Saturday, February 04, 2012

An Open Letter to Gary Johnson

Although there are those who thought it would be a bad idea, you did go ahead and switch to the Libertarian Party in an effort to continue your presidential campaign. Now that you have gone ahead and moved in to the Libertarian Party race, hopefully you will run a better campaign than you have been running so far.

There are a few problems you will have to overcome. After the 2008 campaign there are a number of active libertarians who are burned out on the "endorse someone famous" tactic, sacrificing someone who could effectively represent libertarian ideas to their fullest. The ticket of Bob Barr and Wayne Root was a mistake that the party is still trying to live down, and even though you are better than either of them you are still campaigning in their shadow.

If you want to be an effective Libertarian Party candidate, you will have to come out of their shadow and prove that you are fully libertarian, much more so than those nominated the last time the Libertarian Party sacrificed purity for electoral gain.

And that means you will have to rethink a few of your associations within the Libertarian Party. Being seen as close to Wayne Root, who is almost bragging about how he is the one who brought you over, will never get you out of the shadow of the 2008 ticket. Those who seem the most pleased by your Libertarian Party candidacy are what people in the Libertarian Party call the "Reform Caucus." They are the ones responsible for the 2008 ticket that you have to run against.

The first and foremost way to come out of the shadow of the 2008 ticket is to take the purist libertarian position on foreign policy, as that is what divides the Libertarian Party the most strongly. Wayne Root campaigned actively in 2008 about how he was the pro-war candidate until he discovered that was a losing strategy.

You currently advocate returning all United States troops and that is a good position. But you also support entangling alliances. Neither side of any conflict should have any expectation of United States support. You need to become a purist on this issue. It will alienate many of those who currently are your most ardent supporters but it is necessary if your campaign is to not be a repeat of the 2008 disaster.

The other area where you could improve is in economics. It would be refreshing, in an ironic sort of way, if the Libertarian Party were to have a candidate strong on both civil policy and foreign policy yet weak on economics, but the standard bearer should be as good as possible on all three. Your position on the Federal Reserve and the Fair Tax are not positions embraced by libertarians in general.

Perhaps you could be forgiven your economic short-comings, but you need to embrace a hard-core foreign policy on your campaign if you wish to do so. You were a great example of what a Republican could be when you ran, but as a Libertarian there is room for needed improvements. Your current associates will not appreciate those improvements either. So you need to ask what is more important - your race or the party you are running in?

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