Justin Amash (AP/J. Scott Applewhite)

Tea Party nut's telling tantrum: What Justin Amash's victory speech revealed about GOP

When Justin Amash unloaded on his Chamber of Commerce-backed rival this week, there was a larger message at play


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Brad Friedman
August 7, 2014 8:54PM (UTC)
This post originally appeared on The BRAD BLOG.

Washington Post's "The Fix" blog describes Rep. Justin Amash's, R-Mich., victory speech after his primary election on Tuesday as "absolutely amazing," noting that "politicians who win campaigns, no matter how dirty, will almost always kiss and make up with their political opponents in their election-night speeches."

Amash did no such thing, as his remarks highlighted, once again, the growing, deep and bitter divide running straight through the Republican Party.

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The libertarian-leaning ally of former congressman Ron Paul, R-Texas, and co-sponsor, with Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich., of last year's narrowly defeated bipartisan attempt in the U.S. House to end blanket, warrantless NSA spying on Americans following the initial Edward Snowden disclosures, unloaded last night on the failed U.S. Chamber of Commerce-backed campaign to unseat him with an "establishment-approved" candidate.

In particular, Amash targeted Michigan's former Republican congressman Pete Hoekstra, a longtime Chamber-backed candidate himself, now a Chamber-funded political lobbyist and supporter of Amash's Republican opponent Brian Ellis. "I want to say to lobbyist Pete Hoekstra," Amash told the crowd, underscoring the L-word to much applause, "you are a disgrace. And I'm glad we could hand you one more loss before you fade into total obscurity and irrelevance."

Ouch. As "The Fix" notes, "Hoekstra lost the state's 2012 Senate race -- and in the 2010 gubernatorial primary."

And then Amash zeroed in on his direct opponent, businessman Ellis: "You owe my family and this community an apology for your disgusting, despicable smear campaign. You had the audacity to try and call me today after running a campaign that was called the nastiest in the country. I ran for office to stop people like you. To stop people who were more interested in themselves than in doing what's best for their district."

The Ellis campaign ran an ad earlier this summer, citing Amash's support for shutting down the U.S. prison at Guantánamo Bay (just as both George W. Bush and John McCain once supported) and his attempt to stop warrantless spying on Americans (a bill that narrowly failed with a bipartisan 205 to 217 vote, which included 94 votes from fellow Republicans).

The Ellis ad referred to Amash, who is an Arab-American, as "Al Qaeda's best friend in Congress."

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His blistering remarks about Hoekstra and Ellis come just after the 3 minute mark in the video below...


Brad Friedman

Investigative journalist and broadcaster Brad Friedman is the creator and publisher of The BRAD Blog. He has contributed to Mother Jones, The Guardian, Truthout, Huffington Post, The Trial Lawyer magazine and Editor & Publisher.

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