Johnson to seek #Libertarian Party Nod

Hooray! From Politico:


Gary Johnson will quit the Republican primaries and seek the Libertarian Party nomination instead, POLITICO has learned.

The former two-term New Mexico governor, whose campaign for the GOP nomination never caught fire, will make the announcement at a press conference in Santa Fe on Dec. 28. Libertarian state directors will be informed of Johnson’s plans on a conference call Tuesday night, a Johnson campaign source told POLITICO.

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The Republican Party, although it has paid lip service to the notion of limited government and free markets for decades, has completely turned its back on such things. And that, as we have seen, has led the GOP to make a mockery of itself, and while it may win some temporary victories in 2012, long term, it does not bode well. The only other one in the race who has any sense is Ron Paul (and maybe John Huntsman), but as we seen from this circus, both the GOP Establishment and much of the base simply has no clue what’s happening.

Gary is making a good choice getting out of the GOP. It’s a sinking ship, and unless they get it back on real limited government principles and jettison the religious conservative wing, it’s going to go all the way to the bottom. I suspect many voters and perhaps even politicians will follow Gary—maybe not today, and maybe not necessarily into the Libertarian Party, but they will in the future.

I actually think Gary could stand to pick up a significant amount of voters, from both sides. If the GOP nominates, say, Romney, those who supported Paul (who, contrary to some opinion makers, won’t run a third party or independent campaign) will flock to Johnson. At the same time, those disaffected liberals who are sick of Obama’s piss-poor stance on civil liberties and national security, as well as his mostly lukewarm approach to LGBT issues and his complete abdication of progress on ending the Drug War, will also see a great alternative in Gary Johnson. And even if the GOP nominates Paul—which is possible, though unlikely—Gary would still attract those disaffected Democrats, and even some other libertarian Republicans who see Paul as just a smidgen too socially conservative, though I can’t imagine it would be anywhere near the number of Democrats and liberals he draws off.

It would also be a boon to the Libertarian Party itself. Gary Johnson would be the most credible candidate they’ve fielded in years. I am ashamed to admit that in 2008, I supported Bob Barr’s successful bid for the Libertarian nomination, and voted for him in the general election. My hope was that, as a former Representative in Congress—even a somewhat public one, after the Lewinsky scandal—he might bring more votes in to the LP, and some sort of “credibility.” Unfortunately, it was not the case in either department. He got only 200,000 more votes than 2004 nominee Michael Badnarik, and after seeing his recent endorsement of Newt Gingrich, I realize he brought no credibility whatsoever. I had naively thought that he had changed his mind—hey, everyone does so—but ultimately, he hadn’t. He was still a big government conservative.

Gary, on the other hand, was a classic libertarian Republican governor for eight years. He’s already run—and won—on these issues before, and a proven track record in government protecting these principles. That alone will bring some “street cred” to the Libertarians.

I wish Gary the best. I’ll be watching both him and Paul (and Roemer and Huntsman as well) as this goes on. Two things that bother me are that the Libertarian convention will be held in May and the “sore-loser” laws mentioned in the article. The convention should be held earlier, so they can stop trying to decide their candidate and instead focus on the general election. While those in the major parties are focusing on each other and why they’re the better candidate for this constituency or that, Libertarians can talk directly to the public about the actual election. Having their convention so late is just one more disadvantage in an already very disadvantageous system.

As for sore-loser laws, well, let me rant about that in another post.

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