I have written about Gary Johnson on this blog before (here and here) and I have always liked his message, and could never really understand why he did not gain more traction in the Republican nominating process, or with the electorate in general. Yesterday I took the opportunity to go and see (and briefly speak with) the governor, and I have to say, it makes even less sense to me now.
Speaking to a TEA Party audience in Worcester he very succinctly laid out the real problem facing the United States at this moment: we are borrowing 43 cents of every dollar we are spending. This situation is a drag on our economy and the future of our country, and it really is not that big of a mystery. We spend entirely too much money on a very large and intrusive government. Now, if you think that is just hunky dory, then you will probably be voting for Obama or Romney. Neither one of them is even slightly serious about doing anything about the actual problem. The president has a gimmick he is running on: tax super-rich people, make them pay a fair share! There won’t be any cutting, there won’t be any reforming, and if the last three years are an indication there probably won’t be a budget passed, just more spending set to autopilot. Mitt Romney thinks we are not spending nearly enough on our military, even at $700 Billion per year. He will increase it while further cutting taxes and maybe cutting some program some where, but let's not get into any specifics. Mr. Johnson on the other hand talks about submitting a balanced budget in his first year encompassing massive cuts in the government and rolling back much of the state. He spoke of the Department of Defense, Homeland Security, the Department of Education, HUD, the PATRIOT Act and a host of other things that would be cut or disbanded, enough to make enemies of nearly every constituency dependent on Big Government. And of course that is the real hurdle to overcome; getting everyone to understand that the system itself is broken and needs real reform. This reform is going to have to change everyone’s perception of what this government can and should be doing and how far and deep its reach is going to be into our economy and our lives.
We have been raised to fear the notion of questioning the two-party dynamic. Of course part of the reason for this is that every time there has been a real challenge to that dynamic it has resulted in either the serious reform or death of one of the parties (Whigs, Republicans, Bull Moose, Ross Perot) and who would want to see that? If you believe that protecting and/or expanding the social safety net, increasing the regulatory reach of the federal government into more and more areas, and making sure the rich have a predetermined “fair” level of money confiscated from them, then you are going to vote Democrat. If the most important thing in your universe is making sure the Department of Defense keeps spending 5% or more of our GDP or that a wall is built on our Southern border or “traditional” marriage is protected by the Federal government, then you will be voting Republican. The larger plurality of the electorate that is now identifying itself as independent are the ones that need to do the soul searching about who they are going to support and why. In talking to TEA party people yesterday one of the things I heard after Johnson’s speech was the phrase “I agree with most (or a lot) of what he had to say”. My response to that was “of any of the other candidates is there one with which you have 100% agreement on everything they say?” If not then why wouldn't you throw your support behind Johnson? You have the ability to read what the man’s plan is, you can check out this “Fair Tax” idea that he supports (which I am researching myself right now) and then reasonably ask yourself “is this superior or inferior to anything that Clown A or Clown B is planning for us?”
Look at your computer, who makes it? How about your TV? The clothes you are wearing, the appliances in your kitchen, the cars you or your neighbors may drive - are you limited to only choice A or choice B? You find satisfaction in your personal life by selecting things that enrich your life from a variety of sources. Why is this fear of Italian style electoral chaos keeping us hemmed in with only an R or a D for all perpetuity? We were born into this system, we did not choose it, why can't we break the mold? If you look at it rationally you can see that the Republican and the Democratic candidates usually speak first and foremost about protecting and enriching their constituencies (labor or defense contractors), and the country, as a general concept, second. They are concerned most with maintaining the status quo. Johnson on the other hand does not, he speaks of the country and the need to reform a very broken system, with everything on the table. If you are truly independent then a candidate’s label or “electability” should not be determining your decision, it should be based on the person's character and what they have to say. I have said this before, and it bears repeating here: changing the color of the horses does not mean the merry-go-round is actually going to get anywhere. If change is what you are hoping for, you need to expand your horizons, and maybe jump off the ride come November.