For any Republicans who might think of voting for Gary Johnson, the Libertarian candidate, it might be wise to consider some of the positions he’s taken. As a libertarian, Johnson tends to see things in terms of black and white, and nuances are lost on him.
Example #1: How do we extract information from terrorists who want us all dead? Johnson feels we should ask them politely if they would mind revealing their secrets. He opposes “physical or psychological torture” for any “criminal or terrorist suspect captured by the U.S.” Forget the fact that the information we got to find Osama Bin Laden and other Al Qaeda operatives was obtained through less polite methods.
Example #2: How strong should our national defense be? Johnson wants to cut our military budget nearly in half; he stated he would cut the defense budget by 43%.
Example #3: Are we really done with al Qaeda?
When he was asked, “Do you oppose current U.S. military intervention in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Libya and, if so, on what moral grounds?” Johnson replied:
I do. In all three cases, I don’t see a military threat. I initially thought the intervention in Afghanistan was warranted–we were attacked and we attacked back–but we’ve wiped out Al Qaeda and here we are; we’re still there.
Interviewer: Isn’t there evidence that we merely drove Al Qaeda from Afghanistan into Pakistan?
Example #4: Is China a threat? Johnson, in Mother Jones, August 1, 2011:
When people understand that the United States spends 52 cents out of the worldwide dollar on military spending and that China spends 9 cents, what arms race are we gonna engage them in? I mean really, is China a threat? No, they’re not.
Example #5: Is Iran a threat? Johnson: “There is not a military threat … if it’s not a military threat I would use all the power I had as president of the United States to not see Israel attack Iran.”
Example #6, from the Huffington Post, October 21, 2011, on the Occupy Movement:
And maybe instead of dismissing or trying to manipulate the Occupiers to partisan advantage, we should all just go join them. All we need to agree about is that the status quo sucks.
Example #7, on gay marriage, from garyjohnson2012.com, Dec. 1, 2011:
As a believer in individual freedom and keeping government out of personal lives, I simply cannot find a legitimate justification for federal laws, such as the Defense of Marriage Act, which ‘define’ marriage. That definition should be left to religions and individuals – not government. Government’s role when it comes to marriage is one of granting benefits and rights to couples who choose to enter into a marriage ‘contract’. As I have examined this issue, consulted with folks on all sides, and viewed it through the lens of individual freedom and equal rights, it has become clear to me that denying those rights and benefits to gay couples is discrimination, plain and simple…
Government’s promise should be to insure equal access to those rights to all Americans, gay or straight… Today, I believe we have arrived at a point in history where more and more Americans are viewing it as a question of liberty and freedom. That evolution is important, and the time has come for us to align our marriage laws with the notion that every individual should be treated equally.
The evolution Johnson spoke of was his own position; he had been more moderate before but “evolved’ to his new stance.
Johnson’s soft positions on our national defense, terrorists, China and Iran are worrisome; his obliviousness on Al Qaeda is disturbing, his endorsement of the Occupy movement is troubling, and his championing of gay marriage challenges traditional mores. All of these reasons reveal a man who is not entirely living in the real world, which is not to deny his appeal on fiscal matters. But Republicans should see him clearly as the H. Ross Perot of 2012, someone who will hand the election to Barack Obama as surely as Perot handed it to Bill Clinton.