The next time a Republican politician claims to put principle before partisanship, ask what he or she did when Representative Justin Amash came under attack.
The Michigan Republican, elected in 2010 at the height of the Tea Party wave, has always presented himself as a libertarian-leaning adherent of limited government. And he has always voted exactly as his supporters would expect, as reflected in the 100 percent lifetime score given to him by FreedomWorks.
But over the weekend, he broke with the GOP on the matter of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report: After studying the redacted version and related information, he declared his belief that impeaching President Donald Trump is warranted. How would Republicans react to an honest politician staying loyal to the Constitution as he understands it?
Retired Representative Joe Barton passed this test of character. “There’s no member of the Freedom Caucus more intellectually honest than he is,” he told my colleague Elaina Plott. “So my guess is that he agonized over this and felt like he couldn’t, in good conscience, not say something and still be honest to his oath of office.”
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, however, did not pass the test.