By: Chet Martin
Michael Bloomberg thinks you’re fat. Like a slight Carrie Nation, he takes the hatchet to the great evil of urban blight: 32-ounce soft drinks. In an
age of constant warfare, colossal debt, and failing government programs, America’s Mayor has taken it upon himself to save you from your waistline. The Founder’s Great Experiment in liberty is going well.
As the Trojan War that is the 2012 election grinds to a merciless halt, take heart: this is not the most important election of your lifetime. It is, at best, the most important presidential election since 2008. No matter which head of the Robamney hydra is elected, American politics will continue to be a series of narrow debates about NPR funding punctuated by massive bills written by lobbyists. The country will continue to march FORWARD., as it always does, driving good sense BACKWARDS.
If you are like me, your Facebook Newsfeed has been nothing but bayonets, Benghazi, and binders for a month; this election is occurring in some strange vacuum where the drone war and the fiscal cliff are not dangers to the Republic. In this brave new world cowardly old planet (Chronicles of Obamnia? the Ryanverse?), normal rules of political gravity do not apply. The President of the United States ordering the death of a sixteen-year-old American citizen without due process is not a campaign issue. Let that sink in: under American law as interpreted by the Obama Administration, the president can execute an American citizen without a breath of approval from any judicial figure. That is not a swampy banana republic or black-and-white Leni Riefenstahl film. That is the country in which we live.
That same country is headed for fiscal disaster. Because of the utter failure of Congress and the President to reach any sort of debt reduction agreement, our generation will enjoy a debt bigger than any since World War II relative to the US economy. Needless to say, we cannot expect the generation that spent money like Jennifer Aniston in a shopping montage to gladly go into the good night of Social Security and Medicare cuts. In the short term, we can look forward to a series of tax increases and spending decreases that the Congressional Budget Office predicts will send us back into recession. The only thing worse than running over the fiscal cliff would be avoiding any budget reckoning; a hangover can be delayed but never denied.
None of these condemnations of the president are meant to elevate his opponent. If Governor Romney ‘s six year quest for the White House is successful, I will take bets as to the exact date that Maureen Dowd writes an article comparing Romney’s trip down the Potomac to Kurtz’s journey up the Congo. The politics of Governor Romney are “hollow at the core.” He shamelessly changed his views on social policy when he jumped from Massachusetts to the national stage; when outright flip-floppery won’t do– as in the woefully few but ultimately popular war-ending initiatives of the administration’s foreign policy– he has simply taken the president’s position, albeit louder. How he intends to make his proposed tax cut budget-neutral is anyone’s guess and no one’s prediction. He cannot even make an effective but flawed contrast to the Orwellian nature of Obama’s “War on Terror”; he supports the worst parts of it.
For the past six months, we’ve watched an unprincipled challenger flail against an incompetent incumbent. All Americans are sick of the campaign, and some survivors from the apocalyptic hell holes that were the battleground states have reported dissatisfaction. Frankly, we’re all tired of Bronco Bamma and Mitt Romney. But hark, what’s that in the distance? A savior approaches!
Gary Johnson is a former two-term governor of New Mexico and the Libertarian candidate for president. For those of you keeping score at home, that makes him more experienced than both President Obama (upon assumption of office) and Governor Romney. He is on the ballot in 48 states, including Georgia, and the District of Colombia (wags of the finger to Oklahoma and Michigan.) A Republican governor, Johnson was popular in his blue state, winning re-election with 55% of the vote. When he left office, New Mexico had a budget surplus, though Governor Johnson never raised taxes (and actually managed to cut them 13 times.) He vetoed over 700 bills submitted for his signature, more than all other governors combined. New Mexico gained 20,000 jobs under his governance, though he was quick to point out that private business, not his government, created those jobs. Before his governorship, Gary Johnson was one of Mitt Romney’s beloved job-creators; he ran a construction business with over a 1,000 employees that he started his junior year of college. In short, he was a business owner and popular champion of efficient government.
Since dropping out of the stupefying Republican nomination race (one that frequently labeled Newt Gingrich, of all people, an “intellectual”), Governor Johnson has had the temerity to suggest that perhaps American politics doesn’t have to be a duopoly. Perhaps we don’t have to choose between two bad options. Governor Johnson opposes the interventionist foreign policy of the past decade. He’s a staunch supporter of gay marriage and church/state separation. He rejects the healthcare plan that Mitt Romney authored in Massachusetts and Barack Obama imposed on the rest of us; instead, he wants to give increased freedom to the states to make Medicare and Medicaid more efficient, as he did in New Mexico. He plans to eliminate the IRS and the income tax to institute a national sales tax that would make tax policy simpler and fairer. Yes, you in the back with the Sublime t-shirt, he does indeed call for an end to the disastrous, wasteful War on Drug (Users) and a legalization of marijuana. Most importantly, he firmly believes in restoring the civil liberties and Constitutional governance that the last two presidents have shredded. He’s pro-choice on everything.
To those of you concerned about wasting your vote, I ask you not to waste it. Leaving aside how statistically insignificant your vote is, and how almost all of us live in states that are not even a little competitive, a vote for Barack Obama or Mitt Romney is a vote for the status quo. I’m not sure how anyone, even and especially liberals, could be excited about an Obama second term if it is anything like the first. A Romney presidency will not be much different from an Obama presidency, for better or ill. He will not make the necessary changes to government spending, unfortunately, and will not institute regressive social policies, fortunately. When has a president ever done either? Instead, vote for the candidate who would institute real and positive change in this country. A single vote for Gary Johnson goes much farther than a vote for Obama or Romney, and allows those of us in solid red/blue states to have a voice. With just 5% of the electorate, Gary Johnson can earn equal footing with the major parties for his likely 2016 run.
If his anti-war foreign policy, limited government economic policy, and live-and-let-live social policy haven’t convinced you to vote for Gary Johnson, he also likes to crowd surf. He climbed Mount Everest with a recently-broken leg (no, seriously.) He has received a number of impressive endorsements (especially this one.) And he doesn’t want to dictate to you how your life should be run, or let bullies like Mayor Bloomberg do the same. He’s running on a simple platform: freedom is popular.