The Last Dyed-In-The-Wool Fiscal Conservative In The House Passed Away Today…
Every Single Obit We’ve Read Of North Carolina Representative Walter Jones Leaves Out What We Believe Is One Of The Most Important Parts Of His Record
Yes, Jones may have been most famous for being an early and fervent supporter of President George W. Bush’s war on Iraq, only to grow into one of its staunchest opponents. Jones explained it this way:
“I did not do what I should have done to…find out whether Bush was telling us the truth about Saddam being responsible for 9/11 and having weapons of mass destruction…Because I did not do my job then, I helped kill 4,000 Americans, and I will go to my grave regretting that.”
And it’s easy and “fun” to focus on how — as CNN glibly reported upon his death — before his change of heart, Jones was credited with inventing the term “Freedom Fries” to replace French Fries on the House cafeteria menu, after the French government did not rally behind the U.S. Iraq war effort.
But what we think he should be remembered for at least as much is the fact that he was the lone Republican in the House not hailing from a high tax state (like New York or California) to vote against President Trump’s $1.5-trillion dollar tax cut in 2017. In fact, he’s the only one who voted against all 3 of the following:
- President George W. Bush’s $700-billion dollar funding of the Troubled Asset Relief Program in 2008
- President Obama’s $787-billion American Recovery And Relief Act Of 2009
- AND Trump’s $1.5-trillion tax cut package
Meaning his belief in the evils of deficit spending was unwavering. He didn’t bend with a change in direction of the wind. He didn’t sing a new tune as almost every other Republican did when the party took over the House, Senate, and White House and dove headfirst into that budget-busting bunch of tax breaks. Said Jones in a news release:
“I’m all for tax reform, but we can’t do it by adding trillions to the debt”.
13 Republican Reps in all voted against Trump’s tax plan, but 12 of those 13 were all from California, New Jersey, or New York: high tax states where residents got slammed by the repeal of state and local tax deductions. So it’s impossible to determine if they voted with their philosophies in mind, or their political survival (and 7 of them lost in the 2018 Midterms anyway, or had already quit). With Jones, there’s never been any question.
The only Member of the House from anywhere in the South. From anywhere in the Midwest. From anywhere in the Great Plains. From anywhere in the Rust Belt. The sole unyielding voice.
Jones passed away Sunday following complications from surgery on a broken hip.
Here is a segment we found from back in 2016, featuring Jones railing against the power of SuperPACs on C-SPAN along with a perhaps unlikely partner, California Democrat Ted Lieu. (SuperPACs are political groups that do not officially support any candidate, so can receive unlimited contributions from wealthy individuals.) Jones says:
“They distort the facts. To the average citizen, and I am an average citizen, sometimes that distortion is how I make up my mind whether to vote or not vote for a candidate”.
(Of course, nothing’s changed since then in terms of legislation)
Now, we completely disagree that deficit spending should not be used even in the event of a national catastrophe, like a giant Recession. We think that’s what the ability to do it is there for.
Still, we utterly respect Representative Jones’ old-school steadfastness in relation to fiscal matters, and lack of hypocrisy.