The retirement of Heath Shuler from the U.S. House of Representatives cannot be regarded as a loss to the progressive cause. Shuler was a Democrat, but a Blue Dog Democrat who voted with Republicans as much as with Democrats.
Long before Shuler announced his retirement, Cecil Bothwell was campaigning to replace Shuler as the Democratic nominee to represent North Carolina’s 11th district in Congress. Unlike Shuler, who campaigned as Republican-friendly politician, Cecil Bothwell is campaigning as a progressive Democrat.
In fact, Bothwell has applied for an endorsement by the Progressive Democrats of America. One of the most significant items in Bothwell’s agenda, as identified in his application to the PDA, is the reduction of wasteful spending through the military.
Bothwell writes, “War is beggaring the United States. Exit Afghanistan yesterday, if not sooner. Reduce the number of bases around the globe—we are not and ought not to be the world’s policeman. Eliminate our nuclear weapons program. Eliminate redundancy: it’s fine to have a sufficient Air Force for defense, but we don’t need the Navy to be the second biggest air force in the world. End arms sales to foreign nations—they often end up being used against us or our allies…”
…We could do with far fewer bases for actual defense. Mostly we maintain foreign bases to project our influence, i.e. to impose our will on others. We are spending far too much on that effort. If we look to history, Rome collapsed due to environmental despoliation and its attempt to impose its rule over too broad an area. We should exit Iraq and Afghanistan entirely, except for a normal ambassadorship in each.”