Real National Security: Justin Amash Guards against Boehner

Justin Amash shows that he believes that vigilance is the price of liberty.

This story from the Hill seems normal and believable. But it really demonstrates how debauched our political situation has become. Justin Amash is keeping constant watch to prevent any tricks on the part of John Boehner or other leaders to extend the Patriot Act by stealth and surprise!

Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich.) doesn’t seem to trust that House leaders won’t try to sneak through a short-term renewal of expiring Patriot Act provisions while the chamber is on recess this week.

Amash, a vocal surveillance critic, attended the House’s usually empty pro forma session Tuesday, seemingly to make sure he is able to object in case GOP leaders try and go behind lawmakers’ backs.

Amash recited the Pledge of Allegiance but gave no other public comments from the chamber floor during the incredibly brief Tuesday afternoon session.

His presence comes as a sign of heavy concern that Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) will use a voice vote to slip through a temporary extension of expiring parts of the Patriot Act. Leadership aides have said the Speaker would not use the procedural maneuver to skirt the House’s will, but Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.) — another prominent spy critic — told The Hill last week he was not as sure.

“Trust, but verify,” Amash tweeted after the Tuesday session, quoting former President Ronald Reagan’s signature phrase.

[See also, “Justin Amash to GOP Establishment: Glad We Could Hand You another Defeat.”]

You have to appreciate the irony. In order to oppose government surveillance, Amash is forced to keep careful watch to make sure Republican leaders don’t do something sneaky.

Usually, pro forma sessions are considered mere formalities.

Rep. Andy Harris (R-Md.), whose district lies about an hour from Washington, presided over Tuesday’s five-minute-long session to run through a few procedural hoops.

The House will return for another pro forma session Friday morning.

Does it not seem strange to anyone that this is how representative government operates?