Last Call for Anti-War Congressmen


Anti-war Republican Congressman Wayne Gilchrest's (he talked to me here) re-election campaign just got harder as the Club for Growth (me on them here) goes all in for his Republican opponent.

The group, which endorses and helps fund fiscally conservative candidates, endorsed Gilchrest's primary opponent, state Sen. Andrew Harris, who has been running a conservative campaign centered on support for the war in Iraq and opposition to pork-barrel spending.

The Club's endorsement suggests they have no qualms about targeting other Republicans they view as insufficiently conservative. Last year, they helped elect Rep. Tim Walberg (R-Mich.), who defeated then-Rep. Joe Schwarz in the GOP primary. And Onslow County Commissioner Joe McLaughlin, running in a primary against Rep. Walter Jones (R-N.C.), met with the organization last week.

Jones, like Gilchrest, has a few liberal positions that his opponent will go after, but neither man would be in trouble if he was supporting the Iraq War. Occasional reasonoid Jim Antle proved as much in his American Conservative story about how being an Iraq dead-ender has become as essential to being a Republican politician as pledging your life to Somoza used to be in Managua.

Meanwhile Dennis Kucinich is being challenged by a fellow anti-war Democrat in Ohio, and the challenger is being backed by the fascinating anti-war vet Paul Hackett.

Rosemary Palmer, running for the 10th Congressional District nomination, has a tough challenge, but if Hackett were to truly get involved, he might draw some attention for Palmer.

Palmer's 23-year-old son, Lance Cpl. Edward "Augie" Schroeder II, was killed in Iraq two years ago. A former teacher, Palmer says that Kucinich seems too preoccupied with his quest to become president to represent the district well.

Once in a while some smart strategist will argue that the Iraq War is going to fade as an issue, that a winning Democrat is going to have to triangulate his/her position on the war and that a Republican can survive is he broadens the argument to "the global war on terror." That's obviously bunk: Iraq is inspiring a national mania that shows no sign of abatement. Quick, name another issue that's cracking open both parties' coalitions—Republican paleo-cons versus support-the-president-ers, wimpy Democratic neoliberals versus Code Pink/Sheehan-ers—the way Iraq is.

UPDATE: Marc says…

Gilchrest has never been liked by conservative Republicans in this district. He has faced conservative primary challengers in the past (supported, I believe, by the Club for Growth). Yes, Harris is attacking Gilchrest for his war stance. But he's also pretty vocal about the fact that Gilchrest is far from being a fiscal conservative.

True, but after Gilchrest put away a series of opponents who ran against him on fiscal and enviromental issues the party's mainstream basically gave up on ousting him. No way would he be facing a challenge for a ninth term if it wasn't for the Iraq War.