The problem is that every time it is not made clear that the existing government program is something created by and for a special interest that screws everyone else, deprives us of liberty and even allows the govt to persecute those it doesn't like, someone is going to get pissed off if that someone is very aware of how they are getting screwed. And then three other people will start to wonder when something overly statist will be said about some program where they feel they are getting screwed. So it's not just about ideology, it's about people getting screwed by government in their daily lives and want a CHAMPION against that sort of thing. At this point only Marijuana smokers who don't mind taxes and regulations can feel 100% that way about Johnson. Others remain wary he's on the verge of saying or doing something that will have us tearing out our hair.Second:
We've got who we've got. But he's enough of a Politician to know that if sufficient numbers of the base/core grassroots activists and contributors are not happy with him, he may have more trouble getting signatures and raising money. Not to mention those embarrassing articles about "how come he's not as hard core as Ron Paul" or the LP platform on this or that issue. If no one complained the last six months he might not even be hard core enough for you to support :-)And from Carol's blog, a snippet that shows just how she divides the Libertarian movement in her thinking:
The Libertarian Party national leadership (the Libertarian National Committee) tends to swing back and forth between certain longtime pragmatic "partyarchs" with delusions of grandeur committed to winning at all costs and an ever revolving crew representing the large majority of more principled libertarians who want to get the message out - but don't intend to sell out. The latter tend not to show at the biannual national conventions quite as often as the former. (Photo grabbed from tv of Presidential Nominee Gary Johnson on the convention floor.)
This time a particularly power mad set of "libertarian" conservatives (mostly Israel supporters) - popularly known as the "cabal" - were royally trounced from the national committee that they assumed they easily would take over for a 5th year running.This captures--albeit in something less than objective terms--the split between what I would call dogmatist and pragmatic Libertarians, and in particular how they see electoral politics.
Dogmatists are generally whole-hog, theoretical Libertarians, who care passionately about the economic distinctions between Hayek and Mises an Friedman, and who view any deviation from the Libertarian Party platform as necessarily excluding one from the using the identifier for the rest of his or her life. (They also don't like Israel.) They view presidential nominations as a way to educate the masses rather than a mechanism for pursuing real political change, and they point--with some justified pride, by the way--to the fact that Libertarians have been responsible for much of the movement of the discourse about marijuana legalization in this country. They take an extremely long view: they can see the perfect Libertarian society way up there and will settle for nothing less. They're just not real sure how to get there, even though they have completely ruled out political compromise as a mechanism for advancing the cause.
Today, folks like Lee Wrights and Les Antman represent the dogmatist position with wit, grace, and erudition, and if I believed that's what the Libertarian Party should be doing--as a political party--I would have been a huge Lew Wrights supporter. Short of Dr. Mary Ruwart, I can't think of anyone who could make a better popular, even populist, theoretical argument for the philosophy.
But I'm not a dogmatist--I'm a pragmatist. I'm certainly not a fan of Wayne Root, who I have diffculty fitting into any definition of Libertarian, and I thought Bob Barr was so much of a disaster that I publicly refused to support him.
What we've got now, however, is a pragmatic Libertarian candidate who is the first candidate that the LP has ever run who is actually qualified to be President of the United States. I don't agree with him about everything, but I agree with him about so much, and--even better--he's actually got a record of governing that I can examine in order to see if he will do what he says he would do.
The grand steamroller of people that Carol finds in the first paragraph being more and more upset about government screwing them over have been either cowed, or educated, or lulled into not worrying about it so much because of all the government goodies they still get.
As for the idea that running a pragmatist with experience might make it difficult to raise money--the campaign actually is raising money, and building an organization across the entire country, and pursuing ballot access at the same time. Did you miss that?
As for using Ron Paul as the hardcore gold-standard (pun intended) for what qualifies as Libertarian, I guess somebody ought to go back and re-read Liberty Defined.
Ron Paul is a Paulist, first, last, and always.
Here's my final note: I think Gary Johnson is right that we are only six years or so away from becoming Greece. And while Europe can survive without Greece, an American collapse has so many implications that I don't want to go there for myself or my children.
So I figure we've got--at best--two presidential elections to get it right.
Yep, Gary's the longest of long shots.
And that's the position we're in right now.