Another video from Michigan political talk show Off the Record. The guest is political consultant John Yob, who has a resume that includes a long list of nationally known Republican candidates. Losing candidates, but still....
I've edited out the bits that don't really pertain to Justin Amash, but I did leave in some discussion at the beginning of the tape, because I think Yob makes some good observations about the factions within the party.
As for Amash, Yob says if he runs, he will be a strong candidate, will receive national support, and will serve as a bellwether for Rand's potential presidential bid, because the theory that libertarian-esque Republicans can attract disgruntled Democrats has yet to be proven.
And George, several other people commented to me that the set is depressing. I told Skubic that, and he told me he's working on a new one.
Last week, I posted a link to a video where the panel of Off The Record, a local Michigan political show, discussed the upcoming Senate race. Things have changed quite a bit. At that time, nobody believed that Mike Rogers (RINO - MI) was going to give up his committee assignments to attempt a run, but in a candidate interview with a local paper, Rogers said he was exploring the possibility.
Here's an edited version of this week's version of the show - it's only about 5 minutes long.
Gotta say, I think that the belief that Rogers has better name recognition in Southeast Michigan is a dangerous assumption to hold.
In any event, if Justin runs, our work will be cut out for us.
I have heard the chatter for a while, and discounted it. I figured Amash would do a few stints in the House, win for governorship when Snyder's second term ended, and THEN look at moving into the US Senate or the White House. However, I am notoriously wrong when I try to predict the actions of politicians. (Usually I envision them doing what I want them to do, which apparently is not a sound plan.)
Off The Record is a Michigan political show. The host and most of the panel leans hard left, and two years ago they giggled quite a bit when mentioning Amash. Today, they were not laughing when they said his name in discussions of the Senate seat that Carl Levin will be vacating in 2014.
I'm hoping to embed two clips below, which doesn't always work out well. If they're not visible, I'm either working on it or I've thrown my laptop across the room in a moment of juvenile unproductive frustration. Could go either way. But in any event, there should be a link you can use to watch them on WKAR's site.
Best to put them on and listen while you cook dinner, shave or do something else that leaves your ears and mind free. It's pretty dry if you're not from Michigan (heck - it's pretty dry even if you ARE from Michigan!), but in the first discussion, the panel brings up Amash's name as a possible contender.
Living on the other side of the state, I haven't been able to do much except send Amash money in his past two elections, but if he runs for the Senate seat, I am looking forward to once again putting my boots on the ground.
One of liberty's brightest rising stars in the US House was kicked off the House Budget committee along with his friend and fellow conservative, Tim Huelskamp this week. This follows the ejection of two other conservative lawmakers (Walter Jones and David Schweikert) who were removed for "not voting with leadership on key votes."
The budget committee is really a mostly ceremonial committee assignment as it has no control of purse strings like Ways and Means nor does it really control policy like the Foreign Affairs or Banking committees. Budget is primarily used to formulate plans but has little influence. Amash and Huelskamp have gained far more from being kicked off the committee than they ever did trying to resist the Ryan budgets proposed that balanced the budget in 28 years.
They dared question spending and the sacred cows: Medicare, Social Security, and Defense. Hopefully, the media play and outrage from conservatives nationally will help Amash in his standing amongst Republicans on a national stage.
Who, you might ask is Ted Yoho? Ted, God bless him is not really important to know unless you're from north central Florida or a lobbyist in Washington, D.C. But Ted is an example of what is happening to the GOP all over the country whether the establishment likes it or not.
I will admit that until a few days ago, I had never heard of Ted Yoho or that there was even a primary held recently in Florida. Yoho is important to know because he defeated 12 term Republican Congressman Charles Stearns in a safe Republican district. Rep. Charles Stearns is a pretty decent 12 term conservative Republican according to the Heritage Foundation with a score of 80% (average for House GOP is 65%) and 7th out of 25 from the Florida delegation. By comparison, Allen West has a score of 69%.
Yet, on August 14th, Ted Yoho, a large animal veterinarian and political newcomer defeated this 12 term incumbent running by attacking the NDAA, Patriot Act, neoconservative strains in the GOP, and out-of-control spending. Yoho points to his reading of the Federalist Papers, taking courses at Hillsdale College, and studying the US Constitution as motivations for his run for Congress (and the fact that he thought Stearns was not schooled on these issues).
Yoho represents a much larger trend that is not just a Tea Party trend within the GOP. The Tea Party story is, in my eyes, partly a reflection of the reactivation of conservatives to get engaged in the GOP but also something much, much more. There is something so much bigger that is beginning to percolate that even those of us within the movement itself have probably failed to grasp and recognize as well.
The libertarian view of government is beginning to take over the GOP. It is decidedly not Tea Party in the sense of what those in the mainstream press and many who call themselves Tea Party activists call it. Rather this new insurgent philosophy of government, that used to be relegated to the sidelines of mainstream political thought, has hit critical mass. It is popular and it is about to explode.
The philosophy of limited government and general distrust that large human institutions are any more capable of ruling lives than the individuals living them is taking hold in America. This is certainly not a new philosophy as many will point out when discussing the origins of the Revolutionary War and the philosophical discourse at the nation's founding. But the modern libertarian view of politics is different in ways that reflect real world experience watching socialism, fascism, keynesianism, and an ever expanding police state all over the world. With the power of the internet used to spread the ideas of libertarianism and, perhaps more importantly, show abuses of government power, people are being introduced and buying into the philosophy in larger numbers than ever before.
The story of Ted Yoho is becoming more and more common. In fact, it is so common that I don't even notice it even though it is everywhere. If it is present in congressional and senate races then you can be certain that it is even more prevalent at the state, county, and municipal level. I know of scores of state representatives in my state of Michigan that would be described as libertarian or at least with a strong libertarian bend which was not the case even 5 years ago.
Everyone who visits this blog is very familiar with Rep. Ron Paul who has been a consistently lonely congressman for nearly his entire career. Suddenly, and almost inexplicably in 2007 after launcing a quixotic presidential campaign on a shoestring budget his support exploded to the point that he could raise millions of dollars in one day! Then, in 2010, his son Rand Paul wins a senate seat in Kentucky. State representative Justin Amash wins a congressional seat in west Michigan. Now in 2012 libertarians are coming out of the woodwork. Michigan will soon have its second libertarian GOP congressman when Kerry Bentivolio wins the 11 district seat. Thomas Massie is all but assured a win in Kentucky.
There are probably many, many more who I am failing to mention which leaves only one question - is this a temporary flash in the pan or the future? The answer to that question is purely demographic and, as I'm sure anyone who follows Ron Paul or Justin Amash will tell you, the people in this movement are almost all under 40 with those under 30 being even more prevalent. From my experience, young people entering the GOP are comprised of two types: those who are libertarian leaning and those who find politics fun and want to stick with winners. That is a demographic trend that suggests we are just seeing the leading edge of the movement.
Our future is bright and it is officialy time for the GOP establishment to worry. We are coming and we are growing.
"Hey GOP! You will be assimilated. Resistance is futile."
On December 15, 2011 Congress passed the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) which contained a provision giving the President of the United States the authority to indefinitely detain Americans who were classified by the President as terrorists or provided material support for terrorists or terrorist organizations. This is the story of how one man (and his office staff) helped expose this dangerous provision and has nearly killed it.
The NDAA is an annual bill that works its way through the Armed Services Committee and includes all the mundane funding and provisions outlining military spending, personnel strengths, and procedures for the country's national defense. The act works its way through the Senate and House committees and then goes to the floor of each chamber for passage and is signed by the president. It is not unusual for there to be arguments about funding issues and discussions about how the military operations/wars are being conducted, but there is usually very rarely Constitutional 'controversial' material that ever comes to light. [It is worth noting that Don't Ask Don't Tell came through these committees but I don't find that a Constitutional question but I recognize that it was very controversial]
Last year, that all changed.
The NDAA had worked its way through the appropriate committees in the Senate and House with little resistance.It moved through the House committee chaired by Rep. Buck McKeon (R) on a 60-1 vote and became HR 1540. The bill then passed the House on May 25 on a vote of 322-96 (only 6 dissenting Republicans). It passed through committee on November 15th in the Senate chaired by Sen. Carl Levin (D) on a 26-0 vote and became SB 1867.
Freshman Congressman Justin Amash (R-MI3) has made it a habit of reading all the legislation that he votes on and posting all of his votes and reasoning on Facebook. He began this process when he served in the Michigan State House of Representatives and has continued it now in Congress. He and his office in reviewing the NDAA recognized that Sections 1021-1024 of the NDAA of 2012 contained new 'clarification' of what the President's new powers were to be. As a lawyer, Amash quickly recognized the vagueness of the wording within the new provision and saw that it could be construed as giving the President broad new detention privileges while denying the defendant any legal recourse.
Now before we go any further it is important to point out that Amash is a freshman legislator in Congress. This is in a chamber where seniority rules decisively and completely. Rarely are freshmen allowed to introduce legislation. They serve on the lowliest committees and are expected to follow along and not cause trouble. The new Congressmen also know virtually no one in the chamber except maybe fellow members from their home state so their ability to find the 'go-to' guy or gal is almost zero. Finally, since they have barely been serving (in Amash's case in this example May of 2011 he'd been in Washington only 4 months) they certainly don't know anyone in the Senate either.
In May this NDAA of 2012 which includes the provision in Sections 1021-1023 for indefinite dentention passes the House with minimal resistance - especially from Republicans. Rep. Amash recognizes the danger of the law and also opposed Section 1034 which gives the President sweeping ability to conduct extended military operations. With the military operations in Libya hot on the minds of Americans this was probably seen as a good way to get some public opposition to the NDAA.
Over the next few months Amash begins to meet more of his colleagues and develops a friendship with Senator Rand Paul (a clear ally politically both on governing principles and he is the son of Rep. Ron Paul who endorsed Amash in the August 2010 Republican primary). Amash describes the potential risk for the new provision and Paul convinces a few Repbulicans and Democrats in the Senate to oppose the law.
By this point, Amash is recognizing that the indefinite detention rule is a nonpartisan issue that people from all over the political spectrum should rightly oppose. He then goes on the offensive both on Facebook and (allegedly) during the House Republican strategy conference where he actively opposes House Armed Services Chair and long time member Buck McKeon.
Imagine the scene if you will. In December, before most of the Republican delegation of Congress (Boehner, Cantor, McCarthy, etc.) Amash rises and addresses the group to explain how the NDAA Section 1021-23 provides for the power of indefinite detention of American citizens. He cites the specific language and tries to convince people who probably have little knowledge of him that the nearly 20 year veteran and chair of the powerful Armed Services Committee is mistaken. McKeon counters that Amash is flat out wrong.
The battle then leaves the room and heads to the ethernet.
McKeon writes a rebuttal to all of the 'misinformation' about the provision and has it posted at Redstate.com. Amash counters with this post rebutting the rebuttal. Amash manages to sway a few more Republicans including Representatives Huizenga and Walberg who are also new members from Michigan.
Amash starts hitting the ether hard on Facebook calling all of his 'followers' to call their representatives knowing that many are not his constituents. Still, he only has 18,000 followers or so in a nation of 310 million people to put the heat on Congress.
In fact, on the vote in December to adopt the Senate version (which was basically the same as HR 1540) Amash succeeds in getting 43 Republican defections instead of the previous 6.The bill still easily passes the House and becomes law after President Obama signs it a few weeks later. If this were the end of the story, it could almost be viewed as a Don Quixote mission where we might give the Congressman an "atta boy, thanks for trying, keep your chin up."
But the story was only beginning.
Through those 18-20,000 followers there was intense outrage. They did call their Representatives. And told their friends. And those friends told their friends. And... well you get the picture.
Suddenly, at town halls Congressmen were getting questioned about their NDAA vote and pilloried if they voted for it or praised for voting against. The NDAA issue was showing up in the presidential campaign as Ron Paul would use it to point out the growing power in Washington and it even came up at a presidential debate where all the candidates except Huntsman and Paul said they would have signed it (as Obama did).
Stories about the NDAA and its detention provisions are no longer just contained on ACLU and InfoWars websites but it's also appearing in the Washington Post and International Business Times. There is a definite possibility that the Armed Forces Committees in both chambers will have to revise or potentially remove the provisions entirely from the NDAA 2013 bill!
The indefinite detention provision is close to dead. I believe we have reached critical mass and one man has maintained just a little bit of our liberty. It is very important to recognize that even one person can have a profound impact if they are tenacious and don't settle on 'just voting' or just speaking out once or twice. I am proud to say that Justin Amash is my personal Congressman but hope that you see he is defending the liberties of not just my district in West Michigan but those of all Americans.
Keep up the heat until the indefinite provision is killed. Call your Senators and Representatives today and tell them to axe this un-Constitutional provision from this year's NDAA and beyond. Here is the Congressional Switchboard #1-866-220-0044 and here is a little 'how-to' when calling Washington D.C.
Don't forget to wish Rep. Amash Happy Birthday on April 18th on Facebook. You might even want to send him your two cents (maximum donations up to $2500 I'm sure would be accepted as well.)
People have asked me why I disliked Jon Huntsman. Out of all the other candidates — not the warmongering Rick Santorum, not the flip-flopping Mitt Romney, and not the laughably corrupt Newt Gingrich — Huntsman is the only one I truly and personally disliked. I might disagree with Santorum’s insane anti-Muslim hysterics, but I hold no personal dislike (or like) for him. It is the same with Romney, Gingrich, and Bachmann.
From all accounts, I ought to identify more with Huntsman than I could with any of the other Republican presidential nominee contenders. He is modern, cosmopolitan, educated, somewhat secular, and willing to set aside partisan politicking to serve a cause. His policies are moderate and he recognizes science’s role in our society. His acceptance of a position under the Obama administration is very admirable and as Tumblr blogger Karamazov Alexei pointed out, also patriotic.
That Huntsman can set aside partisanship and work with a president from an opposing party, that is admirable. However, Huntsman served ambassador under the Obama administration, only to then run against the very same man who trusted him with that prestigious appointment. After which, Huntsman’s campaign spent considerable effort attacking Romney’s policies only to then completely backtrack and endorse that very same rival. All of this taken together is a picture of a man not bound by any sense of loyalty.
Huntsman has shown himself to be a turncoat: to his party, to his president, and to his own campaign. That is despicable and his actions are indications of a great deficit of character and integrity.