Gary Johnson

Gary Johnson and Libertarians as the Sane Centrists in a Mad Election

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Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson's overarching strategy seems less about pushing the farthest edges of his Libertarian Party's platform, but presenting himself and his vice presidential running mate, fellow former Republican governor William Weld, as sane centrists of a sort in an insane presidential year.

Gage Skidmore/Foter

In Politico yesterday, Johnson wrote an essay explaining and introducing himself to their audience in which he certainly mentions that the "fundamental premise" of the L.P. is "freedom" and that "every man and woman has the right to choose what to do with their time, their talents, and their lives."

But rather than traveling to the more outre places that principle can lead, he summons merely the spirit of "fiscal conservativism, together with respect for people with different lifestyles. Government must live within its means, and we have to respect one another's freedoms" and lauds his personal own business record.

Johnson attacks both Trump and his running mate, Indiana's Mike Pence, in the essay for their records of "division" and "exclusion" and Trump's "character assaults" and "serial attacks on opponents and climbing to the top by hurting people." Johnson notes Trump's trade and immigration policies seem animated by that spirit.

He hopes that the Trump Republican Party will prove to be the Whigs of the 21st century, destroying their coalition and leading many out of the Republican Party and to the L.P.

Johnson wants the Politico reader to think of he and Weld not as freedom radicals per se, but as offering "an honest, principled and sane alternative to the madness that we see in two so-called mainstream political parties….Americans…want and deserve simple, straightforward and good government."

To the alert, I think a fair case can be made that even radical libertarianism is simple, straightforward, and good compared to the major parties' offerings of endless debt, management, and control, though there is little concrete evidence the American people en masse are ready to grasp that.

That tack of painting himself and Weld as less about the farthest reaches of the L.P. platform and more about a record of reasonable fiscal conservatism and tolerance may annoy some Libertarians, but they are not his natural audience right now, which he seems to understand.

And that tack seems to have worked at least a bit on the editorial board of major American newspaper, the Chicago Tribune, who met with Johnson and Weld yesterday and wrote both an editorial and a small article of quotes based on the interview.

In the editorial, they were very complimentary toward Johnson, but largely because of a sane centrism, not radical libertarianism. They start off noting that if Donald Trump could against all expectations at the start end up the Republican nominee, than old "common sense" guesses about what might happen in November might be off, and a significant third party showing is worth contemplating. "We won't again underestimate the voters' ability to shock," the unsigned editorial says.

Here's how the Libertarians impressed the Trib editorial board: "Johnson and Weld aren't running as anti-government-free-will Libertarians with a capital L. They are agile, practical-minded thinkers with a few quirks: Conservative on money issues, socially liberal, skeptical of government power and military entanglements. Not so scary, right? 'Most people are Libertarian,' Johnson told us. 'It's just that they don't know it."

Some of the specific views the Trib board gleaned: "The federal government is an obstacle to prosperity and an inefficient problem-solver, Johnson posited. He's inclined to shut down or pare back agencies such as education and commerce and direct that money to the states. He wants a balanced budget. To preserve Social Security, he'd raise the retirement age and apply a means test….The most radical notion Johnson floated isn't so radical: He favors legalizing marijuana, noting that it's happening already. He won't risk alienating voters by calling for the legalization of heroin, for example; he does support ideas like needle exchanges that save lives.

Johnson was anti-interventionist, and apparently too much so for them:

Concerning the war on terror, Johnson sounded cautious, fretting about the "unintended consequences" of trying to save the world. Said Weld about American troops in Afghanistan: "When should they come home — never? We have to leave 8,400 troops there because we decided to do what the British Empire and Russian empire decided to do and failed miserably?" We would disagree, but appreciated the directness of his answer.

Some within the L.P. community worried that Johnson and Weld were functioning as carpetbaggers, politicians who really just wanted to run an independent campaign but needed to pick up the best Third Party structure for ballot access around, the L.P.

When Johnson and Weld talk about, as they often do, how their governing philosophy in some senses combines the best elements of both major parties (the whole "fiscally conservative and socially tolerant" mantra) and when Weld suggests, as he did to the Tribune, that their administration would "propose to hire, ideally, if elected, the very best minds of the Democratic Party, the very best minds of the Republican Party. And [Congress] would know that half our people were of their party, so they might take it a little better than if we were giving them a sermon…they might look and see some familiar faces that they'd known before from their own party" it doesn't exactly allay those fears.

But Johnson has been consistent in saying he doesn't like to push the farthest ends of the Party platform, just as he told a press conference at the May L.P. nominating convention in Orlando. He said he'll seek instead to move intelligently and strategically in a more libertarian direction.

For example, despite being the bold politician to first pioneer supporting pot legalization as governor of New Mexico in the 1990s, and despite the Party platform advocating full drug legalization, Johnson does not want to advocate legalizing other drugs (though he told me over and over in Orlando that he thinks it would be a better world if we did, but apparently does not believe there is any political value to pushing for it right now). When it comes to government income redistribution, Johnson apparently told a questioner at FreedomFest last weekend that he finds a universal basic income at the very least preferable to the current welfare system, and wouldn't rule it out as an idea.

Reason contributor and syndicated columnist Steve Chapman is on the Tribune board, and was in on the meeting. He is reasonably certain that this is the first time his fellow board members have been intrigued enough by an L.P. choice to call them in for an interview like this. At least one thing Johnson said clearly connected them with a larger libertarian movement, despite Weld's talk about staffing the administration with Democrats and Republicans: Johnson told the board that his main source of foreign policy wisdom was the Cato Institute (matching things he's told me as well).

Chapman agreed that "the libertarian philosophy was not terrible overt in this meeting. I don't think a doctrinaire libertarian, and I don't mean that in a pejorative sense, would have found it very encouraging."

But Chapman understands the position that the L.P. ticket is now in. "They are not trying to assure anybody that they are libertarian purists," he says. "What they are trying to do is present themselves as a serious, sober, and not radical option. I think they are more intent about making themselves palatable to a mainstream electorate than making sure libertarians are happy with them."

And Chapman says that they did indeed seem to convince his fellow board members that they were "serious, intelligent people…not crazy ideologues."

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  1. But we’re never gonna survive unless we get a little crazy.

    1. +1 face caught on fire and put out with tap dancing cleats

      1. Yet somehow he managed to engage in the conjugal act with Heidi Klum.

  2. Well, Ted Cruz’s speech was certainly a reminder of how Trump won the primary. What a sanctimonious piece of shit.

    1. You got that right

    2. What did he say that was objectionable?

      1. It’s what he didn’t say.

    1. #AlwaysFuckSIV’sMother

      1. Jesus Christ, did the fucking Trumptards come out of the fucking woodwork? Seriously, between AmSoc and all the Progtards, its enough to drive you batty.

        1. Are you just now seeing this? There are a small handful of leftist-libertarians that comment on here are and are mercilessly abused. There are fucking hordes of rightwing libertarians and even straight up Republicans that post here regularly as if they own the brand.

          1. WOW! Very good. Too many goobers don’t even know left-libertarians exist. When I moved to Seattle in 1992 or so, I looked forward to learning more about left-libs. It was roughly an even split so none of the “internal tribalism” you describe.

    2. Johnson belongs with one of the “I love Big Government parties”, not the Libertarian party.

      #johnsonsupportswelfare
      #johnsonopentodiscussingguncontrol
      #forcejewishbakers

      1. Best to wait for a perfect candidate to vote for. Meanwhile the progressives count their wins 1″ at a time while their eye is on the end game.

      2. When I stop laughing, tell me how he supports welfare.

        What sort of gun control do you mean? NO rights are absolute which is fundamental. Reagan supported the ban on assault weapons and Scalia wrote the opinion supporting it. They both said differing versions of you don’t need one for self defense.

        Jewish bakers. Savvy candidates never run on something impossible to pass in the term they’re running for. Priorities matter.

  3. I’m guessing Reason is the reason (drink) that I’m getting ads for a gay cruise?

    1. nah, it’s because you searched for hot bois in punk costumes.

      check your history, chief. Agile doesn’t give a shit by the way- he knows strong men with hot wives that fuck college wrestlers. sorry if you didn’t want to realize that this.

      1. Lol. Naw, AC, I’m about as straight as straight can be, NTTAWWT.

        1. Penile ain’t just a river in…

          1. I’m so straight that I only watch lesbian porn.

            1. You’re straight because you watch lesbian porn.

              1. Yeah, I don’t wanna see no dicks.

            2. The best kind of porn.

      2. Does Agile always talk about himself in the third person?

  4. I will pencil this motherfucker in with my own ejaculate and lsd laced fingers in this FUCKING goddamn lost Ohio county. FUCK TRUMP AND THAT SHITTY CLINTON DAME.

    I still fucking think Rand the Jesus Dentist boy is better than the odd-nosed seer ever so slightly because goddamn Johnson resembles the western mountain ranges of his earthen trodden glossiness and those indian tribes don’t translate well through the slight man called GJ.

    Rand is better than Gary because goddamn Gary is delightful but oddly dislikes motherfucking conflict which is a goddamn necessity in the ghetto of politics and avoiding pulverizing your opponent on issues that fuck America up the ass is where lovely Johnson fails because Misses Johnson is watermelon pie and angel ejaculations and sunrises but
    Misses Gary Johnson needs to FUCKING step up and be a goddamn LIBERTARIAN MAESTRO on the fucking political dance stage which goddamn KILLS LIBERTARIANS every fucking time.

    I still love Gary… but Rand…

    Rand for Prez with Gary for VP? Yeah, drugs. I am on these things….

    Christ…

    1. Rand isn’t a dentist, retard. Kill yourself.

      1. Fuck off, AC is a goddamn Hit and Run treasure.

      2. What are you, some kind of anti-dentite?

      3. Hey Harry, go blow Larry, whose load you always carry, nary a dribble, because you’re a pro who does it for free without a salary.

        You dissed Malory, who was so hot she should be displayed in art galleries, all because you wanted more cum callories.

        We accept you the way you are, and you probably want to blow AC in your car, but resort to name calling with the hope to mar, our resident poet, and are mad because you’re not a comentariat star.

      4. One of these days, you’ll look back on this moment and be really embarrassed for yourself.

    2. At the end of the day, Rand is at least a better speaker.

    3. But Rand ran the absolutely stupidest campaign in the last 50 years. He goes to Berkeley and talks civil liberties and non-intervention. Fine. Then he pissed it all away by calling for nationwide tent revivals to oppose marriage equality.

      At least we learned it’s impossible to expand his dad’s so-called liberty coalition of conspiracy nuts, bigots, anti-constitutionalist states rightsers (NOT federalism) and Trump-style goobers,

      1. Fuck, I actually agree with Hihn…….Rand ran one of the worst campaigns I’ve seen. He alienated libertarian leaning republicans and had zero chance of getting the bible vote.

        1. Fuck, I actually agree with Hihn

          (whispering softly) I won’t tell anyone

          Rand can be a lot more effective in the Senate. He’s showing a knack for working with liberals on bipartisan solutions, which libertarians can excel at (if we try).

          Ted Kennedy was the patron saint of liberalism, but not an ideologue. There’s a lot of landmark legislation sponsored by him and a Republican — often Orrin Hatch who were the “odd couple” good friends. Rand could make as big a mark and he seems to be warming to it.

  5. “every man and woman has the right to choose what to do with their time, their talents, and their lives.”

    Until some homo or Nazi wants a cake, then “you best get yo mind to bakin’, boy !”

    1. Can you imagine a homo Nazi cake?

      1. Ernst Rohm sure could!

        1. Where’s Underzog when you need him?

          1. Does anyone really need Underzog when there are so many hungry children in America?

              1. That was a mess. Or was it like the guitar work of Allan Holdsworth; so good and sophisticated that a rube like me just wouldn’t get it?

                1. Holdsworth? You got it exactly right. It’s unlistenable dreck.

                  1. Was that Eric Holdsworth from operation Smashed and Furious?

  6. Also, H&R sure has been posting a lot of stuff in the evening hrs since the convention started: I’m betting the whole staff is in Ohio doing coke.

    1. They’re trapped in Cleveland surrounded by Republican officials. Writing is their only escape!

      1. Cleveland, where Warty’s dungeon lies.

      1. Please tell me there is photo evidence of this!

    2. the whole staff is in Ohio doing coke.

      They call it “pop” there

      1. Oh, I don’t know if you saw it, but I replied to you in the flag burning thread. I had stepped out to dinner before you posted, but I hope I explained it in a way that you can see where I’m coming from.

        1. I post comments during dinner out with the SO all the time. She is a slow eater.

        2. thanks

          I just looked at it, and i still think you’re missing the point. its not the first time you’ve made the same argument, pretending to apply formal logic in manner which ignores what’s actually being claimed, and how.

          If he says “homogeneous societies tend to get along better“, a single example of a homogeneous society having been at war at all doesn’t “refute” the argument; the term “better” clearly makes it a relative claim… and “tend” clearly suggests that its not an absolute claim, but a balance of total circumstances.

          …saying that “japan once had a single long period of war” doesn’t do anything to say whether or not Japan is “better” or “worse” than any other heterogeneous society.

          You’re pretending he said, “homogeneous societies never have wars”. he didn’t.

          I suppose you could try and say, “japan has had as many wars over the entirely of its history as any other society on earth” – make a broader claim – and if you demonstrated that, then his example would be shot to shit.

          But eliminating that single example might mean he simply needs more/better evidence. it doesn’t refute his entire argument.

          the only reason i bothered chiming in was in regards to the *attitude*; that you can zing down a broad argument with a single cited piece of evidence.

          It seems to be talking across purposes, and pretends to treat general arguments like philosophical logical proofs. it seems a little silly.

          1. If you wanna get all formal about it, you are gonna have to give us a rigorous definition for “homogeneous,” “society,” “tend,” and “get along.” Otherwise we have no idea what you are actually trying to claim.

            1. “”If you wanna get all formal about it””

              Actually, no. That was part of my point. I think he was wrong on the actual technical ‘falsification’; but my beef was not about that at all – it was the pretense of treating a general argument in such a weeny, technical manner in the first place.

              i don’t even know if derps actual argument is ‘generally’ true or not, or if it falls apart in any real contextual analysis.

              I just think its an interesting subject and not something one can wave a single-example at and pretend that one has achieved some sort of logical check-mate. its like one person is playing charades, and the other thinks its chinese sign-language. It ends up entirely across purposes.

      2. I just snarfed my soda.

  7. Weld is great, at least what I’ve seen so far. Johnson sometimes seems like an idiot, but maybe he is just really scared of saying the wrong thing and getting ridiculed. Also it seems like he’s always trying to contradict people as if he’s smarter. Which is a mistake if you’re not. But he has a good heart, and that’s what matters right now. I have a hard time imagining Johnson saying “No” to anyone. That’s the thing that gets me. Whereas Trump can say “You’re fired!” without compunction. What a strange paradox.

  8. So, the balance between competing sects of lunatics rests with us? Peachy.

    The weights in each pan of the balance had increased greatly.
    As he approached his triumph, our foe had made himself vulnerable.
    We were unable to directly influence, and could only watch and wait
    to see whether his pridefully chosen pawn would prove his undoing.

  9. I think they are more intent about making themselves palatable to a mainstream electorate than making sure libertarians are happy with them.

    This insight is why Chapman gets the big bucks.

  10. If every Trump project was built with American steel and American blood and muscle I’d roll with the screams bleeding across the pulpit of his convention.

    I bet Trump built almost none of his billions of true American grit, steel, and muscle here and around the world.

    Trump built most of his shit on Commie Chinese shit with cheap forced labor imported past imagined walls all over the globe.

    How you motherfuckers like JOHN don’t see this is embarassing.

    1. Absolutely. So the question is, does he truly think doing so is terrible and he wants to stop the corporations from raping Americans? Or is he just some asshole who figures he’s rich already and now he doesn’t want more people to profit through the same means he did.

      I get the feeling it changes daily.

  11. Trump is a cheap billionaire roiling with world slaves, cheap labor, and Chinese steel. And his presidency is a belt notch on a bucket list.

    An entire nation of fools creamed in a bucket of cheap flashing steel on the edge of goddamn lake.

    1. AC, your starting to make sense to me. Either I am waytoo high, or you are not high enough.

      1. Colorado privilege.

      2. No, AC is being particularly coherent tonight. Praise baby Jeebus.

  12. I heard he want to force Nazi’s to give abortions, and give murdermax kill rifles to pot heads when they cross the cross the Mexican border.

    1. Yup, page 2 of the party platform.

      1. There’s a platform?

        Why wasn’t I told?!?

    1. Brutal. And he was doing so well there with RKBA and Brexit.

      1. For the sake of his own political future Cruz should have thrown a full endorsement after teasing the snub. He would’ve brought the house down.

        1. No, would have fucked him with his base.

          The #NeverTrump crowd is firmly in the Cruz camp.

          1. No they’re not. #NeverTrump is upset that Trump cut in line when it was Jeb!’s turn. If Cruz had lead out of the gate they would have worked hard to bury him just like they tried to do to Trump

            1. #NeverTrump is upset that Trump cut in line when it was Jeb!’s turn.

              Really?

              If that were the case, why is it Jeb! did so horribly shitty (less than rubio, cruz, *carson* et al) in all the primaries he was in?

              if that were true, it would suggest the #Nevertrumps are a tiny, tiny, toothless minority no one should care about.

            2. Go look at some place like Red-State or Glen Beck.

              The Jeb crowd had about three people in it.

    2. has anyone else noted that its become very de rigeur for young ladies to swear like sailors on the twitters (and just about everywhere else)?

      i don’t just mean this example; but just (sigh) ‘generally’.

      I’m a huge fan of vulgarity. i just prefer to see it used artfully, and it seems to have become so much space-filler

      1. You mean the vulgarity has become… vulgar?

  13. I see a Thug Life video coming.

    *Flips shades and blunt at AirTrump 1*

  14. Libertarians as the Sane Centrists

    I’m sure that’s what the LP wants to present.

    the question is – will anyone else play along?

    Because ‘politics is perception’, and the perception everyone else pumps repeatedly is, “You’re Freaks And No One In Either REAL Party Actually Likes You Very Much”

    a sampling of the meta-narrative across various media =

    The Blaze = They’re Crazy Hippy Potheads Who Agree With Bernie Sanders About Stuff

    Rolling Stone = So, You’re Like The Koch Brothers’ REAL Candidate, huh?

    1. NPR = No Perot – “voters are too-polarized to throw votes away on kooky options”

      National Review = “Reasons to Worry” – standard nazi-cakes, nat.security complaints.

    2. One of the criticisms of Mr. Weld is that he was for the invasion of Iraq. Is that something you two discussed?
      No, it isn’t, and he is not alone in that category either. There were so many who did. I think it was a mistake ? a big mistake ? and I think the military intervention had an unintended consequence of making things worse, not better.

      Contrast that answer with Trump’s concerning Pence’s support. At least GJ’s was coherent, but how do you not discuss that with your “co-president”?

  15. Cruz – mad props for ‘vote your conscience’.

    Gingrich – ‘Radical Islamic Extremist’ hysteria. The crowd loves it but Americans aren’t falling for it anymore.

  16. Hillary Clinton is upside down and crankish
    Donald Trump spans geographies with his ish
    Clinton hates capital but remains happily funded by super
    capitalist firms which we all know of
    Donnie Boi builds all the tall golden places with…? mysterious
    American steel products? No, CHINESE steel is
    riffs off the tongue of the Donald even right now in his own
    show…
    CHeck all his buildings. OH WAIT… YOU CAN’T JOURNALISTS?
    Why?…
    Well…. because when President Trump builds erections he plays to
    the tune of Putin. Let us make MAGAZINE articles formed from the
    frames of fools pumped ever so foreverly from all schools….
    to MAKE TRUMPY BE SO GODDAMN AWESOME
    to hundreds of millions of retarded MURICANS.

    WHY?
    cuz, all the TRUMP properties are built by CHINESE STEEL
    and cranes and labor manned by IMPORTED WORKERS…

    JESUS FUCK… you all didn’t know this how BILLIONAIRES MAKE THEIR MONEY?

    yea, bro… ya wanna get rich… import a bunch of bitches……..

    trump for pres….b.e.t.t.e.r. than…
    diddley squats oy

  17. Witness the social manga of hip thrusting graphics played out in the social strata of binary realities
    plied by paid super teams which often question their own values
    man in these seas of political shit
    ….
    but…
    Hillary exists on charlatan steel
    Trump exists on chinese steel

    make your pick
    it is all the same in the end…

  18. Gary J articles is how offbeat shops remain in tune with their skating readership. Reason is as much on the walking plank right now and perhaps most of you don’t know this so please step up and help

    Libertarian thought agile thinks is on the verge of being wiped out.

    Please understand, I love Gillespie and his world and knights and killer widows.

    but… Trump and Clinton equate to the vanquish of the modern libertarian. I’m sorry you heard it first from agile…

    the underground isn’t so bad by the way if you can find it

  19. Is Johnson still refusing to attack that, that thing he called a ‘great public servant’?

    1. Barf. I despise that term. “Servants” don’t come and take half your shit, tell you what to do and toss you in a cage if you don’t do it.

      1. You won!!!! Not only the thread, but like the internet!! Your quote should be in everyone’s mind, even when they’re doing stuff in the wood shed, like getting something that rhymes with bread……

    2. Weld walked back that statement today on their behalf when interviewed by Reason.

      1. Did he walk it back with fervor? Or was it like a little tug on the chain of a maniac dog while lying to yourself thinking you have control sort of thing?

        1. That didn’t rhyme. I thought that was gonna be your thing, having each comment rhyme. It’s yours for the taking, no one is doing that around here.

          1. I don’t want to rhyme every single time, but being you want to drop a dime, I’ll cover you with slime…..you probably thought I was gonna say “I’ll let it slide this time” but snitches deserve stitches, and can never be one of my bitches.

            But I think you were trying to encourage, not discourage, so I’ll leave you with one of my Vampire girls that will make your morning wood bust through your britches, and leave your woodchipper so overheated it will require massive amounts of metal stitches.

    3. Rufus, how long have you been singly beating your enemies with an insuling pump?

      1. That is not the kind of pump he uses.

        1. How would you know what pumps I have in the shed?

          1. Is that the shed that has the custom bed where you get mad head? I heard you had a monocle made out of lead. Make sure nobody chews on it cause it might make them batchit crazy, resulting in weird things that are constantly said which I doubt can be cured with some magical med, which could cause side effects and make someone dead.

  20. re: I think they are more intent about making themselves palatable to a mainstream electorate than making sure libertarians are happy with them.

    Good on them. Purist Libertarians haven’t accomplished anything to increase liberty in this country.

  21. “every man and woman has the right to choose what to do with their time, their talents, and their lives.”

    Unless, of course, they choose to do something silly like take heroin or refuse to bake cakes for Nazis. Muh liberty!

  22. Also, when you want a professional opinion about who is or isn’t a serious, rational, reasonable person, Chapman is the obvious go-to guy.

    What a fucking joke.

    1. Damn Pat, calm the hell down and borrow this yoga mat. If you can’t your eyes will be clawed out by that crazy ass cat, who eats people’s cheerios while disguised as a bat while wearing one spat and Abe lincolns top hat.

    2. What a fucking joke.

      Yes you are. Don’t even bother ever running for public office.
      Chapman writes for the 59% of Americans who are fiscally conservative and socially liberal.
      You want him to write for 2% of the voters. As if preaching to the choir has ever achieved anything (when the choir is so tiny).

      A free society wll not materialize out of the mists.
      Sneering does not persuade anyone.
      This is NOT rocket science.
      And we don’t seek to run a dictatorship.

  23. “Anti-government” libertarians have nearly destroyed the movement. The “Pro-Liberty” faction is the only one that can be sold to voters. This is elementary salesmanship, taught to salespeople as young as 19 or 20. If you’re buying a car, which salesperson is most likely to close the sale, the one who shows the positive benefits of his model, or the one who attacks the competition. DUH

    Also Salesmanship 101, Sell benefits not features, the sizzle not the steak..

    Slightly more advanced, in all my classrooms when I ran a large corporate Sales Training Department., “You’re not there to prove your prospect wrong. You’re there to agree with your prospect and show how your product or service will best deliver what he or she already wants. DUH.

    It’s been at least a quarter-century since libertarians (as a whole) had a clue how to show how liberty will best deliver almost all legitimate desires and hopes. If one cannot do that, they should shut up and sit down.

    1. I like you, Hihn, despite your crotchetiness. I agree with you. However, sadly most of the commenters here are not all that interested in persuasion. At least not in this venue. No one expect to score converts in the comment section of Reason. This comment section is for preaching to the choir, general bitching, and snarky dumb jokes.

      1. Agreed. But only 10-20% of the readers ever comment.. What do the others leave with, as their impression of libertarianism? I’ve run a state party and seen one or two purists in the back of the room shoot down most of the attendees (state or county level).

        59% of voters are “Nolan libertarians” and 91% of them reject the libertarian brand, which only 6% will accept. If we assume those libertarians are.as politically active as Americans overall, that’s 40,000-50,000 in local elective office. That we never hear of. They have no identity, don’t know the others exist, have no KNOWN shared values and don’t know how to connect with like-minded others seeking or serving in public office.

        Even as a state director I worked on “large-L” and “small-L” campaigns, from a background in training, marketing and web design. Only in the party can we we see how it works, People come in from the right or left. Fiscal or social issues remain their only passion (for most). They accept the other side, passively because they see they shared values. And the logic. A price to be paid for a free society.

        It works the same with :”live and let live,” Or just “tolerant ” which is a respected virtue . But we’ve been pissing it all away for decades.

  24. From Johnson’s Politico article:

    “In Indiana, Governor Pence unwisely pushed a law that pitted religious freedom against the rights of gays and lesbians, and then backtracked on religious freedom. A better approach is to rely on the Constitution’s protections for free exercise of religion and for equal protection.”

    One would think Johnson would be hoping for people to forget the gay/nazi cake thing. It’s not exactly his strength.

    But he brings it up again in order to incoherently bash Johnson.

    To recap: In 1990, the US Supreme Court (in one of Scalia’s really bad decisions) decided that it’s OK for the government to restrict the exercise of your religion so long as it does so “accidentally” as part of a broader secular law not aimed at religion – thus for example punishing Rastafarians who use dope, etc.

    In 1993, a near-unanimous Congress passed, and religious-right fanatic Bill Clinton signed, the RFRA law to restore the prior legal regime, by which you’re entitled to exercise your religion unless the courts are persuaded that subjecting you to a repressive law is the least restrictive means of achieving a compelling government interest.

    (cont.)

    1. The Supreme Court said Congress couldn’t impose this standard on the states. Thus, several states responded by imposing this standard on *themselves,* by passing their own RFRA laws – so that you can exercise your religion unless a state court finds suppressing your religion is the least restrictive means of achieving a compelling government interest.

      Indiana belatedly passed such a law. These laws weren’t controversial when Clinton signed them, but were considered a rebuke to the evil right-wing Scalia.

      Now some states are punishing Christian businesses – bakeries, T-shirt stores, florists, tour companies for refusing to assist at gay weddings or gay-rights celebrations. The law Pence signed would meant that, like anyone else whose religious practice is threatened, Christian businesses could demand a court hearing on whether the restriction on their freedom is justifiable.

      But after some bullying, Pence signed another law that an “antidiscrimination” law (like what some Indiana municipalities have) would *automatically* prevail over the defendant’s religious exemptions – no balancing of the interests by the courts, just an automatic loss for the religious business, even if suppressing *isn’t* the least restrictive means of achieving a compelling state interest.

      1. Now Johnson said Pence shouldn’t have signed the original RFRA – though somehow Clinton’s husband signed one and Johnson doesn’t seem to mind. And Pence should *also* not have signed the bill to sell Christian businesses down the river.

        So Pence both should and shouldn’t have protected Christian businesses.

        And we should rely on the Constitution – which the Supreme Court has already said doesn’t protect these businesses, or the Rastafarian seeking a smoke, etc.

        1. Here’s how it works, NO serious candidate runs on an issue impossible to achieve in that term AND opposed by voters..

          Demands to SCREAMt Hillary come from very partisan Hillary haters. Voters are FED UP with that shit. As Hillary and Donald splatter each other with shit, a no-hate candidate will be a beacon on that alone. Already is. Gary is 13% in the latest poll. But do you know only 35% of voters know about him? He’s supported by nearly 1/3 of the voters who know his name. Get off his back.

          And he NEEDS an identity with the left. Ir’s assumed that we draw from the right, even far left libertarians. The 2000 WA election was FREAKY We ran every statewide race in the general election, seeking Major Party status. We won the status, which destroyed us for several years,. Huh?

          Republicans lost control of the Senate, including our state’s incumbent in a close loss. Our candidate got MUCH more than the spread, so the shrieking began “If you voted Libertarian, YOU cost us control of the Senate.” The GOP lost TEN seats, but needed only one more. Our race had the closest margin, so our guy kiiled it all.
          .
          But our guy, a VERY far left Libertarian, ran VERY far left in a progressive state to maximize his votes AND defeat the far worse Dem. (talking gay marriage in 2000!)

          Most folks know about the wasted vote syndrome, but it has all sorts of strange options. Trust our experienced candidates

          1. I don’t quite see the relevance to what I said.

            1. Sorry, I’m not sure what your point is, but it looked like criticizing him for not being libertarian enough, which is not his function. He seems to be working to avoid the wasted vote syndrome, which many libertarians may not see or appreciate beyond the obvious — “They think voting for us is a wasted vote because we can’t win.”

              If I over-read you as a critique then I apologize, But why would he mention Bill Clinton, who’s not in this race? This is a political campaign not a philosophy lecture series.

              P.S. One good reason for Gary opposing both those Indiana bills would be that government has no business taking sides. If he agreed with either one he’d be taking sides, gays or a minority of Christians. Admittedly, he may not be that purist! To me, both gays and bakers could respect each other a lot better.

              Like damn near everything, court rulings can be highly nuanced, as in don’t make it simple!. Many lower rulings are are being rejected by Appellate Courts and the state Supreme Court in IIRC Colorado, thus a lot clogging the system.

              Again, I’m sorry if I read you wrong.

    2. “He brings it up in order to incoherently bash *Pence.*”

  25. As far as I can figure, the realization that anything the government does is violence is what distinguishes a “libertarian”. People can disagree about how to apply/react to that but it doesn’t really allow for much compromise with the average American statist. Not wanting to think through the consequences of your ideas that far is not a counterargument

  26. 15% in 5 separate national polls preceding the debates.

  27. The centrist lane is the only possible winning strategy in this race. It’s a huge long shot, but hit 15 percent and get in the debates and it could happen. (So you’re saying there’s a chance!)

    The LP has a built-in 0.5% vote. If they lose half of that by steering clear of most of the LP platform, that 0.25% is not going to alter their final vote tally by much, if it’s in the 5 to 10 percent range.

    1. A majority of voters are fiscally conservative and socially liberal, if that’s what you mean. I’ve been elected that way and helped several others (local office)

  28. “Government must live within its means, and we have to respect one another’s freedoms.”

    Great quote.

  29. Johnson needs to give a series of well-written, rehearsed, staged “major policy speeches”, on foreign policy, the economy, terrorism, immigration, healthcare, etc.

    His improvised tv interviews are awful, incoherent. He doesn’t seem to have much of a stump speech, beyond a few lines he keeps repeating over and over.

    1. Bingo, But he has not a single policy to draw on, unless he’s crafting his own.
      He keeps talking about the Fair Tax and that alone could kill him.
      Nothing on healthcare.

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