On Wednesday,December 28th, six day before the first voting takes place in the first presidential caucus, the Republican presidential field will take a new turn. It is on that day that former Governor Gary Johnson will be making a major announcement about what he describes as his plans for insuring that his message of liberty and freedom is heard in the 2012 presidential election [see the press release below this post]. It is expected that he will use the opportunity to declare that he will seek the Libertarian presidential nomination and hope to continue to spread his message while carrying the banner for that third party.
Up to now, the message he wants to deliver has been muted by low poll numbers and a lack of media exposure and financial resources.
Unfortunately for Governor Johnson those three attributes feed in to each other and have been responsible for a vicious cycle that placed his candidacy in a state of virtual obscurity. And it is pity that he fell victim to that cycle.
As a two term Governor of New Mexico, Johnson proved himself to be quite an effective leader.
He is about as anti-government as you can get and as a self described Libertarian-Republican, when he was in charge of New Mexico’s state government, he vetoed 750 bills and stood by his belief that less government is better government.
But where he did see a place for government action, he acted quickly and unapologetically.
In addition to vetoing more bills than all the other 49 Governors of the time combined, Johnson shrunk the size of government by 1,200 employees, left the state with an all time high bond rating, cut government spending by 30%……. just through welfare reforms, eliminated the state’s deficit, reduced taxes $123 million annually, shifted state Medicaid to managed care, brought the New Mexico state government and the Navajo nation leadership together to finally resolve century-old disputes over water, gaming, and other issues, privatized half the prisons in the state, shot down campaign finance legislation., repealed an act that prevented non-unionized labor the ability to be employed in construction of new schools and other public works, and oversaw the construction of 500 miles of new, four-lane highways that were designed, financed, built, and guaranteed by the private sector.
Gary Johnson did not just talk about limited government, he ran one. And he did so by adopting Republican principles and incorporating them into the application of Libertarian beliefs.
Were it not for his Ron Paulish foreign policy and national security designs, even I would have given Johnson serious consideration for the Republican presidential nomination. However; aside from those very dangerous shared views of the two men, Johnson is in truth, the superior candidate. Neither man is an exciting speaker and neither have outstanding personalities but on the issues and their individual records, Johnson is head and shoulders above Paul. While Ron Paul has preached the virtues of limited and small government, Gary Johnson actually practiced and applied those virtues to government. While Paul talked the talked for over four decades, Johnson actually walked the walk as a successful Governor for eight years.
Those facts should have made Gary Johnson the most successful Libertarian candidate in the Republican presidential field. But with the third time presidential candidacy of Ron Paul, it became impossible for Gary Johnson to compete for the Libertarian market available within the G.O.P.
Unlike Ron Paul, Johnson lacks the cult of personality that Ron Paul has achieved through his decades of rhetoric and distortions. That cult of personality has blinded his cult-like followers from even giving another candidate a fair and decent hearing.
Blinded by the glow of the messianic light that Pauliacs cast on Ron Paul, the small but significant 10% to 18% of those who are staunch supporters of Paul’s message, refuse to believe that anyone else can have a similar message and for them, whether they realize it or not, the issues are actually overshadowed by Ron Paul.
If for no other reason than the fact that Gary Johnson has proven himself and Ron Paul has yet to prove himself, true believers in Libertarian policies who are sincere about the issues, would have and should have been far more appreciative of Gary Johnson than they were. Instead, Gary Johnson and his record of accomplishment was overshadowed by Ron Paul’s use of propaganda and mass media outlets, that created a heroic public image through unchallenged praise and flattery.
The reality is that if Ron Paul fanatics were more consumed by the issues than hero worship, Gary Johnson might still be trying to influence the Republican Party and general election through the primary process. Instead, he will now spend most of his time running against the only opposition to President Obama that has a realistic shot of defeating him.
The greatest irony here though is that the cult of personality following that surrounds Ron Paul is astonishingly antithetical to the Libertarian ideology and its sincere roots in liberty. Cults of personality are most often associated with dictatorships whose success relies primarily on unquestioned loyalty to the dictator and a Pallovian reaction to their charismatic authority.
While Ron Paul is far from charismatic, his message has a charisma of its own and it has led to the unhealthy hero worship which has left Libertarians with one man as their sole, unchallenged leader. In may ways it is more similar to the following of Kim Jong-Il than it is to the support of an American politician. Even Ronald Reagan faced criticism from fellow Republicans, but does a Libertarian dare criticize Ron Paul? As I stated…….hero worship.
Many Pauliacs will of course disagree with me but the true test of my analysis will quickly come once Ron Paul loses the Republican Presidential nomination.
When the inevitability of Paul’s loss of the nomination becomes undeniable, we will wait to see if Ron Paul runs his own independent candidacy for President. If he is a true Libertarian, there is no reason why he shouldn’t pursue the Libertarian Party nomination as he did in 1988. In fact one must question why he has not already to do so. Nothing precludes him from accepting multiple Party nominations. So there is no apparent reason why he isn’t already seeking the Libertarian nomination. But if he doesn’t seek it, will Pauliacs finally give Gary Johnson a decent hearing and flock to him? Or will hero worship of Ron Paul suddenly reduce enthusiasm for the message and cause of liberty and freedom?
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