Ron Paul

Some Reactions to Another Double Helping of Libertarianism in GOP Debate

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Over at Slate, Reason contributing editor Dave Weigel interviews former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson in honor of the latter's triumphant return to the Republican debates, after being shut out all summer, supposedly for polling too low.

The whole interview is worth a read (quick, too) but the best part is probably the last question:

Slate: Have you brainstormed any questions for your fellow candidates?

Johnson: I would ask Mitt Romney: "What is your position on anything?"

The rest of Johnson's answers led to Alex Pareene at Salon.com dubbing Johnson the most sensible GOP candidate for liberals and to scorn Texas Rep. Ron Paul a bit by comparison.

Meanwhile at the XX Factor, Libby Copeland is just excited that Paul seems to get under Texas Gov. Rick Perry's skin so much and that people are ignoring Rep. Michele Bachmann again.

And Dana Milbank at The Washington Post says Ron Paul is winning the debates— philosophically:

Paul won't be the president, or even the party nominee, but that was never his goal. He aimed to shift the debate toward his exotic economic theories, and by that standard he has prevailed…

Last time, in 2008, Paul was ignored because his ideas sounded crazy. This time, he's being ignored because his ideas have become commonplace. What's changed is not Paul but the party: Nearly a quarter-century after he quit the GOP to run for president as a Libertarian (he told me years ago that it was an "academic exercise"), he has brought the Republicans to him.

Finally, a Los Angeles Times article highlighting Johnson's presence in Thursday's debate weighs the differences between Paul and Johnson, concluding with:

If Johnson is the heir, he has clearly inherited from Paul, who is the patriarch.

While Johnson has barely registered in single digits in most national polls, Paul is on the upswing, reaching 13% or better in many recent national polls. One of the subplots in the debate will be their interaction and who can hold on to the party's libertarian faction.

Reason on Gary Johnson. Matt Welch on the pleasures of having two small government sympathizers in the debates.  

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  1. dubbing Johnson the most sensible GOP candidate for liberals

    ’nuff said.

    1. I guess Huntsman will have to go on the attack now that his “most sensible GOP candidate for liberals” niche is under siege.

  2. Any live blogging action at Reason on this debate?

    1. If Reason drops the ball, it happens here. Commenters unbound!

  3. Oh yes, thank you ever so much for bringing a major political party to your beliefs. Will you take credit for them as they are implemented in policy, or will your need for unfalsifiability (not to mention the inevitable nightmarish hellscape that will unfold) forbid that?

      1. Heal thyself, stupid-head.

        1. While I’m thinking about you were “outed” on another thread as “Chad”. Could we have less Tony and more Chad for a while?

          1. You don’t want that. Tony may be a bore, but Chad is an insufferable bore.

          2. I was never Chad! You guys act like there’s only one liberal in the world…

            1. Considering the systematic depredations against property and savings, it is clear there has to be MORE than one liberal in the world…

        2. Fuck theyself, shit-for-brains.

    1. hey, if don’t knock inevitable nightmarish hellscapes until you’ve tried them.

      1. I’ve lived in a nightmarish hellscape for about 3 years now, and find them to be vastly underrated. Really just a lot of undeserved negative press.

        They also produce the best lolcats for some reason.

        1. and I bet none of the annoying christians or Jehova’s Witnesses will be there. just athiests and jews. that’s got to be one funny place with great conversations.

    2. ……not to mention the inevitable nightmarish hellscape that will unfold

      You’re probably right….so what kind of nightmarish hellscape are you and the rest of the “Adults” on Team Blue planning for us (with the able assistance of course from your enablers on Team Red)?

  4. There can only be One.

    1. Then why were there so many sequals and a series?

  5. One of the subplots in the debate will be their interaction and who can hold on to the party’s libertarian faction.

    Blah, my hope is that they are able to expand the size of that faction, and maybe even bring new people from outside the party into that faction. Change the face of the GOP!

  6. “Paul won’t be the president, or even the party nominee, but that was never his goal. He aimed to shift the debate toward his exotic economic theories, and by that standard he has prevailed…”

    Yes, because sound money and limited government are economically “exotic”. The stupid in these people never ceases to amaze me.

  7. Ron Paul’s ideas are so commonplace in the GOP that the leadership crows about reducing spending by $1T over 10 years when our annual deficit is $1.5T (and probably headed higher with the economy slowing again).

  8. I was too lazy to change my registration back to LP from R after voting for Paul in ’08. I’m actually happy about that now.

    1. Registering Libertarian seems pointless to me. I don’t really care about the Libertarain primary and I defin care about the GOP primary. Then when Ron Paul loses I can just vote for the Libertarian candidate in the general anyway. I don’t see any downside in registering GOP aside from the stupid mailers asking to give the party money.

      1. First, I’d have to check how Florida registers candidates. Some states have automatic registration when there are a certain % or number of people registered for a party. That would be my main reason for doing it.

        But if Root’s the candidate, I’m might not even bother to vote (assuming neither Paul or Johnson get the nom).

  9. I pray they reevaluate the questions planned for tonight. After two days of free fall, we need to hear economic ideas, not a bunch of crap about immigrants and vaccines.

    1. Crap about immigrants and vaccines is exactly what we need more of.

      We’re fucked anyway no matter who wins the presidency, because he can’t make a libertarian congress and judiciary, and even if he could wish such a thing into being, all the good it did would be promptly undone by the statist fucks who win the next election cycle. Not to mention the fact that libertarians have been trying to change the GOP since at least the mid-80s, and the impact never lasts for very long. Remember, we went from real showdowns with Clinton over the budget, to G. W. Bush & Co. within a few years.

      On the other hand, meaningless discussions about equally meaningless social tripe provides the best lol threads and comments all over the internet. Massive entertainment value. I say, bring on the kulture war!

      1. Indeed. Because the minute the topic of immigration comes up, the voters will send Johnson and his cosmotarian cheering section to the showers for the remainder of the election.

        That alone will make the debate worth watching!

        1. Sorry Slappy, you don’t get to opine on immigration and expect people to take you seriously.

        2. Hey slappy! Howya doin?!

          Seriously though, I wanted to ask you a question, no messin’ around.

          Do you ever consider not being a piece of racist human trash, or are you not that into self-introspection?

          Thx in advance, yer pal, Cap.

          1. Oh, that’s why he made the ignore list on reasonable.

            1. Click on slappy’s name and you’ll get your lifetime dose of white trash nationalism.

        3. Wow. I thought Texas just executed him…

  10. Gary who?

  11. While Johnson has barely registered in single digits in most national polls, Paul is on the upswing, reaching 13% or better in many recent national polls. One of the subplots in the debate will be their interaction and who can hold on to the party’s libertarian faction.

    That would be something to see. But if Johnson start attacking Ron Paul, the game will be over for him. First, because those cheap shots will not endear him to RP followers, and second, because non-RP followers will not care one way or the other and end up seeing Johnson as just another opportunist like Santorum, or Ghouliani.

    1. it’s not going to happen. That’s really not his style. Probably that pot he smoked after he crashed his hang glider. He’s a very lukewarm candidate. I still like him a whole lot, though.

      1. Re: Yonemoto,

        I still like him a whole lot, though.

        There’s a lot to like about him. As governor, he walked the walk and talked the talk, remaining pretty consistent in his record. I am still wary of his positions on “humanitarian” wars and his utilitarian justification for his positions.

    2. I think this is what the moderators will try to do – get Johnson to attack Paul. Then the pundits will say, “See, even other libertarians think Paul is crazy.”

  12. Upon dawning my tinfoil headgear, I’ve figured out that the only reason the powers that be are permitting Gary Johnson back in the debate is because Ron Paul has actually proven himself electorally viable enough to threaten the established order. They permit GJ in the debates in the hope that he will sipher some percentage of Paul voters away so that they can stop writing headlines about who finished 1st, 3rd, and 4th place in the polls.

    1. i hear it was fox that wanted him on and the florida goppers fought it tooth n nail if you look at the straw pole afterwards you notice johnson isnt on it

    2. I still think that Johnson should ask to be Paul’s VP, the sooner the better. That way, they can combine forces, and it gives them a better shot at the nomination battle. The only downside is no media handwringings over who the “veep” will be, to drive up attention. Though it would save us the trouble of listening to them.

      1. Johnson has stated he’ll drop out if he doesn’t make a strong showing in NH where he’s placing all his chips. I’ll bet he’ll support Paul if it goes that way.

  13. Johnson should go after Huntsman. That’s where his potential support is according to whoever the fuck Salon’s Alex Pareene is.

  14. Johnson’s best bet is to compare himself to Romney. They both were governors, both ran businesses, but Johnson has better conservative credentials, and could definitely appeal to independents, moderates, and liberals.

    1. Re: Joe,

      They both were governors, both ran businesses, but Johnson has better conservative credentials, and could definitely appeal to independents, moderates, and liberals.

      That would be the better strategy. There’s a lot going for Johnson, that’s for sure: His libertarian credentials are sound, no doubt about it, despite some of his utilitarian positions.

  15. You will know that Ron Paul is a serious candidate when somebody bothers to ask him about those newsletters and his past associations.

    1. What newsletters?

      1. Better to ask what past associations. The boring old fuck is Birchite conspiracy nut now.

        1. These are wild accusations you’re making, max. You could be the target of a lawsuit if you’re not careful.

      2. Who Wrote Ron Paul’s Newsletters?

        The publishing operation was lucrative. A tax document from June 1993?wrapping up the year in which the Political Report had published the “welfare checks” comment on the L.A. riots?reported an annual income of $940,000 for Ron Paul & Associates, listing four employees in Texas (Paul’s family and Rockwell) and seven more employees around the country. If Paul didn’t know who was writing his newsletters, he knew they were a crucial source of income and a successful tool for building his fundraising base for a political comeback.

        The tenor of Paul’s newsletters changed over the years. The ones published between Paul’s return to private life after three full terms in congress (1985) and his Libertarian presidential bid (1988) notably lack inflammatory racial or anti-gay comments. The letters published between Paul’s first run for president and his return to Congress in 1996 are another story?replete with claims that Martin Luther King “seduced underage girls and boys,” that black protesters should gather “at a food stamp bureau or a crack house” rather than the Statue of Liberty, and that AIDS sufferers “enjoy the attention and pity that comes with being sick.”

        Eric Dondero, Paul’s estranged former volunteer and personal aide, worked for Paul on and off between 1987 and 2004 (back when he was named “Eric Rittberg”), and since the Iraq war has become one of the congressman’s most vociferous and notorious critics. By Dondero’s account, Paul’s inner circle learned between his congressional stints that “the wilder they got, the more bombastic they got with it, the more the checks came in. You think the newsletters were bad? The fundraising letters were just insane from that period.” Cato Institute President Ed Crane told reason he recalls a conversation from some time in the late 1980s in which Paul claimed that his best source of congressional campaign donations was the mailing list for The Spotlight, the conspiracy-mongering, anti-Semitic tabloid run by the Holocaust denier Willis Carto until it folded in 2001.

        1. Finally someone fills me in on who/what Dondero is.

        2. Re: Tulpa,

          If Paul didn’t know who was writing his newsletters, he knew they were a crucial source of income and a successful tool for building his fundraising base for a political comeback.

          You’ve got some nerve to copy and paste this without even bothering to read it. The above statement belies any sense of truth especially when it is inferred from this: “Cato Institute President Ed Crane told reason he recalls a conversation from some time in the late 1980s[…]”

          Yeah, sure. I recall a conversation with Elle MacPherson back in the late 1980s where she said she wanted to sleep with me. With “journalism” like that there is no wonder many of H&R readers became very skeptical of Reason, including me.

          1. Old Mex! Where have you been, handsome?

  16. Okay, if they fail to give us a dedicated debate thread this evening, I’m calling this as a backup.

  17. I think i have a solution for OBAMA.

    The republicans did a great job making in out to be much worsts that he really his. Not ONLY is his legacy SHOT, be’ll NEVER get re-elected.

    And, the fact of the matter is, probably NOBODY would have been able to do a better job. The president can’t do anything to help the economy. On the other hand, he can do a lot to hurt. I know you hateful conservatives are really pissed off at stimulus and TARP. Can you imagine if they didn’t do this?

    So, getting back to my solution for Obama. He and Joe Biden SHOULD RESIGN…TODAY. And, Let John B. become president.

    And, when nothing gets better and the Republicans repeal the repeal of dont-ass-dont-smell, send the fags back in the closet, outlaw abortion, eliminate entitlements, exempt the rich and corporations from paying taxes, and start a few more wars…perhaps Obama won’t look so bad after all.

    1. Sounds good, but who’s John B?

      1. I guess someone doesn’t know the chain of command:

        1. President
        2. Vice President
        3. Speaker of the house (John Boehner)
        4. Secretary of state.

        If Obama and Joe Biden quit…The president will be republican.

        1. I didn’t know we were calling him John B like he’s a member of a boy band. And for a second I thought our frequent commentor John was campaigning for prez.

          1. I’d vote for John. He’s hawkish and leans to the right regarding immigration, but he couldn’t be any more rightwing on those issues than our current, supposedly, liberal president.

            1. He’s also utterly worthless on spending issues, just like our president.

              1. Fabulous wardrobe though.

                1. Are we talking about the speaker, or the commenter? I meant the commenter/bad speller John, and in a race with Obama.

    2. Alice, sometimes I feel bad for you. Jesus man, pull yourself together.

      1. With the exception of my last paragraph (which was pure trolling), don’t you like my idea?

        1. Well, I should have F5’d.

        2. Come on Alice, go back and reread your post, slowly, and tell me if any sane person would like or agree with anything that you wrote.

          1. Forget about my commentary on politics.

            I just think that the only way OBAMA can save his legacy (for good or for bad, regardless of whether u like him or not) is if he and Joe Biden resign and John Boehner becomes the president.

            1. Even ignoring your ‘commentary’ on politics your post still comes off as the illogical ramblings of a mentally ill person.

    3. We’re libertarians. We don’t like either party. Republicans are more tolerable generally–if they stay off social issues.

      Also: what do you call Libya? Another “occupation” or “intervention.” Don’t make me laugh.

      1. A republican wouldn’t be a republican if they didn’t stay out of social issues.

        In fact, I believe the GOP has a pledge which one must take on certain social issues in order to get funding the GOP money fund.

    4. “And, when nothing gets better and the Republicans repeal the repeal of dont-ass-dont-smell, send the fags back in the closet, outlaw abortion, eliminate entitlements, exempt the rich and corporations from paying taxes, and start a few more wars…perhaps Obama won’t look so bad after all.”

      I think you forgot black churches burning, George W. Bush stealing uteruses and tea partiers under every bed not to mention throwing granny down the stairs.

  18. I don’t understand why Libertarians would prefer Republicans over Democrats.

    I guess Libertarians would prefer large spending in defense, law enforcement, and tax breaks for the rich rather than individual freedom, legalized dope, more wars, stronger police state, etc.

    I must say, I’m disappointed.

    1. National defense and law enforcement are two of the few necessary functions of government. While the budgets of both are way out of whack, the Democrats don’t seem to have a clue as to the proper role of soldiers and police officers.

      Libertarians want lower taxes across the board. For the rich yes, but also for the poor. We are not class warriors who want to punish those richer than us.

      Legalized narcotics? Sure! I’m seeing a lot more action on this front from the Rethuglicans than the Demotards.

      More wars? You mean like Libya? Democrats have gotten us into far more wars over our history than Republicans have.

      Of course we are NOT social or cultural conservatives, we are libertarians. But we find a teeny bit more in common with Republicans than with tax happy and spend silly Democrats. Maybe Bush was a wanker but at least the Republicans called him on it, unlike the Democrats who couldn’t find something bad to say about Obama even if he was raping their kittens.

      1. Obama went into Libya to Suck the Republican’s Dicks. That’s all he does. He thought that perhaps if he were a bit more hawkish, they’d like him…NOT.

        I’m a democrat that will tell you right now: OBAMA SUCKS. I will not vote for him. I will not vote for anyone at this point. I would have voted for Gary Johnson…but he’s not running.

        The POOR Don’t PAY Income TAXES. I do taxes for the poor.

        Lower taxes is not worth what the republicans bring to the table…which includes war, holocaust, large scale arrests, police state, etc.

        That’s just my opinion…I’m not saying I’m right.

        1. Re: Alice Bowie,

          Obama went into Libya to Suck the Republican’s Dicks.

          Yeah, right. And Clinton bombed Belgrade because Republicans made him do it. You keep believing that, Alice.

          1. Belgrade compared to IRAQ…you keep believing that, Old Mexican

            1. Escalation can happen in places besides Iraq. Mission accomplished in Libya? We’ll see. The land war in Iraq was over in days remember. Libya was not popular with the fellow republicans I know. In fact, it was most popular with dems I know. Apparently due to its lack of strategic importance for US interest dems were fine fighting for oil (since it was not our oil supply but europes). Also, I caucused repub in 08 and 10 and in 10 there was support for platform changes on limiting defense spending in 10 (It passed all the hurtles where there was unlimited debate and nearly made it to the state convention). I believe it was narrowly defeated because I didn’t prepare enough and should have handed out info since there was little time for discussion. Believe it or not, all republicans are not cookie cutter copies of how democrats paint them in talking points. P.S. Clinton also bombed Iraq was that also because Repubs made him do it? P.S.S Were Kennedy and Johnson also forced by republicans to get into war in Vietnam?

    2. Alice, are you saying that the Dems support more wars and a stronger police state? I think you are.

    3. Re: Alice Bowie,

      I don’t understand why Libertarians would prefer Republicans over Democrats.

      That means you have not had the pleasure of meeting Sheila Jackson Lee.

    4. There reason is … the Democrats aren’t likely to to reverse any of the policies on drugs and war, and they ARE likely to threaten our economic liberties and increase spending further.

      Chance of Republicans cutting spending > chance of Democrats legalizing drugs.

      1. Hi Hazel Meade…long time.

        I strongly disagree. For good or for bad, I’d rather Obama appoint Supreme court judges and just about any republican.

      2. BTW, we all want to cut spending.

        However, Republicans have a complete different place to cut.

    5. “Alice Bowie|9.22.11 @ 7:41PM|#
      I don’t understand why Libertarians would prefer Republicans over Democrats.”

      Democrats are the party of government as most democrats will freely admit. Republicans, while frequently not living up to their stated goals, are at least in theory advocates of limited government. Libertarians like as little government as possible. I once corrected a democrat I worked with that I really was more Libertarian than Republican after arguing with her and her calling me a republican, to which she responded “that’s so much worse”. This isn’t a tough one to figure out.

  19. Libertarians are not necessarily republicans.

  20. Man, Matt Drudge def. ain’t a fan of Johnson if the pic he chose for the header is any indication….

    1. or rather Fox- realize they’re the ones that chose it

  21. So, which television networks will be covering this debate?

    1. I imagine it’s just Fox since they are sponsoring it.

  22. Oh great, now when I listen to someone drone on, I’ll think I’m getting a Google chat message.

  23. Left out of this interview excerpt is the part where Weigel mutters something about Gary Johnson being a rat-fucker who hates poor people because he’s opposed to ObamaCare.

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