The folks over at Cato published the following:
The Reason-Rupe September 2012 poll includes our favorite ideological questions to differentiate libertarians from liberals and conservatives. Using three questions, we can define libertarians as respondents who believe “the less government the better,” who prefer the “free market” to handle problems, and who want government to “favor no particular set of values.” These fiscally conservative, socially liberal voters represent 20% of the public in the Reason-Rupe poll, in line with previous estimates.
Among these likely libertarian voters, the presidential horserace currently stands:
Romney’s share of the libertarian vote represents a high water mark for Republican presidential candidates in recent elections.
… George W. Bush won 72 percent of libertarians in 2000, but lost many libertarians by 2004, as the wars, spending, and growth of government weighed on many libertarians. John McCain matched Bush’s 2000 vote share, winning 71 percent. Many libertarians seem to have preferred McCain’s independent streak to Obama’s soaring promises. But if the election were held today, the Romney/Ryan ticket would get more libertarian votes than any candidate since 1980.
Do they love Mitt? Not really, but they’ll take him over the alternative.
What if Gary Johnson is included in the mix? The same poll shows the following:
- Romney: 70%
- Obama: 13%
- Johnson: 14%
Johnson takes seven ppts of the Libertarian vote from both Romney and Obama in that scenario.
I proudly call myself a libertarian Republican. I want the budget balanced, ASAP. I want the wars ended. I want to keep more of my income. I want habeas corpus and due process preserved. I want my right to own and use a gun. I want my gay friends and neighbors able to legally marry. I want a government that obeys the Constitution, even if it means overturning Roe v Wade or repealing the Patriot Act, abolishing the Federal Reserve or ending the War on Drugs.
Some people see me as a conundrum. A hodge podge of conflicting views, patched together from hardcore liberalism and hardcore conservatism. I see my philosophy as a consistent one. It all revolves around personal freedom. Leave me alone. Let me do what I want to do, so long as I’m hurting no one else.
In 2008, I eagerly supported Ron Paul. I made emails and phone calls, I trudged in the bitter cold of winter putting up signs, I raised money and donated what little I as a college student could afford. In 2012, I supported and was actually employed as a political consultant for Gov. Gary Johnson’s campaign for the Republican presidential nomination. When Johnson switched to the Libertarian Party just before the primaries began, I wished him well and threw my support behind Ron Paul.
We libertarian Republicans tried hard to get one of our own nominated this year, and fell short. Instead of winning one election, we libertarian Republicans made undeniable strides in transforming the ideological makeup of the GOP. That’s evident in the fact that out of all the possible running mates Mitt Romney could have chosen, he chose Paul Ryan–a congressman whose #1 message is: Do whatever it takes to get debt and spending under control.
I retain deep misgivings about Mitt Romney, and Paul Ryan is certainly no libertarian. Romney’s anti-gay rhetoric infuriates me; his stand against medical cannabis perplexes me; his refusal to even consider cutting waste and fraud from the Pentagon budget exasperates me. Ryan’s vocal support of the Wall Street bailout, the auto bailout, the 2008 and 2009 stimulus bills, and Bush’s Medicare expansion showed hypocrisy and irresponsibility.
However, Romney and Ryan aren’t running as evangelicals or war mongers. Their message is fixed squarely on the economy: get spending under control, figure out a realistic plan for entitlements, and restore a culture that celebrates entrepreneurship and a government that doesn’t stand in the way of it. These are the important issues of our time.
Despite his progressive rhetoric, President Obama has offered nothing more than lip service to gay marriage proponents. President Obama has continued unconstitutional federal raids on medical cannabis dispensaries. Instead of ending the Iraq War, he merely pumped up the Afghanistan War and got us into new wars across the Muslim world. Obama now claims the power to assassinate and indefinitely detain American citizens without due process. Obama is no better than Bush or Romney on the issues where Democrats are supposed to side with us libertarians.
There are, however, stark differences between Romney-Ryan and Obama-Biden on the economy.
When I was working for Gary Johnson’s campaign, I engaged in some opposition research. I pored over hundreds of pages of Comprehensive Annual Financial Reports on the governorships of Johnson, Romney, Pawlenty, Perry, and Roemer. Johnson had the best record by every measure, yes. Johnson slashed the size of government without firing anyone; he eliminated the state’s debt and raised its credit rating; he vetoed more bills than the other 49 governors combined and got re-elected in a blue state. I was surprised and a bit shocked, however, to see who came in second place amongst the Governors I researched.
While not quite the slash-and-burn Friedmanite that Gary Johnson was, I found Governor Mitt Romney to have a, dare-I-say, very good record on debt and spending! I crunched the numbers every way I could think of, to make sure I wasn’t giving Romney too much credit. I adjusted for inflation, I adjusted for population changes, I adjusted for the state of the national economy during each governor’s time in office. Yet, still, I found that when Gov. Romney said he would turn around the financial situation of the Massachusetts state government, he actually did it. Gov. Romney upended a $3 billion deficit, cast hundreds of vetoes, hiked the state’s credit rating, and dropped the state unemployment rate a notch. In fact, of all the governors running for president in 2012, the only two who left their states in better shape than they found them were Johnson and Romney.
Now, on to Paul Ryan. Congressman Ryan threw us fiscal hawks under the bus with the bailouts, stimulus, and Medicare Part D. His budget plan takes so long to balance the budget that I, someone who has no kids, could actually be a grandparent when it finally gets us out of the red. However, Ryan’s plan to balance the budget and deal with entitlements is a starting point. It’s definitely better than Obama-Biden’s “plan” to just ignore the debt and do nothing about it. Yes, 23 years is way too long to balance a budget that we just had balanced only 12 years ago. But I’d rather have it balanced in 23 years than never. And maybe, just maybe, as the Republican Party continues shifting more toward the libertarian axis, maybe we can start speeding up those reforms and get the budget balanced sooner.
Lastly, the most important victory that we libertarian Republicans are on the verge of winning is that of monetary reform. The first step in building awareness and support for monetary reform is fully auditing the Federal Reserve. We must show the American people and our representatives just how badly our current monetary system is working. Ron Paul’s “Audit The Fed” bill just passed the House of Representatives, and it may or may not pass the current Senate, but it will definitely not pass President Obama’s desk. President Obama will veto the Fed Audit, and a President Romney will sign it. We philosophical libertarians believe that the Federal Reserve is the key enabler of the debt and inflation that have exploded out of control over this past century, and we believe the Fed is the most destructive force in the economy today. The Fed “prints” the fiat money that funds the wars and domestic spying and medical cannabis dispensary raids that we libertarians hate. Dealing with the Fed is something we cannot do under an Obama presidency, but something we can begin to do under a Romney presidency, at the very least.
Because Romney and Ryan actually offer a positive vision for the economy, because they will work with libertarians like me on Federal Reserve policy, and because Obama and Biden are, in practice, just as bad on social and foreign policy issues, I would prefer a Romney-Ryan White House to a grueling four more years of an Obama-Biden one.
Therefore, I hereby endorse Mitt Romney for President and Paul Ryan for Vice President.
Not so fast!
That doesn’t mean I’m voting for them. I have a better idea.
I live in California. On November 6th, my state will go to Obama by something like 20 points. It’s not winnable. Not at this point in history. Should us few Californian Republicans vote for Mitt Romney, it would just be a waste of gasoline and our own time and energy. What if we really put our votes to use, and voted for the Libertarian Party nominee Gary Johnson, here in California? Not only would it not eat into Mitt Romney’s electoral college tally, but it would make a real statement.
What if Romney-Ryan won the presidency in the electoral college, but Johnson-Gray won something like 15% of the popular vote? I am a lifelong Republican and not a member of the Libertarian Party, but I would love to see the day when the two major parties debating ideas are the GOP and the LP, and the Democratic Party is the irrelevant third party.
Here’s my proposal: if you live in a guaranteed blue state, like California, DC, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, New York, Washington, or one of the little New England states, then help change the national political landscape and vote for third party candidate Gary Johnson for President. If you feel so compelled, then donate to Romney-Ryan and volunteer for Romney-Ryan, but cast your ultimate ballot for Johnson-Gray.
If you live anywhere else, especially in a swing state, then use your ballot to help Romney-Ryan overcome Obama-Biden.
Let’s kill two birds with one stone. Both of these objectives are very realistic and achievable:
1). Let’s shift the national dialogue and political landscape further in the direction of liberty and limited government, and
2). Let’s replace the failed Obama-Biden team with a better team, Romney-Ryan, and at least get this ship of state pointed in the right
Let’s hear your opinions! We want to know who you would pick for VP running mate if you were Romney, who you think Romney will actually pick, what your reasoning is behind why Romney will or won’t pick the individuals whose names have been floated, and when you think Romney will announce his decision.
1). I would pick:
Rand Paul. Intelligent, articulate, principled, and eager, Rand Paul would show the small government base of the conservative movement that Romney is serious about being something better than another in the Bush-Obama continuum. Rand Paul would help shore up a little bit of the Ron Paul contingent and might even sway some of those Gary Johnson voters (who might be eating into Romney’s support in the Mountain West). Romney won’t pick Rand Paul, of course, because of the ideological differences on many issues, but Paul would be my pick.
2). I think Romney will actually pick:
Marco Rubio. Young, articulate, conservative, and Hispanic. Rubio’s minority status will energize Republican voters and help Team Romney not be seen as the club of old, rich, white men. He’s a great debater, and would slaughter Biden in a head-to-head. He has a clean record, and is not prone to gaffes. He gives Romney a little Washington insider knowledge, and also could help solidify the important swing state of Florida, as well as helping Romney pick up Hispanic voters in other swing states like New Mexico and Colorado.
3). Why Romney won’t pick the other guys:
Tim Pawlenty. Pawlenty is an artful surrogate on the trail, but never really shined in the debates. As another Governor, he could re-inforce Romney’s executive experience, but that doesn’t really need much more re-inforcing. Having Pawlenty on the ticket probably won’t flip Minnesota, or any other state.
Rob Portman. Portman is a smart and effective Senator, but doesn’t really add any wow or excitement to the ticket. Sure, Romney is a level-headed businessman who is trying to pick the best person for the job, not a celebrity sideshow, but Romney is also a shrewd politician, and he knows that the base is not thrilled with him. He needs someone competent, but energizing, and Portman just doesn’t really offer the latter quality.
Condoleezza Rice. As a Bush administration official, someone who is pro-choice, someone who has never actually run for electoral office herself, and someone who flat-out has no desire to be the running mate, she’s a no go.
Paul Ryan. Ryan would be a smart choice, as he is articulate and would help shore up optimism amongst the small government, Tea Party type crowd. Ryan puts forth some bold, positive, substantive plans, and can hardly be accused of simply being a Republican naysayer. He’d demolish Biden in a debate, but much of the rationale for a Ryan VP is the same rationale for a Rubio VP. If Romney is going to pick a Ryan type, he’s going to go big and just pick Rubio.
Chris Christie. Christie is sharp, quick, and popular in his home state. However, as cruel as it may sound, having a guy who instituted universal health care in Massachusetts and an obese individual, as the standard bearers against Obama’s health care law…well…it’s just bad imagery. Plus, the general consensus is that Christie is doing great things for New Jersey, and New Jersey needs him more than the nation does right now.
Bobby Jindal. Jindal is a much more likely pick than he’s being given credit for, I believe. If Rubio is not the pick, it may very well be Jindal. As another young racial minority, he too helps dispel the rich, old, white guy imagery. But like Pawlenty, as another executive, he doesn’t really round out the ticket much, and he doesn’t quite fire up the base with his oratory like Rubio does. Furthermore, he seems rather busy with Louisiana at the moment.
4). Romney will most likely announce his decision:
August 14th. I think Romney is a cautious man, and wants the maximum amount of time necessary to vet his running mate options. He also wants to give the opposition very little time to dig up dirt on his ultimate selection. Delaying his announcement until after the Olympics are over, and just two weeks before the Convention, seems the most sensible thing to do, as the excitement of the announcement will begin to fade just as the Convention comes along to boost it up again.
What are your opinions?
Since it became increasingly clear, following my candidate (and employer) Gary Johnson’s decision to drop out and run third party, and my second choice Ron Paul’s failure to gain traction after his very-respectable-but-just-not-energizing-enough finishes in the Iowa and New Hampshire contests, that a libertarian would not be representing the Republican Party in the general election, my sense of disappointment, frustration, and burn-out has compelled me to take something of a slight break from politics for a month or two. (I’m sure you were all enormously grieved by my absence.) A lot of libertarians in the GOP have been, and are currently, going through this phase right now. One thing that may be snapping a lot of us out of our funk, however, is the chilling surge in popularity of Rick Santorum–quite possibly one of the most overtly anti-libertarian candidates ever to come within reach of the GOP presidential nomination.
Final vote tally for the Florida Primary with all precincts reporting:
Votes Percentage Romney 771,842 46.4% Gingrich 531,294 31.9% Santorum 222,248 13.4% Paul 116,776 7.0% Perry 6,742 0.4% Huntsman 6,182 0.4% Bachmann 3,947 0.2% Cain 3,481 0.2% Johnson 1,186 0.1% Total 1,663,698 100.0%
Margin of victory for Romney over his three main rivals:
Votes % Total % of Romney Gingrich 240,548 14.6% 31.2% Santorum 549,594 33.5% 71.2% Paul 655,066 39.9% 84.9% Gingrich + Santorum 18,300 1.1% 2.4%
So even if every single Santorum voter had voted for Gingrich, Romney would still have won. And we know from both anecdotal evidence as well as several polls that there was a large percentage of Santorum voters who would voted for Romney over Gingrich.
For reference, here are the results from the 2008 Florida Primary:
John McCain 701,761 36.0% Mitt Romney 604,932 31.0% Rudolph W. Giuliani 286,089 14.7% Mike Huckabee 262,681 13.5% Ron Paul 62,887 3.2% Fred D. Thompson 22,668 1.2% Alan Keyes 4,060 0.2% Duncan Hunter 2,847 0.1% Tom Tancredo 1,573 0.1% Total: 1,949,498 100.0%
So Mitt improved upon McCain’s percentage by 10 points and his own by 15. Mitt has 70,000 more votes than McCain had in 2008 and improved his own total by 166,000 votes.
Nancy French writing in Patheos (emphasis added):
With all the hoopla surrounding the Virginia ballot, I wondered how the candidates fared in my home state. Tennessee works a little differently than other states. In fact, it seems that every state has a little tweak, a little nuance that makes it a little different from the others. That’s why the process is a great peek into how a candidate can handle complicated issues that require organization and hard work.
Tennessee will have fifty-eight delegates to the Tampa Republican National Convention. Each of our nine congressional districts will have three delegates. That means that Presidential candidates must find delegates who are leaders in their community willing to walk around with a clipboard asking friends and strangers to sign their names and their addresses on behalf of their candidacy for their preferred Presidential candidate. Each delegate had to get one hundred valid signatures of registered voters.
In addition to the congressional delegates, fourteen “at large” delegates will be elected. These delegates had a slightly easier job, because they weren’t restricted to a certain district and could signatures from any registered voter in our state.
A full slate of delegate candidates would be forty-one.
So which candidates were able to supply a full slate for Tennessee? Only one:
Michelle Bachmann: 0
Gary Johnson: 0
Rick Santorum: 0
Ron Paul: 35
Newt Gingrich: 34
Rick Perry: 27
Mitt Romney: 48
[I]t’s worth noting that the Yankee governor received forty-eight delegates in our southern state, pulling off what no other candidate could. What does this say about the conventional wisdom that southerners won’t warm to him?
You will note that Mrs. French states that a full slate of delegates is 41. Yet where none of the other candidates qualified that many, Mitt qualified 48. (I checked. He really does have 48 delegates qualified. You can check here yourself if you wish.) So not only did Romney fulfill all the requirements for Tennessee, he went the extra mile besides.
That is a hallmark of his organization. In Virginia when told the party would automatically qualify him if he reached 15,000 signatures, he wasn’t satisfied until his campaign had collected more than 16,000. Even then he still had his people do an audit on over a third of them to verify they had enough valid signatures to get on the ballot. The last step was totally unnecessary, but he did it anyway.
I am grateful I don’t have to compete with the guy.
Former Republican presidential candidate Gov. Gary Johnson unveiled a new website cover today designed to promote his own bid for the Libertarian Party nomination, as well as to urge support for Ron Paul for the Republican nomination. Johnson will be holding a televised press conference in front of the State House tomorrow in Santa Fe, New Mexico at 10:35 AM Mountain Time, where it is expected that he will switch his party registration to Libertarian, announce his new bid, and officially endorse Ron Paul’s GOP bid.
Gov. Gary Johnson announced yesterday that he was done with the Republican Party, and pursuing a third party bid. Can anyone honestly blame him? Gov. Johnson is by no means a “sore loser.” To the contrary: he was never allowed to compete.
Gov. Johnson had, at one point, been a rock star of the Republican Party. The very definition of the self-made man that conservatives idealize, this fellow had worked his own way through college, started a one-man handyman business, and through sheer hard work and entrepreneurial cunning, had grown it into a successful, multi-million dollar construction company. Faced with a weak slate of Republican candidates in the 1994 New Mexico gubernatorial election, Gov. Johnson–despite never having held prior political office, yet being fairly covered in the news media, opinion polling, and televised debates–came out of nowhere to win the nomination, unseat an incumbent Democratic governor, and deliver the first-ever 8 solid years of Republican leadership in New Mexico (a state where Democrats outnumbered Republicans 2 to 1 at the time). As Governor, Johnson balanced the budget, cut spending and taxes, vetoed as many bills as the other 49 Governors combined, and passed many free market-oriented improvements in quality of life for New Mexicans. His political rise and governorship are a model for Republican leaders everywhere.
Starting this year’s presidential election campaign with the highest hopes and optimism, Gov. Johnson was soon greatly disillusioned by a process that didn’t even allow him out of the starting gate. When his polling average hovered at a solid 1% despite virtually no coverage, debate sponsors raised the bar to 2%. When he began garnering 2%’s, still with no help from the media or the Republican establishment, debate sponsors raised the bar to 3%. Political pundits like Slate‘s Dave Weigel mused that there might exist a “Gary Johnson Rule,” whereby debate sponsors were purposefully changing the inclusion criteria specifically to exclude Gov. Johnson, so as not to have to listen to his unique (but remarkably mainstream) political philosophy. Still, talk of a “Gary Johnson Rule” was only semi-serious conspiracy theorizing at first. Until, that is, Johnson started out-polling Rick Santorum and Jon Huntsman (two of the media’s officially anointed “serious candidates”) in several surveys. When Bloomberg unveiled their criteria of a candidate having had to have appeared in three nationally televised debates in order to be included in the Bloomberg debate (how convenient, since Gov. Johnson had only squeaked in to two FOX debates), the existence of the “Gary Johnson Rule” became an evident reality. After Johnson blew the roof off the 9/22 debate with a stellar performance and the best one-liner of the entire election thus far, his name was inexplicably removed from virtually all polls, effectively ending his chances at being included in any future debates.
And where was the Republican National Committee, while all of this abuse was being directed at one of their most sterling exemplars of conservative principles? No where. When Johnson reached out to the RNC for assistance, a snide letter was returned claiming that Gov. Johnson’s inclusion in the debates would cause “chaos”. Where were the run-of-the-mill Republican voters during all of this? A few quietly conceded that Johnson was being treated unfairly, but there was no widespread outcry amongst mainstream Republicans to right this injustice against one of their own.
Why? Because Gov. Johnson insists on maintaining the old Republican conservatism of the first half of the twentieth century, rather than the “neo”-conservatism of the Nixon-through-Bush era. Johnson still believes, as President Coolidge, Sen. Robert Taft, and Barry Goldwater did, that a big government foreign policy is just as foolish as a big government domestic policy, and that we should have a robust military that is utilized very prudently. Johnson believes, as a majority of average Americans now do, that a federal prohibition on cannabis is just plain silly, and a complete waste of taxpayers’ hard-earned wealth. Furthermore, Johnson is brave enough to call out the emperor’s nakedness–pointing out that Medicare and Medicaid are bust and that benefits must be cut, and pointing out that the budget cannot be balanced without touching the Pentagon’s piggybank.
Johnson, at one point a proud, self-professed lifelong Republican, has been so abused by the Party he’d worked so hard on behalf of, that he can no longer even stomach having the letter (R) next to his name. Recent polling shows that his third party presence on the general election ballot not only ensures that the swing state of New Mexico cannot be won by a Republican, but also that his third party candidacy changes the outcome of a Romney-Obama contest decisively. Blame Johnson for being a spoiler if you like, but the GOP has no one to thank for this outcome but themselves.
As someone who was a paid staffer for Gov. Johnson’s campaign for seven months, and who had been a coordinator for his Our America PAC for several months prior to that, I am as angry as anyone about the shameful way the Party and the conservative movement have treated the Governor. I am sticking with the Republican Party, because I still believe the GOP is the most realistic vehicle for positive change in this country, but I can’t blame Gov. Johnson at all for the path he has chosen to embark upon. Let this political tragedy serve as a wake-up call to us.
Anyone who was elected a state Governor twice as a Republican, who served eight years as a Republican, and who delivered so magnificently on all the policies the Republican Party claims to support, should be guaranteed a place on the debate stage throughout the entire process (or, at the very least, the first several debates, in order to give them a chance to break out), not excluded based on meaningless surveys of those who were barely even paying attention yet. Let this also serve as a warning in the case of Rep. Paul. Love him or hate him, he is bringing people into the Republican Party like no other Republican politician is, and he has legitimate, serious ideas and a lengthy record of service in Congress. Even if you vote against Ron Paul, at least give the man some basic respect and treat him like you would any other Republican candidate you don’t happen to be supporting.
The Republican Party must not only stand for a free economy and a vision for spreading freedom around the world, it must also stand for a free election process. The Republican Party ought to be known for its unparalleled openness to fair competition, and tolerance for new ideas (or for new perspectives on old ideas). The GOP should be the one party where voters know their candidate will be given a fair shot at airing their message and their résumé. Republican voters must be willing to stand up to the progress-resistant GOP establishment, and to speak out loudly when a qualified candidate (even though they may not be one’s personal favorite candidate) is clearly being given the shaft. Until Republicans become willing to hear new ideas, and to call for and embrace a free and fair election process, we will continue to bleed our best and brightest, and we will continue to lose voting blocs, until we cease to exist as a political entity. Perhaps the loss of Gov. Johnson from our ranks can jolt us into turning around this establishmentarian culture infecting the GOP before it’s too late.
Politico has the story on one of the worst-kept secrets in the Presidential race this month.
I wrote last week on the likelihood of a credible third party challenger running in 2012. Is Johnson that guy? Beyond a doubt, he’d be a step up in credibility for the LP over their last two nominees. But Johnson will need to make a hard cell to socially liberal fiscally conservative northeasterners and the libertarian-leaning conservatives of the mountain west, and make a play for the anti-war, pro-marijuana, disillusioned-with-Obama crowd. At this point, I’m skeptical that Johnson can do that. However, Republicans now need to worry that, if Ron Paul’s galvanized supporters become deeply dissatisfied with the process after he (probably) wins Iowa and (almost certainly) doesn’t get the nomination, they may bolt to Johnson. On the other hand, Obama needs to be concerned that a powerful Johnson candidacy will bleed away his support with the youth vote and up-scale creative class voters. As for Johnson, however, he has worries of his own; even in the New Hampshire primary–which is open to independents and Democrats–he only managed to pull two percent. NH is exactly the kind of state in which Johnson needs to do well, and up until this point, things have been less than encouraging. Whether this will turn out to be a novelty story which fades quickly or a minor game-changer remains to be seen.
PPP came out today with their latest Iowa Caucus poll. It shows a major collapse in Newt Gingrich’s poll numbers.
The full results were previously reported here on Race4. This article will only deal with the top-line numbers for the last two weeks.
First, here is the tabulated data for the past two weeks:
Here is the same data in graphical form:
Several things are obvious:
With only two weeks to go to the caucus and with Paul and Romney moving up in the polls, it will most likely be Paul and Romney on top. They are in the lead, and they have the most loyal supporters of any candidate. It’s a pretty safe bet that one or the other will take first, the other second. So the question becomes, who will take third place?
There is an old adage in national presidential politics. Three tickets out of Iowa. Two tickets out of New Hampshire. If Gingrich has another week or two like these past two, he will be very lucky to hang on to that third Iowan ticket. Santorum is having a strong rise and is within easy striking distance of our former Speaker of the House. More importantly, Rick’s momentum is positive. Newt’s is all negative. In fact, there are three candidates — Bachmann, Perry, AND Santorum — that are within an easy four points of Gingrich. And they are all actively campaigning in Iowa while Newt catches some R&R in the next week.
Newt is in serious danger of becoming just a footnote in Iowa. He could easily finish fifth, even sixth. If that happens, he will have a bear of a time trying to turn his campaign around.