Pick up any newspaper and you're likely to find news of some kind of scandal in Washington. President Obama often learns about them that way! From surveillance to spending there's no short supply of serious issues for politicians in Washington to botch. Ted Cruz managed to help shut down the government because of Obamacare, helping to draw attention from Obamacare's disastrous rollout, a kind of own goal that's a trademark of American politics. That partial government shutdown, however, left some traditional Republican supporters fuming. Last month, for example, the Chamber of Commerce promised to dedicate at least $50 million to oppose "loser candidates" in the Republican party. In November, the GOP business establishment in Grand Rapids, Michigan set its sights on the incumbent Republican Congressman there, Justin Amash, by supporting challenger Brian Ellis, who was supposed to be a more traditional Republican than the pro-civil liberties anti-big government Amash.
Today I got my first (unsolicited as far as I know) e-mail from the Brian Ellis campaign, and in complaining about a vote against a meaningless resolution about the national motto, it manages to encapsulate a lot of what's wrong with the Republican party, bipartisanship, and American politics in general.
The e-mail, from campaign staffer Megan Wells:
With us just celebrating the Christmas season, now is a fitting time to look back at Justin Amash's vote on November 1, 2011 when he voted against reaffirming "In God We Trust" as our national motto. The resolution passed with an overwhelmingly bipartisan vote of 396-9, and Justin Amash was the only Republican "no" vote.
President George Washington, in his first Inaugural Address, said, "it would be peculiarly improper to omit in this first official Act, my fervent supplications to that Almighty Being who rules over the Universe … No People can be bound to acknowledge and adore the invisible hand, which conducts the Affairs of men more than the People of the United States."
President Franklin D. Roosevelt's D-Day Prayer began, "Almighty God: Our sons, pride of our nation, this day have set upon a mighty endeavor, a struggle to preserve our Republic, our religion, and our civilization, and to set free a suffering humanity. Lead them straight and true; give strength to their arms, stoutness to their hearts, steadfastness in their faith."
President George W. Bush concluded his speech to the nation after the 9/11 attacks, "In all that lies before us, may God grant us wisdom, and may he watch over the United States of America."
"In God We Trust" was first placed on U.S. coins by Congress in 1864 and officially became our national motto in 1956. Through lawsuits, atheists have attempted to impose their will and remove the phrase "In God We Trust" from our currency. They have been unsuccessful so far, but to make clear America's commitment to our heritage and faith in God, the U.S. House of Representatives, as the voice of the people, voted 396-9 to reaffirm "In God We Trust" as our national motto and support the display on public buildings. Amazingly, Congressman Justin Amash voted "no".
"From President Washington's Inaugural address to President Roosevelt's D-Day Prayer to President Bush's speech after the 9/11 attacks, America has rightly placed her trust in the Almighty. Justin Amash was clearly not representing the people of the 3rd District when he voted against reaffirming "In God We Trust" as our national motto," said Brian Ellis.
Happy new year.
Related at Reason: Please, Congress, Do Much Less