Psst, GOP online outreach team! Lookie here!
Just when we were all ready to have the US Navy submerge Michigan Atlantis-style to expand the Great Lakes, Justin Amash, an up-and-coming State Representative in Michigan’s 72nd District running for US Congress, had to go and disabuse me of that notion. A fan of Fredrich von Hayek with a framed portrait of the guy in his office, Amash is one of the more interesting freshman state Reps with a reputation for fighting against spending, targeted tax cuts (which he believes are a form of central planning and subsidization) and other subsidies in the Michigan legislature.
More to the point of the title, for the past year he has posted a summary of all of his votes on Facebook, the reasons for his votes, and allows discussion of those votes on Facebook. Even better, he follows up in the comments section to address constituent concerns, clarify, explain how things like tie bars work, and to help educate on the political process — what a concept! In addition, he posts on upcoming votes and asks for feedback from constituents for how he should vote and why before he votes.
With that in mind, here are a few thoughts:
1) More of this, please, and less pantywaist “what should we be as a party” forums, the most recent example being “America Speaking Out” (RedState post here). The internet should be a tool for education, constituent service, and outreach, not a redundant medium to tell voters what the media has told them for years: that the Republican party is the party of “no” with no ideas relevant to the real world.
2) This contrasts nicely with the legislators who say or imply that bills and issues are too complex for the common voter to understand, as was argued during the healthcare reform debate.
3) I don’t know how viable a candidate this guy is for Michigan, or if he can even win the primary, but considerations of electability aside, Amash is exactly the kind of candidate Tea Parties and the online Right should be promoting and espousing. His fundraising goal is $500,000, and he’s got about a third of that right now. Toss a few bucks his way if you can.
4) As with Sarah Palin’s twitter and Facebook feeds, Amash is showing that there are ways to circumvent the mainstream media and its soundbite mentality.
5) Amash got elected in freaking Michigan. Sorry, I’m still trying to wrap my brain around that one.