Windmillin'

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Where politics and faith dance in the shadow of the windmill.

The Man who Can’t Get Love

That would be our own, Justin Amash.

First, it was Right to Life denying him the endorsement.

“Amash’s pro-life voting record is the seventh worst of all House Republicans,” Douglas Johnson, legislative director for national group, told the Christian Post last month. “With such a record, he is unlikely to rally pro-life support to his new flag – a flag that seems designed mostly to cover his backside back home.”

Well, maybe. Then again, it’s not like there is any backside at home to cover (where are those primary opponents?). And the reality of Rep. Amash’s position is clear, he may be principled, but when it comes to life issues, those principles are pretty striking:

Amash’s stance is that abortions should never be performed and he doesn’t believe in the exceptions for rape and incest to which many subscribe.

That clears it up nicely, the problem with Right to Life is that they are too moderate, too pragmatic, while Amash goes absolutist.

Interestingly, something like that same criticism emerges at The Weekly Standard. Michael Warren launches a snark on the young congressman, but the quotes get to the heart of the difference between Amash and the Regular Republican Party:

House Republicans call him the “black sheep” of the conference, and Amash does seem to have an unscratchable itch to buck his own party. Take a recent bill designed to restore the flow of water to California’s Central Valley. A court ruling in 2009 halted the flow under the Endangered Species Act—the irrigation system supposedly harmed a species of smelt. Ten moderate Democrats joined 236 Republicans to give the drought-ridden Central Valley access to its water supply, with Amash the only Republican opposed. There’s no explanation for this vote on his Facebook page.
“He is a well-intentioned guy with very different goals than most people up here,” said one House Republican aide. “He’s not interested in governing.”

At the end of the day, the itch to go his own way, this absolutism is a danger. It’s easy as the Hotspur heir apparent to Ron Paul to start letting that adulation seize his attention. When your audience is a bunch of cranky libertarians, it becomes all too easy to forget back home. That’s the danger to the local GOP as well. A congressman more in love with principle than pragmatics loses clout in Washington. “Doesn’t play nice with others,” is how Tea Party conservative Rep. Renee Ellmers puts it. And without visibility in Washington, local initiatives simply go under supported.

The longer the GOP persists, the more the case for a moderate Democrat increases. At least that person would build connections.

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Filed under: Elections, Republican Folly, , , , , ,

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