The Libertarian’s Choice

Ilya Somin likes Gary Johnson over Ron Paul. I heartily agree with Professor Somin, for many of the reasons he outlines.  Gary Johnson got on my radar screen, when after finishing out his second term as Governor of New Mexico, he proceeded to question the wisdom of the War on Drugs, calling it “an expensive bust.” In short, I think Johnson might be all the wookie we’re looking for, but without the suit.

I am concerned about his name recognition problem and his ability to raise money.

10 thoughts on “The Libertarian’s Choice”

  1. I think Johnson would have a tough time in the primary given that he is pro-choice. Seems like Paul would be more likely to pickup some of the Huckabee vote than Johnson would now that Huckabee is out.

  2. I think Somin is wrong. The more traditional “classical liberalism” that used to define libertarianism is more in line with Ron Paul’s view of the fourteenth amendment than anything coming from the Catoites.

    I strongly urge you to read Raoul Berger’s work. The evidence is pretty conclusive – that the fourteenth amendment was intended to cover almost the exact same ground as the civil rights act of 1866.

    Michael Kent Curtis has a pretty strong rebuttal to this view, but honestly (and sadly…) I think that Berger’s work is closer to the truth.

  3. There’s a lot of scholars who disagree with Berger. Originalist scholars. So I don’t think it’s that conclusive.

  4. Before you get any more hope up on Gary Johnson, *please* watch his performance in the recent GOP debate held in South Carolina and shown on FOX News (Ron Paul, Pawlenty, Cain, and Santorum were also there; I imagine the video is on the FOX website or elsewhere on the web.)

    I had wanted to like Gary Johnson. I had hoped he would be Ron Paul with two terms as governor on his resume. I was not only disappointed, but embarrassed. During the debate and the interview with Hannity thereafter, Johnson behaved like he was making a social call, and not trying to convince America why he should be president; he presented himself like he was auditioning for “The View” and not to be commander-in-chief. I’m all for being an original, but his behavior was odd enough for me to question his judgment.
    He showed hideous judgment in using pro-choice, pseudo-scientific language to describe his views on abortion; not only did he fail to show any empathy for the conservative South Carolina audience, he failed to try to connect in any way to the mostly pro-life GOP rank-and-file.

    He also went out of his way to attack Sarah Palin, and belittled her for a scene on her TV show were she’s climbing a mountain in Alaska. Not only did he again alienate conservative GOP-er’s when he didn’t have to, but he showed himself to be a hypocrite, because moments later he talked about his own mountain-climbing experience as why he’s presidential material.

    Supposedly he did better on an NPR program over the weekend. But trust me, watch the FOX debate and Hannity interview before you think twice about Johnson.

  5. Sebastian, yes I know. Randy Barnett is one who comes to mind right off the top of my head. There is an entire chapter in Government By Judiciary dedicated to Barnet’s “cornucopia of rights” theory.

    Honestly, I prefer the more moderate “beltway” libertarianism of the Cato variety. We wouldn’t have McDonald without it. But this still doesn’t change my view that Berger’s search for original intent is more thorough than any other.

  6. I agree with Lucky. It was going to be so exciting to see two libertarians in that debate, but Johnson made a complete fool of himself, starting from the point when he started whining that he wasn’t getting enough screen time. His answers failed to connect and he seemed rather unprepared for the kinds of questions he was answered. Most of Ron Paul’s answers were met by thunderous applause; I don’t think a single one of Johnson’s did. I mean, the guy was outdone by the CEO of a pizza company. Really sad all around.

  7. Johnson clearly had a bad day in SC, no question. But he had 8 good years as a governor. Unfortunately our system for choosing a president is closer to American Idol than we typically admit, which means presidential hair and mastery of the base-pleasing soundbite counts for more than the ability to dissect complex issues or act with sound judgement. My guess is George Washington’s bad teeth or Lincoln’s odd face would have kept them out of politics in the modern age, leaving the field to Aaron Burr or George McClellan–more’s the pity. I’m definitely keeping my mind open & eyes on Johnson. After civil rights, our biggest issues in the coming election are jobs and the deficit–and Johnson seems well suited to deal with all three problems.

  8. What a sad indictment of the libertarian movement that either Paul or Johnson could ever get away with claiming that label.

  9. They are both great candidates, but regardless of which one is better, it’s clear that Ron Paul is the only one with a legitimate chance. Gary Johnson supporters who truly want a shot at a libertarian president should get behind Ron Paul. It’s already an uphill battle going against the GOP establishment and media candidates, no need to split the libertarian vote. Unite behind Ron Paul!

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