Writes Christopher Check in the Chicago Daily Observer (5/8/08):

“If you are looking for a sign of hope, however, look at Congressman Walter B. Jones of North Carolina’s 3rd congressional district. Since 1995 this Republican congressman held his seat unopposed from within his party. In Tuesday’s primary, however, he faced a challenger for the first time. Why? Because three years ago, the very man who introduced legislation changing the name of french fries to Freedom Fries converted from one of the Iraq War’s biggest supporters to one of its fiercest critics.

His conservatism is beyond reproach: tough on immigration, a strong supporter of American manufacturing, 100 percent pro-life, unwavering on Second Amendment rights, a firm defender of marriage and family, et cetera.

Nonetheless, his challenger, Joe McLaughlin attempted to paint Jones as a liberal. Why opposing foreign wars of imperialism makes one a liberal is not clear. (Perhaps George Washington was a liberal.) In any case, McLaughlin thought he had a big advantage: the 3rd congressional district includes Camp Lejeune, home of the Second Marine Division, and is heavily populated by veterans. Surely our men in uniform would not support “cut-and-run” Jones.

McLaughlin was wrong. Way wrong. Veterans and active duty servicemen alike are all too aware that they are the ones shedding their blood and losing their limbs (and their minds) while the Pearles and Kristols of the world plan their next adventure. The men in uniform in Jones’s district know that he is their best friend in Congress. His support of the troops is not the mile-wide-and-millimeter-deep jingoism of yellow ribbons and bumper stickers. It is the support of a man who attends the funerals at Camp Lejeune and sees young boys who will never know their fathers. It is the support of a man who realizes America’s security is jeopardized not strengthened by this war.

With nearly 60 percent of the votes, Jones beat McLaughlin handily. And he beat him in Onslow County, where Camp Lejeune is located (and where McLaughlin served as commissioner), as well as in Wayne County, the home of Seymour Johnson Air Force Base.

While the rest of the Republican Party (especially in this state) is on its back gasping for life, conservatives might take a look and see how goodness and truth, and devotion to principle, played on Tuesday in North Carolina.”

Read Check’s entire column