Thoughts on Gov. Gary Johnson’s Huffington Post article: "Standing Still on a Down Escalator"

by Barry M-C on December 2, 2012

Standing Still on a Down Escalator” is an excellent piece by the former Republican Governor of New Mexico, Gary Johnson, on the 2012 US Presidential Election, on its issues and outcomes and what divided the Republicans and Democrats – and why he ended up as the Libertarian Party’s candidate.

As Republicans review why they lost so convincingly and the Democrats initiate more flawed policies, America and the world needs a real choice in 2016. Economic reality will eventually catch-up, Greek-style, with those promising an expansion of unfunded welfare liabilities and the continued writing of corporate welfare checks. That applies to Republicans and Democrats.

As for Republicans, as Johnson suggests, their continued “values” campaign against Roe vs. Wade and immigration, especially Hispanic immigration, and their opposition to the extension of equal rights and equal treatment to gay Americans, has left the Republicans too easily alienating too many voters: 332 vs. 206 electoral college votes in 2012.

Further, America’s disastrous foreign wars and failed policies – especially the war on drugs, now long lost – are not only failing to improve international and homeland security but are actually undermining of American liberties and institutions, as well as damaging America’s moral leadership in the world.

Because of that economic reality check against more welfare spending – to corporations and individuals – constraining against greater welfare, I would suggest that a more electorally-successful Republican Party will be one that starts to move away from the Bush/Romney vision of big government coupled with the “values” core of recent Republican Party campaigns.

The Republicans will have to start to mainstream Tea Party concerns on spending and taxation, combining this with the adoption of more (classically) liberal social concerns, i.e. repudiating or quietly dropping the noxious “values” stuff.

The Republicans have the opportunity to recast themselves in favour of a smaller, less intrusive state; to advocate a position where the state ensures that everyone is equal, under law and which works towards protection of fundamental, individual rights rather than seeking to impose a vision of the good life on others, foreign or domestic, beyond the what is necessary to guarantee those fundamental, individual rights.

Will they do this? I don’t know but Obama-Lite proved uninspiring at November’s polls and I can’t see Republicans being able to tack to the bigger government left of Obama (or the Democratic Party after Obama) when it comes to welfare spending.

Could they do this? Yes – both because the Republicans want power but also because the narrative of smaller government is very much the narrative of the American story.

Gary Johnson and the Republicans may both have lost in 2012 but Gov. Johnson’s views are very pertinent to the revival of the Republican Party’s political fortunes; indeed, they are pertinent for reviving America’s fortunes as well.

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