The Humble Libertarian

Building a small army to take over the world and... leave everybody alone.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Why Not Ask Ron Paul to Run for Senate in Texas?

Yesterday I asked Governor Gary Johnson if he'd be willing to withdraw from the presidential election and run for U.S. Senate in New Mexico in 2012 if Ron Paul's supporters came together and pledged a total of one million dollars to kick his Senate campaign off with a million dollar money bomb. The former New Mexico governor very graciously answered that he would not.

When I linked to the article about this exchange on my Facebook, Aaron Biterman, one of Gary Johnson's supporters (who actually wrote the case for Gary Johnson in a post I put together earlier this year giving one Johnson supporter and one Paul supporter the chance to lay out their respective cases, which are published all in one place here), asked me this:

Why don't you ask Ron Paul to run for U.S. Senate in Texas?

I'm publishing my answer here so you can all hear my reasoning. To begin with, I am a HUGE fan of Gary Johnson's. I was talking about him at before most libertarians had heard of him. I gushed over him when I interviewed Gary Johnson live for one hour in December 2009. I gushed harder than Chris Matthews gushes over Obama. I begged him to run for president. Listen to it all.

I also took some major criticism for being one of the early people in our movement to float the idea of a Gary Johnson presidential run spearheading our movement in 2012, with Ron Paul as the Vice Presidential pick. At that time I called Gary Johnson the Republican's best choice to challenge Obama in 2012 and to preside over the federal government. I still think he would be the best choice. If I could press a magic button and whichever candidate I wanted would automatically be the Republican nominee, I'd probably pick Gary Johnson. For just a little while, I was even the ghostwriter for a few articles at Gary Johnson's Our America Initiative and I worked with Johnson's son and his consultant / gubernatorial campaign manager.

So let's just clear the air with all of that real quick first. There can be no thinking that I am just emotionally or in some other way biased toward Ron Paul. I am not. Though in the past few months I've got that impression from Mr. Biterman-- that is, that he has some preconceived, not entirely rational, nor fair biases toward Gary Johnson (or perhaps just against Ron Paul, who he has smeared frequently this year) that would lead him to seriously ask a question like the one I am now addressing. The truth is, that despite my equal admiration for both candidates and my nearly equal confidence in their ability to defeat Obama and serve as chief executives for our republic, Ron Paul has an opportunity here that Gary Johnson simply does not because the media stole it from him.

I asked Gary Johnson that question and not Ron Paul because Ron Paul has a very real chance of winning the GOP nomination next year. I'm not saying it'll happen for sure. It might not. But it really might. It is well within the realm of possibility. With Gary Johnson's name recognition where it's at (thanks to a media actively obstructing his candidacy), it's nearly a mathematical impossibility that he would win the Republican nomination. Certainly his chances are orders of magnitude lower than Ron Paul's. If the true, conservative wing of the Republican Party has any chance of slipping someone past the rest of these neocons and teocons, Ron Paul is their only chance.

Secondly, Gary Johnson could easily win that open U.S. Senate seat in New Mexico. His name recognition and popularity in his home state where he was elected as governor twice are another story entirely. His chances of winning a U.S. Senate race are orders of magnitude greater than Ron Paul's chances of winning the U.S. Senate race in Texas. I'd even say Johnson's chances of winning in New Mexico are greater than Paul's chances of winning the GOP nomination. Even if Paul loses, at the very least we can get another good Senator in there and start building a solid caucus of true libertarian conservatives in the U.S. Senate.

That is nothing to sneeze at. Senators are powerful. Imagine if Rand Paul had some more help from an equally principled Senator during the Patriot Act extension debacle. Meanwhile, Johnson could start getting votes and speeches on record, building up foreign policy experience, and growing his name recognition and brand as a U.S. Senator. Then he'd be all set up to make another run at the White House. But if he remains in the U.S. Presidential election, he will lose it along with the opportunity to become a Senator. If we're all unlucky as hell, he might even take a precious percentage point or two away from Ron Paul in some key early voting states. After how close things were in the Iowa Ames Straw Poll, that could mean the difference between Paul winning a primary and coming in second, which could mean the difference between a true libertarian president and Mitt Romney.

All of those reasons are why I don't ask Ron Paul to run for U.S. Senate in Texas.

Wes Messamore,
Editor in Chief, THL
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