Gary Johnson

Libertarians Not Ready to Make Nice with Romney and the GOP


ALBUQUERQUE – The Mitt Romney bashing started when I caught up with Gary Johnson as he was doing a walkthrough of his Election Night party Tuesday night.

"It's just remarkable to me that this is who Republicans put up. This was cast ahead of time. All the criticism of Romney which is that he really is not conservative and then on the social side, it's a little scary," Johnson said.

Johnson repeated comments he made earlier in the week that he thought the Romney campaign was doomed to failure.

During the election night party, snide comments from Johnson supporters watching Romney's early poor showing in states like North Carolina and Virginia could be overheard from my perch at the mostly empty press table.

"I can't believe he's losing to this guy! What a bum!"

"How do you not beat Obummer?!"

"Man, Romney is a loser!"

After Ohio was called one Johnson staffer came over to chat about the results coming in from the Midwest states. He couldn't resist a dig at Romney's campaign. "We wanted to be spoilers tonight but unfortunately Romney spoiled himself in every swing state," he laughed.

Another staffer who has worked on Republican campaigns told me as the night was winding down, "I wish the Republicans had us to blame for Romney's loss."

A hostile attitude toward the Romney campaign and the GOP permeated the party. There was ill will for the Democrats, too, but it didn't appear as deeply rooted. The Johnson campaign had problems obtaining ballot access throughout the country, often because of slip-ups, and Republicans were right there waiting to pounce on their mistakes. The ill will harbored by the campaign seems more deeply placed in the lower levels of the operation, among volunteers and supporters, than in the upper echelons.

In the final month of the campaign, Johnson, ever the content libertarian warrior, expressed an attitude of indifference on the outcome of the election, even as Republicans kicked and screamed about him potentially spoiling the race for Romney. Last week in Ohio Johnson told Reason that he didn't care about the outcome of the election if he didn't finish on top. 

One of Gary Johnson's regional drivers and body men, Tom Mahon, was disappointed in the result for Johnson. He expected more but didn't care that Romney lost.

"I am not surprised or disappointed that Romney lost but at the same time I am disappointed that Obama won, so, to me, it was a lose-lose election," he said. "Romney alienated too many constituencies, from the Ron Paul Republicans to the Latino vote to women, the GOP seems to be on a constant track of becoming more socially conservative."

Some younger Johnson's supporters in an outdoor smoking area near the hall didn't even consider voting for Romney.

Ryan Kaszuba, 24, said Johnson was "the only candidate that speaks any sense whatsoever."

Kate Ayala, 20, said Romney is someone that makes people despise the political process.

"Nothing has felt so right as to go against the flow and really be independent of the majority," she said.  

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  1. The Johnson campaign had problems obtaining ballot access throughout the country, often because of slip-ups, and Republicans were right there waiting to pounce on their mistakes.

    Yes, election and campaign laws are absolutely ridiculous, but come on. Shit like this is so frustrating. At the presidential level, you don’t “slip up” in getting your name on the damn ballot.

    1. In Pennsylvania, the Republicans challenged petition signatures for things like writing the date as xx/xx/12 instead of xx/xx/2012. It’s hard to blame GJ because the GOP wants to act like retards.

  2. What’s a Liberarian?

    1. I think they lend books, or something.

    2. Liberia is right next to Kenya right?

  3. Is that the official libertarian mascot? Also, what is that?

    1. I think it’s supposed to be a porcupine.

      1. That would be awesome if it was.

        1. Your wish is granted – the URL says it’s “LibertarianPorcupine.jpg”

          And I agree it’s awesome.

      2. It’s a god damn hedgehog. Simple because the name is better.

        1. WOLVERINES!!!

    2. i thought we were a herd of angry drunk cats.

  4. Republicans pulled dirty tricks and kicked Ron Paul out of the convention.

    Gee i wonder why they lost.

  5. God love ya, Gary. Those of us who actually felt like voting for a difference in this country want you to keep on fighting the fight and gaining a larger audience.

    God knows the GOP is just as tonedeaf, inept and clumsy as we expected. I can’t think of another incumbent who’s this rotten, winning simply because the challenger was so awful. It would be like Mondale running against Carter.

    Now i only wish i could deliver a message right to Mitt to go bugger himself and his magic underwear and stop assuming he’s destined for office. As it is, he harmed the hopes for this nation by steadfastly remaining vague and hazy when what the country needed was a clear call to return to fiscal, military and constitutional sanity. Willard, you only succeeded because everyone else on stage with you in the primaries was batshit insane. Now go away and enjoy being filthy rich and detached from reality.

  6. Romney almost threw out a sitting president. He almost got 50% of the vote.

    The fact is, it is harder to convince people to change course than it is to convince them to stay on the course they’re already on.

    It’s like that in everything. So, Romney played it smart. He didn’t offer America a change of plan; he presented himself as, more or less, what America already had.

    That was not a bad strategy.

    The fact is he was right from the beginning about the 47%.

    Be very clear about that point–Romney was right about the 47%.

    There’s a war going on in this country between productive people and the parasites. …and there are a whole lot more parasites these days than there used to be. Food stamp president won the food stamp vote.

    That’s all there is to see here. Don’t blame Romney for playing his cards wisely. The cards just weren’t there. And more alarming? The cards may never be there again in our lifetimes.

    1. are you saying we’re going the route of France, Greece, et al?

      1. We’re going the route of California.

        1. If you mean that Republicans are going to alienate a gettable demographic, you’re darn right.

          Forget Hispanics; there’s no reason that the percentage among Asians should be that bad, also 3-to-1. Even given social issues.

    2. This is well put. Especially re the cards, it’s really quite a pity. I disagree with Libertarians (upper case L) who think Paul would have done better in the election. They called Romney extreme. Paul would have been labeled by the left (and he was) nuttier than a fruitcake “even though he’s cool about drugs.” The overseas interventions? Nobody cares.
      Libertarians need to take the fight to the local level, the state level. As for the national election, I see little hope.

      1. And I’m not dissing Johnson (whom I voted for), just recognizing the reality of the two-party monopoly.

    3. There’s a war going on in this country

      No there’s not, and acting like there is one going on is going to alienate the general public. God, it’s like the comment section at Police One.

    4. Be very clear about that point–Romney was right about the 47%.

      No, not at all. Obama also won 8 of the 10 richest counties.

      The 47% include a lot of people who pay some taxes, and are affected by taxes going up and down, and definitely a ton of people not on food stamps. (It includes a lot of people who have low taxes because of child tax credits and other things pushed by Republicans.)

      The GOP wins a fairly good percentage of that 47%, and could win even more. Because Republicans, like Libertarians, are never going to win by appealing only to people who already have money. There are too many people with money who would rather be rent-seekers.

      Republicans and Libertarians are only going to win by appealing to some part of that 47% that wants to get ahead. People who want to own their own cabs but are locked out by a transit monopoly. People who want to start food carts. People in DC who want to send their kids to better schools instead of the crappy Democrat-run public schools that they’ve had for generations.

      The 47% meme is stupid and Romney was wrong. But it is a self-fulfilling prophecy, because it sends the message that he doesn’t care about those people.

      There are plenty of working class people in the 47% who believe in the American Dream, even if they’re bad off today. Certainly tons of immigrants believe that, and that’s why many of them are here. But remarks like that 47% convince people that Romney and others don’t care about them.

      1. And people wonder why Latinos or, worse, Asians, can have free market views and not vote for Republicans. It’s not just social issues, it’s not just the exact views on immigration (which Obama is no better on in reality), it’s contempt.

      2. And it’s definitely not just the Tea Party or Libertarians. Moderate Republicans can give off just the same impression that, however moderate they are about social issues or economics, they just don’t actually like people.

    5. The 47% comment made clear that Romney’s strategy was to try to win back rich suburban counties that have been trending Democratic. That strategy failed.

      You think that the only parasites are the people on the bottom, and that all the people on the bottom 47% are parasites? I think that ignores a lot of people on the upper middle class and top who like Big Government and bailouts just fine, as the vote records show. Just look at all the wealthy DC suburbs.

      You start out with contempt for people based on their circumstances instead of their beliefs, and you’ll never win.

  7. I’ve been busy today, so I was just wondering: has Team Red figured out yet how Romney’s loss is the fault of those darn libertarians? I reckon it will come to that sooner or later.

    1. The MSM and GOP Establishment have agreed this was the Tea Party’s fault.

      1. Heh, I knew they would find somebody who was not them to blame.

    2. Romney’s loss is duo to the GOP’s wrong choice in candidates. Romney was not wanted by millions, Gary Johnson would not have had 1 + million votes if Ron Paul was the GOP’s choice.
      Also if Romney and the GOP had not treated Ron Paul supporters so badly for over a year, Romney may have had a lot of Paul supporters. they messed up a lot. The only ones to blame is the GOP. and they know it. The only ones that don’t know it is Romney supporters.

  8. Dude seems to know what the deal is over there.

  9. “I can’t believe he’s losing to this guy! What a bum! How do you not beat Dubya?! Man, Kerry is a loser!”

    Oh sorry, I was having a flashback from 2004.

    1. MA politicians like the “Anybody but [incumbent]” strategy. And it never works.

  10. And wait…supporters of Johnson, who was beaten by Romney in the Republican primaries and who received 1% of the popular vote (ie beaten like a rented mule by both Romney and Obama) called Romney a loser for not beating Obama? Uh, ok.

    1. Hey Juice…

      It’s time the GOP listened to Laura Ingraham…..71911.html

    2. Hey Sperm,

      You are so clever!!!

  11. I like GJ and I wish he or RP were preparing to take office but talking smack about a guy who came so close to a unseating a popular sitting president after barely scraping together 1% of the vote is just assinine.

    if the GOP got their butts kicked the Libertarians got our asses handed to us as a hat with a yanky doodle feather stuck right where it counts.

    1. I would agree with you EXCEPT that the LP was never allowed to actually go up against the Demos or GOP in the debates. The Demos and GOP didn’t have to jump through all of the ballot-qualification hoops and withstand numerous legal challenges to their ballot status. Had the major parties not been able to marginalize and bedevil libertarians in such ways, the fight would have been much more fair, and the outcome would have more nearly reflected what libertarians did (or did not do) during the campaign. Fifty-state ballot access and debate inclusion must be at the head of the goal list in 2016.

      Also, remember that every vote of theirs cost around $22. Every Libertarian GJ vote, on the other hand, cost only around $2.75. If the libertarians didn’t have to spend so much time and money in trying to overcome the hurdles mentioned in above, they might have more money for the campaign activities that actually earn more votes.

  12. Anyone else suspect that Ann Coulter is recovering from a Karl Rove coniption fit? I bet she almost swallowed her tongue last night.

  13. Obama = “Free Stuff” to people who don’t understand economics.

  14. Well, I am pretty PO’d at the GOP. They have pretty much crapped all over Libertarians this year. They stole all the Libertarian signs around my neighborhood, including the one from my yard. And I live in a red state where he was never even a threat. They ran the most ridiculous assortment of candidates in the primary and Mitt Romney was the cream of the crop, apparently. They did their damnedest to exclude Paul, Johnson, anyone who wasn’t a screaming social conservative, or duplicitous enough to pretend, like Gingrich. I knew they would nominate Mitt last year and that he would lose, but these geniuses couldn’t see that. You don’t run against the first african american president as a blue-blooded rich, white guy, regardless of his record. His constituents don’t *want* him to be a failure and could care less about his record. The guy won the bloody Nobel prize for just getting elected! And they lost while peeing away almost a billion dollars, and that doesn’t even count the constant barrage of pro-Romney/GOP propaganda blaring away 24 x 7 on the radio and on Fox they didn’t have to pay for.

    And you know what? Listening to those pundits, they still don’t get it. Blowhole Dennis Prager, That wease-faced Medved, they’re livid that some people *wasted* their votes by voting Libertarian. They are determined to continue their winning strategy of calling me names to win me over. I say, screw them. Looks like my vote was just about as wasted as theirs was, wasn’t it?

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