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To State What Should Be Obvious


A third-party campaign by Gary Johnson would not have any significant impact on the 2012 election. And the reason is pretty straightforward: as Roy says, “real libertarians are as rare as pieces of the True Cross,” and Glenn Reynolds-style bullshit-libertarians will be staunch Mittens supporters.

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  • rea

    Real libertarians are as rare as pieces of the True Cross?

    There is no abbey so poor as not to have a specimen. In some places there are large fragments, as at the Holy Chapel in Paris, at Poitiers, and at Rome, where a good-sized crucifix is said to have been made of it. In brief, if all the pieces that could be found were collected together, they would make a big ship-load. Yet the Gospel testifies that a single man was able to carry it.–John Calvin

    • njorl

      I suppose it would be more accurate to say:

      “Libertarians are as rare as pieces of the true cross. Real libertarians are as rare as genuine pieces of the true cross.”

      but that lacks the proper punch.

      I think what Roy says makes the reader think what I wrote above despite the fact that it technically means something different. It’s an economy of prose which I never had, and never will.

    • Warren Terra

      Even so, one per parish isn’t going to swing an election …

    • Malaclypse

      Real libertarians are as rare as pieces of the True Cross?

      Somewhere there is a joke involving Henley, Balko, and our own Brad Potts as the Holy Trinity, until their libertarian nature forces them to argue about the ontological status of the filioque.

      • Hasn’t Henley publicly unconverted from libertarianism?

  • Davis

    I had to be reminded who the hell Johnson was, so name recognition just might be a problem.

  • creature

    Well, RonPaul is still running (walking? shambling?),as a Republican so- Go,Gary,Go!!! Guardian of the Galtians!!!

    • efgoldman

      Our local (RI) news was complaining the other day that nobody was buying ads for our presidential primary on 4/24 (because it doesn’t matter a damn), except a small buy ($30,000) by Ron Paul. I saw one the other night on some small cable channel. The usual incoherent nonsense.

  • TT

    I would say that most “libertarians” these days are just loyal Republicans who make a show about claiming to favor abortion rights, civil liberties, and legalizing pot.

    • Scott Lemieux

      Do they even pretend to favor abortion rights anymore?

      • Murc

        The “libertarian” dodge I see on that most often goes something like this.

        “I don’t believe the government has the legal authority to ban abortion by statute… which is why I support a constitutional amendment banning abortion.”

      • TT

        Good question. There are probably a couple–but none of them are going to face a primary challenge in this lifetime.

      • BradP

        I would say its about half and half between libertarians like Gary Johnson who say stuff like:

        “I don’t want for a second to pretend that I have a better idea of how a woman should choose when it comes to this situation. Fundamentally this is a choice that a woman should have”

        but still oppose government funds going to support the feature

        And then there are the Ron Paul types who believe that life begins at conception, and that the woman has parental obligations from that point on.

        I fall in the former group, but I have sympathy for the latter group, as they geniunely seem to be trying to apply libertarian principles to an entity that they feel are rights holders. It goes way beyond “women hating”.

        And I would like to point out that the national democrats are on the right side of the abortion issue, they haven’t exactly been killer at enforcing a consensus among their members. There are a lot of pro-life democrats.

        • BradP

          Wow, “feature” should read “procedure”.

    • BradP

      I would say that most “libertarians” these days are just loyal Republicans who make a show about claiming to favor abortion rights, civil liberties, and legalizing pot.

      Maybe if the democratic party was some sort of champions for those latter two issues, we could test that loyalty.

      • TT

        I doubt that. For starters, it would still be a Democratic Party opposed to Paul Ryan’s budget and Grover Norquist’s pledge. How many “libertarians” would abandon the goal of eviscerating the regulatory state and transferring the tax burden from rich people and corporations to the middle class and the poor if the Democrats all of a sudden started campaigning on legalized pot and ironclad protections for civil liberties? If it’s more than a small handful I’d be amazed.

        • BradP

          It should also be noted that, while libertarians are generally more committed to economic issues, when Ron Paul addresses questions about public spending he generally has a air of “Stop all the wars and foreign policy interventionism, and then we will see about domestic spending.”

          Similarly, while they may defend aspects fo the Ryan Plan, outlets like Reason and CATO have been very critical of it for not attempting to cut republican cash cows like defense.

    • patrick II

      I don’t think the “legalizing pot” part is just for show.

  • There’s one other reason why a Johnson third-party effort will go nowhere.

    He’s a rip-roaring asshole with an ego the size of K2. Nobody but New Mexicans know anything about him except that he’s in favor of pot decriminalization, and from that assume he’s just another old hippie, which just isn’t true.

    Once people get a good, strong whiff of him, they ain’t gonna be thinking it’s pot smoke.

    • If there’s one thing Americans can’t stand it’s assholes running for office.

      • MPAVictoria


  • UserGoogol

    Depends on what you mean by significant. If he can manage to bump the Libertarian vote up to even a solid 1%, (which would be an improvement for them) that wouldn’t count for much but it would certainly add up to something in a close race.

  • Joe

    If he does run, how many references to 1912 will occur? Maybe, Fred Karger should run. He is about as relevant now.

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