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.