On Thursday, I wrote about Rep. Justin Amash (L-MI), in a ten-minute interview at MSNBC focused on why he is interested in seeking the Libertarian Party presidential nomination, saying nothing libertarian. Further, I noted that, when Amash was asked about what a libertarian would do concerning coronavirus (a policy area where government is heavily restricting people’s exercise of liberty, intentionally shutting down much of the economy, and spending with abandon), Amash chose to promote adding a new government program to hand out money to people — something the host noted does not sound like a limited government proposal.
On Friday, Amash was back in another national media interview focused on why he would want to run for president as the Libertarian Party nominee. This time Amash was interviewed for five minutes by Rachel Martin at National Public Radio (NPR).
Second act, same as the first.
Though presented with question after question that gave him opportunities to promote libertarian ideas, Amash chose not to do so.
Martin even teed up the perfect opportunity for Amash to promote decreasing government intervention when she asked him this question:
Congress passed a number of economic relief packages as a result of the pandemic. You would be running on a platform as a libertarian of less government intervention in people’s lives. How do you come down on that?
In response, Amash jumped in, as he did in the MSNBC interview, to promote his desire to establish a new program where the United States government hands out money to people monthly.
Even when asked about President Donald Trump’s actions in relation to coronavirus, Amash chose to keep his critique totally divorced from any libertarian ideas. Here is that exchange between Martin and Amash:
MARTIN: What’s your assessment of President Trump’s leadership during this crisis?
AMASH: Disastrous. He creates a lot of uncertainty and a lot of grief for people that is unnecessary. So I think it’s been disastrous. This doesn’t mean that all of the decisions have been wrong. It just means that he has been such a terrible messenger and terrible operator throughout this entire process that people have lost whatever little trust they had in him.
Listen to Amash’s NPR interview here.
Amash’s course of action of abstaining from promoting libertarian ideas in interviews about his running for the Libertarian Party presidential nomination is peculiar.
In 1992, I heard then-Libertarian Party presidential nominee Andre Marrou answering interview questions many times as I traveled with him across the country. Marrou, in those interviews, discussed libertarian ideas repeatedly. He did so when promoting what he would do as president, when critiquing his opponents’ stands and actions, and when just plain discussing current events and politics. Marrou routinely used the interviews as a means to introduce, explain, and promote libertarian idea.
Other Libertarian presidential nominees have approached interviews similarly to how Marrou did. None have routinely employed the approach Amash has demonstrated in his MSNBC and NPR interviews.
Reprinted with permission from the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity.