The GOP Beltway establishment is celebrating the victory of Thom Tillis, speaker of the North Carolina House, over his tea party and Evangelical rivals in last week’s primary for the U.S. Senate.
But the story ended less happily for the Beltway elite in the Tar Heel State’s 3rd Congressional District. There, the planned purge of Rep. Walter Jones was repulsed by his loyal Republican base.
Yet, this massively funded effort, to kill the career of a 20-year House veteran, whose father held the seat for decades before him, testifies eloquently to the intolerance of the ideological and monied elite of the party to which conservatives give allegiance.
Reportedly, a million dollars of super PAC money poured into the 3rd, from Republicans, in support of a brazen Big Lie campaign to paint Walter Jones as a liberal. But what is the Congressman’s real record?
In the Bush I era, he voted against No Child Left Behind.
In the Obama years, he voted against Obamacare and the bailouts of the big banks, Wall Street and Detroit. He voted against cap and trade, and TARP, the trillion-dollar stimulus package.
Jones voted against every increase in the debt ceiling in 10 years and refuses to vote for any U.S. budget not in balance. He stands against same-sex marriage, has a 100 percent rating from National Right to Life, and receives a consistent A from the NRA.
A national organization opposing illegal immigration gives Jones an A+ for battling to secure America’s borders and block amnesty.
Camp Lejeune is in Jones’ district, and he has received awards from every veterans organization from the American Legion to the Disabled American Veterans.
FreedomWorks cited Jones last year as the most conservative member of the North Carolina delegation and one of the 10 most conservative members of the House. And he had the endorsement of Dot Helms, widow of conservative legend Jesse Helms.
Why, then, was the Beltway elite so determined to destroy Jones that they spent a million dollars backing a Bush II apparatchik turned K Street lobbyist who moved only last year to the district?
Why was the War Party determined to kill Walter Jones?
First, Jones has voted for years to end foreign aid, a capital crime to the Israeli lobby AIPAC.
Second, though Jones was so pro-war in 2003 that when France opposed the U.S. invasion of Iraq he had the House dining room rename French fries “freedom fries,” when the caskets began to come home he starting having second thoughts.
Walter Jones came to believe that voting to send Americans to fight and die in Iraq was the worst mistake of his career.
So now Rep. Jones spends hours each weekend writing personal letters to every family that lost a son or daughter in a war he wrongly supported. And he has resolved to oppose every idiotic war into which his country is being stampeded.
Walter Jones is a pro-peace conservative, a principled patriot who votes his convictions, puts his country first, and refuses to take dictation from the War Party.
And that is why the War Party front, the “Emergency Committee for Israel,” chaired by Bill Kristol, leading tub-thumper for a war that cost 4,500 American lives, funneled hundreds of thousands into attack ads in one Congressional District in North Carolina to kill the career of one congressman.
And that is why Ending Spending Action Fund, a super PAC led by billionaire Joe Ricketts and backed by the Macau-Vegas casino mogul Sheldon Adelson, dumped scores of thousands into the 3rd District to deceive voters into believing that Walter Jones is a liberal.
Describing the Beltway coalition that tried to end the career of Rep. Jones, Ronald Reagan’s Budget Director David Stockman writes:
‘’The whole Bush White House crowd that destroyed the GOP’s commitment to fiscal discipline, bailed-out Wall Street and GM and launched disastrous wars ... joined the attack. The heavy artillery included ... Karl Rove, former Governor and RNC chair Haley Barber and the War Party’s highly paid chief PR flack, Ari Fleischer.”
Consider what the GOP establishment and the Adelson-Kristol neocons are telling Republicans nationally with this wilding attack on a venerable veteran of the Republican House.
They are saying: You can be for amnesty for illegal aliens, support same-sex marriage, be pro-choice on abortion, and you can still be welcome in our party. But oppose foreign aid or resist the War Party agenda, and you are a heretic who should and shall be purged.
With this massive intervention in North Carolina, not to elect some outstanding new candidate, but to kill the career of one defiant dissenter, the GOP establishment is sending a message to the Republican base:
Our “Big Tent” is not big enough to include Walter Jones.
But if that is true of Walter Jones, what does that say to a nation that has come to agree with Walter Jones that America should mind her own business and stop fighting other countries’ wars?
Who is out of touch with America here?
Patrick J. Buchanan is the author of “Suicide of a Superpower: Will America Survive to 2025?”