Gary Johnson and Bill Weld Presidential Campaign Dragging Libertarianism Through the Mud
By: Ron Paul Institute Staff
Ron Paul Institute Senior Fellow Adam Dick, in a Wake Up Call Podcast interview posted on Friday, argues that Libertarian Party presidential and vice-presidential nominees Gary Johnson and Bill Weld have drug the term “libertarian” through the mud with their advocacy of anti-libertarian positions on matters ranging from their choices for Supreme Court appointments to PATRIOT Act reauthorization to foreign intervention to the use of terror watch lists to outlaw people possessing guns.
Dick addresses the Libertarian presidential ticket during an in-depth discussion of his new book, A Tipping Point for Liberty: Exposing and Defeating Leviathan Government. During Dick’s interview with hosts Adam Camac and Daniel Laguros, the discussion is centered on topics examined in the book, including the development of a police state in America, the war on drugs, and United States wars abroad. It is when the conversation turns to the book’s section dealing with libertarianism that Dick presents an evaluation of the Libertarian presidential ticket.
Dick begins his discussion of Johnson and Weld by noting that Dick is “sure there are plenty of candidates running on the state and local level” under the party banner “who really are libertarian.” But, Dick continues, “when I saw Bill Weld get the vice presidential nomination, I knew that was trouble because the guy is not libertarian.”
Weld was Johnson’s choice for Vice President, and Johnson has said that Johnson and Weld, who are both former state governors, would pretty much serve as co-presidents if elected.
Discussing some of Weld’s activities prior to becoming the vice presidential nominee, Dick notes Weld “was one of a group of politicians who wrote a letter to members of Congress telling them that it was important to reauthorize the portions of the PATRIOT Act that were set to sunset.” Dick continues that “these are some of the worst sections of the PATRIOT Act, some of the sections that are most abusive of freedom, and that’s why they were the few provisions that had sunset provisions to begin with.”
Dick also discusses in the interview how Weld “praised George W. Bush’s foreign policy not too long after the 2003 Iraq invasion.” This puts Weld squarely at odds with libertarians’ support for a noninterventionist foreign policy.
Looking at domestic policy, Dick argues that Weld has shown extreme disrespect for the liberty at the core of the libertarian message by saying during a campaign interview that nobody on the US government’s terror watch lists should be able to buy a gun. Dick explains that bureaucrats arbitrarily add people’s names to the lists without the need to show any respect for due process rights.
Turning to the Libertarian ticket’s potential Supreme Court nominees, Dick discusses in the interview how Johnson has deferred to Weld on the picking of Supreme Court nominees, with Weld identifying as the kind of people Johnson would appoint to the court current Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer and US appellate court Judge Merrick Garland, who President Barack Obama has nominated for appointment to the Supreme Court. Concludes Dick, “There’s no argument that either Justice Breyer or Judge Garland is a libertarian, but here we have the Libertarian presidential ticket saying that is the kind of people they want to put on the court.”
The end result of such significant anti-libertarian positions being advanced by the Libertarian presidential ticket is that, even if the ticket wins a high percentage on election day, it will, Dick says, be “an absolute failure” for advancing libertarianism. That is because “they’ve drug [the term ‘libertarian’] through the mud, made it difficult for people to understand what it even means.” But, Dick predicts that the ticket ultimately will not do as well as some current polling suggests. Instead, much of the early gauged support, Dick says, “will probably dry up” because Johnson and Weld “are being so wishy-washy that they are not giving people a good reason to really support them.”
Listen to Dick’s complete Wake Up Call Podcast interview here.
Dick’s discussion in the Wake Up Call Podcast interview of Gary Johnson and Bill Weld’s presidential ticket brings together separate critiques of the nominees’ stands concerning the PATRIOT Act, foreign policy, use of terror watch lists to outlaw gun possession, and Supreme Court justices that Dick has presented over the past few months at the Ron Paul Institute’s audio show Five Minutes Five Issues.
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