The Northwest Florida Libertarian Party was enthused by the nomination of Gary Johnson and Bill Weld for President and Vice President of the United States. In our view, Libertarian candidates battling it out on the field of political competition are simply the best way to create the most happiness and prosperity for our country.
So it was really tough for the NFLP Executive Committee to then see these candidates making a series of public policy statements that only made us wonder about their Libertarian commitment. On such varied topics as mandatory vaccinations, banning guns from people on watch lists, carbon taxes, eminent domain, drug legalization, increasing the number of agents for the FBI, and even forcing bakers to work for those they prefer not to, Johnson and Weld made Panhandle Libertarians wince. They are apparently not paying attention to promoting a free market, making government the guarantor of individual rights, or reducing the size and influence of government as they should.
At the same time, they showed a remarkable degree of political insensitivity to their own Party. Mitt Romney, of all people, was fronted as a possible Johnson cabinet member without mentioning any libertarian appointments. Johnson publicly back tracked on several proposed policy positions which always looks bad. Surprising stuff considering his political experience. Worst of all, this insensitivity forces grass roots organizations, like the NFLP, to look out for themselves instead of following the Party headliners lead. Gary and Bill need to know that voting with our feet is always an option.
Since they were duly nominated by convention, the NFLP considers these men to be true Libertarians, which is a distinct and honorable line of political thought, and not just simply as Democrat or Republican lite. Unlike what they may be used to in those Parties, Libertarians expect candidates to conform to our principles, and not the other way around.
Given all that, at this point, it is still our opinion that there is plenty of good to come from a Johnson/Weld candidacy, and we would like it to prosper. We have high hopes they will tell the country how libertarian ideas would fix an ailing economy, restore the protections of the individual in our society, and generally make America worth living in.
But the candidates have got to get their mind right first.