This last video of Gary Johnson blowing up at a reporter over a very basic tax question (that any libertarian should be able to answer easily) was awful. I watched it yesterday in horror, and having seen it, I still proudly cast my (early) vote for Gary Johnson this morning in Texas.
I’ve already explained at length why I cannot vote for Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton. I won’t belabor those points here. Neither meet any of my very basic and very forgiving criteria.
Johnson’s weaknesses are clear. He lacks in-depth foreign policy knowledge and he is a poor communicator. He cannot think on his feet and this has led to more than one humiliating interview. Keep in mind that his major party opponents are not necessarily better at interviews than he is, they are just more politically savvy. They either don’t do open-ended interviews, preferring long stump speeches, or they arrange to receive the questions in advance to allow time for preparation and to avoid any embarrassment.
That being said, a president needs to be able to think on his feet and Gary lacks in this area. If I were running his campaign I would cut off all open-ended interviews for the remainder of the campaign.
So why vote for him?
First of all, politics is a hobby and an interest of mine, and the idea of sitting at home on election day is just depressing. But that’s not it.
Gary Johnson is right on almost all issues of limited government and he has a track record which supports that fact. He understands the role of the executive. He is honest to a fault. He has worked tirelessly for the past 5-6 years to advance the cause of liberty. For as much grief as the insatiate and rapacious libertarian base has given Gary Johnson, they would be nowhere without him.
Imagine Darryl Perry as the nominee… The party would be relegated to a by-line in High Times magazine.
Many have argued Austin Petersen would have been a better face for the party. I respect Petersen. I follow him on Twitter and I’m proud to have him follow me. I cannot deny that he has the correct answer to almost every question from a liberty perspective. I would have voted for him and I will support him in future endeavors, but the reality remains that he would not have been taken seriously due to one glaring weakness: He has never really held a legitimate leadership role of any magnitude, and has very little work experience. His age was never the problem for me, I simply knew how he would be received.
It is easy to look back at this election and point to all of Johnson’s ridiculous and humiliating moments. It is harder to identify the invisible hand of the media at work, doing all they can to paint each candidate as they want him or her to be received. The only time Johnson made major national headlines was for major gaffes. 95% of every interview was good ideas, but all you would see in print is the still shot of Gary with a confused or goofy look on his face, and his dumbest quote of the interview.
All is fair in a free press media, so I’m not complaining, just pointing out that Gary Johnson weathered this storm as well as could be expected. I do not believe any other libertarian party candidate would have withstood the scrutiny as well.
Johnson’s two-term governor experience brought legitimacy to a ticket which is still likely to gain a record number of votes for the libertarian party this year. No one (NO ONE) calls Gary Johnson a liar. Even those who want to crush him can only resort to calling him a stupid stoner. Factually, there is no evidence of dishonesty or corruption.
I do not believe Gary Johnson is the future of the libertarian party, nor any independent liberty-minded movement or party. He is the present. He has paved the way for the future whether that involves Rand Paul, Justin Amash, Mike Lee, Austin Petersen or some newcomer like Mark Cuban.
I am proud to have voted for Gary Johnson this year. I encourage those of you on the fence to do the same. I am grateful to him for his service to the cause of liberty, and I am confident he is going to make the MOST out of the rest of his life.