Thick skin is a blessing. My Libertarian friends lose their minds whenever I say something nice about a Republican, and my Republican friends lose their minds whenever I say something nice about a Libertarian. My Democrat friends do not need a reason.
I never tell people what to think; I merely try to give them something different to think about and then trust them to reach a conclusion that is right for them. Here’s what’s right for me these days: the worst possible choice for President in November is Barack Obama – no question about that. Romney is much better – no question about that. And Gary Johnson is the best choice – by far, not even close.
No surprise, that. To borrow a phrase from the original “spoiler” victim, read my lips – I’m a Libertarian. Capital “L” libertarian, like in member of the Libertarian Party, former member of the executive committee of the Libertarian Party of Wisconsin, and briefly the 2010 Libertarian Party candidate in Wisconsin’s 2nd Congressional District – “Tim, Not Tammy” might ring a bell.
Our guy Gary Johnson won’t stand down to ease Romney’s path to victory and no one should expect him to; and I might remind my more frantic knee-jerk reactive Republican buds that you are the ones that drove him out of your Party in the primaries. He was a Republican running as a Republican until you treated him like dirt, so quit peeing yourself now that you must compete against him. And get a sedative ready, elephants – I am about to say several nice things about our Libertarian Party presidential candidate Governor Gary Johnson.
Gary Johnson is 10 times the fiscal conservative that Paul Ryan is and infinitely more fiscally conservative than Romney thinks he is…should be…maybe…or not…today. Johnson’s budget plan balances the federal budget next year, not next generation. He will abolish the IRS and hundreds of other agencies and departments that my rowdy conservative pals rail against daily. He won’t tell other nations what to do, he won’t tell you what to do, and doesn’t mind you keeping your money, your guns, or your stash.
In business we have a saying: the main thing is the main thing. Sovereign debt is the existential threat to our nation and too much spending is the cause. Gary Johnson will not trim pennies around the edges of some 10 year fantasy CBO projection; he will gut next year’s budget with a meat axe like Vlad the Impaler.
He is opposed to wars that are not declared by Congress, just like it says in the Constitution we all claim to love so dearly. He vetoed over 700 bills when he was Governor of New Mexico; how many did Romney kill when he had a chance? Johnson was elected and then re-elected in that overwhelmingly Democrat state. To do that, you must siphon off a boatload of Democrat votes away from their guy. Hint…hint…hint.
He will end the insane war on drugs. If that makes him a lunatic, then save me a seat on the fringe. And you can add such doofi (plural of doofus) as Milton Friedman, George Will, William F. Buckley, and Barry Goldwater to the list of us presumptively naïve dumb-ass must-be-stoners who fail to recognize the wisdom of packing our prisons with inner city dads and slaughtering Mexicans on money borrowed from the Chinese while the terminally ill are denied effective pain management. Fast and Furious – there’s your war on drugs.
Use your head, people. There are millions of reasonably sane Democrats who do not want to vote for Act II of Obama’s economic suicide mission that would never, ever, ever vote for Romney…ever. Having Johnson on the ballot in all 50 states gives them somewhere else to go besides the O. Don’t listen to “spoiler” talk from the dipsticks that ran McCain’s losing campaign or the dipsticks running Romney’s campaign who lost to McCain’s dipsticks last time. And don’t believe the polls, either – they said Walker/Barrett was a toss-up, if you recall. Remember who called it? There you go.
So let’s cut to the chase and talk about why conservatives get the vapors over us libertarians - abortion. Every time some Republican spam-bomb calls Johnson “pro-abortion” it reminds me why I left the Party years ago. If I want a daily dose of mindless bullsnot, I’ll subscribe to the Debbie Whazzername-Shultz channel on YouTube. Put aside the sloganeering for a minute and let’s get down to the nubs.
Did you know Johnson would overturn Roe v Wade? Has your boy Romney come out and said that without equivocation? Did you know Johnson opposes any government funding of abortion and opposes all abortions from the moment of viability without exception? Did you know he would allow each state to decide when that moment of viability is and decide the criminal penalties for killing viable babies? Did you know that he supports parental notification for minors seeking abortions?
States’ rights, nullification, parental rights, balanced budget, enumerated powers...why is it suddenly scary when someone walks the talk?
Ross Perot and the Reform Party did not cost George Bush the Elder his presidency; George Bush the Elder did that. He blew a 90% favorable approval rating by not bringing our victorious troops home after defeating Iraq, raising taxes and inducing a recession, and greatly expanding government’s regulatory reach. His would be remembered as the most inept campaign ever had John McCain not come along to set the new world record for incompetence in 2008.
That 2008 Republican primary introduced the world to libertarian Ron Paul and gave us a glimpse at the energy and enthusiasm of the grass roots liberty movement to come. Instead of embracing a new generation of amped-up Constitutional freedom fighters, the Republican Party establishment, in their infinite wisdom, ridiculed Paul and disrespected his supporters - and it cost them the 2008 election. In the school of hard knocks where we learn from our mistakes, it appears that some children were left behind over at RNC Headquarters.
But that smoldering grass-roots liberty movement did not go away; it ignited by spontaneous combustion a year later when the Tea Party gathered up the coalition of the willing and started the job of cleaning house in 2010 that will take its next great leap forward this fall. I’m proud to have been a little part of it – the Tea Party unites conservatives, libertarians, constitutionalists, independents, patriots, and free-thinkers of all stripes and it scares the living hell out of careerists and statists in both parties. Stay scared, Republocrats - you do your best work when terrified of the people.
Thinking in binary terms blinds us to the reality that one third of the electorate is now independent. I believe a large number of these non-aligned voters have libertarian leanings – the libertarian caricature “economic conservative and socially neutral” describes a wide swath of the cadre of non-obsessed casual voters.
Republicans are not going to win over the non-aligned by screaming “spoiler” and calling us juveniles or idiots if we don’t obey your orders to shut up and vote for your ticket. Ask our parents if that worked on us as children; rebels don’t turn into sheep just because we added a few decades of rings to our tree.
If the GOP convention adopts some libertarian-friendly platform planks that don’t conflict with conservative goals – audit the Fed is a no-brainer - the GOP can attract all the votes it needs to win without resorting to name-calling or bullying. Libertarians oppose force and fraud on principle; try a little persuasion or (gasp) compromise.
I can list a dozen issues where conservatives and libertarians are on the same page; surely the RNC can find two or three to reach out if they care to. And if they don’t care to, then don’t bitch about the consequences. We’re not going to boil bunnies on your stove, but we will not be ignored, Dan.
To be fair, the Libertarian Party goes brain-dead at times, too. Putting out an official release bragging that Johnson can throw the election to Obama (to teach Republicans a lesson) was as stupid as Republicans not inviting Ron Paul to speak at their convention. Polling at 5% is not exactly taunting material, and gloating over spoiling an election for the major party more closely aligned with our platform is the perfect strategy if irrelevance is your ultimate goal. Our bad.
Libertarians and “conservatarians” are not stupid. We understand the calculus of third party voting in close elections; we are forced to make the tough choice between better and best (or worse and worse yet) most every time. Either is a principled choice - supporting our own Party’s candidate is one worthy principle, and another worthy principle is denying a clueless socialist bent on ruining our country another term to complete the mission. There – now everybody can rag on me.
Whatever conclusion is reached by any thoughtful voter is a vote of conscience. Whatever decision is made by a self-sovereign is worthy of respect in a nation of equals. The whole purpose of campaigns is to inform the voters and assess the candidates, and the Presidential race does not even begin in earnest until Labor Day.
This is the most important Presidential election in memory, and there is a lot of time between now and November. Chill out. Consider all of the ramifications of every possible voting outcome from every angle, and then vote your conscience when the day comes. That is what I plan do.
“Moment of Clarity” is a weekly commentary by Libertarian writer and speaker Tim Nerenz, Ph.D. Visit Tim’s website www.timnerenz.com to find your moment.