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Saturday, April 30, 2011

Fighting Amongst Ourselves

One liberty candidate is better than none, but is two better than one? To put it another way, if we were looking to preserve the GOP status quo, we would not have to worry about potentially splitting the vote or wrecking our future as a movement. If we were all divided over Romney, Huckabee, Pawlenty, Gingrich, and Santorum, we wouldn’t have a problem. Whatever fisticuffs we endured during a primary fight would be shelved in time to oppose the Democratic incumbent at any and all costs.

The problem with having both Ron Paul and Gary Johnson running for president is that having two of our horses in this race will mean that we will inevitably be pitted against each other. For those of us deemed to be on the “fringes” and out of the mainstream of permissible political discourse, we have an unfortunate history of internecine warfare. Michael Badnarik’s line that libertarians agree with each other on 98% of the issues but spend 98% of their time arguing about the other 2% would be on full display. In fact, it probably already is.

I like Gary Johnson’s potential upside and if Ron Paul was not running it would be easy to support him.

Justin Raimondo has recently called attention to an interview Johnson gave to the Weekly Standard where the former New Mexico governor revealed his support for military intervention in order to prevent “a clear genocide.”

Johnson’s partisans have reminded the skeptics that he’s opposed to the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, and President Obama’s foray into Libya. This is all very well and very good for someone currently on the sidelines.

In that Weekly Standard interview, Johnson was clearly asked:

TWS: So, you think that the United States, even if it weren’t in its own narrow national interest, even if we weren’t threatened by the [other] country, but there was a genocide going on—a clear genocide—it would be the right thing to do to go in and stop that?

GARY JOHNSON: Yes. Yes, I do.

The American people have been sold on lies of atrocities and potential genocides before and we need someone with a backbone. Even though Johnson has all the right positions right now, there is still a feeling of trepidation because Johnson has exposed the way he could be manipulated into committing American troops to a theatre where there were no national interests present. It’s certainly enough to give pause over what Johnson’s convictions may be.

Again, if there was no Ron Paul in this race, it would be much easier to throw support behind Johnson. With either Paul or Johnson in the race, we would be able to better avoid the bitter in-fighting that is sure to take place with both of them running.

So far as 2012 is concerned, I’m supporting Ron Paul because I know what I’m getting. Ron Paul isn’t perfect but his vision is uncompromising and would represent a real revolution.

As for Gary Johnson, I’m afraid I have to agree with The American Conservative’s Daniel Larison in that I don’t see the point of his campaign when there is Ron Paul. Paul is the genuine article and as a social and cultural conservative he can attract a following in the GOP. With the better-known Ron Paul in the race, the Johnson campaign would be ultimately futile and fruitless. Republican primary voters are not going to vote for a pro-choice candidate who can’t top talking about pot. And if this was the NFL Draft, the smart GM would pick the best available player, not the one who might pan out.

Of course, the more candidates splitting up the vote makes it all that much easier for Mitt Romney to coast to the nomination.

So that makes this a lost cause anyway, but as Jefferson Smith famously told moviegoers so long ago, lost causes are the only ones worth fighting for.

Carl Wicklander,
Regular Columnist, THL
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