The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has jumped into a Republican congressional primary in Michigan, trying to defeat incumbent Rep. Justin Amash. Amash’s crime: being stubbornly consistent in opposing big government.

The Chamber’s endorsement of Amash’s opponent helps clarify some things that have long been true, but which have been muddled in the public eye and used against conservatives.

The first myth put to rest: Libertarianism and free enterprise are defenses of Big Business.

The second myth exposed: Challenging an incumbent in a primary is somehow impious or unsporting.

Amash is arguably the strongest defender of free enterprise in the House. His rating from the Club for Growth is 100 percent. He comes in second out of 435 House members on the National Taxpayers Union scorecard. This consistency earned him a primary from Grand Rapids businessman Brian Ellis.
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Ellis explained that Amash is too beholden to principles and the Constitution: “He’s got his explanations for why he’s voted,” Ellis said, “but I don’t really care. I’m a businessman, I look at the bottom line.”

What has Amash done in his three and a half years in the House to earn the Chamber’s wrath? Look over his Chamber of Commerce scorecard and you see a handful of votes where he gets a demerit from the business lobby.

Amash in 2012 voted against reauthorizing the Export-Import Bank, a federal agency that subsidizes U.S. exports with taxpayer-backed loans and loan guarantees to foreign companies and governments. He opposes Ex-Im’s renewal this year, too.

Amash opposed as too profligate a few budget agreements the Chamber supported. He twice opposed patent legislation the Chamber backed. Amash twice crossed the Chamber by opposing cybersecurity legislation that gave immunity to tech companies cooperating with U.S. intelligence data collection. When highway bills spent more than the Highway Trust Fund could afford, Amash also voted no, to the Chamber’s disapproval.

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