Go Gary Johnson

I decided today to volunteer for Gary Johnson's independent libertarian run for President.  I have always been a Johnson supporter, and was disappointed that he did not get more attention in the debates and nomination process.

Yes, I know folks will be saying that if Gary Johnson does well, it will just be guaranteeing an Obama victory.  You know what?  Given the choices, I don't care.  My other choices seem to be the guy who pilot-tested Obamacare and Rick Santorum, perhaps the only person the Republicans could have found with a deeper authoritarian streak than Obama.  You know those 2x2 matrices where one leg is "government intervention in social issues" and the other is "government intervention in economic issues?"  Where libertarians are low-low and Republicans and Democrats are each in one of the low-high boxes?  Did you ever wonder who was in the high-high box?  Well, Obama has moved pretty strongly into that space.  But Santorum staked it out years ago.   He is right out of the John McCain, I-am-nominally-for-small-governemnt-but-support-authoritarian-solutions-for-a-range-of-random-issues school.

In fact, I might argue that freedom and small government would be better served by an Obama second term that the yahoos likely to gain the Republic nomination.  First, there is nothing worse than having statism and crony capitalism sold by someone who is nominally pro-market (see either of the Bushes as an example).  Second, Republicans are much feistier about limiting spending and regulation in Congress when in opposition.  They tend to roll over for expansions of state power when they have a fellow Republican in the White House -- just compare spending of the Republican Congress under Clinton vs. Bush.  Medicare Part D, anyone?

As I heard Ayn Rand say in a public speech in 1981, there is only so far I can go choosing the lesser of two evils.  I am now all in for Gary Johnson.


  1. metatron:

    What's wrong with Ron Paul?

  2. Arthur Felter:

    @metatron: Uncle Ron is just a little too loony for my taste. (but that's just me)

  3. Chris:

    As a libertarian, there is always the wish that one of the parties would shift to be in the Low-Low box. However, if the parties did realign this way, I can see no evidence that a low-low libertarian would not get totally smoked by a high-high interventionist

  4. BG:

    @Arthur - how is he loony? Being against new undeclared wars in the mid east? The whole sound money and end the fed rhetoric? Free trade with all nations? Ending the drug war? Ending the "war on terror"?

    All of those seem perfectly sane to me, even if they are waaaaaaay outside the mainstream. I'm baffled that most everyone agrees economic central planning doesn't and can't work, but people are nervous to phase out the Fed. The Fed sets the price of money, literally one half of every transaction that takes place every day. How is that not centrally planning an economy?

  5. Colin:

    Absolutely agree. I am pulling for a GOP Senate and House with a narrow Obama victory in which he gets under 50% of the vote. There is no way I can endorse the nonsense being spouted by Romney, Santorum and Gingrich, and it is damaging to the cause of limited government to see these guys being associated with the movement (Paul has no chance). It will be like Bush all over again, but worse.

    The other thing people don't seem to realize is that, godforbid, any of these three clowns win and you are stuck with them for another presidential election cycle. 4 years from now they will be the GOP standard bearer at the same that guys like Scott Walker or Bob McDonnell, who have shown at least some inkling of supporting limited government (Walker is obvious while I believe McDonnell took on liquor store privatization), might be available.

    I agree with John Samples -- let's see Rick Santorum get nominated and then crushed:


  6. me:

    LOL. Thank you all commenters, and, above all, thank you Warren for proving that there are still really sane people in the US interested in politics. I couldn't agree more that Obama/contenders except Paul is a non-choice and that a Republican opposition will be more effective at pretty much anything it sets its mind to.

  7. Capt Grandpa:

    How can you be so right about so many things and so wrong about this. If you want another four years of Obama, just cut out the middle man and vote for him.

    I love Ayn Rand, but in this case I'm following the advice of Wm F. Buckley. I'm going with the most conservative guy who can win. If you want to waste your time and money on someone who can't win (Paul or Johnson), then what you will get is a waste of time and money.

  8. Rick C:

    How many Sonya Sotomayors would you like to have on the Supreme Court?

  9. Not Sure:

    Whenever you vote for the lesser of two evils because they're (supposedly) the only ones who can get elected instead of for the candidate who you feel best represents you, the Republicrats have a good laugh at you behind your back.

    Thanks for the vote, chump. Now, go sit down, shut up and do as you're told. See you again in four years.

  10. Benjamin Cole:

    I agree with the sentiments expressed that Ron Paul is a good choice, except I don't believe in the gold standard. I think it could lead to another sustained Great Depression.

    Otherwise, Paul stands head and shoulders above every other candidate in the field D or R.

    Explain to me again why we are in Eatcrapistan.

  11. Matt:

    Well said, Warren. Regarding Obama's second term being better than the alternative, I made a similar point in my post about my vote in the Florida primary.

  12. me:

    Hmmm - what are your opinions on Obama's second term being better than his first? The only one I can think of is that there isn't enough time to make campaign promises to break later and that there aren't that many civil liberties left to be reduced to shreds.

    I'd vote for *anyone* else based on the principle alone that dishonesty and misbehavior in a political candidate need to be punished pour discourager les autres.

  13. Bill:

    So, it is better to get none of what you like instead of just half of it?

  14. dovh49:


    I believe Ron is more for a free market currency but he prefers gold.


    As for throwing away your vote, the Simpson's had it right:

  15. dovh49:

    And one more nonsensical belief:


    I'm to the point where I don't really believe that voting is the answer. I think the answer is just living free and ignoring the government as much as possible.

  16. me:

    @Bill - yup, it's not a value choice but an investment. Plus, I like Ron Pauls stated positions way more than any of the other candidates, and he hasn't conclusively proven to be a lying scumbag.

  17. me:

    @Warren - on a competely unrelated note, coyoteblog.com is getting slower and slower for me to load... take a look with Chrome's developer tools "Audits" function, and it presents a host of possible reasons (missing expiration for cachable entries, uncompressed javascript). Might not be all controllable via the hoster, but there's some low hanging fruit that might be useful.

  18. Stress N. Strain:

    I love how the Republican devotees try to browbeat the libertarians into voting for their team. Give me a break. I have seen nothing--nothing--to indicate that a Republican victory would bring us any less government intrusiveness, and less fiscal irresponsibility, or any less authoritarianism period, than what we have now. In fact, I have good reason to believe, with our current slate of candidates, that a Republican president would do even more harm in all of these categories.

    The libertarians don't need you, Republicans. You need us. Don't try to shame us into voting against the other guy. Make us want to vote for you.

  19. epobirs:


    There are a lot of variants but the matrix you're thinking of may be the one Jerry Pournelle created for his 1963 PoliSci dissertation.

    What we really need is sequential run-off voting. This allows people to vote for who they really want without handing the election to the least desirable candidate. By this method, you don't make a single choice for an office. You select all in order of preference. If your choice comes in last your vote then goes to #2 on your list. If that one fails then #3 gets your vote and so on until a winner is in majority.

    If we'd had this in 1992 there would never have been a Clinton Administration.

  20. Mike C.:

    And no comments on the "coat-tail" effect? An Obama victory will bring with it, to one degree or another, a tendency to see fellow travellers elected to the House and Senate. This is not a rational effect, but then, we're talking politics here, not physics. This is one of the entirely predictable side effects of this sort of reasoning that it's supporters never seem to mention. Sorry Warren, but I have to say I think you are mis-judging this one.

    On a somewhat different slant, everybody might remember that what you have seen from the current administration is only that part of the agenda that is constrained by re-election considerations. IMHO, and to quote the old movie line, "You ain't seen nothing yet!"

  21. stan:

    The explanation is remarkably bereft of intelligent thought. An emotionally satisfying decision, I'm sure. But I would have expected something better.

  22. Bram:

    Gary Johnson was my guy in the Republican race and I was disappointed that he was literally pushed aside during the early debates.

    I'm still holding out hope for the GOP - either Ron Paul or a brokered convention. If they nominate a horse's ass like Santorum, I too will be voting for Gary Johnson.

  23. Dave:

    This is a horrible decision. Look at the Paul Ryan budget vs the budget Obama unveiled yesterday and tell me that it's Coke vs. Pepsi. More than ever today there is a real distinction between the two parties and if you love liberty you will do whatever it takes to throw the Democrats out.

  24. Glenn:

    I agree completely with the attitude, if not the specific candidate. The lesser of two evils is still evil, so I can't vote for Obama, Romney, or Santorum. Warren, I like your analysis (and this site!).

  25. Don:

    I gotta say, I've been leaning in this direction a bit myself. I do give some credence to the idea that the country "can survive" a second Obama administration, but at the same time I'm not sure that things have become painful enough to make the changes we need.

    A friend was telling me the other day that he's given up and is stocking up on guns and ammo. Oh, I forgot to mention, he's a Baptist Minister!

    I'll keep pushing Paul for now, but honestly there's very little chance it won't be Romney or Santorum, and either one will be only just ever so slightly less bad than Obama.

    It's time to choose "other" and I'll likely have to do that this time around.

  26. sux2bme:

    Isn't this the guy that during the Florida Libertarian candidate debates claimed that the reason that there have been no prosecutions of the wall street banksters is because "... none of them committed any crimes."

    Really? All those trillions and no fraud!? Truly unbelievable.

  27. Brian Dunbar:

    I think the answer is just living free and ignoring the government as much as possible.

    That's getting harder, and harder to do.

    You can ignore the government. But it sure isn't going to ignore you back.

  28. btf:

    @Dave - Maybe, but unfortunately the republicans are not going to be nominating Paul Ryan. How am I supposed to trust the rest of the party will listen to those in their midst with sense when they are rallying behind a guy like Santorum?

    If team R wanted or cared about libertarian voters, they should have at least humored Gary a little bit. The shunning was appalling. I already got my GJ t-shirt... it's pretty nice.

  29. frankania:

    Ron Paul is the SANEST politico I have ever seen and I am 71 years old. I might even return to the USA, if he wins.

  30. dovh49:


    Nothing else is working though. Time to just be free, we can at least always be free in our minds :) . If it gets bad enough then it will be just time to leave. Heck, even New Zealand is starting to look pretty good.

  31. Doug:

    Ron (and Rand) Paul became political jokes in my book when Obama made his highly-unconstitutional recess appointments at the first of the year, and these two sat back and said nothing. Nada. If "constitutional government" is so important to these guys, where was the outrage? Where were the articles of impeachment? A politician with any true amount of ambition could easily make something like this the central focus of his campaign. Instead, the two Pauls, as well as Johnson, sat there on their thumbs, and said and did nothing. Jokes. Nothing but jokes.

  32. Bram:

    Doug: What exactly did the rest of the Republicans do - other than pretend to be mad in front of cameras?

  33. epobirs:


    Go ahead. Find the crime that can be prosecuted under anything that was on the books for the time period in question.

    Hint: Being desperately wrong and having other people follow your lead is not a crime in of itself. That is why derivatives are such a great scam. No matter how many time they blow up in investors' faces, any legislator pushing for them to be seriously regulated or even outlawed won't get his proposal up for a vote.

    Check out a book called 'All the Devils Are Here' to see what an amazing array of cooperative stupidity it took to make this go from being a small bubble to something that would make Charles Mackay want to rise from the grave so he could write a new chapter. THOUSANDS of people knew this stuff was going to blow up. Most had no idea how big but they either stayed away, took a short position, or deluding themselves they see the fuse burning in time to run a safe distance away.

  34. D-man:

    @Bram: who said that "the rest of the Republicans" were vociferous defenders of the Constitution? Only one presidential candidate is running around the country claiming that he is. Wanna take a stab at who he is?

  35. Brian Dunbar:

    Time to just be free, we can at least always be free in our minds

    Ask a Kulak how well that works out.

    One of the _problems_ with totalitarian 'isms is that they won't, they can't, let you be free in your own mind.

    Think anything other than the approved party-line and you're a threat.

    Threats have to be honored.

    If it gets bad enough then it will be just time to leave. Heck, even New Zealand is starting to look pretty good.

    If it gets bad enough you won't have anywhere to go.

  36. me:

    Matt Taibbi wrote the book on exactly what crimes were committed as parts of the housing collapse and bailouts. Worth a read, some arguments are available online: http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/why-isnt-wall-street-in-jail-20110216

  37. CT_Yankee:


    8 minute video clip highlighting the vast divide between perception and truth.


  38. Mercy Vetsel:

    Oh, good grief. Nothing is more frustrating than seeing otherwise intelligent, clear-thinking libertarians go Losertarian and channel their efforts into advancing fascism or statism (to use a more polite term) by ignoring or misunderstanding the huge gulf between the two parties when it comes to increasing the size and scope of the government.

    The Republican Liberty Caucus rated Santorum Libertarian in each of the last 7 years he was in the Senate.


    So there are two possibilities here. Either the Losertarians are clueless about voting records and absorbing the narrative pushed by the statist media OR the RLC is getting the ratings wrong. Having actually spent some time looking at ratings and the ACTUAL policies pushed by their voting records, it's obvious to me that the Losers are being deluded by the media and effectively neutralized as a political force.


  39. Mercy Vetsel:

    "You know those 2×2 matrices where one leg is “government intervention in social issues” and the other is “government intervention in economic issues?”"

    "Where libertarians are low-low and Republicans and Democrats are each in one of the low-high boxes?"

    No, actually I'm not. That box is a FIGMENT OF YOUR IMAGINATION. The real boxes generate by people seriously attempting to rank the hard concrete facts (voting records) rather than media impressions show that the Republicans are much more libertarian and THE MOST LIBERTARIAN voting records tend to come from people who are portrayed as bigots and religious authoritarians in the media, people like Jesse Helms and Jim DeMint.

    Consider the current issue of whether or not the government has right to force us to buy insurance for things that aren't really insurance at all. Santorum's view is perfectly in line with libertarians and yet the media impression is that Santorum wants to ban birth control.

    I'm an atheist and a libertarian so I understand the deeply felt bigotry that most of peers feel towards evangelical Christians, but in the realm of politics, this is utterly destructive.

    There's another aspect to Losertarianism that's even more destructive. It's the childish notion that you're going to punish the people on your side by not participating. There is a reason why socially well-adjusted libertarians end up in one of the two major parties (clear-thinking ones in the Republican Party and media impression ones ending up with the Democrats).

    I don't care one lick about whether or not supporting Johnson punishes Romney or Santorum; I'm upset because it punishes, me, my family and everyone in the U.S. who believes in freedom.

    If you really can't stand supporting either the Democrats or the Republicans, what you should do instead is work to support the Green Party. At least that way your efforts won't bolster soft fascism.


  40. Joe:

    This is perhaps the most depressing graph of the 2012 election. It doesn't show Johnson, but I would guess he would be somewhere close to Paul.


  41. Mercy Vetsel:

    > This is perhaps the most depressing graph of the 2012 election.

    Actually, what's depressing about that chart is that 1) it utterly unconnected with the political issues of the day, 2) entirely subjective, 3) completely wrong and 4) believed by people like you and Warren.

    Really? Ron Paul is a centrist overall on questions of liberty? There may be questions about his tactics but does anyone really doubt that Ron Paul is one of the most philosophically libertarian politicians in the Congress?

    politicalcompass.org is a left-fascist view of the political spectrum, just look at a few of their questions.

    How do you or any other rational libertarian tangle with logically incoherent questions like "If economic globalisation is inevitable, it should primarily serve humanity rather than the interests of trans-national corporations."?

    Or how about this question: "Our race has many superior qualities, compared with other races." The not-so-subtle implication? Right-wingers are racists.

    This scale makes Louis Farrakhan and the Russian neo-communist nationalists "right wingers" and Milton Friedman and myself left-wingers. That's not just transparently false, it's frankly offensive. My response to the lefto-fascists at "Political Compass" perpetuating this racist BS is FU, my kids are mixed race and I'm tired of being called a racist because I believe in limited government.

    If libertarians think they can be a political force for freedom AND escape the smears of the left by participating in demonizing conservatives, they are sadly mistaken. That's what I like about the Christian right -- they actually have the guts to stick to their convictions about limited government even when their political opponents smear them in the most vicious manner possible.


  42. John David Galt:

    If the Tea Party movement stands for anything at all, it's about cutting government spending, especially federal spending. (It is not yet clear whether the movement does really stand for anything, or is just a way for establishment Republicans to co-opt independent voters, but this year should give us a definitive answer one way or the other.)

    If we can manage to get Ron Paul nominated, then by all means let's get together behind him.
    But if they nominate a big spender like Romney, then it's time to defect en masse to the Libertarian Party candidate, whoever it may be. If that means Obama wins again, I don't see that as any worse than a Romney or Gingrich win, because they will spend us into ruin just like Obama. If that's going to happen anyway, it's better for all of us that the president who does it wear the Democratic label.

    And just maybe, the credible threat of such a mass defection will compel the GOP leadership to stop shutting us out and nominate Ron Paul -- either this year or in 2016, when we've shown them we will carry out the defection.

  43. Reg:

    I'm on board with Johnson, and I think he could get enough support to get in the debates, after which a win is certainly possible. The primary has shown support can swing quickly to a new candidate.

    Though I'll work for Johnson until election day, I am reserving my right to change my mind in the voting booth if Johnson doesn't take, as Romney is a little bit of an improvement on Obama.

  44. me:

    Addendum: here's another example of people getting off scot free (instead of being properly taken to account): http://globaleconomicanalysis.blogspot.com/2012/02/citigroup-whistle-blower-to-rake-in-31.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+MishsGlobalEconomicTrendAnalysis+%28Mish%27s+Global+Economic+Trend+Analysis%29&utm_content=Google+Reader

    Sounds good, right? As in they got convicted? Yes? With a 160M fine for >100B worth of damage?