Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Gary Johnson, Spoiler? Can You Spoil Rotten Fruit?

Today Gary Johnson dropped his run for the Republican Presidential nomination and officially started his campaign to secure the Libertarian Party’s top spot. Instantly there is talk about Johnson being a spoiler, leeching away votes for a Republican candidate and allowing Obama to win a second term. We of course are supposed to be concerned about this because Obama winning is somehow the most terrible thing to ever happen, even over a President Romney/Gingrich/Perry/Santorum (these same people wouldn’t support Ron Paul over Satan), so we should therefore hate the idea of some other candidate expressing the notion that the Federal government is too damn big, intrusive and expensive to continue on in its present course. What is incredible here is the idea that we, as a nation, should care what the party affiliation is at this point. We have been on this ride for decades now, with both of our established parties making a big production of how incredibly terrible it would be if the “other” guy won the race, how it would fundamentally change the country for the worse, and we should just suck up our petty little differences over policy and simply vote for the best of the two. Let’s just look at the issue of spending to see how stupid this idea is.

The big claim to fame for the TEA Party was a desire to limit spending. The “establishment” Republicans resisted the TEA Party from the beginning. They hated the primary challenges to their hand picked candidates, and they have hated the trouble wrought by them in the House of Representatives. The “adults” across the ideological spectrum have decried TEA Party legislators for their “extremism” and willingness to push the envelope, to hold the nation “hostage” as it were. The TEA Party picked the debt ceiling vote to stage a rebellion and attempt to cut spending. The result? A ridiculous piece of theater where panic and consternation over the fate of the Republic filled the airwaves. Remember John McCain, former Republican Presidential nominee? He referred to these Representatives, the ones whose platform got the Republicans back in the big game in 2010 (after his establishment party ran the country into the ground and provided us with his laughable, pitiful run at the big chair), as “hobbits”, seems hard to believe that anyone threw their vote away on him in ‘08. We had our establishment parties come up with a plan to deal with our huge debt problem; they would create a “SUPER COMMITTEE” to make the cuts that all of the regular committees charged with fecklessly spending the taxpayer money could not cut. The result? Failure of course, these people could not come up with a plan, which we all knew was the point. We will now supposedly have automatic budget cuts under sequestration, except of course each side has said they will protect their most cherished programs, whatever they might be, from the draconian cuts that will spell doom for this, that or the other thing. And at the same time the President is going to ask for another $1.2 Trillion (yes with a T)increase to the debt limit, and it has to pass this time, because last time around they made it so both houses of Congress had to agree on saying NO instead of passing a bill saying YES. $16.4 Trillion in debt, just like that. Who exactly is serious here? Democrats who will demand every social program will be defended, as is, without any reform, or Republicans who insist cutting any of the $600 or more Billion from the Defense budget will lead to a Chinese/Iranian/Alien takeover of the planet and the end of America? What exactly is going to get spoiled if Obama wins instead of the Republican? Are any of these candidates (save for Paul) going to stand up and say what has to be said, that Medicare and Social Security are promises that can’t be fulfilled in the long run, and that American National Security needs to be redefined from the military interventionism that has governed our policy decisions for the last 60 years?

Could Gary Johnson queer the whole deal for the Republicans? Yes, yes he could. Is that actually a bad thing? There needs to be some sort of reality check within both of these parties about the future of this country. The idea that you should be allowed to live your life free from government interference should not be so crazy for Americans. Maybe instead of paying lip service to the very real Libertarian leanings of many Americans they should start actually living up to them. The Social Conservatives and the Neo-Cons have incredible leverage over the Republican Party, but ask yourself, do the American people really want those platforms instituted? Do they want to live in a country that bombs first and ask questions later? Does anyone comprehend what the outcome of a 100% ban on abortion would look like, the kind of intrusive government apparatus that would be needed to enforce that? Can anyone really support the idea that gays should be singled out and told that their lifestyle disqualifies them from enjoying the same things all other Americans enjoy? Does anyone out there actually see a “victory” scenario in the War on Drugs? Does anyone really want to continue to “trust” in the government to always make the right decisions on who is a terrorist and who should have their lives monitored by the state on a continuous basis? Given that Obama has done nothing to turn around the economy and has in general been a disappointment for anyone who was really concerned with the drug war, the national security state, immigration, foreign policy excesses, civil rights and a litany of other issues, why is it a Gary Johnson run would only hurt Republicans? People are shedding their party identification because it has thus far done nothing but drive us further into a ditch. People have realized that riding a carousel does not get you anywhere. Why not give someone else a try? If you happen to be a limited government, maximum freedom type, who thinks that Gingrich or Romney will show gratitude for their victory, thanks to your support, by rolling back the state, then you are stupid, there is no way to sugar coat that. You would suffer the same disappointment you felt had you thrown your support behind the “transformative post-partisan” Obama in ‘08.

Third Party runs have historically done two things: They have acted as spoilers, events that got the losing party to realize they have lost touch with the voter and need to modify their platform, or they have signaled the death of one of the existing parties. The last time the later has happened was the lead up to the Civil War, and maybe we are overdue for something like that now.  There is the continuing idea that America must be a two-party state for the system to function.  The end result of that has been a general agreement by the two that they need to continue to spend our money and tell us how to live our lives in pretty minute detail.  Going along to get along has brought us to the precipice of bankruptcy.  We keep hearing how challenging and unique these times are, so maybe a little chaos and upheaval is what is needed to meet the challenge.  A vote should reflect who you want to win, not who you want to beat. Ask yourself, in a fair fight between Obama, Romney and Johnson, who would you want to see come out on top and why?

1 comment:

  1. Great post! I have to agree, I am tired of voting for one of the two parties. If Gary Johnson can shake things up, great! We need more people to realize a third party is viable-if we all vote for it.