Ron Paul

Ron Paul Did Not Endorse Jill Stein. (Or Libertarian Gary Johnson.)


MSNBC made a mistake in the way they introduced a segment with former GOP congressman and presidential candidate Ron Paul this morning, one that an NPR reporter Jessica Taylor ran with on Twitter, then quickly withdrew.

Ron Paul's Revolution

Like many lies, it has doubtless made its run around the world and into your social network feed or in-box: the idea that Ron Paul has endorsed the Green Party's Jill Stein.

He did not, but what he has said about her, and about Gary Johnson, in recent appearances on Fox Business Network and that very MSNBC segment might provide some insight into the mind of a libertarian (Paul was also the Libertarian Party's presidential candidate in 1988) dissatisfied with the major parties and with Gary Johnson.

First, on Fox Business, Paul did tell progressives they should think about voting for Stein. Paul doesn't always speak in crisp complete easy to follow sentences off the cuff, but here is the context of what he said about Stein, praising her earlier for her "different foreign policy."

"If you have a sincere progressive, I knew 'em, I've worked with 'em, and they say 'one of the most important issues to me is civil liberties and change in our foreign policy,' Jill Stein, vote for her…."

He certainly was not very positive about the Libertarian Party in that Fox Business appearance, referring to what "on occasion, Johnson says about freer markets and less regulation," and suggesting that that economic part of Johnson, combined with what Paul seems to think is a more consistently non-interventionist foreign policy from Stein, would be a good combo for America.

But he's not going to tell his fans how to vote for. "Whomever they want and it probably won't matter much," Paul said when asked to give voting orders. "If they want to vote Libertarian, because I'm disappointed with the performance of the Libertarian leaders, but, stick to the principle, a libertarian believes in the non aggression principle, the market works and freedom works and if you accept one law and that law is you can't do harm to other people…stick to that principle voting Libertarian and sort of recognizing what you are doing," by which I interpret him saying you should recognize that with Johnson you are not getting that full, radical non-aggression message.

He then went on to say what I quoted above about progressives and Stein.

Mostly, he was speaking out against the status quo of the two major parties and lamented the systematic problems with third party success with ballot access and the debates.

And here is that Fox Business clip:

That "Jill Stein, vote for her" taken out of context became the hook for today's MSNBC appearance, in which Paul right from the start disabused the host of the notion that he's supporting or voting for Stein. "I haven't endorsed anybody."

Paul does not think, though he doesn't get into specifics as to why, that Johnson is delivering a "crisp" Libertarian message, and thus "I have to look for bits and pieces in all the candidates" for a full service Paulian message. "Liberty is all chopped to pieces" on the American political landscape, Paul thinks.

"On occasion Gary will say something good about the economy" is his faint praise for Johnson. He repeats that he thinks Stein is good on foreign policy. But for a full-on libertarian, Paul thinks there is no clear-cut choice. "If you want to express yourself, voting for the non-aggression principle, the principle that created the libertarian message that nobody can commit aggression, the individual can't nor government" to Paul, there is "not a crisp answer to say this person represents liberty, voting for this person you'll be voting for liberty and truly expressing yourself."

Perhaps Paul would have preferred that Darryl Perry win the Libertarian nod.

Paul does defend Johnson against the idea that "Aleppo moment" gaffes disqualify him.

While not from Ron Paul's own mouth, for more context on how people from the Ron Paul Institute criticize the Johnson/Weld ticket, see here.

The video of the MSNBC appearance.

Rough transcript of his full MSNBC comments.

NEXT: Trump Foundation Gets Cease and Desist, Sanders Thinks His Supporters Won't Go For Gary Johnson: P.M. Links

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  1. “Whomever they want and it probably won’t matter much,” Paul said when asked to give voting orders.

    I’m voting for the Nihilist Party candidate.

    1. I mean, say what you want about the tenets of National Socialism, Dude, at least it’s an ethos.

      1. Talk about ethos. Friends_of_Beer_Party

    2. Is that the nihil you want to die on?

      1. a candidate that is not fomenting blood in the streets, chanting nationalism, and foaming at the mouth to look tough on terror has no place in the average American savage’s thought process. Throw in some economic boogeymen and some loud mouth boisterousness and braggadocio and you have the opposite of rational, thinking potential with a moral compass.

        Advocating market stability through less war and free trade is just crazy talk.

        the notion that anyone is stupid enough to vote for the cunt or for that clown trump sums up our demise.

  2. Come on, we all know Ron Paul won’t endorse Gary because of abortion.

    1. And butt sex. Not personally between them but because its gross.

      1. You sir came to the wrong neighbourhood if you’re going to hate on butt sex.

        1. I don’t hate on it, I just think its gross. What consenting adults want to do is their biz.

    2. Nope, foreign policy is the deal breaker, not abortion or immigration (areas where libertarians disagree.)

  3. Gary’s not pure enough for Ron, but it’s his vote, and isn’t it a NAP violation to tell someone else how to vote?

    1. isn’t it a NAP violation to tell someone else how to vote?

      Is my sarc detector glitching?

  4. RE: Ron Paul Did Not Endorse Jill Stein. (Or Libertarian Gary Johnson.)

    A libertarian like Ron Paul not endorsing a socialist slaver like Jill Stein?
    What’s this country coming to?

  5. Progs hate Ron Paul and then love him when they misstate who he supports politically.

    The Democrats are sooooooo desperate and it shows. Its like they know Hillary is going to lose too.

  6. MSNBC made a mistake

    That’s very charitable of you Brian.

    1. NBC News, home of the the piece-of-shit Brian Williams who lied about being in combat with real soldiers, sailors and airmen.

    2. Very charitable indeed.

      Brian called this correctly: “Like many lies, it has doubtless made its run around the world ….”

      1. Yeah, I saw that. But his opening was charitable.

  7. Ron Paul doesn’t strike me as the kind of guy who approves of the devil weed. He might be okay with it being legal, but I don’t think he is fond of public officials using it. That probably explains the lack of a Johnson endorsement.

    1. He supports legalization. He probably doesn’t support Johnson because Johnson is a wishy washy progtarian. He probably also doesn’t want to get Rand into trouble with GOP voters by endorsing a third party candidate. I wish Ron had run one more time as the Libertarian candidate after Rand dropped out. At least I would have someone to proudly vote for.

      1. I think he is definitely okay with it being legal. He is just one of the few people in politics who understands that just because he doesn’t like it doesn’t mean it should be illegal. That was my only point.

    2. “I would get the government out of regulating all those substances and I will allow the states to deal with the problems whether children should have them, whether children can buy cigarettes and alcohol, or hard drugs, marijuana. And different states would probably do differing things
      The first federal law against marijuana was 1938 and they did it through high taxation because they knew they didn’t have authority to say you’re not allowed to smoke marijuana.

      Today it’s gone berserk. The federal government comes in and overrules a state (sic) has legalized marijuana to be used by very sick people, AIDS and cancer, and they’re getting some help. The Federal government comes in and puts people in prison that are sick, because they’re using for medical reason and they’ve never committed a violent crime. That’s how absurd the war on drugs has become.”
      Dec. 10, 2007, Ron Paul in an interview with John Stossel, ABC 20/20

    3. I would think Paul’s personal views on abortion and religion would be a more likely breaking point with Johnson.

  8. “Weld was Johnson’s choice for Vice President, and Johnson has said that Johnson and Weld, who are both former state governors, would pretty much serve as co-presidents if elected.

    Discussing some of Weld’s activities prior to becoming the vice presidential nominee, Dick notes Weld “was one of a group of politicians who wrote a letter to members of Congress telling them that it was important to reauthorize the portions of the PATRIOT Act that were set to sunset.” Dick continues that “these are some of the worst sections of the PATRIOT Act, some of the sections that are most abusive of freedom, and that’s why they were the few provisions that had sunset provisions to begin with.”

    Dick also discusses in the interview how Weld “praised George W. Bush’s foreign policy not too long after the 2003 Iraq invasion.” This puts Weld squarely at odds with libertarians’ support for a noninterventionist foreign policy.

    Looking at domestic policy, Dick argues that Weld has shown extreme disrespect for the liberty at the core of the libertarian message by saying during a campaign interview that nobody on the US government’s terror watch lists should be able to buy a gun. Dick explains that bureaucrats arbitrarily add people’s names to the lists without the need to show any respect for due process rights.”

    1. “Turning to the Libertarian ticket’s potential Supreme Court nominees, Dick discusses in the interview how Johnson has deferred to Weld on the picking of Supreme Court nominees, with Weld identifying as the kind of people Johnson would appoint to the court current Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer and US appellate court Judge Merrick Garland, who President Barack Obama has nominated for appointment to the Supreme Court. Concludes Dick, “There’s no argument that either Justice Breyer or Judge Garland is a libertarian, but here we have the Libertarian presidential ticket saying that is the kind of people they want to put on the court.”

      The end result of such significant anti-libertarian positions being advanced by the Libertarian presidential ticket is that, even if the ticket wins a high percentage on election day, it will, Dick says, be “an absolute failure” for advancing libertarianism. That is because “they’ve drug [the term ‘libertarian’] through the mud, made it difficult for people to understand what it even means.” But, Dick predicts that the ticket ultimately will not do as well as some current polling suggests. Instead, much of the early gauged support, Dick says, “will probably dry up” because Johnson and Weld “are being so wishy-washy that they are not giving people a good reason to really support them.”
      This is all from that Ron Paul Institute for Peace link that Reason posted.
      Anyways Fuck Weld. Fuck Johnson for picking Weld.

      1. And, uh, fuck the LP for picking Johnson?

        1. says that there are 250,000 registered libertarian voters*
          After securing the nomination, the candidates moved to the center to attract more votes, just like pretty much everyone else does regardless of party.
          Unless Johnson/Weld gets to 270, Weld will never by V.P. So all the angst over him is misplaced, but haters are gonna hate.

          * Many states do not require voters to register their party affiliation, so this number is likely low

  9. Kudos to Ron Paul for not endorsing anyone, unlike Bernie Sanders who endorsed someone after telling his followers not to listen to him if he ever endorses someone.

    1. The Bern. Feel the Bern until I say don’t and then vote for that shrill.

  10. You can try to spin that any way you want, but it’s quite telling that when asked “Who are you telling your supporters to vote for,” Ron Paul specifically speaks about his disappointment with the “Libertarian” ticket, doesn’t mention Johnson by name, and then says that protection of civil liberties and less militarism certainly is a fit with Jill Stein, two issues he cares about. And he mentions her directly.

    He doesn’t need to say “I endorse.” He makes it pretty clear he’s not with Reason on this.

    1. You lose credibility by writing as you do.

      Of course, RP is not happy with Gary Johnson, much less Bill Weld. That does not thereby mean that he thinks that folks who want more liberty and the NAP should vote for socialist Jill Stein.

      1. He specifically said he wouldn’t suggest to anyone who they should vote for.

        And he also specifically said he was disappointed with the Libertarian ticket, on MSNBC he said Johnson list some credibility recently, and he also said specifically that Stein was the best fit with his desire for less militarism. And he said all this twice in 2 interviews.

        If you had to make a guess as to who Ron Paul himself is voting for, based on those two recent interviews, it wouldn’t be Clinton, it wouldn’t be Trump, it sure doesn’t sound like it would be Johnson, and it sure sounds like it certainly could be Stein.

        Tough for Libertarians to accept.

        1. Do you think that the likes of moi are butt-hurt about RP’s criticisms of big government GOPers like Johnson and Weld?

          1. It would be impossible for me to care less what commenters here think about Ron Paul. You should ask the author of the article that question. He is the one who raised the topic here at Reason, which I responded to. You must have cared what Ron Paul thought…you read the article as well.

            1. Why should it be “impossible for [you] to care less what commenters here think about Ron Paul”?

              Yes, I do care what Ron thinks. I also care what Gary Johnson and Bill Weld think. In addition, I care what Jill Stein thinks.

              Moreover, I care what Joe from Lowell thinks and what Tony thinks and what Donna Brazil thinks.

              1. Enjoy your evening!

            2. It would be impossible for me to care less what commenters here think about Ron Paul.

              That’s why you commented, right?

              1. You got it, genius. That’s why my original comment was for the author, not to any other commenter. I responded to Mike because he addressed me, like you.

                Not too swift, are you?

        2. If you had to make a guess as to who Ron Paul himself is voting for

          Dude. I’ll bet you $1 million Ron Paul is not voting for Jill Stein.

          1. Dude, you’re an idiot.

    2. Ron Paul is not a socialist, so he would not endorse Jill Stein for Libertarian and Republican voters.

      He is saying its okay to vote for Jill Stein instead of Hitlery Clinton.

      1. But apparently it’s not OK to vote for Johnson instead of either Clinton or Trump?

        Ron Paul is not being forthright in his actual views. How could a self proclaimed supporter of Austrian economics ever suggest voting for anyone who thinks that the government runs the economy (or should run the economy)?

  11. You know who else didn’t think voting matters very much?

    1. My boy Uncle Joe?

    2. Pol Pot?

  12. This is the same Ron Paul who ran to Virginia to try to save Republican Ken Cuccinelli whom no one would ever mistake for a libertarian, but finds a problem with Gary Johnson. Both Ron and Rand went there and blasted Sarvis for being a phony libertarian. I didn’t think much of Sarvis but if Cuccinelli was acceptable then surely GJ is.

    Ron Paul is full of shit. He’s acting as if there is no difference between ClinTrump and Johnson. He doesn’t even see a difference between Johnson and Stein! I don’t know what he thinks he’s doing but if he’s decided that he’s above politics, then he should stop being interviewed or at least state that he will never endorse anyone, not even his son Rand.

    1. Ron Paul is just some paleocon-style “libertarian” Republican who got way more famous than he deserves. If you want to go around talking about Libertarian litmus tests, Ron Paul almost fails mine. If he tried harder than he has to push his religious views into law, then he’d get a great big F from me. In my eyes, the Ron Paul Rlovelution is part of the past now. Yes, it “woke up” a lot of people (many of whom went on to support Obama and then Sanders) and injected some good ideas into the political discourse, but as far as Ron Paul himself is concerned, it’s time for retirement.

      We do need someone new though. Someone who’s kind of like Gary Johnson, an actual politician who’s polished but not too polished. Someone with some energy but not too much to seem kooky. But, unlike Johnson, someone who can espouse the actual tenets of liberty and package them in a way that’s readily digestible by the masses. No one on the stage of the Libertarian Party debates fit that bill. Everyone came off as kind of a kook or boring or both. You’d think it wouldn’t be too hard to find this person, but apparently it’s really fucking hard.

      1. John Stossel or Judge Napolitano? Tom Palmer needs to get elected governor somewhere, then he would be good too.

      2. as far as Ron Paul himself is concerned, it’s time for retirement.

        He IS retired, you dope. The last time I checked, in America retired people are still allowed to speak.

    2. The Democrats are running a neocon, the Republicans are running a populist Democrat, and the Libertarians are running two Republicans.

  13. Ron Paul can go fuck himself. Who gives a fuck what he thinks?

    1. Millions of people who were inspired by, and voted for him?

      Gary Johnson’s only libertarian cred is living up to the disparaging stereotype of “a Republican who smokes pot”.

      1. Millions huh? When did that happen? Paul got 14 delegates in 2008. In the Republican primaries. He had zero impact.

        1. He didn’t even have a neckbeard or a Twitter account. What a loser. Sad!

  14. Will Gary Johnson even get any libertarian votes? I guess he’s happy with a very loose coalition of NOTA-voters, disaffected Republican neocons and dope-addled “Bernie-bros”

    Astromathman ? 4 hours ago

    I’ve called myself a libertarian for years – I had a subscription to Reason back when it was a libertarian publication. (Yeah, that long ago.)
    And I’ve voted Libertarian many times – but not for Johnson. Not last time, not this time. He might call himself Libertarian, but he’s not anything like what I would call a Libertarian. I’m not wasting my vote on that clown.


    1. I voted for him in 2012 when he seemed an intelligent alternative to the Obomney clones. Now I wonder if the only reason he looked good in 2012 was because nobody was paying any attention to him.

      I agree with you, SIV…if you want to send a message to the two parties, elect Trump. Gary Johnson is a waste of time.

      1. In 2012 he hadn’t yet lost his mind about freedom of religion and freedom of association. Nazi cakes and hijab bans were not part of his 2012 campaign.

      2. I was having the same question myself. Last time around I didn’t remember hearing nearly as much stuff that I found severely off putting. I imagine it’s a combination of him getting more attention, which brings our more of his bad views, and perhaps getting a little more “social justice warrior-y” in the last few years. I never thought he was amazing, but surely better than Mitt or Obama.

        Technically he’s still WAY better than Trump or Clinton. If you had a check list of individual policies/positions he’d come out 10 times better… But the overall picture just isn’t as good.

  15. Were GJ not on the ballot, I might well vote for Stein for the same reason that RP suggests-she is the only committed non-interventionist and it would be a way to say Fuck You to the two major parties for what its worth. I have actually voted for Green party candidates for local offices just to support third parties, no matter how much I might disagree with them on everything else.

    1. I actually agree with the first part of your statement and certainly don’t pretend to tell you how to vote but I must take issue with the best way to say Fuck You to the two major parties for what its worth. Nothing says “Fuck You” to the two major parties more than electing Donald J. Trump.

  16. Well, William Weld basically endorsed Hillary Clinton for President, so I don’t blame Ron Paul for not getting involved in the Gary Johnson shit-show.

    Fucking hell, Gary Johnson is running an awful campaign…he brought in a running mate who’s hijacked the messaging and endorsed his opponent. He can’t answer softball questions on foreign policy. Why doesn’t he just toke up on national TV and fucking end it?…..dent-gaffe

    1. If he did that he’d probably meet the 15% threshold.

  17. People who are bagging on Ron Paul are friggin’ idiots. He’s not PERFECT in my view, but neither is anyone else I’ve ever heard of PERIOD. No philosopher, not Ayn Rand, not a politician. Nobody.

    However he is easily the best politician (that made it to any serious level) I have ever come across in the entire 20th and 21st centuries in American politics. Hands down. He has so few things I disagree with strongly it’s barely worth mentioning. Even most of those are differences in personal beliefs where he would in fact just keep the government out of the issue entirely anyway.

    He’s not a “The roads MUST be private!!! No taxes period!!!” level of anarcho-libertarian, but neither am I. If you are then fine, but I’d ask you to point out a SINGLE actual politician of note who is better from the last 125 years. That’s what I thought.

    As far as this particular article, he’s just out doing the speaking on TV thing. I imagine he will either abstain from voting, vote for Johnson, or maybe even Trump if he gets a wild hair.

    Personally I think the way he should have handled this was “I don’t agree with him on a ton of things, but Johnson on balance is still far and away better than anybody else this cycle. Even though he kinda sucks… If you’re a retarded liberal, a REAL progressive, you should vote for Stein if you can’t handle Johnson. I think everybody is crappy and I’m way better than any of them, but this is what we got to work with this go ’round!”

    1. Or something to that effect 🙂 Maybe he really is just too peeved to support Johnson period for personal reasons, like him pissing away such a great opportunity to expand ideas and shit.

      I’ll tell you what, if random chance had made things slightly different and if RP was a few years younger HE might have actually got somewhere on the Libertarian ticket with the cluster fuck we’re having in this election. The Republican establishment never would have let him win their ticket, but if he were 10 years younger, after failing at the Republican nomination twice, but growing his political stature as he has… Well he could have got more traction this year as the LP nominee than he did in 1988, that’s for sure! Johnson has been a pretty big blow it case. Not that I’d expect RP to have WON or anything, but I think he would have got farther than Johnson has.

      I guess that’s fate for ya, he just didn’t get the cards dealt quite right to really make the maximum impact. Maybe we’ll get 2 candidates worse than Rand in 8 or 12 years when Rand has perhaps gotten a little (lot?) better and more widely known? I don’t see anybody else who’s going to be stepping up to the plate just yet… And I won’t be holding my breath.

      1. Ron Paul has swallowed whole hog the Rothbard/Llewellyn idea that reversing the flow towards statism is impossible and that the entire social/legal structure must be destroyed before liberty can prevail. Here he hopes that in the ashes of the republic, society will spontaneously re-organize itself providing liberty for all. For RP, Johnson represents the hopeless idea that bad trends can incrementally be reversed.

        Spontaneous order is a valid concept but even its strongest advocates (Smith and Hayek) realized that the resulting order isn’t necessarily better than what preceded it. The subterranean cultural values will always manifest themselves and the present culture is not pro-liberty no matter how many surveys say that 15% to 25% of the American people are crypto-libertarians.

        The world may be getting better over the centuries but that doesn’t mean that improvement has been without retrogression at times.

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