Not Ron Paul or Huntsman – Maybe Johnson, Maybe Obama
I’m conflicted. Like Andrew Sullivan, after the barrage of news and pushback on Ron Paul and the racist newsletters published under his name for so many years, I think it would be almost impossible to pull the lever for the man. How can a man with this sort of baggage sit in the White House? Even if he does represent our best hope for peace, without some very public explanation and denunciation that actually ties up all the loose ends, Paul is simply too toxic at this point. It shakes my confidence in his judgment and character, even if I find his message about war and peace compelling.
Unlike Sullivan, I don’t see any reason to support Huntsman over Obama. Andrew is still very much concerned with reforming conservatism. I am not. Huntsman may be a good spokesman for a more rational, compassionate conservatism – an American Dave Cameron, perhaps – but I have no interest in bringing Cameroon politics to the United States. And here’s where things get complicated.
I believe in free markets and limited government, in a non-interventionist foreign policy, and in civil liberties here at home – an end to the war on drugs, the excesses of the war on terror, the shuttering of Gitmo and the end of anything even remotely resembling torture, assassination, and so forth. But I also believe that in a recession we need pro-growth monetary and fiscal policy. I believe that Obamacare, for all its flaws, is better than the status quo (and that something closer to single payer makes a hell of a lot more sense.) I don’t want to see the collapse of those parts of the state that actually help people or help fund special needs programs in schools. I don’t want to see a bunch of federal employees laid off, especially during times of extremely high unemployment (though I think the Postal Service is going to have to thin up at some point, and that will include layoffs I’m afraid.)
Someone like Gary Johnson represents what I believe in when it comes to ending harmful policies on drugs, war, and so forth much better than Obama. But Obama is a competent administrator with basically liberal values that I share (again, not including the drug war and foreign policy.) Huntsman is far to the right of me, and there is no reason to believe that he’d be any better than Obama on the many issues Obama has been a disappointment. He’d likely be better than many of his rivals, but that’s no reason to support him.
So assuming that Johnson wins the LP nod, and someone like Romney wins the GOP nod, then the question becomes what a vote for Johnson does to the outcome of the general. This is politics, and as far as I’m concerned the lesser of two evils is still better than the greater. I’d rather see Obama back in the White House and Romney back ‘unemployed’ in Massachusetts.
Then again, I’m voting in Arizona. It’s almost certainly going to go Red. The moral dilemma I face is almost certainly inconsequential. More than likely I’ll still vote for Paul in the primary. The general is a long ways off. Hopefully I’ll have my mind better made by then.