North Carolina Rep. Walter Jones (R) has become quite the media star. In recent days he’s appeared on CNN, every domestic broadcast network and even Al Jazeera, and all he had to do to attract all this attention was set himself up to be used by the left in calling on the president to set a “date certain” for the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq.
He did it in a June 12 conversation with ABC’s George Stephanopoulos, charging that the Bush administration misrepresented the facts going into Iraq at the behest of a cabal of neoconservatives and that, since it’s now clear they were wrong, we ought to set a date for the withdrawal of our troops from that troubled nation. Since then he’s backtracked, but by saying what he did he managed to ignite a political firestorm.
His is essentially a man-bites-dog story. It isn’t all that surprising that Sen. Teddy Kennedy (D-Mass.), Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) and their buddies would abandon Iraq or call for something as militarily risky as setting a date certain for getting out of a war they didn’t believe we should have gotten into in the first place, but for a man with Jones’s ideological and pro-defense credentials to join them is, well, news.
Jones is a decent man whom many rank among the most conservative members of the House. He is a member of the House Armed Services Committee and a Jesse Helms prot