Gary Johnson in Debates? No, He Absences Himself from Actual Debate Today

The principle current issue from Libertarian Gary Johnson’s campaign is his desire to be included in the presidential debates.  However, I say no; it is proper to exclude him for reasons beyond his leading a cargo cult political party.

There are real debates about actual policy that are happening right now, and Johnson is absenting himself from them.  Previously, I directed his campaign’s attention to the bipartisan agreement to pass a continuing resolution to fund the federal government for the first six months of FY 2013 without the otherwise required congressional appropriation being passed.  In doing so, my questions to the campaign highlighted the risks that this deal poses to Johnson’s promised agenda of budget balancing and entitlement reform, but apparently those promises are not worth enough to fight for now.  Since then, the Congress passed a sanctions bill directing policy towards Iran and Syria, but Johnson has been silent on this issue as it sat on the President’s desk.

Johnson’s campaign may protest that he is busy running for President, so he does not have the time to think about the issues that a President must address or to make judgments on government policies as they are in the process of being changed.  I disagree: (1) news reporting on these events does not include Johnson’s positions as a contrast to bipartisan agreement, (2) Johnson has no party in the Congress and needs to engage Congress to build a supportive caucus for his policy agenda, and (3) to get in the news to spread his message Johnson needs to do something in the context of the day’s news.

This is about more than my disagreement with the Libertarians and Gary Johnson on policy issues.  I have no patience for the lack of competence demonstrated by the Johnson campaign as it is a precursor for the lack of competence that would be found in a Johnson Administration.  I can understand someone liking Johnson because he sometimes gets a policy issue less wrong than other candidates; however, he is not running for Senate, as he should have, but instead for President.  Obama (and Carter before him) has demonstrated the consequences of an incompetent President; thus, putting the inexperienced and impotent Johnson in that position would be a continuing disaster for republican government.

What are the key points for Selfish Citizenship?

  • Congress is where policy is substantially created; how consistent are your congressional candidates with your values and positions?  Have you personally reached out to those candidates?
  • Under republican government, the executive requires a different personality and level of experience compared to a legislator.
  • Without a party or caucus in the Congress, a President will be less effective than Andrew Johnson, who was impeached and almost convicted over a policy dispute.
  • While it is not the current fashion as we opt for amateurs, candidates for the presidency should demonstrate competency and engagement in the issues before holding the office.
  • To have an influence on policy questions that is personally important to you, you do not have to be an office holder or flack for a candidate; for example, see Diana Hsieh and Ari Armstrong on personhood and campaign finance reform.

Extra point:  If you do not know the difference between capital R Republican government and lowercase r republican government, read John Adams and the Spirit of Liberty by C. Bradley Thompson.

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2 Responses to Gary Johnson in Debates? No, He Absences Himself from Actual Debate Today

  1. x003 says:

    Gary Johnson was twice elected to governorship of NM (a blue state) as a Republican, and both times he reduced the size and scope of the NM state government and converted a budget deficit into a budget surplus. While I suspect that Johnson’s poor presidential campaign performance is partly (though not entirely) his fault, one cannot reasonably evaluate how he would perform as U.S. President without considering the evidence which is his performances as New Mexico’s governor. Indeed, his success in getting elected *twice* in a *blue* state suggests that the problem was *mainly* the national political and media establishment marginalizing him during the 2012 Republican Primaries.


  2. Pingback: Top Three Reasons to Vote Johnson for President | Selfish Citizenship

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