Third Party & Independents Archives

Gary Johnson and Bill Weld

Today, I endorse Gary Johnson and Bill Weld for President and Vice President of the United states. These two men bring a wealth of experience from their tenures as governors of New Mexico and Massachusetts and I am certain that a Johnson-Weld administration will exercise judgement superior to that of Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump or Jill Stein.

I know that many of you might be confused why this liberal is supporting a libertarian. It turns out the gap between libertarianism and my own personal brand of liberalism is not that great. I have held the tenets of classical liberalism in high esteem for a long time even though some of the more radical libertarians sometimes present policies I disagree with. Johnson and Weld give me the confidence that they will restore good governance and protect individual liberty without vanishing down the rabbit hole of overly doctrinaire libertarianism.

I first started to seriously consider the Johnson-Weld ticket when Johnson announced Weld as his running mate. I was just a child when Weld governed my homestate, but the impact of his administration echoes to this day. He built upon the success of Michael Dukakis and continued Massachusetts' economic dominance on the national stage.

Key among this was something I happened to witness first hand. Long before No Child Left Behind, Massachusetts passed its own education reform law. Sparing you the details, the results speak for themselves as the commonwealth leads the nation in nearly every measurement of educational attainment. More importantly, Weld's legacy in MA as well as Johnson's in NM demonstrate that each one of them is committed to working across the aisle to bring left and right together. With our current Constitution, consensus building is vital to getting anything done and the lack of such an agreement is precisely why Washington has been so dysfunctional over the past 6 years.

For quite a while, my personal political philosophy has flirted with libertarianism. Never have I been a huge fan of the welfare state and its entitlement spending. Usually, I stomach those programs just enough to pull the lever for the Democratic candidate. However, I have publicly advocated for things such as raising the Social Security/MediCare retirement age or replacing the PPACA individual mandate with an optional waiver in the past. I have even offered to WatchBlog's rightist commenters to endorse a world with neither PPACA nor EMTALA, but to no avail. Studious readers of my writing should have detected my true beliefs long ago.

That said, I still have serious bones to pick with the libertarian philosophy that I doubt I will ever truly consider myself one. Most importantly, libertarianism's biggest proponents all too often ignore that other individuals are often a greater threat to one's liberty than the government. When a shop-owner refuses to serve customers of a particular race or creed, when a polluter contaminates the environment, when an armed man pursues and shoots an unarmed teenager, these are all examples where one person violates another person's rights without involving the government or its so-called "monopoly" on power.

It is one of the roles of an effective government to negotiate these conflicts between the rights of different individuals. Right wing libertarians seem to ignore this as they advocate that government not interfere when individuals' rights are infringed upon, which forgets that protecting individual rights is the fundamental purpose of government. When I hear Johnson and Weld defend Americans' right to equal access to public accommodations, it gives me confidence that they understand the nuance at play.

In addition, I am pushed towards Johnson and Weld because they are the only candidates willing to support TPP. Free trade is fundamental to my political philosophy of limited government and has had an excellent track record, lifting millions out of poverty when other conditions are sufficient. Yes, it sometimes comes at the expense of working class people in developed countries, but this is only a temporary imbalance. There is a nonzero sum game at play and the ensuing tide will rise and lift all the boats after a new equilibrium settles into place.

Lastly, a certain share of my support for Johnson and Weld comes from the fact that in a certain sense they are the lesser of four evils running for POTUS. There are certainly inartful comments both men have made. I blame them on the shoestring campaign budget that has hindered their ability to hire better advisors. In utter contrast, Clinton and Trump have demonstrated traits that are deeply disturbing and completely disqualify them from any consideration for higher office.

With Trump, my biggest concern is his tremendous insecurity. Unable to handle even the lightest of criticism without "punching back" is not a strong trait. Part of America's strength is its resilience. We do our best when we avoid the temptation to overreact to slights. It is impossible to trust Trump's foreign policy will follow this recipe for success as it essentially requires one to assume Trump is lying such that he will be a completely different person as President. I don't like the odds on that bet and I'm glad I likely won't have to find out.
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With Stein, I am wary of putting too much government control over the economy. Especially when it is premised on flimsy ideas such as the long debunked ideas regarding GMO foods or vaccines & autism. I value the conclusions of scientific inquiry and I do not think Stein and the Green Party are willing to put their emotional hobby horses aside when confronted with the truth. While corporations do damage to much of our political system they are not the source of all that is evil. In fact, much of the progress made by humanity over the last century came as the result of corporate efforts. I want more nuance in my leaders than the simple Stein formula of antagonizing the wealthy.

Lastly, there's Clinton. Even though there has been a longstanding right wing effort to discredit her and her husband, that effort was spawned by both Clintons' dislike of transparency. The same attitude that kept exculpatory Whitewater documents under lock and key has turned thousands of benign personal emails into a national scandal. Like Trump, HRC shares a degree of insecurity; however here reaction is to hide away rather than lash out. Unfortunately, the consequences are only slightly less deleterious. By elevating her own personal convenience above the national security interest, Hillary Clinton has demonstrated that she does not believe in the basic premise of civil servant-ship which surmises that one ought to put national interests ahead of personal ones.

Clinton's subversion of that reveals a variety of narcissism that I don't want in the White House. Compare with Johnson and Weld's plainness, which instills feelings of trust and honesty. While I may not agree with their positions on several issues (such as the estate tax) their personable demeanor grants a degree of trust that I don't see in other candidates. I am aware that Johnson and Weld's chances of ascending to higher office are nanoscopic, but neither Clinton or Trump have done or said what I believe is required to earn my trust .

Posted by Warren Porter at September 4, 2016 7:31 PM
Comments
Comment #407142

Warren, I don’t really want to spend a lot of time digging thru the internet to determine on what basis a Gary Johnson would choose nominees for Supreme Court Justices. Can you help?

“When I hear Johnson and Weld defend Americans’ right to equal access to public accommodations, it gives me confidence that they understand the nuance at play.”

I followed the link you provided and contrary to what you believe I see no evidence of nuance. He sounds totally political on this issue. He doesn’t seem to follow the Constitution on these issues. What am I missing here?

Posted by: Royal Flush at September 4, 2016 6:00 PM
Comment #407143

The nuance I refer to is the idea that government is not the only threat to individual liberty. Other individuals can be as well. Thus, the overtly political idea that government has no business inserting itself into a situation is debunked.

Regarding the Supreme Court, I saw Bill Weld mention on CNN that he admired Hugo Black and would seek out Justices similar to him. What that means is a matter of speculation. Admittedly, I would probably be much happier with a Justice nominated by Hillary Clinton than one nominated by Gary Johnson.

Posted by: Warren Porter at September 4, 2016 6:11 PM
Comment #407144
He doesn’t seem to follow the Constitution on these issues. What am I missing here?

To be more blunt, you are missing a basic understanding of our Constitution, which protects people’s right to equal access to public accommodations.

Posted by: Warren Porter at September 4, 2016 6:16 PM
Comment #407145

Thanks for the response Warren.

Posted by: Royal Flush at September 4, 2016 6:19 PM
Comment #407149

I wrote my comment 407145 before I read your response 407144 Warren.

So sad to find you immediately sinking into political crap mode.

Promoting the Johnson/Weld team has done nothing for your manners.

Posted by: Royal Flush at September 4, 2016 7:28 PM
Comment #407151

Look, if you write “He doesn’t seem to follow the Constitution on these issues” it isn’t going to generate a very fruitful discussion. It’s begging the question and I know you can do better than that.

Posted by: Warren Porter at September 4, 2016 7:35 PM
Comment #407152

Warren, I asked; “What am I missing here(regarding nuance)?” I would still like to know.

YOu wrote you would prefer justices nominated by Hillary over Johnson. Yet Johnson seems to support your view of “public accommodations.”

We’ve had the discussion of public accommodation before and it clearly violates the Constitution and is a step towards tyranny.

Posted by: Royal Flush at September 4, 2016 7:44 PM
Comment #407153
Even though there has been a longstanding right wing effort to discredit her and her husband, that effort was spawned by both Clintons’ dislike of transparency. Posted by Warren Porter at September 4, 2016 7:31 PM


I read that WP article the other day too. HRC45 believed she had a right to privacy. You’ve clearly heard of unreasonable searches and seizures, warrants, probable cause, and so forth, so why don’t you think the 4th amendment would be applicable to HRC45, or was applicable to her when she was only the First Lady? She should probably sue the Federal Government for harassment for everything that came later.

Admittedly, I would probably be much happier with a Justice nominated by Hillary Clinton than one nominated by Gary Johnson. Posted by: Warren Porter at September 4, 2016 6:11 PM

So, vote for the next POTUS, Hillary Rodham Clinton. She could appoint BHO44 to the SCOTUS.

Posted by: oraoghaile at September 4, 2016 7:59 PM
Comment #407154
YOu wrote you would prefer justices nominated by Hillary over Johnson. Yet Johnson seems to support your view of “public accommodations.”

Clinton and Johnson agree on this issue so there’s no difference in this instance.

We’ve had the discussion of public accommodation before and it clearly violates the Constitution and is a step towards tyranny.

That’s not the impression I have of our previous discussions. Clearly things are less clear than you assume. The right to equal access to public accommodations was a fundamental component of last century’s civil rights movement and was solidified with the 1964 Civil Rights Act and in SCOTUS decisions such as Heart of Atlanta Motel v. USA. Perhaps you can argue that it was a mistake to force businesses to desegregate, but to call it “clear” is beyond the pale.

Posted by: Warren Porter at September 4, 2016 8:01 PM
Comment #407155

Anyway, Warren Porter, thank you for your well thought out article. There haven’t been many articles that made sense in this column in a long time. I agree about Jill Stein and the Greens. We need something completely different from that spectrum than their current dogmatic approach.

Posted by: oraoghaile at September 4, 2016 8:06 PM
Comment #407156
I read that WP article the other day too. HRC45 believed she had a right to privacy. You’ve clearly heard of unreasonable searches and seizures, warrants, probable cause, and so forth, so why don’t you think the 4th amendment would be applicable to HRC45, or was applicable to her when she was only the First Lady? She should probably sue the Federal Government for harassment for everything that came later.

You misunderstand what the right to privacy means. It doesn’t mean people don’t have a right to ask the Clinton’s to disclose something. You would never claim that Trump’s right to privacy would absolve him of the obligation to disclose his tax returns to the American people.

I’m not saying the Clintons didn’t have the right to keep that Whitewater document a secret. I am saying that it was a stupid political move that made it look like they were hiding something. Being transparent and disclosing everything ahead of time is a far superior route. I want a President who is willing to sacrifice his own privacy for the sake of the common good.

So, vote for the next POTUS, Hillary Rodham Clinton. She could appoint BHO44 to the SCOTUS.
There’s more to being President than nominating Supreme Court Justices. Posted by: Warren Porter at September 4, 2016 8:09 PM
Comment #407157
Anyway, Warren Porter, thank you for your well thought out article. There haven’t been many articles that made sense in this column in a long time. I agree about Jill Stein and the Greens. We need something completely different from that spectrum than their current dogmatic approach.
Thank You. For whatever reason, I was never satisfied with this essay no matter how many times I revised it over the past few days. I think it rambles from topic to topic too much, and for the sake of brevity, I didn’t even address certain topics such as the national debt. Posted by: Warren Porter at September 4, 2016 8:15 PM
Comment #407158
You would never claim that Trump’s right to privacy would absolve him of the obligation to disclose his tax returns to the American people….I want a President who is willing to sacrifice his own privacy for the sake of the common good. Posted by: Warren Porter at September 4, 2016 8:09 PM

I don’t care if he ever releases his tax returns. He probably won’t because he knows he’s not going to be elected, and wants to maintain his privacy. The business dealings of Real Estate Developers wouldn’t be understood by most people anyway, especially his low information supporters. I don’t believe he is obliged to disclose them, it’s just a current custom and precedents have been set by others.

I also don’t think that sacrificing privacy is for the common good. If people can find something out in a legal way, that’s fine. Endless expenditure on investigating gossip is just ridiculous. Rupert Murdoch is not my overlord.

Posted by: oraoghaile at September 4, 2016 8:21 PM
Comment #407161
Endless expenditure on investigating gossip is just ridiculous.

I’m not talking about spending taxpayer money on stupid investigations. I am talking about when the Washington Post asks for some documents that might shed light on something, it might be wise to do the considerate thing and release them. I am talking about doing government business on government servers in order to facilitate FOIA compliance. I am talking about telling the public the truth instead of lying about it for years on end.

I don’t believe he is obliged to disclose them, it’s just a current custom and precedents have been set by others.
I think the custom obliges all future candidates to comply, but that is only my opinion. Right now, Trump faces severe accusations against his loyalty to the USA due to his alleged connections with Russia and elsewhere. It’s his own damn fault the rumors persist because he is unwilling to release the documents to the media that would exonerate him. Posted by: Warren Porter at September 4, 2016 8:54 PM
Comment #407163
It’s his own damn fault the rumors persist because he is unwilling to release the documents to the media that would exonerate him. Posted by: Warren Porter at September 4, 2016 8:54 PM

Since he’s not actually going to get elected, and may not even want to be POTUS, I don’t see why he would. He already gave his explanation. He’s being audited. This is all just a publicity stunt that went sideways. He told some people whst they wanted to hear. They recognized his name and voted for him. His closest opponent was described as Lucifer by a member of his own party. Now we’re stuck listening to his daily serial drama, like sands through the hourglass, these are The Days Of Donnie Drumpf.

Back on your article, seriously, bragging that Massachusetts has a top educational system? It’s a small state with a major University on every block. New Mexico is among the worst for education, and Johnson is the top of that ticket. I hope Weld gets the top spot next time around.

Posted by: oraoghaile at September 4, 2016 9:31 PM
Comment #407165

It is my understanding the Johnson Weld ticket has adopted the regressive taxation they call flat tax as part of their agenda. That alone is reason to discount them as serious candidates for the office of president.

Posted by: j2t2 at September 5, 2016 12:57 AM
Comment #407167

I’ve been quite amendable to theories whereby DJT isn’t actually interested in being President. However, while it does explain why he values his own privacy over the grander ideals of transparency, it does not absolve him of the obligation I outlined above. If he isn’t interested President, it is not fair to the Republican party that nominated him, the 13 million people who voted for him in the primaries or the contributors who fund his campaign. If he really cares about his privacy this much, he needs announce that he is dropping out of the race and returning to private life.

Regarding Massachusetts, it is the 15th most populous state in the union, so it isn’t that small. I may be wrong, but I don’t think a large geographic extent is a huge barrier to having a top notch public education system. Also, it is not a given that a state’s public schools will be so good just because there is a high concentration of colleges and universities. Ultimately, the success in Massachusetts is because its people have designed a system that works.

That said, you are right that this is all Weld and Johnson doesn’t promise much on that front. I definitely would not be voting for this ticket if Weld were not on it. Unfortunately, Weld is old enough that won’t be a next time.

Posted by: Warren Porter at September 5, 2016 7:58 AM
Comment #407168

j2t2,

Yes, I disagree with the Weld/Johnson position on taxes. However, I am not a single issue voter.

Posted by: Warren Porter at September 5, 2016 8:02 AM
Comment #407170

So they support multinational corporate control of the economy, loss of national sovereignty and the trade agreements, “free trade” that resulted in the influx of illegal immigrants, regressive taxation, the never ending “war on terror” and the Laffler fiasco for job creation yet they are the lesser of the evils? Seems to me they are just another bad choice, Trump with out the clown face as they tell us they will balance the budget but won’t say how.

Who are their corporate sponsors?

Posted by: j2t2 at September 5, 2016 10:44 AM
Comment #407172

On the schools, I would be curious how Iowa ranks, since they also have a college of some kind in almost every town. I think Dubuque has 3 or 4. I live in a college town, where the schools are excellent, and in the town where I went to college, the schools are some of the best in the nation. I think there is a correlation.

Contrariwise, the practice of teaching to the exams has produced some very odd results in Chicago, where various schools had done very well as a result, although I doubt that the individual schools that tested well are as good as they claim. My grandparent’s house still stands on Jackson Blvd in Chicago, near Our Lady of Sorrows Basilica. The school there was closed about 20 years ago, and it’s now a charter school, which is also claimed to be excellent by the people that run it, and they seem quite believable. I’m skeptical about claims of good schools in unexpected places.

Posted by: oraoghaile at September 5, 2016 3:32 PM
Comment #407173

Warren at his hypocritical zenith.

“If he really cares about his privacy this much, he needs announce that he is dropping out of the race and returning to private life.”

Ummm…who was it again that deleted thousands of emails claiming they were all private despite her lie being found out with recent releases. Public servants do not have the right to destroy public documents. Mrs. Clinton believes she is above the law and the rest of us mere mortals.

Mrs. Clinton should retire immediately and disappear permanently from public view and hearing.

Posted by: Royal Flush at September 5, 2016 3:57 PM
Comment #407201
So they support multinational corporate control of the economy, loss of national sovereignty and the trade agreements, “free trade” that resulted in the influx of illegal immigrants, regressive taxation

I support free trade and do not confuse it with leftist conspiracy theories revolving around loss of national sovereignty or multinational corporate control. I support an individual’s right to immigrate to the USA so long as they don’t pose a threat to the health or security to Americans already here. Regressive taxation is the only blot here and I am willing to look the other way in the face of all these other issues.

the never ending “war on terror”
This is flat wrong. Libertarians are 180 degrees opposed to neoconservative foreign policy.
they tell us they will balance the budget but won’t say how.
They say they will cut spending. Of course, it would be foolish to announce the details today and allow special interest groups to mobilize. Anyway, any cuts would have to be negotiated with Congress. Given the track record of their governorships, I feel comfortable trusting Johnson and Weld to make the right fiscal decisions.
On the schools, I would be curious how Iowa ranks, since they also have a college of some kind in almost every town. I think Dubuque has 3 or 4. I live in a college town, where the schools are excellent, and in the town where I went to college, the schools are some of the best in the nation. I think there is a correlation.

Iowa ranks 24th. Wyoming manages to grab the 7th best slot even though there are no accredited 4 year tertiary education programs there apart from the University of Wyoming in Laramie and a Catholic liberal arts school in Lander that isn’t even a decade old. I think you are correct in that there is a correlation between the presence of a college or university and the quality of a local district’s public schools. For instance, Cambridge has some of the best public schools in MA. However, the impact is diluted way too much when one looks at entire states. For a poor family in Lawrence, it doesn’t matter how many universities in Cambridge there happen to be.

Ummm…who was it again that deleted thousands of emails claiming they were all private despite her lie being found out with recent releases. Public servants do not have the right to destroy public documents.

Two issues with your claim:

1. Tax records are not the same thing as email records.

2. There is zero evidence suggesting that any of the emails deemed “personal” by Clinton’s attorney were intentionally mislabelled. All of the work-related emails discovered among the deleted personal emails appear to be the result of genuine mistakes and errors. Given that we are talking about 30,000 emails the rate of miscategorization has been quite small.

Posted by: Warren Porter at September 6, 2016 3:04 PM
Comment #407250
I support free trade and do not confuse it with leftist conspiracy theories revolving around loss of national sovereignty or multinational corporate control.

Warren, we all support free trade however agreements that …. well read it yourself before you brush it off with the conspiracy theory line of crap.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/isds-lawsuit-financing-tpp_us_57c48e40e4b09cd22d91f660?

Posted by: j2t2 at September 8, 2016 1:17 AM
Comment #407271

I still support TPP despite the ISDS concerns. In my experience, fears around such things are almost always overblown. And, if there ever is a problem, we can tinker with things down the road, but I would never throw out the baby with the bathwater like the far left wants to do.

Posted by: Warren Porter at September 9, 2016 12:40 PM
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