There. I said it. I’m not voting for him, ever. However. . .
This Politico piece, by Tim Alberta, about Amash is very insightful. For anyone who is tempted to think that he’s on your side because he’s against Donald Trump, don’t. However, he has a lot of great things to say about partisanship and economic disaster recovery. The piece is also a flash reminder of how sexist our politics are.
Amash spends four paragraphs hitting the nail squarely on the head about the similarities and differences between Biden and Trump and Democrats and Republicans. He sounds an awful lot like left-wing activists who complain that there is no difference between the parties. His comments about purity are particularly striking:
“When you get on the wrong side of people on the left, a lot of it sounds like things I hear from people on the right.”
“What they don’t recognize is that [Trump]’s a creature of this system where everyone is hyperpartisan and hates each other and where they’re told repeatedly, ‘If you don’t vote for our party nominee, you are selling out your family, your friends, your country to these people who want to destroy it.’ And that’s what both sides are told.”
Don’t worry. I’ll do everything I can this year to #VoteBlueNoMatterWho. But it has to be said: the polarization is not just their fault. We have purity tests too.
The surprising part of the interview was Amash’s advocacy for handing out cash. He has (justified) harsh criticism for the tendency of relief plans to reward giant corporations and wealthy donors of both major parties. The surprising part for a libertarian was this:
“If they did something like, let’s just send everyone some money, direct cash payments, as I suggested, universal monthly cash relief, there’s only one constituency for that. That’s the entire public. And they’re not getting much out of that in terms of politics.”
What populist, progressive, capitalism-questioning, near-socialist doesn’t love that idea?? (He lost me a little later on, with the typical ultra-conservative disparagement of the role of the federal government and the UN.)
Finally, another significant part of the piece is less about Amash and more about the sexism in politics. He spends most of a long paragraph talking about how great he is. He starts six sentences with “I am [something great about Justin Amash.]” What would we say about a woman who started six sentences in one paragraph with “I” instead of “we?” And listed all kinds of ways she’s great? Spoiler alert: it wouldn’t be that she’s a great leader.
In a time when everything is us vs. them, I hardly expected to have so much in common with a libertarian, right-wing, Tea Party, Freedom Caucus true believer. But here we are.