There's been some low-level sniping between some of the supporters of Ron Paul and Gary Johnson in the last couple of weeks. While part of that reflects bona fide policy disagreements, there is also a sense that libertarians who prefer one candidate are obliged to campaign against the other. But if last night's debate did anything, it settled the value of having two libertarian-leaning figures on the stage. When Paul's hardline libertarian moral defense of drug decriminalization was followed immediately by Johnson's consequentialist approach, the benefits of the Paul/Johnson duo became clear: Each guy got to make the arguments that the other one didn't, and the audience got to hear a broader case for a controversial position than the format allowed either man to offer by himself.
In the unlikely event that one of these candidates actually comes close to winning the nomination, their loyalists can duke it out. But for now, let them double-team all the authoritarians on the stage. Whether they mean to or not, they're helping each other.