Gary Johnson is NOT the most libertarian candidate seeking the LP presidential nomination. Lee Wrights, whom I genuinely like and admire, probably fills that bill. That is not to say that I agree with Lee on every issue, but I can guarantee that whatever the question posited, Mr. Wrights will give the Libertarian answer 100% of the time, and mean it.
Bill Still may have been the most erudite of the candidates. I say may have been because he appeared to withdraw during the TX LP debates. The problem with Mr. Still, as with Carl Peterson, another accomplished and dedicated libertarian, is that he was a one-trick pony seeking to lead a nation with more than one problem and thus desperate for more than one answer.
R.J. Harris likewise has withdrawn, which is too bad because he along with Wrights and Johnson was a capable candidate.
That given, of the candidates above why did I choose to support Governor Johnson?
To be brief I will cite what for me were two overriding factors:
- Though perhaps not the “purest” Libertarian (though I am not sure what that really means and truly do not like so differentiating among Libertarians), Governor Johnson is decidedly and happily a classical liberal. He believes the government which governs least is the government that governs best, a fact he has clearly demonstrated. I personally gravitate toward constitutional Libertarianism, desiring the smallest government necessary to guarantee my rights to life, liberty, and property, but also recognizing that only a government of political equals can effectuate those ideals. Therefore calls to eradicate the income tax and replace it with nothing, for instance, while crowd pleasers ring hollow without an accompanying vision for what is to follow. Governor Johnson supports marriage equality, an end to the war on drugs, ending foreign aid as well as our support of the UN and World Bank, and an end to the income tax and IRS (But by replacing at least some of that revenue with a consumption tax while we responsibly wind down many of the programs that have brought us to the real possibility of economic implosion.)
- Gravitas. Governor Johnson is the only of our candidates who can look the American people in the eye and say regarding the downsizing of government, “I have done that successfully, and it is not difficult if it is really what you want to do.” The authority and authenticity arising out of having left a state government smaller and a state better off economically when he left office than when he first entered government, is something that not only can no other LP candidate say, but that none of the candidates of the two “major” parties can say either. It could be a game changer.
I understand why some of my friends would choose to support Lee Wrights because it grieves me that I cannot. For me it comes down to a long-range plan spanning more than one election cycle, and the conviction that our candidates must not appear “radical” to a basically centrist American electorate. They must identify us with what is best about the American system, and not as a party anxious to throw out the baby with the bathwater.
Please note: I am speaking of perception here, not reality. Jan Carlzon, the former CEO of Scandinavian Airlines, once famously said that if a customer found a soiled tray top on one of their planes, they were likely to assume that the airline was also sloppy with its engine maintenance. Likewise, we also need to be aware of such consumer tendencies.
That said, I urge your support for Governor Gary Johnson. Visit his website and see for yourself.