The Spectacle Blog

Justin Amash (and I) Respond to Aaron

By on 8.6.14 | 10:24PM

I always appreciate my public debates with my AmSpec collague Aaron Goldstein. They're relatively rare because we agree more than we disagree.

But Aaron took a couple of shots at Justin Amash (in response to my praise of him) which I'd like to respond to… one of which I've asked Rep. Amash to respond to.

First, I find Aaron's description of Justin's take-down of his smear-campaign-reliant opponent and his opponent's establishment supporters — Aaron called it "self-pity" — as rather strange. If anything, it would be more like gloating, since it's hard to exude self-pity after trouncing a well-funded opponent. I'm OK with a little gloating.

Second, it's entirely possible that Amash's words about former Rep. Pete Hoekstra say more about Amash than about Hoekstra, though I doubt it. But what they say about Amash is utterly welcome: When people support cronies and special interests over the Constitution, they deserve to be pilloried, and I'm damn glad we have at least one congressman willing to say what needs to be said.

Third, the Snowden case is complicated. There are aspects of what Snowden disclosed where I also consider him a whistleblower. But Snowden went too far in exposing how American intelligence operates overseas in ways that involve no American citizens. For some of those things, Snowden should go to jail. But for exposing the NSA capturing "bulk" data about Americans' phone calls and Internet usage, I absolutely see Snowden as a whistleblower. I haven't asked Amash about these distinctions but I imagine he agrees with me.

As for voting against Iron Dome, Aaron uses a tactic I'd expect from a Democrat, namely wording the vote as if Amash were really against the program rather than the basis of his vote being about something else. I asked Rep. Amash about his vote on Iron Dome and he responded to me with this:

I support Iron Dome (see https://beta.congress.gov/bill/113th-congress/house-bill/938). We're supposed to offset all new spending with cuts elsewhere. Congress did so with the border bill (which is for our own country), but not with the additional Iron Dome funding. Our debt is approaching $18 trillion. Even our own defense spending is offset, so this was a clear violation of our rules.

I'm a strong supporter of Israel — in fact much more Zionist than observantly Jewish — but I understand and respect Amash's vote here. Just today, the Washington Times reported that "House Republicans (are) adding to debt as balanced budget commitment wavers."

I'm strongly for Israel, Aaron, but we MUST make our politicians stand up for the future of America as well, such as by no longer adding to the crushing debt the last decade has already piled on my children and future generations.

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