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Thread: The new ‘Dr. No’: Rep. Justin Amash, marooned in Congress

  1. #1

    The new ‘Dr. No’: Rep. Justin Amash, marooned in Congress

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/power...0f5_story.html

    By David Weigel July 31, 2018


    Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich.), center, at a news conference this year, has fought other libertarians he sees as bending to President Trump’s will. (J. Scott Applewhite/AP)

    House Republicans had a cunning plan. Liberal Democrats, going to extremes, were calling for the abolition of Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Moderate Democrats didn’t want to talk about it.

    So in mid-July, the majority introduced a resolution “supporting the officers and personnel” of ICE, and every Republican in the chamber that day voted for it.

    Every Republican except Rep. Justin Amash of Michigan.

    In a tweet, he denounced the “dubious” claims of the resolution — it suggested that ending ICE would essentially allow gangs to roam free — and asked why his party would “treat a federal agency as though it’s beyond reproach and reform.”

    Amash, who is 38 years old and in his fourth term representing Grand Rapids and its exurbs, is often on the losing end of the roll call. A self-described “Hayekian libertarian” — after F.A. Hayek, the Austrian-British libertarian economist — he’s been compared to the Texas libertarian, former congressman and three-time presidential candidate Ron Paul, who embraced the nickname “Dr. No.”

    These days, Amash doesn’t even agree with Paul on the direction of the Trump-era GOP. Since the summer of 2015, as his presidential campaign took off, Trump has split the libertarian movement that once largely united behind Paul.

    The 83-year Texan’s think tank cheers Trump for fighting “globalists” and questioning the United States’ role in NATO. Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), the elder Paul’s son and Amash’s favored presidential candidate in 2016, has become one of Trump’s defenders, urging him to take security clearances away from some of his critics and saying on the Senate floor that “the hatred for the president is so intense that partisans would rather risk war than give diplomacy a chance.”

    That has left Amash as the only consistent representative of a wing of libertarianism that remains alienated by Trump — advocates of a government shrunk down to a pre-New Deal size, and advocates of freer trade and immigration policies.

    “I was optimistic until about two or three years ago,” Amash said this week, in an interview at his congressional office. “Things have really taken a turn for the worse, in terms of the growth of libertarianism in Congress. You have some bright spots here and there. But for the most part, the party’s become more nationalistic, more anti-trade.”

    The ICE vote was a clear example of how the nationalist branch of libertarianism had won out: Conservatives and almost all of the libertarians who once viewed the Department of Homeland Security and its attendant parts as a dangerous government leviathan had learned to love it.

    “It was all ‘owning the libs,’ as they say,” Amash said. “Republicans have been calling for abolishing DHS for a long time. I heard that as recently as the past few years. That was a mainstream, conservative viewpoint.”

    Amash, who was elected to a safe Republican seat in the party’s 2010 wave, had initially blended in. Libertarians took note of how he admired Ron Paul; the party’s leaders were pleased to welcome a 30-year-old from the Rust Belt who could make the philosophical case against government spending.

    When he gave his first floor speech, in January 2011, then-House Budget Chairman Paul D. Ryan introduced him as an exciting new member of the committee. Amash took the mic and argued that the Affordable Care Act was unconstitutional.

    Three months later, Amash voted against Ryan’s budget, citing its spending. After the 2012 election, Amash was removed from Ryan’s committee. When Ryan retires at the end of this year, Amash is unlikely to miss him.

    “Right now, in terms of process, we have the worst House speaker in the history of Congress,” Amash said last week.

    But for part of the libertarian movement, things have rarely been better. Broadly speaking, modern libertarians fit into two schools of thought. One of them, socially liberal and supportive of open markets and borders, was represented by the D.C.-based Cato Institute, Reason magazine and 2016 Libertarian Party presidential nominee Gary Johnson.

    The other, often called “paleolibertarian,” was more nationalistic and often socially conservative; it was represented best by Ron Paul and the Alabama-based Ludwig von Mises Institute, named after the Austrian economist. Trump’s presidency, Amash said, suggested that the Mises school was ascendant.

    “Trump’s victory vindicated Ron Paul because Trump used many of the themes that Ron Paul stressed throughout his career, though unfortunately, Trump did not deploy these in a consistent way,” said Lew Rockwell, the founder of the Mises Institute, a former Paul staffer and a member of his think tank’s board. “Opposition to elite control, calls for a pro-American foreign policy that avoids intervention in quarrels that do not concern us, opposition to P.C. and cultural Marxism, and concern with the Fed’s manipulation of the economy are themes straight out of Ron Paul’s playbook.”

    Paul was never fully welcomed by the other wing of libertarianism, but he was the most successful political ambassador the movement ever had. His son Rand was embraced by both wings and taken seriously by Republicans when he argued that the party needed to embrace criminal justice reform and question foreign military interventions. Both wings cheered on Trump as he swiped the foreign policy message, attacking the Iraq War at one Republican primary debate while George H.W. Bush, commander-in-chief during that period, watched from the audience. But some libertarians were distraught to see most of Ron Paul’s supporters — people who identified as “libertarian” in polling — go for Trump.

    “These were supposed to be the libertarian shock troops, and instead they enabled dim-witted authoritarianism,” said Joey Coon, the vice president of the libertarian-leaning Niskanen Center and a longtime staffer at Cato.

    The “paleo” wing has continued to greet Trump as a liberator, rooting on his attacks on the “deep state” and asking why he gets no credit from liberals — or the Cato libertarians — for holding diplomatic talks with Kim Jong Un and Vladimir Putin. Tucker Carlson, who emceed a 2008 Ron Paul rally held the week of the Republican National Convention, now tells his Fox News viewers that “neocon intellectuals” are contradicting the president’s sound, peacemaking instincts.

    “If all these peace initiatives succeed, Trump will have reversed the interventionist policies of the Bush II administration, which were continued by Obama, and inaugurated a new era in American foreign policy,” wrote Justin Raimondo, the editor of the libertarian site Antiwar.com, in a column this week. “Now do you get why the Deep State hates him and is trying to overthrow him?”

    Amash doesn’t see the world in the same way.

    “Are we still droning people? Yeah,” he said. “Are we still running covert operations that weren’t authorized by Congress? Yeah. Is the government still spying on Americans without warrants? Without due process. Yeah. When some libertarians talk about the great accomplishments we’re seeing on foreign policy, I don’t know what they’re talking about. Reaching out to these guys is one thing, but you have to move down the court. He actually made it harder for us to have a good relationship with Russia.”

    Amash and the Cato wing have fewer issues with Trump’s regulatory agenda. From the first weeks after the 2016 election, some libertarians who were used to the fringes of Washington were brought inside — most notably Myron Ebell, a climate change skeptic at the libertarian Competitive Enterprise Institute who helped craft a deregulatory agenda at the Environmental Protection Agency. Trump’s judicial nominees, often vetted by the conservative Federalist Society, have also been cheered by libertarians from both factions.

    But some libertarians worry that the rest of their agenda is being shelved. Katherine Mangu-Ward, the editor in chief of Reason, said that Trump’s lack of interest in cutting spending or entitlement outlays is familiar to libertarians who remember George W. Bush’s presidency.

    “Cries of ‘But Gorsuch!’ abound, and many of Trump top-level appointees have solid libertarian bona fides,” Mangu-Ward said. “But while libertarians like tax cuts, what typically sets us apart from Republicans is that we rather insist on spending cuts to go with them — something Trump has not delivered.” The trade war, she added, was “the stuff of libertarian nightmares.”

    In Amash’s conversations with Republicans, there was more frustration with the trade war than many would admit. If Trump had lost the election and Democrats had followed the same agenda, he said, the Freedom Caucus (of which he’s a member) and “all the outside groups would have petitions, demanding we stop Hillary Clinton’s socialist plot.”

    But Trump had won the election, and Republicans were not challenging him. That, he worried, was creating a vicious circle — of Republicans sticking with the president, voters hearing them do so and none of them deciding to break from the pack.

    In the long run, he said, that arrangement would wound not just the libertarian movement but the Republican Party. When the Pauls had been fighting to change the party, they’d warned that an aging and largely white GOP would lose ground with every subsequent election. Young people, especially libertarians, were no longer seeing a Republican Party they could identify with.

    “People who read Hayek, read Ayn Rand, read Bastiat — these people are not going with Trump,” Amash said.



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  3. #2
    “These were supposed to be the libertarian shock troops, and instead they enabled dim-witted authoritarianism,” said Joey Coon, the vice president of the libertarian-leaning Niskanen Center and a longtime staffer at Cato.
    Katherine Mangu-Ward, the editor in chief of Reason
    Libertarian neoconservatives, who have never been supporters of Ron Paul.
    Twitter: B4Liberty@USAB4L
    "Foreign aid is taking money from the poor people of a rich country, and giving it to the rich people of a poor country." - Ron Paul
    "Beware the Military-Industrial-Financial-Corporate-Internet-Media-Government Complex." - B4L update of General Dwight D. Eisenhower
    "Debt is the drug, Wall St. Banksters are the dealers, and politicians are the addicts." - B4L
    "Totally free immigration? I've never taken that position. I believe in national sovereignty." - Ron Paul


    The views and opinions expressed here are solely my own, and do not represent this forum or any other entities or persons.

  4. #3
    Concern trolling in a nutshell.
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  5. #4
    Amash alienated too many allies, clings to a too-provincial view of the world, and provides enemies with too much rhetorical ammo while getting nothing in return for any of it.

    I'm quite surprised how he manages to hold his seat. He is quite vulnerable to a Trumpist primary challenger, guess not this cycle but for sure the next one.

    Sad part is that it didn't need to be that way, and it's his own damn fault.
    Oligarchy delenda est

    “If you love wealth greater than liberty, the tranquility of servitude greater than the animating contest for freedom, go home from us in peace. We seek not your counsel, nor your arms. Crouch down and lick the hand that feeds you; May your chains set lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that you were our countrymen.” - Samuel Adams

  6. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by thoughtomator View Post
    Amash alienated too many allies, clings to a too-provincial view of the world, and provides enemies with too much rhetorical ammo while getting nothing in return for any of it.

    I'm quite surprised how he manages to hold his seat. He is quite vulnerable to a Trumpist primary challenger, guess not this cycle but for sure the next one.

    Sad part is that it didn't need to be that way, and it's his own damn fault.
    Ted Cruz easily won Amash's district. It was the only district in Michigan Trump didn't win. Amash has basically the same type of voters as Mike Lee has in Utah where Trump is also less popular than other Republican areas.

  7. #6
    Amash is wrong on trade and immigration and is incapable of understanding how to get as much good out of Trump as can be done until we have a chance for someone better.


    If he doesn't run against Trump in 2020 he will lose what little respect I have left for him. Put up or shut up Justin.

    Amash has a better voting record than most congress critters but he is unreliable and votes wrong on the strangest issues with seemingly no rhyme or reason, he also has absolutely no idea how to get anything done or successfully evangelize the message.
    Never attempt to teach a pig to sing; it wastes your time and annoys the pig.

    Robert Heinlein

    Give a man an inch and right away he thinks he's a ruler

    Groucho Marx

    I love mankind…it’s people I can’t stand.

    Linus, from the Peanuts comic

    You cannot have liberty without morality and morality without faith

    Alexis de Torqueville

    Those who fail to learn from the past are condemned to repeat it.
    Those who learn from the past are condemned to watch everybody else repeat it

    A Zero Hedge comment

  8. #7
    It’s the same old argument, dressed up as something new and looking to ensnare Amash...

    Quote Originally Posted by Anti Federalist View Post
    Why the Beltway Libertarians Are Trying to Smear Ron Paul

    http://takimag.com/article/why_the_b...#axzz4rNA1LuzQ

    by Justin Raimondo

    January 18, 2008

    The hysteria that is energizing the campaign to smear Ron Paul and his supporters as “racist” is reaching a crescendo of viciousness, as the Beltway “libertarian” crowd revs up its motors for a righteous purge. Writing in the online edition of Reason magazine, David Weigel and Julian Sanchez (the latter of the Cato Institute) aver that the whole brouhaha is rooted in a “strategy” enunciated by the late Murray N. Rothbard, the economist and author, and Llewellyn H. Rockwell Jr., founder and president of the Ludwig von Mises Institute, designed to appeal to “right-wing populists”:
    ...
    Edit: For clarity, David Weigel is the author of the OP article.
    Last edited by Brian4Liberty; 07-31-2018 at 07:28 PM.
    Twitter: B4Liberty@USAB4L
    "Foreign aid is taking money from the poor people of a rich country, and giving it to the rich people of a poor country." - Ron Paul
    "Beware the Military-Industrial-Financial-Corporate-Internet-Media-Government Complex." - B4L update of General Dwight D. Eisenhower
    "Debt is the drug, Wall St. Banksters are the dealers, and politicians are the addicts." - B4L
    "Totally free immigration? I've never taken that position. I believe in national sovereignty." - Ron Paul


    The views and opinions expressed here are solely my own, and do not represent this forum or any other entities or persons.

  9. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Brian4Liberty View Post
    It’s the same old argument, dressed up as something new and looking to ensnare Amash...
    Certain members of this site use it to slander those members who want to control immigration, baseless accusations of NAZIsm and Eugenics are tossed around quite freely.
    Never attempt to teach a pig to sing; it wastes your time and annoys the pig.

    Robert Heinlein

    Give a man an inch and right away he thinks he's a ruler

    Groucho Marx

    I love mankind…it’s people I can’t stand.

    Linus, from the Peanuts comic

    You cannot have liberty without morality and morality without faith

    Alexis de Torqueville

    Those who fail to learn from the past are condemned to repeat it.
    Those who learn from the past are condemned to watch everybody else repeat it

    A Zero Hedge comment



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  11. #9
    Choosing Cato over Mises is ridiculous. Amash's embrace of Beltway libertarianism indicates he's not as independent as he tries to portray himself. He also buys into the Russiagate nonsense. Sad!

  12. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Brian4Liberty View Post
    Libertarian neoconservatives, who have never been supporters of Ron Paul.
    just out of curiosity, How is Katherine Mangu-Ward, the editor in chief of Reason, a libertarian neo conservative?

  13. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by pcgame View Post
    just out of curiosity, How is Katherine Mangu-Ward, the editor in chief of Reason, a libertarian neo conservative?
    Perhaps you should ask her former boss Bill Kristol. He would know the dirty details.

    From another thread:

    Quote Originally Posted by MJU1983 View Post
    The Koch brothers and Reason Magazine (Reason Foundation, David H. Koch, Koch Industries) have had what appears to be a personal vendetta against Ludwig Von Mises, the Mises Institute, Murrary Rothbard, Lew Rockwell, Ron Paul, and their brand of libertarianism. Of course they'll deny it but they are no supporters of Ron. Hell, Katherine Mangu-Ward trashed Ron on Fox News...I'll never forget that.
    Mangu-Ward is the first person speaking in this Ron Paul video. For her, Ron Paul was just getting far too much coverage in the media...

    Last edited by Brian4Liberty; 07-31-2018 at 07:41 PM.
    Twitter: B4Liberty@USAB4L
    "Foreign aid is taking money from the poor people of a rich country, and giving it to the rich people of a poor country." - Ron Paul
    "Beware the Military-Industrial-Financial-Corporate-Internet-Media-Government Complex." - B4L update of General Dwight D. Eisenhower
    "Debt is the drug, Wall St. Banksters are the dealers, and politicians are the addicts." - B4L
    "Totally free immigration? I've never taken that position. I believe in national sovereignty." - Ron Paul


    The views and opinions expressed here are solely my own, and do not represent this forum or any other entities or persons.

  14. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by Krugminator2 View Post
    Ted Cruz easily won Amash's district. It was the only district in Michigan Trump didn't win. Amash has basically the same type of voters as Mike Lee has in Utah where Trump is also less popular than other Republican areas.
    That's right. Amash got more votes than Trump in his district in the general election. Amash is on good terms with the MIGOP Establishment (Lt. Gov. Calley, Chairman Weiser, etc.) so I think the only possible threat to his seat is a democrat.

    I scratch my head at some of his twitter postings, but his voting record is top notch. He would have been alienated regardless.
    Last edited by EBounding; 08-01-2018 at 06:46 AM.
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  15. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by milgram View Post
    Choosing Cato over Mises is ridiculous. Amash's embrace of Beltway libertarianism indicates he's not as independent as he tries to portray himself. He also buys into the Russiagate nonsense. Sad!
    The Russia stuff was the final straw for me.
    “Force the normies into taking sides. At the moment they are just like "meh, I am minding my own business" retreating culturally into their private bubbles and "safe-spaces" since they don't understand what is going on. When the actual "us vs them" starts, they will be forced to fight or they'll die.” - Anonymous Poster

  16. #14
    The imaginary libertarian Republican divide over Trump
    by Jack Hunter | August 04, 2018

    Washington Post reporter Dave Weigel’s recent story, “The new ‘Dr. No’: Rep. Justin Amash, marooned in Congress,” explores, among other things, how the libertarian congressman’s often critical approach to President Trump contrasts with other libertarians, including fellow Republican Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, who has been cast as a Trump defender.

    The divide is real. Some anti-Trump libertarians cheer Amash’s independence, but are fed up with Paul for defending the president. Some libertarians favorable to Trump cheer Paul yet accuse Amash, R-Mich., of “virtue signaling” or being a “RINO” simply for opposing Trump. Passions often run high.

    But the divide also isn’t real.

    Here’s a question: Though one is a congressman and the other is a senator, can you find many, or any, examples of Amash and Paul voting differently? Can you find where they have significantly divergent views of the Constitution, foreign policy, civil liberties, the drug war, over-regulation, the Federal Reserve, the size of government, or virtually anything else?

    Even on some public disagreements, like recently over the Supreme Court worthiness of nominee Brett Kavanaugh, though they might have reached different conclusions, do both men not agree that Kavanaugh’s past Fourth Amendment views have always been the primary concern? An issue virtually no Republican cares about other than a handful of libertarians?

    No, while Amash and Paul are their own men with different ideas, styles, and political approaches, when it comes to their core beliefs, the basic reasons they ran for office in the first place, they are largely indistinguishable philosophically. There’s a reason Amash strongly supported Paul for president. There’s a reason Paul has dutifully supported Amash’s high profile legislation. Their principles and priorities are almost identical.

    Here’s another question: What Republican senator has voted against Trump more than any other? John McCain? Susan Collins? Jeff Flake?

    Nope. It’s Rand Paul.

    But wait, isn’t Paul a “stooge” for Trump? A “Putin-puppet?” The president’s “wingman?” And he still votes against the president the most? How can that be?

    What are we really talking about here?

    For anti- and pro-Trump libertarians alike, who insist Amash and Paul are now somehow fiercely oppositional figures based on little more than critics own feelings about the president, I marvel at how liberty partisans who typically pride themselves on being logical and emotionally-detached are actually just as susceptible to tribalism as the political mainstream they lampoon.

    The true division is that Amash appears to believe Trump is bad for libertarians, while Paul tends to find the president is good for some libertarian causes. Amash emphasizes the bad things, Paul emphasizes the good.

    They differ, but don’t differ in principle—yet, both men are right.

    There is no clear-cut pro- or anti-libertarian agenda when it comes to Trump. Both Amash and Paul’s critiques of the president from a liberty perspective are primarily true and not even that contradictory despite how hard that is to consider for anyone who can’t see anything beyond absolutely loathing or loving Trump.
    ...
    More: https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/o...ide-over-trump
    Twitter: B4Liberty@USAB4L
    "Foreign aid is taking money from the poor people of a rich country, and giving it to the rich people of a poor country." - Ron Paul
    "Beware the Military-Industrial-Financial-Corporate-Internet-Media-Government Complex." - B4L update of General Dwight D. Eisenhower
    "Debt is the drug, Wall St. Banksters are the dealers, and politicians are the addicts." - B4L
    "Totally free immigration? I've never taken that position. I believe in national sovereignty." - Ron Paul


    The views and opinions expressed here are solely my own, and do not represent this forum or any other entities or persons.

  17. #15
    The OP totally misrepresents Ron Paul when it tries to characterize his think tank as basically pro-Trump. Obviously it's going to support Trump on the things they agree about. But in general it's been right there with Amash being mainly anti-Trump, anti-tariff, and anti-border wall.

    And that Weigel had to pick out a meaningless resolution as its prime example of Amash being at odds with the whole GOP shows that he overstated that aspect as well.

  18. #16
    Here’s another question: What Republican senator has voted against Trump more than any other? John McCain? Susan Collins? Jeff Flake?

    Nope. It’s Rand Paul.
    It is always funny when I see Rand Paul ripped by jackaloons on this site for "selling out" or only "voting principled when his vote isn't needed". It is fundamentally not true. The guy makes more hard votes and takes more hard stands than anyone I have ever seen in politics, including Ron Paul.



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  20. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by Krugminator2 View Post
    It is always funny when I see Rand Paul ripped by jackaloons on this site for "selling out" or only "voting principled when his vote isn't needed". It is fundamentally not true. The guy makes more hard votes and takes more hard stands than anyone I have ever seen in politics, including Ron Paul.
    He has his own political strategy that the establishment thought was unbeatable up until Trumpism. You can tell he is doing good because they are attacking him though. I think some of his supporters are blaming him for not winning, especially the ones that gave him very little support. I think people know Rand is making principled stands as well they just won't be receptive to his political strategies if he unsuccessful. Either way I believe that Rand Paul guy deserves a gold medal.




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