Rep. Justin Amash, R-Mich., thoroughly trashed his opponents during a re-election victory speech Tuesday evening, a move that was both unbecoming and "not good for America," according to an MSNBC panel.
Amash cruised to an easy primary win this week, beating his opponent, Brian Ellis, by a cool 14 percentage points. But the election victory wasn't exactly pretty as the libertarian-leaning congressman first had to endure some ugly mudslinging from Ellis' campaign, including a television ad that accused him of being “al Qaeda's best friend in Congress.”
Unsurprisingly, the “al Qaeda” dig did not sit well with Amash, an Arab-American (and Orthodox Christian), and he said as much during his post-primary speech.
“You owe my family and this community an apology for your disgusting, despicable smear campaign,” Amash said of his primary challenger. “You had the audacity to try and call me today after running a campaign that was called the nastiest in the country.
“I ran for office to stop people like you," he added.
And it didn’t end there: Amash also blasted former Rep. Pete Hoekstra, R-Mich., for supporting Ellis in the primary.
“You are a disgrace. And I'm glad we could hand you one more loss before you fade into total obscurity and irrelevance,” Amash said, referring to Hoekstra's election losses to Michigan’s Republican Gov. Rick Snyder and Democratic Sen. Debbie Stabenow.
Apparently, this was all just too, too much for the too, too gentle folks on MSNBC's "Morning Joe."
“Don’t you think that character and graciousness – I mean, it’s about character and who you are as a person,” Fortune’sLeigh Gallagher said of Amash's tone during a Thursday panel discussion.
“He is going to get as much support after this as he would otherwise,” the Hill's Elise Viebeck responded, explaining that the speech is all part of Amash's brand and messaging.
“That may be fine for him,” MSNBC contributor and former Obama “car czar” Steve Rattner said, “but it’s not good for America.”
“It’s not good for America,” Viebeck conceded.
“This is not the way we want our politics to operate,” Rattner continued.
“We’re making a limited point here,” Viebeck said.
“We care about America,” Rattner concluded.
Yes, civility and charity should always be encouraged and promoted in political discourse. But people should also be free to kick back against outrageous slander. Compared to the garbage Amash had to put up with from the Ellis campaign, his blunt and brawling tone Tuesday night is the least offensive thing in this story.
You know what's "not good for America"? Accusing a sitting representative of being “al Qaeda's best friend in Congress.” If you want to talk about character and graciousness, let's start with this nonsense.