a partisan hack” for this one.

    Don’t forget crafty 🙂

  20. preventing Eleanor Holmes Norton from saying “aye” and “nay”?

    You know, that is a pretty big one. Not against Ms. Norton personally, just against making another major revision to the Constitution so that a city with the same representation status as Guam suddenly gets more status than Guam (just a simple example folks, not the whole argument).

  21. “Nobody’s got a divine right to be in Congress, but those are the issues Republican voters consider purge-worthy? Keeping troops in Iraq and preventing Eleanor Holmes Norton from saying ‘aye’ and ‘nay’?”

    As somebody who began his career as a reporter for the Dorchester County (Md.) Daily Banner, which covers the heart of Gilchrest’s district, let me answer that question with a clear, unambiguous “yes.”

  22. “Nobody’s got a divine right to be in Congress, but those are the issues Republican voters consider purge-worthy? Keeping troops in Iraq and preventing Eleanor Holmes Norton from saying ‘aye’ and ‘nay’?”

    Yeah Dave. Shockingly enough people really disagree with you. Worse yet those rubes are allowed to vote. I know that sucks and all but that is the system we have. Maybe someday when you are king, you can send these people to reducation camps or something.

  23. Gosh, we know so much better now than the Founders.

    I mean, why would anyone think that the city where the capital is located might be in a position to exercise outsized influence on the government? What a bunch of maroons.

  24. RC,

    I’m not an expert on the subject, but I think the reason for having the national capital outside the boundaries of any state had more to do with protecting the Federal govt from the influence of the govt of the state the capital was in. There may have been issues with Pennsylvania’s and New York’s state govts when the capital was in those states.

  25. Gilchrest:

    Voted to make the PATRIOT Act permanent.
    Also voted to felonize anyone who owns bits of stamped sheet metal that are the wrong shape and hold “too many” rounds of ammunition.
    Also voted against gay marriage.

    Gee, Weigel, you’ve picked a real paragon of libertarian virtue there.

  26. When I asked Rep. Wayne Gilchrist if he worried about a primary challenge (he’s faced stiff ones before after pissing off the NRA and the Club for Growth) he demurred.

    So he has been previously opposed by gun rights supporters and fiscal conservatives.

    For many republican and libertarian voters a politicians opposition to gun rights combined with his opposition to government fiscal responsibility are outstanding reasons to vote them out of office

  27. The worst topic in the world is chiding people for taking on incumbents.

    I never understood why anyone with a platform finds the “why are they primary-ing this person” angle even remotely interesting. Considering how many House seats rarely even get a real challenger from the other party much less have to face a primary challenge — and how many incumbents take their position for granted and feel they aren’t accountable to the people they work for, one would think that journalists would be celebrating every time an election is contested either at the primary level or at the general level.

    The last thing we need is to try and deter competition for seats and scrutiny.

    I dunno if Mr Gilchrest is out of touch with his base or his district in general, but the only way to find out is by giving the people more options and see whom they choose. And that should be celebrated

  28. For once I agree with you Tom. The people of that guy’s district ought to get a choice once in a while rather than incumbant versus sacrificial lamb run by the other side. If Weigel doesn’t like the choice they make, tough shit.

  29. Yes, when I said “nobody’s got a divine right to be in Congress,” what I meant was “Gilchrest has a divine right to be in Congress.” What a perceptive bunch of comments.

  30. I’m not an expert on the subject, but I think the reason for having the national capital outside the boundaries of any state had more to do with protecting the Federal govt from the influence of the govt of the state the capital was in. There may have been issues with Pennsylvania’s and New York’s state govts when the capital was in those states.

    I think this is two ways of saying the same thing – whatever jurisdiction the capital is in can and will exercise an undue influence on the government.

    I don’t think it was a simple oversight that, when the Founders took the capital out of any state, they declined to make it a virtual state by giving it representation in Congress.

  31. What a perceptive bunch of comments.

    Not to speak for anyone else, but to me the tone of the posting you wrote was quite critical of the rationale of those in his own party for wanting him out. What makes you the arbiter of what is or isn’t a good reason to primary someone? The posting comes off as condescending and dismissive of those reasons because they aren’t the right/proper reasons to try and oust someone.

  32. I can see keep Norton from saying aye and nay begin pivotal. She wants to appropriate funds to rebuild a DC business that burned down, solely because many congress-critters like to frequent the place. She’s obviously a dumbass (see her Colbert appearance for more proof) and keeping her from voting on bills sounds wise.

  33. Dang. I may have to add a Weekly Agreement with ChicagoTom to my Weekly Agreement with joe.

  34. Well you’ve clarified what you meant by “Nobody’s got a divine right to be in Congress,” but maybe now you could clarify what you meant by “Nobody’s got a divine right to be in Congress, but

  35. Not to speak for anyone else, but to me the tone of the posting you wrote was quite critical of the rationale of those in his own party for wanting him out. What makes you the arbiter of what is or isn’t a good reason to primary someone?

    Well, remember, David lives in that little city that has 3 electorial votes (two more than Memphis) and was the home town of Albert Gore Jr., but they still say they are not being properly represented.

    I am sure it is no shock to anybody that I read the Nobody’s got a divine right to be in Congress bit as literal and had no idea it was sarcastic. This humamaties department pranking is just so over my head sometimes.

  36. The founders never anticipated that DC would become a city of half a million or so people. The primary reason for creating a congressionally controlled Washington was to ensure the government had complete control over their own capitol.

    That could still be the case if they just gave the bulk of DC back to Maryland and kept the National Mall and some adjacent federal property as DC. This is the only solution that wouldn’t require either changing the constitution or at least reinterpreting it and going against the founders original intentions.

  37. That could still be the case if they just gave the bulk of DC back to Maryland and kept the National Mall and some adjacent federal property as DC.

    That is a far better solution than making DC a quasi-state. Although Maryland would probably be crazy to take most of Washington.

  38. I am from his district, though I live on the large mass of land in the eastern part of the state that is mostly ignored.

    He has faced competition from a well-liked long-term State Sen and a wealthy pro-life lawyer who spent a lot of $$$ and was everywhere. Each time the challengers say they think the 1st needs a “real conservative” or that this partcular district is “too conservative” for Chrest.

    But obviously it ISN’T. Like most of MD its just not that “conservative.” A “moderate Republican” stays in office here. And CLOBBERS his challengers ( guys with high recognition and $$$)every time.

  39. That is a far better solution than making DC a quasi-state. Although Maryland would probably be crazy to take most of Washington.

    Last I recal, MD did not want their part of the District back.

    As is mentioned every time this is discussed, VA took their part of the District back (it is where I live now) so it is not an impossible solution. Just does not seem very likely now.

  40. The founders never anticipated

    I love that phrase. It warns me to stop paying attention.

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