Saturday, October 6, 2012

Libertarians who don't get it (or who have ulterior motives)

fauxLibertarian Republican publisher Eric Dondero makes no bones about his motives:  he wants to elect Mitt Romney.  He has this insane idea that there is a major difference between the two statists running for president.

As such, even though he pays lip service to supporting a larger voter turnout for Governor Gary Johnson, he's really only interested in Libertarians being a useful adjunct (he would say "ally") for the Republican Party.  So you have to be really careful about anything he publishes about the Libertarian presidential campaign.  For example, reading LR you'd never have any idea that Republicans were playing dirty tricks and using every legal maneuver in the books to force their "ally" off the ballot.

So when you read anything at fauxLibertarian Republican you have to realize that it is all agenda-driven, and the agenda is NOT a pro-LP, pro-Gary Johnson agenda.

Nonetheless, a brief post by Bruce Cohen, former Chair of the Orange County CA Libertarians deserves some attention, because it both highlights fauxLibertarian Republican's dishonest approach to "supporting" Gary Johnson and legitimate misunderstandings among many real Libertarians about the Johnson campaign:
Gary Earl Johnson is not doing as well as expected: In fundraising, in appearances and in polling.The way for him to become relevant...To become interesting to the media...And American voters...Is to threaten to take a battleground state away from Obama. Libertarians will be thrilled if he uses Marijuana as a wedge issue. Pot smokers are a large enough voting block to swing it in Oregon.I say to the Gary Johnson campaign, the way for you to do something good for the LP and for America, much less for your own efforts is to go hard against Obama in one or two swing states.How about Oregon and New Mexico for starters?Gary! Do America a favor and take down Obama. Or go down trying.
This is a fascinating post that deserves both fisking and parsing.

In what way is the Gary Johnson campaign not doing as well as expected, Bruce--and by whom?

The campaign has painstakingly raised several million dollars, almost entirely from small donors.  Did you somehow expect that million-dollar donations were going to roll in for a third-party candidate until after he had broken through?

Appearances?  You have to be kidding, right.  Gary Johnson and Jim Gray have been crisscrossing the nation, appearing nonstop at every possible venue.  While Gary has not cracked regular coverage on A-list media (and note that even Ron Paul, with ten times his funding never did, either), he has attracted more press coverage in local, state, alternative, and internet media than any other Libertarian candidate in history.  He's been on Fox, CNN, the Daily Beast. . . .  USA Today published his answers to debate questions; WaPo and Newsday called for his inclusion.  Three debate sponsors pulled out thanks to grassroots pressure from his campaign.

Polling?  He's disappointing in polling?  Some polls show him at double digits in the battleground state of Ohio, others at 6% nationally.  Even Eric admits that
With an electorate the size of approx. 120 million, a 1 to 2% showing for Libertarian Party candidate Gary Johnson amounts to nearly 2 million votes, way above the all-time high of 922,000 for the LP.
So if he's on target for an all-time LP record, he's disappointing, eh Bruce?

From this disappointment, Bruce goes on to argue that what Gary should really be doing is running hard against Obama in a swing state like Oregon, that he should make himself a single-issue candidate in order to tilt the balance in one state.

What an idiotic strategy, designed only to improve Mitt Romney's chances and not to improve the Libertarian Party's.  (By the way, it is again interesting that Eric Dondero has already published a post pointing out that Gary Johnson is very likely to swing North Carolina from Obama to Romney--guess Bruce doesn't read the blog.)

So what Bruce Cohen is doing--besides pimping for Eric Dondero and pro-Romney "Libertarians"--is arguing for the Libertarian Party to never try to be a national party, never try to run a national campaign.

What the Gary Johnson campaign is doing that has NEVER before happened in the Libertarian Party is building a truly nationwide effort with coordinators and events in virtually every state, with earned media aplenty, with true grassroots organizing. . .

An example from Delaware:  when Bob Barr (Eric's idea of the true "Libertarian") ran in 2008 he did nothing in Delaware.  Even if you wanted them, you couldn't find signs, or bumper stickers, or a campaign, much less an event.

This year Gary Johnson skyped into the Libertarian Party of Delaware convention, and Judge Jim Gray actually came to Delaware State University to address and excited crowd, doing radio and TV interviews while he was here.  You can actually see Gary Johnson signs around the state (when embittered Ds and Rs don't knock them down, which has happened), and third party candidates are getting a "coat tail" effect.  The Jewish Federation of Delaware reversed its longtime exclusion of third party candidates from its debate; state media has even covered the controversy of the University of Delaware holding to political apartheid in its debate.

That would not be happening without Gary Johnson, and more specifically the Gary Johnson 2012 campaign.

And Bruce (like Eric) knows this.  So why is he writing what he knows is not true?

Because he doesn't care (in a Wayne Allyn Root sense) one damn bit about electing Gary Johnson, or making Libertarians a national force in politics.

He cares about electing Mitt Romney.

Don't forget that for a second.

It's just another sign of the success our campaign is having:  the Republicans can no longer count on having fiscally conservative, socially liberal folks on their side, because now there is an alternative that doesn't depend on homophobia, endless war, and massive deficit spending.


pandora said...

As a women, and the mother of a teenage daughter, there is a huge difference between the two candidates for president. Romney/Ryan is VERY different from Obama on these issues.

And I know these ladybit issues are important to you. :-)

Steve Newton said...

pandora, those differences exist and they are important to me. However, I think you do equal violence to the concept of truthfully comparing the two candidates when you don't admit that in many ways--many significant ways--the two are indistinguishable.

Both men will continue to spend inordinate amounts of American tax money for the military and will engage in adventurist military excursions that get our sons and daughters killed around the world.

Both men (Obama by record, Romney by intent) will continue to shred our civil liberties. The fact that Obama mouths guarded support for same-sex marriage or would defend abortion rights does not entitle him to any sort of pass on extrajudicial killings, indefinite detention, or a wide variety of other civil rights abuses.

Neither man will lessen the harsh, immoral, and counterproductive "war on drugs" which has the US having the highest percentage of its population (our sons and daughters again) locked up for nonviolent drug offenses.

Both men believe in top-down management of public education via garbage research. Obama stood in front of America and told the lie that Race to the Top is successfully reforming our schools. Romney supports a Federal "grade" for each school. Their methods might be different, but neither man is actually a friend of public education. That's our sons and daughters again.

So, no, I will not give Obama a pass and say he is substantively different overall as president because he is more enlightened in terms of abortion, stem cell research, same-sex marriage etc. etc. Those are good things and I agree with him on them.

But the fact that one man who orders extraconstitutional murder and the maiming of Pakistani, Yemeni, and other children around the globe is pro-abortion does not win him my admiration or my vote when comparing him to another man who doesn't believe in the Constitution, either.

As much as I disagree with Dr Jill Stein on almost all economic issues, if the issues you mention were the deciding ones for me, I would be voting either for her or Gary Johnson rather than the man who presides over regular Tuesday night "kill sessions."

Will they win? Not this time. But the system will never offer us anything better than these two men if we keep pretending along with their corporate donors that there are--and should only be--two choices.

paulie said...

Democrats and Republicans alike demagogue the abortion (and now contraception) issues strictly because it gets them votes and money.

They are ONLY interested in those issues for that reason and that reason alone.

Thus, it is simply not in their interest to have any major change on actual policy, because that would take the issue off the table for them as a political football, and are even less interested in other solutions that could be agreed on by both sides - making adoption easier, for example. Or getting rid of red tape that impedes research and development of technological advances in artificial wombs or womb to womb transfers.

Anything that would help to actually solve the problem would be bad for the Democrats and Republicans bottom line, so look forward to many years of much demagoguery and very little change in that particular battle.

Anonymous said...

Amen ! Dondero ( who's real name is Rittberg) and Cohen are really upset because Gov. Gary Johnson puts the interests of the United States before Israel. Perhaps the Arab world wouldn't hate us if we would stop interjecting ourselves their business.
Israel is the the occupier. The Palestinians are the freedom fighters.Bush=Obama=Romney

faeriejems said...

Pandora, what issues are you speaking of? I'm a woman with a teen-age son. Are you talking about abortion? It seems to me that is an issue where Romney has famously flip-flopped, so who knows what he really thinks?

Are you talking about birth control?
Gardisil vaccinations?

Anonymous said...

Speaking as a pure pragmatist about the next four years:

If Romney is elected, I fear that House Republicans will work with him to grow government.

If Obama is re-elected, however, I think there will be the slight advantage of "divided government." (House Republicans will clog up his plans because he's a Democrat.)

JFlee said...

Gary Johnson vs the zombies:

kevin said...

To pretend, as this article does, that there are no significant differences between Obama and Romney, is counter-factual, even delusional. That's not to say, Romney is perfect; but then, neither is Johnson, for example his idiotic idea for a 23% national sales tax.

Reality has the last say, and this article has been proven wrong. For all the millions raised, Johnson did worse as a % of the vote, than Ed Clark. He didn't even keep pace with the increase in voting population.