Friday, May 1, 2020

Justin Amash is About as Libertarian as Andrew Cuomo

Justin Amash
Ok, I gave Justin Amash a shot.

On Wednesday, I wrote:
I don't find most politicians useful at all. But every once in a great while a politician can come along who is a good tool. Maybe Amash will be a good tool.
We shall see.
Coming from a guy, me, who doesn't like or trust politicians that was a big give.

But that opening to consider Amash as valuable to libertarianism has, less than 48 hours later, closed for me.

He gave an interview to The New York Times that was published on Wednesday. There was nothing libertarian about it. There was no attempt to spread the libertarian message. He gave bland typical  political-style answers that could have been given by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Nancy Pelosi or Mike Pence.

People are looking for honesty and practicality in Washington and they’re not getting it out of the current crop of candidates...
So what we need in Washington is a little more humility and trust of the people.

I was going to do a full write up but it appears that Amash gave the same bland answers during an interview on MSNBC. And Adam Dick of the Ron Paul Institute dissected the entire sad Amash performance much better than I could have done. So here it is:
New Libertarian Presidential Candidate has Ten-Minute MSNBC Interview about Why He is Running, Says Nothing Libertarian
By Adam Dick

After Rep. Justin Amash (I-MI) established a committee this week to enable him to run for the Libertarian Party presidential nomination, he was interviewed for ten minutes at MSNBC regarding his candidacy. Did Amash use this time to advocate for accomplishing libertarian goals — terminating the drug war, ceasing foreign intervention, and ending the Federal Reserve, for example? No. Instead, Amash repeatedly avoided talking about any particular policy issues. Then, when asked by host Ayman Mohyeldin to weigh in on government actions taken purportedly in response to coronavirus, Amash even managed to address this matter that involves incredible rights violations and vast spending in such a nonlibertarian manner that Mohyeldin soundly challenged Amash for supporting big government — the opposite of advocating a libertarian position.

In response to queries from Mohyeldin regarding Amash’s interest in seeking the Libertarian Party presidential nomination, Amash repeatedly avoided advancing libertarian ideas. Instead, Amash repeatedly sought to promote himself via comments that could be used by a candidate with any political views whatsoever. Here are three examples of such comments by Amash: 
What people want is someone who’s practical, who’s honest, who will represent every American.
People … want someone who’s going to be practical, who will bring real honest ideas to the table.
We need people who have leadership skills, who can stand up against those in power, can stand up to those who want to continue the bad process we have in Congress. And I have those skills, and I’ll bring those to the table.
There is nothing promoting libertarian ideas in any of this. Indeed, presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump and presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden could just have well said all of this.

Also, Amash several times in the interview said people should have a choice on their ballots in addition to Trump and Biden.

OK, but what policy changes does Amash advocate that give people a reason to support him? He does not say.

Over six minutes into the interview in which Amash repeatedly offered platitudes about his practicality and the benefit of having an additional choice for president on ballots, Mohyeldin sought to push Amash to present an actual opinion about a government policy issue. Mohyeldin asked, “How would a libertarian solve the current pandemic that we’re in, both financially and from a health perspective?”

Amash was finally trapped into addressing a policy issue. Yet, he still managed to avoid supporting any libertarian ideas. Amash answers that “from a health perspective you have to give more flexibility to people who are on the ground,” while it is “really important” that that their actions can be coordinated by and provided guidance from the White House. “As for financial relief,” continues Amash, “I’ve said repeatedly that what people should have is direct pay from the government during this time” instead of “funneling money to the banks or directly to big corporations using the Federal Reserve.” Rather than of the one-time payment through the Internal Revenue Services that the United States government is undertaking, Amash says in the interview that there should be a system through which Americans “can get a monthly distribution from the government to make it through this crisis.”

“That doesn’t necessarily sound like limited government when you’re having the government pay folks a lot of money throughout the course of this crisis,” Mohyeldin responded to Amash’s coronavirus policy answer.


Yet, Amash had the audacity to assert in response that “it is limited government.”

Oh brother.

Is this interview a preview of an Amash Libertarian presidential campaign strategy of avoiding, at every opportunity, promoting libertarian positions? We’ll see.


  1. Consevatarians like Amash and Rand Paul all suffer from a fear of looking like a weirdo. It smells like weakness.

  2. Somebody or something on the Left got to him, and he's a tool to siphon votes away from Trump.
    And the LP delegates will foul themselves in their mad rush to nominate him and anoint him “The Great Libertarian Hope,” brushing aside the other qualified candidates vying for the nomination. He is trying to appeal to everyone, but the result, as usual, will be he will appeal to no one. Gary Johnson redux.

    1. "a tool to siphon votes away from Trump."


  3. Well, look at his voting record. Compare it to Biden's. Compare it to what Trump has done. Who would you rather have as president? He is far more libertarian and fiscally responsible than almost any other politician in D.C., as far as I can tell. He's not perfect, and of course he's an extreme long shot, but I could live with myself if I voted for him. Not so with the others.