Justin Amash Resigns From the GOP but How Will We Be Able to Tell the Difference

Rep. Justin Amash, R-Mich., center, is joined by, from left, Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., Rep. Thomas Massie, R-Ky., and Rep. Ralph Norman, R-S.C., as he hosts a news conference with a bipartisan group of House and Senate lawmakers who are demanding the U.S. government should be required to seek warrants if it wants to search for information about Americans and insist on reforms to the FISA Amendments Reauthorization Act of 2017 to protect Americans’ rights, at the Capitol in Washington, Wednesday, Jan. 10, 2018. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

GOP Representative Justin Amash took to The Bulwark, oops, I mean the Washington Post  this morning to explain just how partisan politics offended his sensibilities and principles and how, by golly, after running for office as a Republican for years he just couldn’t take the shame of it anymore: Justin Amash: Our politics is in a partisan death spiral. That’s why I’m leaving the GOP.

I don’t totally disagree with Amash when he says:

In this hyperpartisan environment, congressional leaders use every tool to compel party members to stick with the team, dangling chairmanships, committee assignments, bill sponsorships, endorsements and campaign resources. As donors recognize the growing power of party leaders, they supply these officials with ever-increasing funds, which, in turn, further tightens their grip on power.

The founders envisioned Congress as a deliberative body in which outcomes are discovered. We are fast approaching the point, however, where Congress exists as little more than a formality to legitimize outcomes dictated by the president, the speaker of the House and the Senate majority leader.

With little genuine debate on policy happening in Congress, party leaders distract and divide the public by exploiting wedge issues and waging pointless messaging wars. These strategies fuel mistrust and anger, leading millions of people to take to social media to express contempt for their political opponents, with the media magnifying the most extreme voices. This all combines to reinforce the us-vs.-them, party-first mind-set of government officials.

My question for Amash is when did he first discover he was working in a bordello?

Partisan politics, despite General Washington’s desires, have been part and parcel of the national fabric since, well, President Washington was a member of the Federalist party. Wedge issues have also been there, though I think Amash confuses “wedge issues” with “things that matter a lot to most Americans” Abortion is a wedge issue. But, quite honestly, abortion is one of the most important national issues out there for me.

The real issue is, in my view, that Amash has fallen in love with his own press releases. Because he gets praise from the left whenever he does something bizarre and untoward, like supporting impeachment, he thinks he is reaching across the aisle and finding common ground. Apparently, he’s never noticed that no one on the other side does the same and the only common ground he ever stands on is owned by the Democrats.

What makes this whole screed so disingenuous is that Amash looks like he’s going to lose his primary. A poll last month showed him trailing my dog, Toph, by 16 points. His declaration of independence is an acknowledgment that he knows his only way forward in politics is to try to convince the GOP to back him over a GOP candidate in order to keep his seat.

I hope this new gig works out well for him and for his constituents. But we all know it will be just a matter of time until he’s caucusing with the Democrats.