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.”
Is this interview a preview of an Amash Libertarian presidential campaign strategy of avoiding, at every opportunity, promoting libertarian positions? We’ll see.
Watch Amash’s interview here:
Reprinted with permission from the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity.