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Terrible coverage, second hand, of Lil' Fella Senate chances

by: Eric B.

Sat Mar 30, 2013 at 10:39:54 AM EDT


This is what happens when you turn over your coverage of political campaigns to people who don't know anything about politics.

The article, titled "The Senate Trouble-Maker in Waiting," stated that "in five years, he has gone from unlikely state legislative candidate to potential front-runner for the U.S. Senate." 

Tim Alberta, a legislative reporter for the Washington D.C. insider publication, wrote:
Not long ago, the idea of someone like Amash clearing the primary field in a Senate race would have been unthinkable. An outspoken libertarian with views that often run counter to recent GOP orthodoxy (he led a failed coup against Speaker John Boehner earlier this year), Amash has minimal support among the Republican political class. He’s also only 32 years old, serving his second term in Congress, and has little name recognition—even across Michigan. But in modern GOP politics, as shown by the examples of Sens. Paul, Marco Rubio of Florida, and Ted Cruz of Texas—all of whom were opposed by the establishment in their primary races—conservative outsiders have an inside track to the upper chamber.

Here's the thing ... there were three Tea Party/Libertarian darlings mentioned in this article. They were Marco Rubio of Florida, Rand Paul of Kentucky, and Ted Cruz of Texas. Lil' Fella would make #4, we're supposed to believe. Well, two of them -- Paul and Cruz -- come from what are right now comfortably red seats. The winner of the Republican primary was probably -- absent pulling a Todd Akin -- going to win in the general election. Moreover, Rubio won a three-way race between Democrat Kendrick Meek and Charlie Crist, the former Republican governor who ran as an independent, in 2010, the great Republican tidal wave election. Lil' Fella has absolutely none of that going for him. In fact, as has been pointed out before, Lil' Fella wants to represent a state that has only seen one Republican Senate victory anytime within living memory.

Then, there's this:

Amash can raise money and is a "unique politician" with fans from both the ACLU and Right to Life camps, according to the story.

People keep repeating this kind of thing, as if simply repetition is going to make it true. People who are fans of the ACLU also tend to hold other progressive positions, such as desire to see the social safety net preserved. They might like Lil' Fella for what he has to say about an interventionist America and War on Terror stuff, but people who understand and are concerned about civil liberties tend to not be stupid people, easily swayed by an attractive sound bite or two. They'll look at his record of voting "present" on no-brainer votes because they involve things not strictly in the Constitution, and his support for dismantling the social safety net, and they'll conclude pretty quickly that he's not worth supporting. That is, HE HAS NO CROSSOVER APPEAL.

Finally, he's hated within his own party. There was talk about running a primary opponent against him this last cycle. There was even talk about his Congressional District being drawn precisely so they could more easily bounce him from office. John Boehner hates him, if you believe the chatter, and wasn't going to lift a finger to help him. And, the Senate runs more on the idea of collegiality among its members than anything. Does anyone think that Senate Republicans are going to want someone in their midst who tends to not work well with others? There's every reason to think that Michigan Republicans regard this seat as not within easy grasp and might instead want to throw Lil' Fella into the race because he'd bring enough money to the table to cause an annoyance in a race where Democrats otherwise might shuffle money from it to more competitive races.

I realize these parachute jobs are really just intended to be puff pieces, but I really wish national media outlets would find someone to talk to about this stuff other than people like Terri Lynn Land, who might have  vested interest in Lil' Fella running for the Senate (on top of wanting to see his legislative career end, the article said she might also run for his seat, or at least think things through a little bit. I also wish our state outlets would stop generating content off shallow content written elsewhere.

Update! ... More of Lil' Fella's broad appeal, from MLive's own archives.

GRAND RAPIDS, MI – U.S. Rep. Justin Amash considers himself the most pro-life member of Congress, but the Cascade Township Republican won’t be able to list Right to Life among his endorsers during his re-election campaign.

The Michigan group, which had backed Amash in his earlier state and federal office runs, withheld its support in this cycle based on votes Right to Life says are inconsistent with its views.

Lil' Fella plays his best Pete Hoekstra card, apparently believing himself entitled to Right to Life's endorsement.

Dear media people, Lil' Fella's party really, really doesn't like him. Remember how he sat in a corner and sniffed that he was booted off the budget committee by John Boehner, and promised retribution? Remember how he was one of the prime architects of the bungled, failed effort to make a statement of no confidence in his party's leadership? Does anyone in the national media not think this plays into party strategy at all?

Eric B. :: Terrible coverage, second hand, of Lil' Fella Senate chances
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