It shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise to see that Rand Paul has been endorsed by a Congressman from Michigan named Justin Amash.
Does that really help him? In the short term, it might. In the long run, it serves as a reminder of all the limitations he has as a candidate.
Amash faced an interesting primary this past election cycle, where a businessman backed by the Chamber of Commerce took him on for being out of step with his district (which is a pretty easy case to make).
I wrote this article before the primary that Amash survived. It’s pretty obvious that I’m not a fan of his, but that’s because his votes speak for themselves (the article is mostly unedited from its original publication, hence some slightly dated references, but I think they serve to highlight the overall point I was making).
Imagine, for a second, a congressman who votes to close Guantanamo Bay, votes against a Balanced Budget Amendment, votes against the Ryan Plan, votes with Obama 51% of the time, votes “present” on authorizing the Keystone Pipeline, votes against Iran sanctions, votes repeatedly against Israel (joining only six other members in one of the instances, including Nick Rahall and Ron Paul, two of the most reliably anti-Israel members), and who has an F from AMVETS.
We’re talking about the most liberal member of the House, right? After all, they have a dismal 18% rating from the pro-national security group Center for Security Policy, barely scoring higher than Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi.
What if I told you that, contrary to this voting record, this member is not in the pocket of the Democratic leadership, but is in fact a Republican?
After the initial shock, what if I told you that groups like Club for Growth are backing his candidacy to the hilt?
If votes against veterans, Israel, Keystone, and everything else in between don’t make someone a RINO (one of the most overused words in the political lexicon), I don’t know what does.
I have just described “conservative stalwart” Justin Amash to you, but from the way he presents himself, you probably wouldn’t have known about many of these votes of his.
That’s exactly his point (and why he refused to debate his challenger, Brian Ellis, in what the Grand Rapids Press called him “failing” the voters). In fact, since taking office, Justin Amash has refused to debate any of his challengers, Republican or Democratic.
It always astounds me that outside groups focus on primarying conservatives like Pat Roberts (who also has a primary today) and leave incumbents like Amash and Congressman Walter Jones almost entirely alone.
What shocked me was not that he won his primary, but the fact that he spectacularly underperformed polls that had given him massive leads heading into the primary.
What didn’t shock me was that he used his victory speech to get national attention…by attacking his opponent and people who opposed him.
I can’t criticize Amash for running a negative campaign against Ellis. That’s because I can’t criticize him for running a campaign against Ellis in the slightest. As I mentioned before, ignoring any attempts to debate serious challengers hardly speaks to confidence. Sure, he posts explanations of his votes on Facebook but it’s one thing to write things online and another thing entirely to have people see what their representative has to say when he’s asked about it.
A voting record like this is hardly a recipe for someone to be a conservative superstar.
Maybe I’m missing something, but since everything I read about him fails to mentions his votes against prosthetic research funding for veterans, a national center for missing and exploited children, and on condemning North Korea’s nuclear test (what a true defender of liberty).
It definitely must be me.