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Saturday October 08 2011

Watching this video of Gary Johnson spelling out his policies more than ever convinces me that I’m going to be backing Gary Johnson for President of the USA absolutely until he stops being a candidate, and becomes either a private citizen or President of the USA.

Nor do I totally rule out him becoming President of the USA.  You think I’m mad?  So are the times we now live in.  In normal times, no chance.  No chance at all.  Absolutely none whatsoever.  But Johnson is the only one now talking about radical and immediate government spending cuts in the face of possible currency catastrophe, which he is not frightened to describe, very vividly.  All the others are frightened of being too frightening.  What if a lot of people suddenly decide that Johnson is right, or worse, suddenly discover that he’s right.  He could be the only one left standing.

Herman Cain looks better than the rest of the rest, and if Johnson does fail to get the nomination, as all well-informed observers who read this may soon be telling me he definitely will (will fail, to get the nomination, that is), I may then switch to Cain.  But only when I have to.

The intriguing thing, for me, about Cain is that he used to work at the Federal Reserve and then worked for a bank.  He knows how the evil government/bank machine at the heart of all our woes actually ticks over, or presumably he does.  That makes him far better placed to put a stop to it and set up a different and better system on the ruins of the old one.  That’s if he wants to.

But, only Johnson is talking now about the possibility of such ruins, although maybe other candidates have said such things and I missed it.

Top 10 Things Herman Cain Doesn’t Want You To Know About Him

Posted by Ian Geldard on 08 October 2011


Think Progress is notorious for fabricating bogus claims. I stopped taking them seriously in 2004, when I analysed their “evidence” that George W Bush had stolen the election in Ohio.  (You may recall that the only county to swing TO the Republicans in Ohio was the one the Guardian campaigned in. Karl Rove didn’t stage that.)

About half the 10 reasons are either outright lies or completely out of context (the two anti-Muslim ones especially and the “gay treasurer” smear sounds like a deliberate misrepresentation of the refusal of Mr Cain’s lawyers to respond to an implausible claim made in a courtroom. There was no reason to.). Some of the other smears would be good ideas if true: scrap minimum wage and recognise Taiwan.

The photo-ID to register to vote is probably arguable, because at the last presidential election I reckon that the results in several states, notably Indiana and North Carolina, were rigged by Democrats crossing the border to vote from other states. As president, Cain wouldn’t have the power to impose any scheme, but something should be done about the disgraceful vote rigging that happens (on both sides) at every election. I would consider supporting National ID cards if the UK allowed people to turn up at polling stations on election day and say “Hi! I’m not registered to vote, I have no evidence that I’m a UK resident, let alone a citizen, but I want to vote right now. I swear I haven’t just been to 35 other polling stations and told them the same story.” Which happens in several states, oddly enough at polling stations near state borders. Personally, I’d stop on the day registration to vote AND require proof of residence and citizenship to register, though this could be in the form of a sworn statement signed and witnessed.

This week Herman Cain has been accused of being an anti-black racist, by a white liberal TV show host who probably wouldn’t allow negroes to live within a mile of himself and of being a “birther” by Al Sharpton.

That such absurd lies have to be thrown around suggest that Cain frightens the Obama camp.

My problem with him is that he is possibly too willing to think that the Fed is part of the solution. He may be tempted to take populist (authoritarian) positions in areas of policy he is personally unfamiliar with.

The best things about Cain are 1) his flat tax proposal, especially the bit about scrapping allowances (which benefit high tax local government) and death tax and 2) his refusal to see government as the automatic solution to problems and he proved it in business. He also looks like someone who will beat Obama, which is after all, the main qualification one wants in a candidate. Hence the smears.

The problems with Johnson are: 1) he is a challenger for the most dull candidate (he scored less than 1% of the Republican vote in the last poll I checked, 2) his record was good but he hasn’t been in the public eye since the end of 2002 (stood down January 1st 2003 because of term limit).

Have you noticed the Obama crowd haven’t bothered making up claims about Johnson?

Posted by Antoine Clarke on 08 October 2011

Why not a Freedom Party like in Canada rather than trying to work within existing parties which are never going to properly embrace libertarian like views surely?

Posted by niconoclast on 09 October 2011

"Have you noticed the Obama crowd haven’t bothered making up claims about Johnson?”

They don’t need to- both parties consider Gov. Johnson enough of a threat that:

1) This early, low poll numbers are lack of name recognition, which would be raised with honest media attention;
2) Both the MSM and Republican media refuse to cover his policies- just try to create a circus act around his proposed repeal of the drug war;
3) Media outlets and polling places leave him out of the polls because of low coverage;
4) Debate organizers exclude him because he has a poor showing in the polls which don’t include him;
5) Repeat Steps 3 and 4 unless he gets some air-time- minimize it and continue.

It’s easier to suppress a fringe candidate than to discredit a mainstream candidate- especially if you control the means of expression.  Johnson’s fiscally conservative policies are as much a threat to the D party is his socially liberal policies are to the R party.

Posted by Mike G on 09 October 2011

Put Gary Johnson on the ballot with a one in five chance of a win and I’d vote for him if I were eligible.

I should make clear that as I am not a US citizen I’m not allowed by US federal law to give money to his campaign, or I would.

On the Freedom Party issue, the third party has NEVER won a US presidential election. This means that it can only ever split the anti-establishment (Obama in this case) vote, so the WORST candidate is guaranteed to get in. It could, in theory, lead to a debate on a policy that gets “stolen” by the other two parties, but that has never happened in over 200 years and counting in the USA.

If the USA moved to the election system in Louisiana (two rounds of voting if no one gets over 50% of the vote) then the Libertarian Party would be useful: it might hope to come in the top two someday but in the meantime, it’s supporters would be wooed by the other parties for the second round, instead of being ignored. At least some libertarian ideas would be taken up.

A straight popular vote, single round election would favour Democrats most of the time.

Posted by Antoine Clarke on 09 October 2011

One point about Gary Johnson.

Blaiming the media won’t do. The media is just as dismissive of Ron Paul, but his supporters flood the opinion polls and phone-ins so he comes high in any interactive event.

Johnson’s supporters are not that enthusiastic or noisy.  My guess is he hasn’t got anyone really good doing explaining social media to him.

Herman Cain has his book launches. A bit old fashioned, but it raises cash and guarantees local coverage. If the national media ignored him as a candidate, he’d at least get book reviews and local newspaper coverage of when he’s in town. Smart, cheap, effective.

Posted by Antoine Clarke on 09 October 2011

Yes, in general, I find this whole “The Media Are Being Horrid” argument very unpersuasive, coming from a would-be office holder who, if he gets the job, will have to accomplish other and much bigger things in the face of similarly “unfair” disadvantages.

Successful politicians can still argue past hostile mass media, or cajole them into being less hostile.  Reagan did both.

As Antoine rightly says, if Johnson is not getting a “fair” break from the regular media (which I presume he didn’t expect to get), then he should be creating his own media (which I presume he is doing, as best he can).  I heard his stuff about potential monetary meltdown from a video on Instapundit, which is now part of my mass media.

Many Tea Partiers keep half an eye on Instapundit also, don’t they?  Maybe more will find out from this Instapundit plug about the guy.  And maybe one of the people who finds out will be someone who can sharpen up Johnson’s use of the alternative www media.

Posted by Brian Micklethwait on 09 October 2011

I’m beginning to think Obama will win re-election…

Romney is an axiomatic Pragmatist - might as well be a Democrat.

Perry is a illiterate buffoon.

Cain - looks like it could be him, but he keeps talking about tax reform rather than spending cuts and monetary reform.

Huntsman is a slippery eel even among slippery eels.

Gingrich… compromised by his legislative record.

Bachmann is a gaffe-prone, ankle-biting pup.

Santorum is another ankle-biter.

Ron Paul is an actual libertarian (albeit a soft, somewhat dodgy one), who will be despised by plenty of conservatives, never mind the commutants on the Left.

Gary Johnson, whilst also a soft libertarian, doesn’t have the name recognition of Paul.

I’m starting to lean towards Sowell’s view that Obama could win re-election.

Posted by mike on 09 October 2011

Nothing will boost the Republican candidate’s standing more than the thought of another four years of Obama.

And right now, I would rate whoever gets the nomination’s odds of winning at rather better than 50%.

It would take an Oklahoma bombing, and crucially, one that people actually believed was not engineered to get public support by the government, to pull President Obama out of his mess.

My suspicion is that Operation Fast and Furious was meant to be Obama’s Oklahoma moment, but it backfired: getting caught selling guns to Mexican drug cartels who use them to kill hundreds of people, some of the US citizens, is not quite what got Bill Clinton re-elected in 1996.

Posted by Antoine Clarke on 09 October 2011

Brian, I wish you had found some other video of Johnson to post ... that interview was sloppily done, repetitive and superficial.  Surely there are better interviews of Johnson out there?

Any candidate with plans as ambitious as Johnson’s needs to explain how a president determined to, for instance, end the drug war, would go about overcoming the objections of the [massive and growing] numbers of people who have a stake in the status quo.  I don’t think of statism as a stool with multiple legs; it’s more of a pedestal table, with a massive support structure called CONSTITUENCIES that must be coopted or overcome.  Sadly, I see no hope of such change until that monetary collapse Johnson describes comes to be.

Posted by Gene on 10 October 2011


I agree that this particular bit of video is a bit of a mess, but the substance of what GJ said about the financial crisis impressed me.

The point being that during crises nothing matters - nothing - besides doing the right thing, fast.  Media savvy can be added.  Media savvy added to bad decisions only makes them worse.  Johnson looks primed to make better decisions than any of the others.

The thing about crises, really serious crises, is that they have a way of melting mere “constituencies” away.  Suddenly everyone knows that the solid ground they thought they were standing on is no such thing, and all that matters is what, collectively, is the best thing to do.  The fact that the President hasn’t got a clue about Twitter really doesn’t matter.

But I agree, if there is no perceived crisis, critical enough for voters and “constituencies” to rethink their attitudes, then GJ has no damn chance, as I made very clear in my original posting.  But, I wish he did have a chance, not least because I already think there’s a serious crisis going on.

Posted by Brian Micklethwait on 11 October 2011