Saturday, March 10, 2012

A Caveat About the Election for Libertarians

I know a lot of libertarians are still gaga over Ron Paul—an affliction which I don't understand considering Ron's regular ultra-conservative pronouncements, his inconsistencies, and his close affiliations with some extremely unsavory groups and individuals. People shouldn't forget that he endorsed the so-called Constitution Party in the last election—and they are nothing but a crazy Right party filled with racists, bigots, anti-Semites and theocrats. They openly proclaim they want to impose "God's law" on America.

But when Ron comes teetering out onto stage the saliva glands of some libertarians go into hyperdrive requiring many to attend his meetings with drool bibs securely attached to their Ron Paul shirts, as they wear their Ron Paul hates and cling to their Ron Paul action figure in the rumbled suit.

I personally consider Ron a paleoconservative, little different in policy matters from the odious Pat Buchanan. And some prominent Ron Paul advocates had previously prostituted themselves on behalf of Pat Buchanan. I don't mind people pimping themselves out, but I do criticize their lack of taste.

A lot of libertarian entertain the following utopian fantasy. In their dream Ron Paul will fight valiantly till the end, lose the Republican race, and then turn around and endorse Gary Johnson as the Libertarian Party candidate.

I'm not so sure. The grapevine told me that Gary Johnson went to let Ron know he was running in the Republican primary. This was long before Ron had even indicated a desire to run and was hinting that he wouldn't. Remember Gary had previously supported Ron and was paying a courtesy call, which was not necessary. I'm told that when Gary finished the sentence about running that Paul glared at him and stood up and walked out on him. Gary himself has never said anything negative about Paul, other than that they have some disagreements. Yes, they do. Gary is a libertarian, Paul is paleoconservative and those are some disagreements. Gary has been nothing but a gentleman and spent time praising Paul during his campaign. Paul has pretended that Johnson didn't exist.

While some libertarians think Paul is the messiah, I consider him a crafty politician who has held together a coalition of contradictory views by cleverly phrasing things so that both right-wing statists and conservative leaning libertarians hear what they want to hear. I fear his votes, for the most part, go to social conservatism and not to libertarianism, at least when those issue are up. And his votes on immigration and free trade also lean in the paleoconservative direction even while he spouts libertarian rhetoric. Libertarians have always got the words while paleoconservative got the votes—but that seems to be enough to buy off the libertarians.

The dream vision says Ron will fight to the end and then endorse Gary and that Gary will win a few percentage points pushing the libertarian idea.

I am not sure that Paul will not sabotage that vision. It is possible but I think it the least likely of four scenarios—though all are possible. Here are the possibilities.

1. Ron runs till the end, drops out, and then announces he is running a Libertarian and wants the LP to dump Johnson in favor of himself.

2. He may do this just prior to the LP nominating convention, thus not running to the end, and sucker punches Johnson at the very last second. I think the fund raising is just too damn good for Ron to want to put an end to the money bombs. And, under federal rules, his excess funds can be donated to any nonprofit of his choice and he happens to have a couple under his control.

3. Ron may have it in mind that he can get the VP nomination with Romney. Even the media has noted Ron's lack of criticism of Romney, even while he was dumping on the other Republican candidates. Romney has to pick someone. He can't pick Huntsman, that would look too much like a Mormon take-over. Santorum is far too repulsive and I doubt he wants Gingrich. I don't think he will go for the Blanche or Jane Hudson of the GOP: Bachmann or Palin. But, in spite of his own theocratic tendencies Ron doesn't appeal to the Christian appeal—though he has tried.

4. Ron could just let his true colors out and once again endorse the Constitution Party.

I think it less likely that Ron will graciously endorse Gary Johnson. I don't get that vibe from Ron. All you have to do is ask him a question he wants to avoid—and there are plenty of them—and you'll see how he glares at you and responds. While, I wouldn't care if he endorses Gary or not, I'm not expecting it. Nor am I confident that we want to attract a large number of the fringe right types that are rallying around Ron. But then, the LP seems riddled with them as is, so I'm not sure it would do any additional harm.

I think the sad thing is that Gary Johnson, while clearly the best candidate in this round, is in the unenviable position of having to run as a Libertarian Party candidate. He would be the best candidate the LP has ever offered, perhaps with the exception of Ed Clark, but he is far too good for the vehicle he will be driving. The LP ceased to be a party of principle long ago. It sadly runs neocons and conservatives (like Wayne Root), racists and bigots and crazed conspiracy mongers. The party simple is so desperate for any help that it exercises poor judgment in who it allows into positions of influence. When Birthers, Truthers, and Birchers are welcomed with open arms, then the party has become a political toilet and needs a good flushing. Gary Johnson would just give them more credibility than they possibly deserve.

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