Justin Amash

Justin Amash, on Running for President: 'It's More on My Radar Every Day'

Republican congressman also tweets out tantalizingly cryptic Aragorn quote.


Last night Rep. Justin Amash (R–Mich.), that libertarian Capitol Hill fan favorite, cryptically tweeted out this passage from The Two Towers, the middle volume of J.R.R. Tolkein's The Lord of the Rings:

To be clear, this passage is about Aragorn, the heir of kingly men; plus Legolas the elf and Gimli the dwarf processing grief at the discovery of a massacre of Orcs that they suspect (wrongly, it turns out) includes the now-burned bodies of their captive hobbit pals Merry and Pippin. Gimli had previously lamented that the wise elf Elrond hadn't wanted the two hobbits to join in their Fellowship of the Ring; Legolas rejoindered that the wizard and Fello

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wship leader Gandalf had, to which Gimli not unreasonably pointed out that the wizard's foresight in these matters was not spotless, given the recent unpleasantness with the Balrog.

So in one sense Aragorn's aphorism is just a little c'mon lads pep talk to keep his comrades' spirits and searching activities up despite the short-term darkness and despair. But the deeper meaning that makes this one of Tolkein's most quotable quotations is that even knowingly hopeless and perilous quests are worth the fighting for.

And so, the hashtags sang, #ItBegins (or shall we say…#ItBaggins?). Is this, at long last, the appropriately nerdy pre-announcement that #Amash2020 is about to leap off the GOP train and compete against President Donald Trump under the Libertarian Party (L.P.) banner?

"Well, it's more on my radar every day, because I keep getting asked about it now," Amash told Lions of Liberty podcaster Marc Clair in an interview posted last week. "I think there were just some people sort of talking about it on social media, and then Jake Tapper must have picked up on that and asked me the question, so now more people are talking about it. So obviously I'm thinking about it a little more." More:

I just think it's important that we offer some alternative. And I think we need someone out there who can be a bridge for people, who can present a libertarian message but also bring people together. And I think the libertarian message is one that unites people across the political spectrum.

I think of it as a fairly moderate approach to governing, the idea that we follow a Constitution, we follow the rule of law, and we uphold liberty. I think this is a moderate approach to our government, and it's I think what most people want. Most people who aren't politically active, who are just at home and don't want to have to think about government, they kind of want our government to just stay out of their lives for the most part, stop messing things up, and stop dividing everyone.

Amash told Reason Editor in Chief Katherine Mangu-Ward in January that the ideal third-party candidate "wears Air Jordans" (he was wearing Air Jordans as he said this), and that the L.P. nominee "has to be very libertarian, because if you're running in the Libertarian Party, you better be a libertarian." However, "it has to be a person who is persuasive to other people, can bring Republicans and Democrats on board, or bring a large part of the electorate on board, because you can't just appeal to diehard libertarians and win the election."

That statement, made at LibertyCon in Washington, D.C., attracted the attention of senior L.P. National leadership, who have been on the lookout for high-profile presidential contenders after the defection from the party by 2016 vice presidential nominee Bill Weld.

The former Massachusetts governor is busy tromping through the early primary state of nearby New Hampshire, and expects to make a final decision about whether to compete in the GOP primary against Trump by the end of April.

The current Libertarian 2020 presidential field is bereft of candidates with much name recognition outside the party, with the possible exception of international fugitive and professed whale enthusiast John McAfee. On Saturday I asked one of the better known remaining names, the self-described "abrasive…A-hole" Arvin Vohra, what he thought of an Amash candidacy. "He wouldn't be my second choice," Vohra said. (Adam Kokesh, a fellow anarchist, would be Vohra's second choice.)

More from Vohra:

Now I have said many times, and I still say today, that Justin Amash is the best member of Congress, no question. I don't think he's the person for a national level cultural war….He's done what a great congressional politician does, which is he has kind of shifted the needle. He hasn't irritated too many people. He's shown himself to be nice and decent and friendly. And the really hard things, the really hard libertarian positions, he's actively avoided.

And that's what he should do. I mean, that's what I would do in his position. He's doing the right thing for that position. But if he's going to do this, if he's going to take on a culture that believes that government school is the best thing on earth, that thinks that income taxes are totally fine, that would cringe if you said something like, you know, "Fire all government workers," that would freak out if you said that speeding tickets are theft….Justin Amash, I don't think, is the person to do that.

Meanwhile, on Amash/LoTR Twitter, the Michigan congressman can do little wrong:

Twenty-one months ago, Amash told me why he prefers to be called a "libertarian" rather than a "libertarian-leaning Republican." Watch below:

NEXT: The Coming Transparency Battle Over the Mueller Report

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  1. “And so it begins” — Ambassador Kosh

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    2. +100 for the Babylon 5 reference. Second best scifi series ever.

      1. You’re right; it’s not Futureman.

          1. fake news. everyone knows it’s Librarians.

      2. NERDS!

        1. OGRE!

        2. I respect the first Nerds movie for having the balls to depict successful rape.
          And what I mean by that is Louis Skolnik disguised himself as the QB boyfriend of the cheerleader in order to perform oral sex on her, then revealed himself and she fell for him… after he’d penetrated her under false pretenses.
          Bold move, nerd.

      3. Second least watchable, you mean?

  2. OMG. They didn’t even have radar back in elfin times. Nerds.

  3. Odds of winning are pretty low. Unless he expects to lose his Congressional elections, or unless he has had enough and wants a life, he’d do a lot more good where he is.

    1. The goal is throwing the election to Kamala Harris.

        1. Oh hey you’re back doing you’re gross lame “fuck anything” schtick again.

          How fucking boring.

          1. And you are doing your tired assed, boring “I’m the comment police and I’m going to be a dick because it’s fun” schtick as usual. So everyone wins!

            1. You haven’t considered how my scroll wheel is doing.

    2. Well, he’s pretty much guaranteeing he loses his seat in Congress now

  4. “The counsel of Gandalf was not founded on foreknowledge of safety, for himself or for others,” said Aragorn. “There are some things that it is better to begin than to refuse, even though the end may be dark.”

    Oh goody. We have a slate of Democrats running on a Marxist platform and now guy plans to run as a J. R. R. Tolkien character.

    Sweet Jesus! Are we to be spared nothing?

    1. I’d rather have a Tolkien candidate than an L. Frank Baum candidate.

      1. Worse than either will show up before this is over.

      2. I have a problem with Tolkien’s thesis that a whole race can be evil.

        1. Weren’t they manufactured to be evil?

          1. Yes. And if you’re uncomfortable with consigning them to permanent evil, just think of them as having a cultural worldview that is antithetical to life.

        2. species?

        3. I think it’s part of his whole Catholic worldview that is a big part of Middle Earth. Men (including hobbits) are free. The other speaking races in the world fill specific niches or roles in the world and are more constrained in their potential.

        4. I don’t like how orcs are all evil and the other species (or races) have free will.

          It’s race-specific Calvinism, like SJWs with white people.

  5. I’ll vote for Amash (L) over anyone currently running from either party.

    Now let’s hear some of the Trump-tard (libertarians) say they would. Won’t happen.

    1. Shriek-approved candidate

    2. Amash is by far my favorite politician in Washington. Anybody who would vote for Trump over him is not a libertarian.

      1. Congresspeoples rankedL

        Krysten Sinema

        Justin Amash

        Elise Sefanik

        Thomas Massie

        Tulsi Gabbard

        1. Is that the Crusty Would Scale?

          1. Every other one is on the Crusty Would Scale. I’ll let you decide which ones.

          2. Oh, I’ve been spelling it wrong, apparently. I could’ve sworn it was the Crusty Wood Scale.

        2. All radical left wing bottom feeders who would rape their own child on national TV if they thought it would goad Trump. What a shocking surprise.

      2. So, most of the commentariat peanut gallery?

        1. While you make the case for Bernie Sanders as the most libertarian candidate evah! What an absolute legend.

          1. Well, you voted for Bernie, so you’re one to talk.

            See, everyone can make shit up about other people.

    3. If I were doing Instant Runoff Voting (and by the way, when will you duopolists institute such a system? Scared to find out that for many people you’re a distinctly second choice?), then my voting preferences would probably look like this:

      1) Amash
      2) Republican candidate (unless it’s Weld)
      3) Anyone else who isn’t an insane socialist-appeasing Democrat

      1. He’s got my vote but I also live in MD so you know it just helps his popular vote total. The dems will get the electoral votes no matter what.

      2. If I were doing Instant Runoff Voting (and by the way, when will you duopolists institute such a system? Scared to find out that for many people you’re a distinctly second choice?), then my voting preferences would probably be what my progressives masters told me they are.

        Because IRV is just another tool to be used to eradicate the voices of those who oppose the glorious Revolution.


    4. Amash has my vote. I may even vote for him twice.

      1. Amash has my vote. I may even vote for him twice.

        Well, you’re allowed to vote for leftists as many times as it takes to silence the votes of the majority. So have at it.

        Hopefully, Amash will notice that he’s covered in leeches and take action before they get to his brain.

    5. Amash is a breath of fresh air. Not perfect, but about as close as we are likely to get.

    6. Make no mistake about it, moneyshot. Yes, I’m voting against the socialist Democrats by casting a vote for Trump. The Libertarians ran two idiots last time, and I’m not going to reward them for their poor showing. If someone wants to represent me (as a Libertarian) then that person needs a little “fire” in the belly. I didn’t see that from Gary and Bill.

  6. To be clear, this passage is about

    jfc nerd

  7. Justin Amash would make a wonderful POTUS- in some alternative universe where values and morality were important and tied to the nature of man. Unfortunately, we live in this universe, where his ideas of individual freedom and the ‘inalienable rights of men’ are a quaint throwback to a long lost Camelot of the 18th century. We live in the universe of ‘pragmatism.’ The constant battle for political power based on political coalitions reins supreme. ‘Identity politics’, also known as ‘collectivism’, goes virtually unchallenged at its base philosophical level. Because of this, Rep Amash has no chance whatsoever of getting more than a fraction of 1% of a nationwide vote. The moral high ground has been ceded decades ago. The decline and decay of western civilization has become inevitable.

    1. So you must be Denethor.

      1. Not knowing the Lord of the Ring fantasy, I’m not sure if this denotation is a complement or an insult.

        1. Just very misunderstood. He really likes his deceased son, he likes music with his meals, and he has a healthy distrust for old guys in robes showing up uninvited to his house

    2. Camelot. Eighteenth century?

    3. Amash is an unprincipled piece of shit whose only motivation since 2015 is opposing der drumpenfuhrer. Prior to that it was pushing open borders for a few Koch bucks.

      1. Is it possible that you are confused by the difference between disagreeing with your principles and not having any at all? Or is this more an orange man good thing?

  8. I guess the quota for people who live in a fantasy world running for president isn’t filled yet.

    1. Why not?

      It’s been proven that a reality-TV star Chapter 11 loving property manager with no credentials can get elected.

      Why not anyone?

  9. ?
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    Imagine if the Starr Report had been provided only to President Clinton’s Attorney General, Janet Reno, who then read it privately and published a 4-page letter based on her private reading stating her conclusion that President Clinton committed no crimes.
    10:02 PM – 26 Mar 2019

    1. He might have been acquitted and re-elected?

      1. Well, except for the re-elected part, but that’s because of the pesky 22nd Amendment.

    2. moneyshot|3.27.19 @ 2:55PM|#

      Imagine if turd had a brain. C’mon, at least give it a try.

  10. “the end is dark”

    That seems to be the obvious meaning, and not the deeper one.

  11. Please run for president. See what people think of you on a grand scale. Totes wanna see that mess.

    1. Do you not like Amash? Do you consider yourself to be a libertarian?

      1. he weirds me but it may be personal who knows. 2020 vote is an eon away

        >>>Do you consider yourself to be a libertarian?

        funny was just thinking about this in the car. i’m more antagon-archist? i think i hate everyone now. (L) is definitely winning afaic

        1. He’s pretty solid on the Constitution and principled. I would describe him as a conservative libertarian. He’s pro-life and pro border security, AFAIK. He voted against the wall funding, but it seemed to be more tied to the bloated budget in general.

          It’s hard not to like his principled approach to everything, even if you don’t agree with everything he’s for. At least he seems to be ideologically consistent between what he says and what he does.

          1. fair enough

          2. “I would describe him as a conservative libertarian. He’s pro-life and pro border security, AFAIK. ”


            I mean you’re a Randroid so it’s not surprising you’re barely literate and utterly clueless but holy fuck.

            Amash is a full open borders Koch-sucker just like the staff of this joke of a publication and has never made any pretense otherwise. Doesn’t support any limitations on illegal immigration. Supports taxpayer-subsidized refugee resettlement. Opposed a wall, e-verify, voter ID and any other measure that would curb the supply of pig-fucking 4th grade-educated bi-illiterate third world grist for the Chamber of Commerce mill. Also voted for full funding of Planned Parenthood and opposed state-level attempts to address the issue.

            Also opposes FISA transparency and congressional oversight of federal domestic spying and law enforcement agencies because Trump. Principled as motherfuck.

            1. >>>curb the supply of pig-fucking 4th grade-educated bi-illiterate third world grist for the Chamber of Commerce mill

              funny. good writing.

            2. He’s voted against extending the Patriot Act and FISA.

              The planned parenthood thing was because they were singled out specifically. The FedGov has no authority to pick winners and losers through funding according to Amash.

              He claims to be for border security. If he voted against eVerify then I like him even more. No reason for more regulations on business, right? Besides we’re after the evil welfare abusing Mexicans not the ones who want to work.

              He’s more principled and generally better on issues than any elected official in Washington that I’m aware of. Even Rand as far as I can tell.

        2. antagon-archist

          I like it. I may have to use that sometime.

          1. i don’t think it needs the hyphen other than to slow the word down for explanation … antagonarchist

      2. for example take the tweet: was cryptic so gets everyone all geeked and hashtaggy – it’s not *my* style so i’m wary

  12. I think Amash’s best path would be to primary Trump for the free publicity, and then upon losing switch the LP and challenge in the general. The media will be forced to portray him as the sane alternative to Trump (which he is), and then scramble to memory hole the entire thing in the general, lest he actually gets significant votes. It would be epic.

    It would be almost a Trumpian media play. Say what you want about the man, but he sure knows how to play the media.

    1. Worked for Gary Johnson right? LMAO

    2. Worked for Gary Johnson right? LMAO

      1. Gary Johnson had Weld. And he didn’t exactly get any play in the crowded Republican field. Amash would in a smaller field, plus he’d get NeverTrump support.

  13. Hmm… this would make Bill Weld a stalking horse for Justin Amash.

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  15. Since Amash seems to have little interest in stopping the orc invasion, I think he’s more Saruman than Gandalf.

  16. I want to see every libertarian in the Congress, plus Andrew Napolitano, run for the Republican nomination. That way, the presstitutes “moderating” the debates can’t just ignore them the way they did to Ron Paul.


    1. That’s actually an interesting idea… Like 15 libertarians all running in the same cycle. They could exclude based on polling, but several would undoubtedly still make it.

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  19. We need a congress filled with Amashes… But this is all grand standing, and pointless. Trump will get the nomination if anybody primaries him, and nobody will care about any 3rd part person unless they’re a billionaire/mega celebrity. Anybody wasting their time on any other scenario is… Well, wasting their time.

  20. My buddy’s mother-in-law is dead — her last paycheck was over 20 years ago.

    In other news, if Amash runs for POTUS, I’m all in.

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