Ron Paul or Gary Johnson? Division In the Liberty Movement


“The GOP/RNC has shown me that they don’t want me, and I have decided that I don’t want them either. I go to the Libertarian ticket.”

April Braun, Kansas

Is it time to leave the Republican party?

There have been many posts on Facebook about how disgruntled Ron Paul supporters are ready to leave the GOP and vote third-party. Many are looking at voting for the Libertarian ticket this year. Gary Johnson, former governor of New Mexico, is on the ballot in almost all 50 states on the Lib ticket.

There are also those who are not ready to jump ship on the Liberty movement within the GOP. Some supporters feel that a third-party vote will be a wasted vote, and would rather write in Dr. Paul as a way of sending a message to the GOP that they do not accept Mitt Romney as their nominee.

Is one of those groups wrong?

Of course not. However, there has become a huge divide between these two groups…the ones moving over to the Libertarian side, and those who want to stay and change the GOP from within. There has been a ton of infighting in the days following the convention, and some folks are not happy about having Johnson pushed on them by overzealous supporters. At the same time, those who support Johnson are upset that hardcore Paul supporters are not following them to a third-party vote.

On Facebook, Paul supporters have many different views.

Juleen McKay, from Indiana, explains that her state has “sore loser laws” and that write-ins do not count. ” There is ZERO CHANCE my write in for Dr. Paul will count, “said McKay.” I feel I must vote for the best choice for our country. Since Obama & Romney are terrible choices, I would have to vote for Gary Johnson.”

McKay also explained, “I feel voting for no one is a disservice to the United States. However, if Obama or Romney were my only choices, I could vote for neither.”

Bonnie Burke disagreed. “Gary Johnson has as much of a chance of winning the election as Ron Paul. Because Gary Johnson is not my candidate, I will write Ron Paul’s name in on my ballot.”

Write ins only count in some states if the candidate files an intent to run as a write-in. Most of those deadlines have passed. Several states do count write in votes without any kind of requirement, but five states do not allow write ins at all.

Is there so much difference between Paul and Johnson? The two men are friends. They agree on many issues, but not entirely, and that is where the division takes root.

Let’s take a look at some of the things about Paul and Johnson that are similar:

They both want to audit the Fed.

Both would repeal Obamacare.

Both would legalize marijuana.

Both would outlaw the death penalty.

Both believe in climate change.

So far, so good. However, it gets murky after this.

Ron Paul wants to end foreign wars and retain a non-interventionist policy. He wants to stop “humanitarian” wars and to ease away from nation building and trying to be the “world police”. He believes that sanctions represent an act of war, not that they are an alternative. He is very concerned that we have spent far too much money overseas and that we continue to drain America dry to fight wars that we have no business being involved in.

“All empires end for fiscal reasons because they spread themselves too far around the world, and that’s what we are facing, ” said Ron Paul. “We are in the midst of a military conflict that is contributing to this inevitable crisis and it’s financial. And you would think there would be a message there.”

Paul’s floor speech on Syria and “humanitarian war”:

Gary Johnson takes a different approach, one that could be considered by some to be more interventionist. While Johnson opposes nation-building, he believes that we need to continue to “protect America’s interests” overseas. He is open, in principle, to “humanitarian wars.” He initially supported the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and he believes that we must be vigilant on fighting terrorism and intervening in countries that are experiencing civil unrest.

“If there’s a clear genocide somewhere, don’t we really want to positively impact that kind of situation?” Johnson said.”Isn’t that what we’re all about? Isn’t that what we’ve always been about?”

Johnson on Uganda and Libya:

Johnson has also stated that maintaining alliance with Israel is “key”, though he didn’t really explain what it was a “key” for. “I think that we really do have a vested interest in Israel and that we shouldn’t walk away from that interest,” he says. However, as recently as May 2012, he changed his stance, advocating cutting off support and aid to Israel.

Johnson also puts distance between himself and the 9/11 Truthers, who found a friendly home in the Ron Paul campaign. “Based on what I know,” Johnson says, “no, I don’t think the 9/11 report should be reopened, based on my knowledge.”

On the issue of abortion, Ron Paul is decidedly pro-life, but he feels that the state should have the power to make the decision of whether or not it should be legal. Johnson is pro-choice. They both agree on the subject of late-term abortion, and Johnson signed a bill in New Mexico banning late-term abortion during his term as governor.

While the pro-choice approach may appeal to the more socially liberal Libertarian, most Republicans, even those who lean Libertarian, will disagree with Johnson’s stance.

“Gary Johnson seems to be the most logical choice and I do have to say, having listened to him at Paul Fest, that I was pretty impressed….. at first,” said Randy Burrus, a member of Oath Keepers that attended Paul Fest in Tampa, where Gary Johnson spoke last weekend.

“What I later heard from delegates of his home state is that he is flip-flopping on the positions that he held as governor of New Mexico.” Burrus added, ” I also hear that Johnson supports reinstating the draft and that he is pro-abortion. Those are both things that I do not endorse.”

“At this point, I have not completely decided what to do,” said Burrus. “It would be easier for Ron to point me in the right direction, but then I think…. that if I learned anything from Ron Paul, it is to think for myself. I would definitely write him in if I thought it would count.”
Another area where Paul and Johnson differ is on regulation. Paul wants to eliminate the ineffective EPA, while Johnson would like to change it. Paul received a lot of criticism for voting no on tax incentives for conservation and energy production within bill HR6049 in 2008. Paul’s issue was not with the creation of alternative energy, but with the tax incentives that would make a tax increase necessary in other areas. Paul’s stance on this issue is very closely aligned with both Republican and Libertarian ideals.

Paul said, “There shouldn’t be any assistance to private enterprise. It’s not morally correct, it’s not legal, it’s bad economics. It’s not part of the Constitution. If you allow an economy to thrive, they’ll decide how R&D works or where they invest their monies. But when the politicians get in and direct things, you get the malinvestment.”

During the debates last fall he explained further, “The government shouldn’t be in the business of subsidizing any form of energy.”

Paul on global warming and the EPA:

Johnson takes a different approach. During a debate on Twitter in 2011, he was asked, “If you could enact any policy to fix the economy without congressional approval, what would it be?” Johnson replied that he would, “change regulatory & enforcement policies that are preventing common-sense energy development.”

As governor, Johnson supported the Western Governors’ Association resolution, which extends and expands federal and state tax credits and incentives for the development of energy, and the review and bolstering of environmental regulations to make sure that they are as efficient as possible. Rick Perry also signed. You can see the text of the resolution here.

In a commercial for the campaign, he had another view:

Ron Paul is staunchly against taxes over and above what is allowed by the Constitution. He supports the repeal of the 16th Amendment and removing the Federal income tax, death tax, and taxes on corporations that spur them to move operations overseas. Johnson agrees on eliminating the corporate income tax, but would rather simplify the tax code to stop rewarding special interests, and to eliminate the punitive taxation of savings and investment.

While Dr. Paul believes that the federal government should not be involved in marriage, he believes that it should be up to the states to decide whether to allow same-sex marriage. Johnson believes that it should be legal across the board.

In the 2011 primary debate in South Carolina, the moderator asked Paul, “In Dec. 2007, you were asked if gays should be allowed to marry. You said, “Sure; they can do whatever they want and can call it whatever they want.” Are you advocating legalizing gay marriage?”

Paul replied, “As a matter of fact, I spent a whole chapter in my new book on marriage. And I think it’s very important seeing that I’ve been married for 54 years now. I think the government should just be out of it. I think it should be done by the church as a private contract and we shouldn’t have this argument of who’s married and who isn’t married. I have my standards but I shouldn’t impose my standards on others.

Others have their standards and they have no right to impose their marriage standards on me. But if we want to have something to say about marriage, it should be at the state level and not at the federal level. Just get the government out of it. It’s one area where it’s totally unnecessary, and they’ve caused more trouble than necessary.”

Ron Paul on gay marriage and DOMA as an economic issue, not a “rights” issue :

In an interview with CBS’s Stephanie Condon in 2011, Johnson had this to say on the subject of gay marriage:

Condon: I know that you’re in favor of gay rights. Do you think this is an inevitability for the Republican Party to take that stance or do you think there’ll be more friction?

Gary Johnson: Well, it’s freedom, it’s liberty, and it’s the – how many times have you heard Republicans talk about ‘I believe in freedom’, ‘I believe in liberty’, and ‘I believe in the personal responsibility that goes along with that’? Well, in my estimations, that is what we should be believing in and espousing.”

Johnson on gay marriage as a “Constitutional Right”:

Some supporters are looking past the 2012 election, rather than focusing on what they cannot change right now. “I will vote Gary Johnson, only because I know for a fact that write-in votes will not be counted and nobody will ever even look at the ballots in most jurisdictions, including my own,” said Jeff Phillips, from Michigan. “In reality though, I don’t think it matters.”

He continued, “What matters is getting involved and laying the ground work for 2016. That requires thousands of us to be involved in our county and state conventions, especially in 2014. Those conventions are important because that is when we will select the state committee chair and the Republican National committeeman and committeewoman from each state.”

The RNC passed a resolution to change the rules for the next convention that gives presidential candidates the right to essentially reject states’ choices of national delegates.

“Those three individuals make up the 150-member RNC that will decide how to organize the national convention in 2016. The ones that we picked in 2010 were the ones that imposed these rule changes and railroaded it through, with the votes already scripted on a teleprompter in Tampa,” said Phillips. “2014 is super important if we want a fair election in 2016.”

“Though I love Ron Paul and his political theories…. Gary Johnson too is an interesting guy to look at,” said Dale Bertram, from Texas. “He may not be as hardcore Libertarian as Ron, but his policies are all designed to have a gradualist effect on the nation to get closer to Libertarian ideas.”

Bertram added, “The best thing to say is that Gary Johnson is the lesser of the two great men.”

Maybe not lesser, but the two men have ideas that are very similar, and some that are very far apart. Some argue that Paul is more Libertarian than Johnson, even though he ran on the Republican ticket. However, there are those that feel a vote for Paul would be a wasted vote.

“What will you say in 2 years when the economy is crashed because Obama and Romney think the FED is OK, when subsidies are gone, when our kids are fighting, dying and losing limbs over another illegal and unconstitutional war, and our rights and freedom are gone because Obama and Romney think the Patriot Act and NDAA are OK?” said Jim Kane, from Ohio. “Will you be proud to say you voted for more tyranny over liberty?”

“No write-ins,” said Kane. “Just who is on the ballot.”

Differences aside, most Paul supporters are unified behind the idea that they will not vote for Mitt Romney or Barack Obama in this election.

Ron Paul is expected to make an announcement on the Jay Leno show on September 4th. Many Paul supporters hope that he will either announce the intention to run as an independent or that he will endorse Johnson, though Paul told Cavuto at the Republican National Convention that he had no intention of endorsing anyone right now.

“I endorse the principles I have been talking about … I endorse peace, prosperity, individual liberty and the Constitution. I am more intent on that than on the politics,” said Paul. “I am not intending to endorse anybody.”

Minister Derrick Grayson from TMOT has his own words to say about the situation (and I agree with him):

We should not allow this election to divide us in the Liberty movement. Whether you choose to vote third-party or to work within the GOP to change the party, we are not enemies. We need to unite; not squabble over who is right and who is wrong. We are the future of America, and if we are not together, we will never be free.

“The GOP may not be your party. But it is absolutely my party. And I have no intention of relinquishing the deed to that party without a fight.”

Mike Ridgway, Operation Blowback

Sources: On the Issues, 2012 Republican Candidates

For another view, check out Cedar Rapids Activist


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