Presidential Debates 2012

Let Gary Johnson Debate

If you want a real debate, you will be disappointed, unless Gary Johnson is let in.


President Obama has been a failure. On his watch, the American economy has significantly deteriorated largely because he has stifled free market forces by over-regulating them and because he has laden taxpayers with debt. Those two factors alone—the federal government increasing the cost of doing business by telling businesses from physicians to major industries how to do their work, and the federal government spending trillions it doesn't have and pushing the debts onto future generations—are enough to sink any economy.

In this arena, Mitt Romney has it half-right. He does understand that only free market forces can produce prosperity, but he fails to see that when the government spends what it doesn't have, the result is inflation and higher taxes for future generations. Why does the federal government now spend half a trillion a year in debt service? Because every president, Republicans as well as Democrats, from FDR to Obama has borrowed money in order to spend more than he collected and has let future generations deal with repaying the debt. Because the feds do not repay (they merely roll over) their debt, the cost of interest payments has skyrocketed. Romney's ability to articulate the virtues of the free market and to dance around the issue of debt, while the president nearly fell asleep, are the reasons he did so well in the presidential debate last week.

In the realm of foreign affairs, the president has unleashed a torrent of violence in the Middle East by supporting some of the people his predecessor was fighting a few years ago. Those folks now run the government in Libya and Egypt, and those places are now unsafe for Americans. What would Romney do? He'd insert the U.S. military to extend American dominance and build a new world order. What has Obama done? He's bombed and killed innocents with drones. Neither has learned the lessons of 9/11: You cannot kill people or occupy foreign lands without moral and legal justification, lest you suffer deadly consequences.

Because Romney and Obama are different only in degree, I wish the cabal of former leaders of the two major political parties that runs the debates would permit former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson to participate. He is the Libertarian Party candidate who is on the ballot in all 50 states and the only current national candidate who if elected would shrink the government and keep it within the confines of the Constitution.

Don't hold your breath. The debates are crafted by the folks who run the Romney and Obama campaigns. Romney is afraid of Johnson because he might take the votes of those who are tired of unconstitutional government and deficits and war. Obama is afraid of Johnson because he might take the votes of those who are appalled at the government's murderous drug wars and its assaults on personal freedom and who also are tired of war. Both sides fear Johnson because he is essentially fearless when it comes to his belief that the Constitution means what it says—meaning if it does not authorize the feds to regulate health care, fight undeclared wars or mortgage the future, then they simply cannot do it.

But the powers that run the means by which we elect presidents have decided that they can ill-afford a frontal assault on the big government they have created, on national television much less, and four weeks before a presidential election. You see, without Johnson in these debates, the argument will remain how much the feds should regulate, rather than whether they should do so.

I was disappointed but not surprised when Romney defended the concept of the feds regulating ordinary commercial transactions and borrowing money to spend it on things like federal aid to education, rather than defending the free market and the constitutional restraints on the feds. Obama is either a Marxist who doesn't believe in personal freedom or private property, or a nihilist who doesn't believe in anything except his own ability to exercise governmental power. Romney sounds like another big-government Republican who wants to regulate part of the economy, fight wars on a credit card and let your grandchildren pay for it.

If you want a real debate—one that will explore the proper constitutional role of the federal government in our lives before it gets so big that we cannot safely challenge it—you will be disappointed, unless Gary Johnson is let in.

NEXT: Brickbat: In the Red

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  1. He made it onto the ballot in Pennsylvania for sure?

    And as much as I would like to see GayJay in the debate, he would probably spend most of his alloted time crowd-surfing rather than actually making his points.

    Plus he preaches two items that are anathema to the American public: liberty and responsibility. He wouldn’t turn a single person on to the LP (with the exception of a few gay men and straight women who vote based on appearance only).

    1. 47% of Americans would like Johnson’s proposal to send them another government check every month.

      1. Dude. Just go vote for Romney and feel good about it. Why do you have to strain at Johnson’s every issue to try to get people to vote for continuing the ruinous path we are on?
        I understand you seem to think that Obama’s second term will be so bad that this justifies a vote to keep him out if office, but personally, I am done with voting for either of the two major parties. They have had their chance, and failed. Failed with a fail that is greater than FAIL.

        1. “Stating uncomfortable facts about the central issue of Governor Johnson’s campaign is a VOTE FOR ROMNEY!!1!”

          I’ve never told anyone they should vote for Romney. I’m certainly not going to do so.

          1. Ok, so perhaps I read a bit too much into what you wrote. Sorry for that.

            1. Definitely thought you were just spoofing John. You really should have played it off as that.

              1. Maybe. I’m just surprised someone didn’t turn my pun around on me.

              2. If you don’t vote for Johnson, that means you love Obama! Why don’t you just go vote for Obama, you Romney-voting spoilers?

        2. Shorter db:

          Go Team!

          1. How do you get that out of “but personally, I am done with voting for either of the two major parties”?

            Oh yeah. You’re a retard. I forgot.

            1. The Libertarian party is a team, regardless of it’s impotent influence, dumbass.

              1. A protest vote against the two major parties is not a team endorsement, dumbass.

                1. My name is Outstanding Commenter db, and I approve this message.

                2. A comment that pleads for restraining criticism of someone isn’t a protest vote, dumbass

                  1. No, a call for voting for Johnson is a CALL for a protest vote, while criticizing criticism is, well, CRITICISM.

          2. Or the inverse of what you said, Mr. Reading Comprehension Fail.

            1. “Why do you have to strain at Johnson’s every issue…”

              No different than any other team player advocating:

              “Stop talking about your disagreement on an issue with -Insert your favorite team player- because he’s the lesser of evils.”

              1. No different

                Only in your feeble mind.

              2. I would vote for myself, but I don’t think I’d be able to deliver on all my promises if elected.

      2. As for the Negative Income Tax, I wouldn’t mind taking one step back if it means we’re taking 99 steps forward.

        1. If Johnson was proposing a Friedman-style negative income tax I probably wouldn’t slam him for it.

          I oppose the faddish,unworkable federal consumption tax. Particularly without tying it to a repeal of the 16th Amendment.

          1. Actually the Fair Tax bill as it is currently written has a precondition that none of it’s provisions go into effect until AFTER the repeal of the 16th amendment is finalized.

            1. Why doesn’t it go into effect after the heat death of the universe, which will also never happen.

            2. …as it is currently written…

              You really think, if by some wierd twist of cosmic fabric that it was actually considered, it would leave committee intact, in either the House or the Senate? You are correct, Rasilio, however; I just don’t see it ever happening that way. Remember, revenue first, and then maybe they will get to budget cuts “reductions in the rate of growth.”

              1. Yes but the point is this is not an issue that the drafters of the bill did not think of and it is one thing to comment on the odds of it getting passed, it is completely something else to say that the fair tax adds a consumption tax on top of the income tax because you think the repeal of the 16th amendment clause would be stripped out before it got passed.

          2. You prove once again you don’t know what you’re talking about. FairTax is explicitly and integrally tied to repeal of the 16th Amendment.

        2. I believe SIV’s main objections to The Fair Tax is:

          1) It’s dependence on the repeal of the 16th (which has a snowball’s chance of happening).

          2) The pre-bate provision.

          3) The consumption tax itself, which would be added first, then the repeal of the 16th never materializes.

          It’s overall a very well-researched and well-intentioned idea, and John Linder spent a good deal of time and money on the research, but GWB was correct: the idea is cumbersome, does not lend itself well to bumper-sticker populism, and too easily demonized.

          Also, fuck Shit Flopney with a broken bottle dipped in an ebola dish.

          1. The fair tax hits savings and Roth IRAs

            1. Um, maybe I’m wrong on this, but I think by definition any change to the tax system that isn’t strictly an income tax would affect savings and Roth IRAs. So what’s the solution?

              I suppose maybe you are in support of a flat tax on income, or the status quo, but many feel that it is an invasion of privacy to have to report your income. If we are to have federal taxes (personally I don’t think we should), a consumption tax seems the way to go. I’m not necessarily in support of the whole pre-bate concept, I think it would be better without it, as it would create more of an incentive for Congress to keep the rate extremely low since it has such an impact on the lower class, and would therefore keep government spending low. That and the benefit of getting rid of the vile income tax.

      3. The Fair Tax sucks.

        But I’m still voting for Johnson.

    2. “…he preaches two items that are anathema to the American public: liberty and responsibility.”

      Sadly, this is right on the money.

      1. True that, your bayou-ship. I am thoroughly convinced that the same American public will not consider a candidate that does not promise a guaranteed favourable outcome, be it crony crapitalism, or full blown AIDS level gimmes and goodies. Especially the misguided notion of “free” medical care, or at the very least, guaranteed insurance acceptance. I cannot wait to leave, and that notion does sadden me some.

        Judge Nap is correct: the only difference b’twixt these to pretenders to the throne is the dime’s worth of degree.

        Also, thanks for the welcome back, Suth. -)))

          1. Ahh, thanks HM! That never gets old! -))) Now, in a sane and just world, you would be regaling us with a some of your creative death pr0n. It’s been far too long…

            1. in a sane and just world, maybe you would be regaling us with a some of your creative death pr0n. Sharing is caring…

              1. Oh, I think I will relinquish such endeavours to the maestro HM, spunkiest of sheilas. -)))

                But the thought is noted.

            2. As I’m about to step out, I’ll have to wait until my office hours to have enough time to dispense karmic justice.

              In the meantime, here are some pics of Thai Hell Gardens.

              1. Fascinating! One of my soon-to-be colleagues in UKR always goes to Thailand for the Christmas holiday. I may try to go with him if schedule permits.

                I found the diorama especially disturbing for some odd reason.

                1. The 2nd pic is interesting. I didn’t know they had Jack Chick in Thailand.

  2. Johnson should sneak in and moderate one of the debates. A rope and a little chloroform, maybe a wig…

    1. And then ask ONLY centaur questions.

      1. Centaur questions?

    2. Kristen would make a good partner in this hilarious crime.

      Not to nit-pick, but it’s spelled Wiig. For future reference.

  3. “Romney is afraid of Johnson”

    I bet Judge Nap lol’d when he wrote that.

  4. It might be dangerous letting Johnson take part in the debate. A sudden influx of common sense might make Obama and Romney’s heads explode just like in Scanners.

    1. Just think how terrible it would be if both Jill Stein and Johnson were criticizing Obama’s various civil liberty issues instead of Romney’s general agreement.

      1. Is there any evidence that more than 5% of the population cares about civil liberties at all?

        You know, like some politician running a winning campaign with that as a primary issue.

        1. As long as discussion of civil liberties is limited to abortion and gay marriage, we’ll never really know.

          1. This.

            Is there any evidence that more than 5% of the population has ever heard of the NDAA?

          2. Which dodges the point.

            We’re living through the worse overall civil liberties environment in my lifetime and no pol is winning on the issue, why?

            1. Because we’ll take care of liberty AFTER we’ve achieved economic utopia!

        2. Obama’s lies in 2008 were pretty pro-civil-liberties.

          And with neither Stein nor Johnson in the debates, who is there to call him on it?

          1. And in any case, both Johnson and Stein actually have an incentive to attack Obama over that and try to pick off supporters, even if it is less than 5%.

            Romney doesn’t.

            The moderator doesn’t.

            1. And expand this into other issues. You would have Romney and Johnson attacking Obama on the economy/taxes/health care/etc.

              Even Stein would have incentive to go after him on these issues from the left.

              1. Watch some of those European/South American/etc. debates where they have all the party leaders and how much more fun they are than what we have.

                Hell, just the last UK debate was better because of Clegg there to actually encourage them to do something other than attack each other on their three cent titanium tax.

            2. Fine, why isn’t any senator, governor or lower level national candidate making civil liberties a major part of their campaign?

              A few did in 2010, at least in a limited way, but this go round I can’t think of a single one that is.

              1. You’re missing the point. It’s not just about civil liberties, that was just an example.

                It’s about there being people with actual incentives to attack the candidates over things their base supports and the candidate has failed to.

                Virgil Goode could probably attack Romney over past abortion support. They could both team up to hit him on RomneyCare, etc.

                This incentive does not exist in a two-candidate debate where it’s a fight over the 5% of mushy “moderates.”

              2. The Republican dude from Washington, Baumgarten (?) is, right?

        3. That’s because some government wise guy called them “civil liberties” instead of “freedom”. Or maybe it was the ACLU.

  5. Tabooooooo!

    Gary might bring up subjects that are not to be mentioned!


    Some questions are not to be asked in politics!


    There is no elephant in the room!


    1. sarcasmic… you are the sweetest taboo…

        1. Dammit, jr. Don’t make fun of the Marquis’ biggest pop hit.

      1. aaah, Sade… funny to think that such a smooth singer could also write such dirty books

        1. I witnessed her in concert when she toured with Diggable Planets back in the day of yore. Excellent show, as I recall.

        2. Just think if he’d have had a box set of ST:TNG while locked up in the asylum.

          1. He had only paper and quill and a broom handle with which to bugger himself for some relief.

        3. “Conversation, like certain portions of the anatomy, always runs more smoothly when lubricated.”

          ? Donatien-Alphonse-Fran?ois de Sade

        4. Or hide an h and an r in her name somewhere.

  6. you will be disappointed, unless Gary Johnson is let in

    or … “This is John Galt speaking”.

    1. I might settle for Nigel Farage or Daniel Hannan moderating.

    2. That would be cool, but the worldwide situation would have to get significantly worse to be true to the book.

  7. It’s cute how you write this as if there’s the slightest chance of it happening.

    1. Sometimes reading articles like this gets tedious. The Judge may as well have written an article about why there ought to be peace on earth and lets end world hunger. Obviously I agree but it’s so unrealistic that it hardly seems worth mentioning. I understand that not everyone shares my positive views of Gary Johnson (if they even know who he is) but bringing it up on Reason is rather empty. I’d love to see Johnson in the debates but we all know it isn’t going to happen so I don’t see the point.

      1. No, it’s not unrealistic. The debate inclusion polling criterion used to be at a sensible 5 percent, which Johnson would have a chance of hitting. Post-Perot, they raised it to 15 percent, which no one not anointed by the media has a chance of hitting, ever.

        1. And that is why it’s unrealistic. Not just because the number was raised to 15% but because 1992 convinced the parties and the media to adjust the criteria in any necessary way so that 1992 never happens again. If Johnson got 15% they’d either raise the number again or find some other reason to exclude him. Even if there was some massive swell of people demanding that the debates had to include more than two candidates, the two party frontrunnes would simply find a new forum and the old one would lose any attention or “credibility” in the media.

  8. Wow. SIV and CIYP are bringing Donderoooooo-levels of dumb to the threads this morning. Very entertaining.

    1. Desperation is a stinky cologne.

    2. Can you blame them? If Obama wins, America will be plunged into economic darkness. (RACIST!) Missiles will fall from the skies like rain. No-knock SWAT raids will happen at every home in America. Gays will be allowed to serve in the military.

      Why can’t you see that this is the MOST IMPORTANT ELECTION EVER!?!?!?!

      1. Every man will be forced to get a gay marribortion!

        1. Jezehellions everywhere approve and rejoice! THE WAR ON WOMEN is complete!

      2. I want to state that I am opposed to terrible things.

    3. It’s always fun to watch closeted Republicans come out during election season.

      I myself got inoculated against R-fever back when I was a Constitution Party intern/operative in the late 90s (plus a stint as an intern for an extremely conservative independent who ran for Ohio Senate in ’94 and got 7.3%–and guess what, the Republican candidate STILL WON). Republicans will *never* be right-wing, conservative, authoritarian, or nativist enough for me! Romney is a sad shell of a man after you’ve heard the fiery anti-immigration speeches of Albion Knight.

  9. Sounds like a pretty solid plan to me dude.

    1. I knew TiggyFoo, and you are no TiggyFoo!

  10. You know I like the Judge and all but can someone please tell him to stop calling Obama a Marxist. Anyone with 2 brain cells to rub together and knowledge of what Marxisim is can easily see that Obama isn’t anywhere near one. He certainly is a collectivist and an advocate of a strong interventionist government however he has absolutely no issue with a strong private sector either, as long as it is obiedently dancing to the tune of that central government and not running off doing it’s own thing.

    Realistically he is at least economically a Fascist and the only real reason he cannot be called a full blooded Fascist is that he does not promote nationalism or national greatness, in fact he runs as far away from such ideas as possible. The only real political term to describe Obama is that he is a Corporatist and people Napolitano continuing to misuse the term Marxism just detracts from their message because it makes them sound like idiots.

    1. I think in his younger days he was strongly influenced by Marxism and hung out with the cool Marxist crowd. As far as socialist, I’d say he definitely trends that way. Many of the things in the platform of the Socialist party from the 1930’s we have put in place over the last 80 years.

      1. Some say he’s a globalist-socialist, or “glozi”.

        1. Both major parties are nationalist-socialist. THey just emphasize different parts of it.

    2. Marxist=Fascist

      Soviet Russia had no problem with a strong private sector, as long as they could nationalise any industry whenever they wanted. Have you forgot Government Motors already? There’s a story on NPR practically once a week about the government’s reticence to let them get rid of the government owners.

    3. I agree. It is silly and makes people look a bit nuts. It’s just a slightly different flavor of corporatism from that practiced by the Republican mainstream.

    4. That Hungarian CEO from Interactive Brokers basically called the whole Democrat Party socialists in his national ad on CNBC this morning, warning that the US was headed the way of communist Hungary if we don’t vote Republican.

  11. Mitt Romney has it half-right. He does understand that only free market forces can produce prosperity.

    I think the only thing Romney understands is that when he says certain magical phrases, people clap. So his job is to find as many of these magical phrases in any given setting and repeat them. Interestingly, this is also Obama’s strategy.

    1. Actually, I’d say that Romney has figured out that only clever tax-minimisation strategies can produce personal prosperity. Which is pretty much 100% true in modern America.

      The postmodern parallels between Romney and Obama are disturbing; the delivery of the message matters far more to both of these men than the message itself.

  12. An answer to Whiterun’s question at the top of the board (I want to avoid the whole Team Red discussion):…..enn-ballot

  13. Romney just says what he thinks the crowd wants to hear. Shoot you should see the video of him trying to fit in with black people, it’s hilarious. The guy is just such a douchebag.

    1. You should see when Obama tries to fit in with black people.

  14. The only thing left really for Gary to do is do some kind of desperate guerrilla-style media blitz. Buy some infomercials a la Perot. Fly message planes. Project ads onto buildings. Try and get on Saturday Night Live. Anything to get some good media attention.

  15. You’re lucky they let Romney in the debate.

  16. Bravo, Judge!

    Go G-Money!

  17. If he was in the debates, I could tell my history teacher to suck it.

    1. More importantly, if he were in the debates, that would make history, and your teacher would have to TEACH it! How sweet would THAT be?

  18. It’s good to hear from ya judge!

    When are they bringing Freedom Watch back? 🙁

  19. He’s bombed and killed innocents with drones.…..y-c-9.html Neither has learned the lessons of 9/11: You cannot kill people or occupy foreign lands without moral and legal justification, lest you suffer deadly consequences.

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