Sunday, February 10, 2019

Walter Jones, RIP


Walter Jones was one of the few Republican members of Congress who I was able to get to talk with me for DWT. And he was always a serious and forthright guy. I liked him and was sorry to hear he had passed away today, on his 76th birthday. He hadn't been back to Congress since late last year.

Like his father, he began his political career as a conservative Democrat. His father, also Walter Jones, served in Congress. Walter Jr, was elected to the North Carolina state House in 1982 and represented Pitt County until 1992 when he ran, unsuccessfully , to his retiring father's congressional seat. He lost the Democratic primary. Walter Jr switched parties and in 1994 was elected to a neighboring seat as a Republican, becoming the first Republican to represent an eastern North Carolina congressional seat since Reconstruction.

Now his seat is firmly Republican-- R+12-- and McCain won with 56.8%, Romney with 58.5% and Trump with 60.5%. Last year he was reelected with opposition, although two right-wing extremists challenged him in the primary-- as the far right had been doing for some time, unhappy with his centrist positions, particularly in advocating the end of the Iraq war.

According to ProgressivePunch, his lifetime crucial vote score was the 5th most progressive of any Republicanand he often had better scores than right-wing Blue Dog Democrats like Kyrsten Sinema (AZ), Henry Cuellar (TX), Jim Costa (CA) and Collin Peterson (MN).

Boehner removed him from his place on the House Financial Services Committee for not being lockstep with the party enough. (For example, he was one of the few Republicans who supported a minimum wage-- and of raising it.) After he came out against the Iraq war, Boehner semi-secretly backed a primary opponent but Jones won anyway.
“I did not do what I should have done to read and find out whether Bush was telling us the truth about Saddam (Hussein) being responsible for 9/11 and having weapons of mass destruction,” Jones said in a 2015 radio interview. “Because I did not do my job then, I helped kill 4,000 Americans, and I will go to my grave regretting that.”

Jones signed more than 11,000 letters to families of dead troops since 2003, an act he told The Associated Press was “penance” for his vote. Jones began sending the letters after attending the 2003 funeral of Marine Sgt. Michael Bitz.

“I want them to know that my heart aches as their heart aches,” he told the AP.

...Jones tried, without success, to get the House to debate a new war authorization as the U.S. military presence spread around the Middle East in its fight against terrorism, arguing that the 2001 authorization approved after the attacks of Sept. 11 had been used “far too long,” according to one letter, as justification.

...Jones served as co-chair of the Campaign Finance Reform Caucus, pushing for reforms to lessen the impact and role of large campaign contributions. He called for the repeal of the Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United, which opened the door for super PACs, and pushed for public financing of elections. Jones railed against the corrosive influence of money in politics for much of his career.

“The money up here is power,” Jones said in a 2005 interview with McClatchy. “Power is money. It’s true for both sides. That’s what creates problems.”

Jones also worried deeply about the nation’s growing debt, angering some Republicans by voting against President Donald Trump’s signature tax-cut bill because of its impact on the debt. He refused to vote for bills that increased the national debt.

“I can’t do it,” he told the News & Observer. “My consistency is the fact that of my great concern that the debt one day of this nation will strangle the economy... We can’t keep doing these things we can’t pay for.”

UPDATE: Ted Lieu

"Walter Jones was a great man and a courageous, principled public servant. I was honored to have had the opportunity to work with Walter on a number of issues, including reforming our campaign finance system; preventing the President from launching a nuclear first strike without congressional approval; and getting the US out of the horrific civil war in Yemen. Walter will be missed."

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At 3:12 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, Jones did a few good things. How many other Congress Critters wrote letters to Gold Star families?

Prevention is always preferred to Cure, Walter, and you failed that test. At least you knew you screwed up and did something to atone, which is something several prominent democraps have yet to achieve.

At 6:25 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jones only admitted he is a fucking moron. Everyone who can rub two neurons together knew that saddam had dick to do with 9/11. Everyone who could muster a trio of functioning neurons knew that saddam had no WMDs and was absolutely no threat to the usa or anyone else after years of murderous sanctions.

In the 21st century, being the "most progressive" Nazi in congress is like being the toughest smurf. It has no meaning. Pick out the one in Hitler's inner circle who was the nicest. did it fucking matter?

At 9:19 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

He was one of the few GOP House members who actually seemed to care about his constituents. As noted, he faced primary challenges repeated as a consequence of that fact. Justin Amash is generally good on civil liberties, but that's about it. The rest of the GOP membership is just an complete abomination.

At 11:40 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

the only walter jones who matters to me is the one who was the finest left tackle in the history of the NFL.

this guy was a Nazi who had a twinge of conscience every few years. He still participated in the deaths of thousands of americans and a million Iraqis... and he thinks writing a few letters makes up for it.

typical (above average) American. writing letters is adequate penance for helping cause over a million dead.

At 11:40 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

not to mention the creation of ISIS and all the death and misery THAT caused.

At 5:46 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wonder if DWT is sick and tired of all of you Anonymous people above bitching and moaning about everything written here. If you disgusting people are so goddamn perfect that you constantly criticize this blog, why in the hell don't you go away and quit annoying everyone else who is here to read DWT? Your diatribes about democraps is getting really old!

At 9:19 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

not as old as the corruption and betrayals of those same democraps.

DWT in this piece is doing that same old 'lesser evilism' exercise. It's a sheepdog thing where they trot out some Nazi party functionary who had the odd epiphany as somehow worthy of note.

Truth is, this walter jones was a large part of the degradation of society and politics which got us to here and now. His "oopsie... my bad" does nothing to remedy anything. The only purpose of this is to keep making the Nazis look worse than the 'lesser evil ones' whomever they may be.

At 4:46 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

After you, 5:46. You clearly can't stand the heat in this kitchen.


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