Justin and Friends at Tea Party Rally, April 2009. President Obama had been in office less than three months at this point.
West Michigan has its fair share of wingers, there is no doubt about that. But what most people miss is the fact that, overall, we are pretty darn moderate - and the extreme views and votes of Justin Amash definitely do not represent the majority of the wishes of the 3rd district. I've dubbed him the Nancy Cassis of the MI House; he simply votes "no" on everything. Some examples: Amash voted against preventing utilities from shutting off heat and power to elderly customers, he voted against bills that would toughen laws against human trafficking, he voted against a bill that would allow soldiers actively serving their country out of cell phone contracts. And as far as support for quality of life issues like education and other public services, you don't even have to ask, do you?
Amash is a drown government, right-wing Norquist Republican, a puppet who puts his ideology before the needs of his constituents time and time again. Backed by the DeVos family and out-of-state wealthy special interests such as the Club for Growth, we can probably expect an onslaught of misleading and negative advertising against Pat Miles to start any second now. And, should Amash be elected, his voting record shows that you can guarantee he will align himself with the most extreme members in the House, lawmakers such as Michele Bachmann who are promising to stop all progress and "investigate" the Obama administration, with an eye towards impeachment.
One very encouraging development is happening though: Moderate Republicans in the West Michigan area are taking a stand against Amash. Long-time GOP backers are coming out in favor of Democrat Pat Miles, and 50 of them have put their names on paper - bucking the wealthy power structure and taking a stand for moderation and sanity. Bless their hearts. Follow the link for the full list, here are a few statements behind the names:
William Farr, a former Kent County GOP chairman who ran as the GOP's candidate for state attorney general in 1970, challenged Amash's GOP credentials in a statement.
"His views are so extreme, I think he is even to the right of the tea party movement," Farr said. "Just because someone is a Republican is not enough to earn my vote. I want someone who is in the mainstream and that person for me is Pat Miles."
Serafin and Eleveld, who were chairmen the Kent County GOP in the 1970s, also chaired the GOP's congressional district campaign. "He (Miles) has a background of working to solve the problems, and I know he will take that constructive philosophy to Congress," Eleveld said.
"I know he will put solving problems above rigid ideology," said Keary Sawyer, a Grand Rapids lawyer who lost to the late U.S. Rep. Paul Henry in his 1984 bid for the congressional seat. Sawyer is the son of the late Hal Sawyer, a Republican who once held the seat.
Also on the list are Marla Ehlers and Heidi Ehlers Rienstra, daughters of 3rd District Rep. Vern Ehlers, who announced early this year he would not run again.
"Party labels are not as important as character in choosing our next representative in Congress," Marla Ehlers said in a statement released by the Miles campaign.
Wish these Republicans success with their message to the 3rd district voters - and maybe, just maybe, this will catch on, and give other moderates the strength to stand up against the forces who are promising to make things so much worse than they are now. Our future depends on it.