Justin Amash Should be Embarrassed.

Not because Amash threw a temper tantrum and jettisoned himself out of the Republican Party after unironically calling the President a despotic blowhard and feckless nebbish. And I don’t mean he should be shamefast over crowing for Trump’s impeachment for actions he admits were not illegal, while never requesting the same removal of a president who blatantly tromped on the law. Or even for hanging his libertarian-ish coequal, Rep. Thomas Massie, out to dry by refusing to join his protest request for a quorum on the costly coronavirus-relief bill.

The Michigan congressman made his bones out of being a principled, if esoteric, gadfly. But, since he’s turned on the brusquest iconoclast to ever sit in the Oval Office, Amash has become not just a sometimes-darling of the left, but a stalwart to the irascible anti-Trump right.

Too bad the support doesn’t translate into politics’ all-important objective: running for office. 

In the Bulwark, the hobby blog founded by neocon nepote Bill Kristol, outspoken Twitterers Sarah Longwell and Tim Miller urge Amash to do the right thing and not launch a presidential bid. “Amash is great. But a third-party run could help reelect Donald Trump,” they warn. Amash recently posted two tweets suggesting serious consideration of a White House run, possibly under the banner of the Libertarian Party.

Juvenile plaudits abound for Amash throughout the plea. Longwell and Miller describe him as “the only member of the Freedom Caucus who didn’t abandon everything” and as the only non-Democratic lawmaker to “talk openly about Donald Trump’s racism,” as if adopting the left’s identity politics is a feather in his Tea Party-fashioned bicorn hat. 

Then there are approbatory lines like: 

We love him because as the Republican party descended into debt-fueled lunacy, abandoned free trade, sneered at the rule of law, and shrugged at corruption, he put on a tight polo shirt and said, “I’m out.”

The erotic imagery of a “tight polo shirt” is a tell for the seriousness of the analysis. As is the very-online teeny-bopper patois of: “We love him because we could set-up (sic) a tweetbot that QT’s everything he sends out with ‘STRAIGHT INTO MY VEINS.’”

Straight into the chippy part of my amygdala, is more like it. When #NeverTrumpers deploy reinforcements, they aren’t sending their best people.

Should Amash pull the rabble-rousing trigger on a presidential run, it’ll be hard to take his splenetic bid seriously. Amash absenting the GOP in a sententious huff wasn’t the stuff of constitutional fidelity. He was trailing his Republican primary opponent by double digits. Amash played a not-so-secret hole card, auditioning for a CNN contributor gig with his sanctimonious egress.

Longwell and Miller were fooled by the cynical play, but not fooled enough. “On one hand, we want to be for him -- to have the joy and satisfaction of getting behind the constitutional superhero of our dreams,” they write, prefatorily qualifying their support, which doesn’t rise to the level of endorsement. “But on the other hand, there is a downside risk to his running and the price of a second Trump term is too great for anyone to be playing dice with it.”

In short: we want to beat Trump, and that means backing his binary opponent. Many apologies, Justin. Better luck in 2024.

As longtime political operatives, Longwell and Miller get it: our first-past-the-post republic renders third-party candidacies irrelevant, except for a possible spoiler effect. Elections are duels between red and blue; bystanders are only a distraction, figured by inebriated cranks and obscenity-yelling attention-seekers.

Amash does pose a spoiler threat -- but for the other side. Quoting pollster Richard Czuba, who conducted a poll of Michigan voters in 2019 of a three-way race between Amash, Trump, and Biden, Longwell and Miller are convinced the President would be aided by a from-the-right option. “[Amash] will not take away Republican votes from Trump. What he will do is give independent voters who don’t want to support President Trump an outlet to not vote for the Democrat,” Czuba found.

That gets to the real qualm Longwell and Miller have about an Amash candidacy: they want Trump out, even it means supporting Joe Biden, who can’t remember the predicates to his sentences and is promising the “most progressive” administration ever.

So much for high-minded opposition. To Longwell and Miller, selling your beliefs to assuage resentment over Trump’s rise is smart political strategy. The probity of #NeverTrumping, it turns out, was never really there at all.

Not because Amash threw a temper tantrum and jettisoned himself out of the Republican Party after unironically calling the President a despotic blowhard and feckless nebbish. And I don’t mean he should be shamefast over crowing for Trump’s impeachment for actions he admits were not illegal, while never requesting the same removal of a president who blatantly tromped on the law. Or even for hanging his libertarian-ish coequal, Rep. Thomas Massie, out to dry by refusing to join his protest request for a quorum on the costly coronavirus-relief bill.

The Michigan congressman made his bones out of being a principled, if esoteric, gadfly. But, since he’s turned on the brusquest iconoclast to ever sit in the Oval Office, Amash has become not just a sometimes-darling of the left, but a stalwart to the irascible anti-Trump right.

Too bad the support doesn’t translate into politics’ all-important objective: running for office. 

In the Bulwark, the hobby blog founded by neocon nepote Bill Kristol, outspoken Twitterers Sarah Longwell and Tim Miller urge Amash to do the right thing and not launch a presidential bid. “Amash is great. But a third-party run could help reelect Donald Trump,” they warn. Amash recently posted two tweets suggesting serious consideration of a White House run, possibly under the banner of the Libertarian Party.

Juvenile plaudits abound for Amash throughout the plea. Longwell and Miller describe him as “the only member of the Freedom Caucus who didn’t abandon everything” and as the only non-Democratic lawmaker to “talk openly about Donald Trump’s racism,” as if adopting the left’s identity politics is a feather in his Tea Party-fashioned bicorn hat. 

Then there are approbatory lines like: 

We love him because as the Republican party descended into debt-fueled lunacy, abandoned free trade, sneered at the rule of law, and shrugged at corruption, he put on a tight polo shirt and said, “I’m out.”

The erotic imagery of a “tight polo shirt” is a tell for the seriousness of the analysis. As is the very-online teeny-bopper patois of: “We love him because we could set-up (sic) a tweetbot that QT’s everything he sends out with ‘STRAIGHT INTO MY VEINS.’”

Straight into the chippy part of my amygdala, is more like it. When #NeverTrumpers deploy reinforcements, they aren’t sending their best people.

Should Amash pull the rabble-rousing trigger on a presidential run, it’ll be hard to take his splenetic bid seriously. Amash absenting the GOP in a sententious huff wasn’t the stuff of constitutional fidelity. He was trailing his Republican primary opponent by double digits. Amash played a not-so-secret hole card, auditioning for a CNN contributor gig with his sanctimonious egress.

Longwell and Miller were fooled by the cynical play, but not fooled enough. “On one hand, we want to be for him -- to have the joy and satisfaction of getting behind the constitutional superhero of our dreams,” they write, prefatorily qualifying their support, which doesn’t rise to the level of endorsement. “But on the other hand, there is a downside risk to his running and the price of a second Trump term is too great for anyone to be playing dice with it.”

In short: we want to beat Trump, and that means backing his binary opponent. Many apologies, Justin. Better luck in 2024.

As longtime political operatives, Longwell and Miller get it: our first-past-the-post republic renders third-party candidacies irrelevant, except for a possible spoiler effect. Elections are duels between red and blue; bystanders are only a distraction, figured by inebriated cranks and obscenity-yelling attention-seekers.

Amash does pose a spoiler threat -- but for the other side. Quoting pollster Richard Czuba, who conducted a poll of Michigan voters in 2019 of a three-way race between Amash, Trump, and Biden, Longwell and Miller are convinced the President would be aided by a from-the-right option. “[Amash] will not take away Republican votes from Trump. What he will do is give independent voters who don’t want to support President Trump an outlet to not vote for the Democrat,” Czuba found.

That gets to the real qualm Longwell and Miller have about an Amash candidacy: they want Trump out, even it means supporting Joe Biden, who can’t remember the predicates to his sentences and is promising the “most progressive” administration ever.

So much for high-minded opposition. To Longwell and Miller, selling your beliefs to assuage resentment over Trump’s rise is smart political strategy. The probity of #NeverTrumping, it turns out, was never really there at all.