Next Year We're Gonna Party Like It's March 2003


It's an anti-war Republican trifecta! Ron Paul has Eric Dondero, Wayne Gilchrest has Andy Harris, and Walter Jones—whose tombstone will probably bear the words "freedom fries"—is drawing a pro-war challenger.

The Iraq issue is central to a challenge Jones has drawn for next year's Republican primary from Joseph R. McLaughlin, an Onslow County commissioner. McLaughlin is not that well-known to voters, especially outside his home county, but is seeking to spur a party backlash against Jones in a district that is home to three military bases, including the Marine Corps' massive Camp Lejune.

McLaughlin, who spent 18 years as an active-duty Army officer, contends that Jones' stances on the war and on homeland security issues are out of sync with those of the 3rd District's constituents.

"A number of us have become very concerned about his drift to the left, espousing ideas that we don't think reflect the views of the conservative base back in the district," McLaughlin said. "Virtually every major vote on the war on terror, he has lined up with the liberals."

I'd like to hear a longer indictment than that. Jones' ACU rating is 76—not great for a Southern Republican, but the number's pulled down by his anti-war votes. (Ron Paul has the same rating and Wayne Gilchrest scores a meager 48 thanks to his environmental votes.) Dig a little deeper and he gets a 100 from the Family Research Council and an A from the NRA. But he's bracing for a possible Lamonting because he wants to get out of Iraq.