Also during my trip through the South, I had the opportunity to interview Joe McLaughlin, Republican primary challenger to Rep. Walter B. Jones-- best known for coining the phrase "Freedom Fries" and then promptly moving towards voting with the Dennis Kucinich wing of the Democratic party where the war in Iraq is concerned (see this vote
and this vote
in particular). And on other things, too, like allowing government negotiation of prescription drug prices
and raising the federal minimum wage by a hefty amount
It's an odd situation (though I expect it to become increasingly common) where a supposedly conservative Republican starts voting with the furthest left within the Democratic party on everything from the war to prescription drug price negotiation. It's particularly off when that supposedly conservative Republican represents a conservative, and largely military district (NC-3 has three major military bases in it). Getting your picture taken with Cindy Sheehan, like this:
may be incredibly cool if you're running to represent Berkeley or Cambridge, but when you represent a district that is the seat of Camp LeJeune, it suggests that you're totally out-of-step with your constituents-- and probably that there's someone who would do a better job of representing them in Congress (regardless of whether their views are right, or wrong).
This seems to be Joe McLaughlin's basic point. He's an ex-military guy, works closely with members of the military today, and he's determined that if Rep. Jones wants to fight against the war, he should do it as a private citizen, instead of someone paid to represent people who fundamentally disagree with him on the subject.
Here's Part I of my interview with Joe:
And here's Part II:
As a private citizen, I strongly encourage anyone who might be concerned about a man who so grievously fails to represent his constituents, who says he doesn't care about the effect his votes on the Iraq War may have on his next election, and who recently quipped that "there is only one election I care about, and that is the one that will determine if I eventually win election to Heaven"
to take a look at Joe McLaughlin's website
and consider giving him some support. I'm not a huge Iraq War enthusiast, but ultimately, I think it's bonkers to have someone who's been taking votes like Dennis Kucinich representing this particular district. And I really don't like some of Jones' votes on economic issues...