If you are a supporter of liberty, anti-war and anti-state, you may have noticed the growing divide among supporters of former NM Governor Gary Johnson and TX Rep Ron Paul. Both men, Johnson who has announced he is running and Paul who has formed an exploratory committee, want to be the next President of the United States and will run on the platform of shrinking the federal government, increasing personal liberty and ending our foreign policy of international intervention along with getting our military out of the unconstitutional wars we are now involved in.
Sounds great, two candidates who’s views are different from what will be the usual slate of big government, anti-liberty, neo-cons running for the highest office in the land. But herein lies the problem; instead of rallying around both men, there is a rift developing among their supporters.
Those who see Dr Paul as the one true libertarian who can turn our republic around question Gov Johnson’s libertarian credentials, often calling him a “beltway libertarian”, saying that he does not propose cutting Leviathan enough and that his record as a two-term Governor of NM proves this. I’ve even seen where it has been thrown out there that Johnson is indirectly being supported by the Koch Brothers.
Some Johnson supporters, on the other hand, question whether Ron Paul is electable enough. They point out that while he has name recognition, the ability to raise large amounts of money and a large base of support especially among younger voters, that has not translated into votes. They also claim that the public perception of him being outside of the mainstream, and a pariah within the GOP, greatly hinders his chances of winning the race.
Both side claim that the movement is not big enough to support two candidates with the same libertarian message and all that will be accomplished is that they siphon votes from each other. [In actuality if this is true, we have no chance of winning anyway so wouldn't two voices for liberty on the stump be better than one?] To this end, some supporters of both men even go as far to say that the other should step down and throw his weight behind the other. [And these people call themselves pro-liberty?]
This is exactly what the establishment wants us to do. Whilst we argue among ourselves over who is more deserving of the libertarian mantle for 2012, they get to focus attention on the other dozen or so potential candidates who will talk a good game, promise us the world and do nothing but grow government, continuing us down the path of destruction that we are currently heading.
There is room in this race for both men. I’m not saying that we can’t have our favorite, I happen to think Gary Johnson is the better choice but Ron Paul is deserving as well, but we cannot tear down the other in the process. It’s us (libertarians) against them (the establishment) and we can’t forget that for a minute. We should promote the virtues of both candidates and rally their collective message of pro-liberty, anti state against the forces that are in opposition to it. Only then will we win.
In the words of Rodney King, “Can’t we all get along?”