Thursday, August 16, 2012

Libertarians tour Texas

Presidential hopeful Gary Johnson and US Senate candidate John Jay Myers are taking a Texas swing.

[...] Myers will join Governor Johnson for a meet and greet and breakfast in Dallas (8/15-8/16), a book signing and dinner in Austin (8/17), a meet and greet and VIP reception in San Antonio (8/18), and a reception and open mic night in Houston (8/19). Myers will also be stopping at East Beach in Galveston (8/19), and visiting East Texas for a public  barbecue in Tyler (8/21), and dinner in Mount Pleasant (8/21) during an extended part of the trip.

As Republicans feel the splitting hangover of their Mitt Romney/Ted Cruz rage binge, the Libertarians are going to start looking better and better, particularly to all of those non-TeaBagging conservatives. Myers is fire-branding...

“The Republican primary in Texas was a contest between the banks and the oil companies, and the banks won.” ... “Ted Cruz is not the outsider people think they voted for. Cruz worked for the federal government, and he also advised George W. Bush’s campaign on domestic policy. And how did Bush’s domestic policy of bank bailouts and stimulus work out? Ted Cruz’s government resume does not match his claims to be an establishment outsider.”

Myers questioned Cruz’s commitment to liberty: “Cruz expresses pride in his family’s escape to the U.S., and yet maintains a platform hostile to immigrants. He claims to support freedom and yet wants government to dictate whom you can marry and what substances peaceful people put in their bodies. And he follows the same foreign policy doctrine of entangling alliances our Founding Fathers warned us about.”

Myers condemned the false choice presented to Republican voters: “During the primary, the Republicans were given a choice between a millionaire former CIA officer who runs an oil and gas company, or a rich establishment lawyer who is literally in bed with a vice president of Goldman Sachs, the bank that was by far the largest beneficiary of the Bush-Obama bailouts through its insurer AIG. How do you think the pillow talk will go when Goldman Sachs needs $100 billion more after the next market meltdown?”

You might fall for that tough talk if Myers weren't more devoted to Ayn Rand than even Paul Ryan. Democratic nominee Paul Sadler is hoping he can capture Republican leakage from Cruz, but that has been shown time and again to be a fallacy. But since this post is about the Libs, let's return to Johnson, who articulates the message a little better than Myers.

Now that's damned solid and effective. I don't buy it, of course, but a lot of people will, and lot more should. And there's plenty of additional evidence that the Liberts have an excellent opportunity to put a dent in GOP futures this fall. First, the Austin Chron:

Historically, Libertarians have been perceived as a thorn in the GOP's side, occasionally nudging elections toward the Democrats by pulling away some right-wing voters. In 2008 the GOP actively courted the Libertarian Party of Texas and asked them to pull candidates from the ballot in marginal seats (see "State GOP Fears Libertarian Upset," Aug. 8, 2008). Locally, Libertarians could become a factor in two key House races. Republican Paul Workman survived a bruising primary in House District 47, and Dem Chris Frandsen may be hoping that the addition of Libertarian Nick Tanner – running against Workman for being "pro-Amnesty, anti-free market" – may increase his chances. Next door in HD 48, Democrat Donna Howard narrowly squeaked out a multi-recount victory in 2010 and, while she is still favored over self-proclaimed moderate Republican Robert Thomas, Libertarian Joe Edgar could help her by further splitting the GOP base.

I posted over three months ago about the Libs and the Weed Bloc. Here's a bit more about their electoral chances from the Johnson campaign itself, via Third Party Politics.

Libertarian Presidential candidate Gov. Gary Johnson is polling at 5.3% nationwide. (JZ Analytics/Washington Times).

But look at the numbers when he’s included in statewide polls against Obama and Romney. 13% in New Mexico. 9% in Arizona. 7% in Colorado. 7% in New Hampshire. 8% in Montana. (PPP and others)

Governor Johnson’s poll numbers – and his votes this November – may be the critical factor in “Tipping Point” or battleground states like North Carolina, Virginia, Florida, Nevada, and Colorado – where Obama and Romney are 1% to 6% apart. Mitt Romney needs these 5 states, these 74 Electoral votes to win the White House.

North Carolina and Virginia voted Republican 7 out the last 8 Presidential races. Florida and Colorado voted Republican in 6 out of the last 8. Nevada voted Republican in 5 out of the last 8. All 5 of these battleground states voted for Barack Obama in 2008.

But the one thing that will really make a tremendous difference is if Johnson and Green Party nominee Jill Stein are included in the fall's presidential debates. Here's something provocative to read about that. You will want to read the whole thing -- especially if you're unfamiliar with the 15% polling threshold to qualify to participate -- but here's the last few grafs as moneyshot.

Getting on ballots across the country requires time, organization, support and money. That should be difficult enough to weed out the riff-raff, but if you wanted to make it even harder to get an invite to the debates (but not impossible, which for all intents and purposes, the current system is), why not amend the third criterion to read: 15% of public support --OR-- the candidate is eligible for federal matching funds and has received the nomination of their respective party?

Under this system, the 2012 presidential debates might look like this:
  • Barack Obama (Democrat)
  • Mitt Romney (Republican)
  • Gary Johnson (Libertarian)
  • Jill Stein (Green)
Something tells me that this debate would touch on issues more thoughtful than who the real "outsourcer-in-chief" is. And considering that federal tax dollars are, in part, funding the campaigns of Gary Johnson and Jill Stein, it would be nice to hear them talk.

It's been 20 years since a third-party candidate has been invited to debate Republican and Democratic presidential nominees; we all know how political discourse has played out since then. Sometimes, it makes sense to look at the system that is in place and ask ourselves: Is this really the best way to do things? I realize that I'm not the first to say this, but I think we can do better.

If you wish to petition the Commission on Presidential Debates to include Gov. Johnson and Dr. Stein in the debates, go here. As John DeFeo notes in his opening...

The U.S. presidential debates are like a "Best Beer in America" contest where only Bud Light and Coors Light are invited. Of course, there's nothing inherently wrong with these beers, they satisfy millions of Americans. But to claim one of them is the "best" while ignoring the hundreds of independent American breweries churning out some of the world's most unique and innovative suds -- well, that seems wrong.

Not just 'seems', John.

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