Monday, October 1, 2012

Why I Support Gary Johnson

Recently, I was having a discussion about the Iraq War with a Facebook friend. After a little back and forth, she remarked that I was very hawkish for a Gary Johnson supporter. And she was right. I am a hawk. So why am I putting my talons away and supporting Gary Johnson? Very simple. He is the most qualified candidate on the ballot this November.

Gary Johnson has more executive experience than President Obama and Governor Romney. He was a successful two term governor of New Mexico. He reduced the size of government through better management. Left a $1 billion surplus without raising taxes. He has a better job creation record than either Romney or Obama. In terms of record, Gary Johnson is the best man running.

As I said, I am a hawk.  I supported both the Afghanistan and the Iraq wars. To this day, I believe removing Saddam Hussein was the right decision. But even I recognize that after over 10 years of wars, it is time for us to nation build at home. This doesn't mean retreating from the world. But it does mean refocusing our resources.

I agree with Gary Johnson. Time to end the war in Afghanistan. We have achieved our objectives of removing the Taliban and killing Osama bin Laden. We have given our blood and treasure to help the Afghans build a more democratic country. It is time for them to step up and look after their right to self-determination. For our part, we should leave intelligence assets in the area to ensure that Al-Qaeda or some other permutation of terrorism doesn't re-establish bases of operation and bring the troops home.

I disagree with Gary Johnson that military interventions create enemies around the world. I do find his foreign policy views rather simplistic. But are they anymore simplistic than Obama's belief that his election was going to end anti-American sentiment in the Muslim world? Or Romney's assertion that if he is elected president "Iran will not have a nuclear weapon”?

During a recent panel discussion on our fiscal outlook, former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mike Mullen agreed that biggest threat to our national security is fiscal insolvency. Both agreed that the longer we delay dealing with our long term debt, the more difficult and painful it will be to get our fiscal house in order. The more likely it is that our national security will be at risk. The national debt is the top issue of our time.

Gary Johnson is the only candidate promising to submit a balanced budget in his first year in office. While president Obama and governor Romney are competing over who will spend more on Medicare, Johnson is the only straight talking adult in the room pointing out that unless we reform entitlements there will be no Medicare, Medicaid. There will be no safety net. Johnson is the only candidate with a sense of urgency about this issue.

There is broad agreement that we need to reduce wasteful spending that permeates the federal budget. However, when the specific issues come up for consideration, Congressmen vote parochial interests. For example, Congress consistently has prevented every effort made by Republican and Democrat presidents to reform how Medicare pays for medical durable equipment.

Every Defense Secretary since Dick Cheney tried to cut the F-22 program only to run into objection from Congress. The program had suppliers in 44 states which meant 88 Senators could be relied upon to oppose any cuts. The program was finally capped after a veto threat by the president.

As governor, Gary Johnson exercised his veto power 750 times. Only two of his vetoes were overturned by the Democrat controlled legislature. It is just this kind of courage and leadership that is needed in DC if we are ever to deal with our long term debt.

Beyond the issue of the national debt, Gary Johnson is the only candidate that understands that illegal immigration is an economic and not a law enforcement issue. As a border governor, he knows that individuals coming to work in our country are an asset. He does not want to waste precious taxpayers' money building a border fence and has proposed to implement an effective guest worker program.

Obama's record on immigration is dismal. He failed to deliver on his promise to reform our immigration system during his first year in office. Failed to pressure Democrat Senators to hold and pass the DREAM Act. As a Senator, he voted for the Dorgan Amendment which sunk Bush's Comprehensive Immigration Reform proposal. His deferred action program may help him get re-elected; but I believe it has only created more confusion and may make a permanent solution more difficult.

Romney's approach to immigration has been to pander to the nativist elements in the GOP. His attack on the Texas in-state tuition program for undocumented students was disgraceful. In Texas, revenue is raised via property and sales taxes which are paid by everyone irrespective of their legal status. He has embraced Arizona's approach to immigration which has cost taxpayers millions in litigation and hurt the local economy.

Gary Johnson is the only candidate proposing to scrap the current corrupt tax code and replace it with a consumption tax. He supports the Fair Tax. Both Obama and Romney will continue the same old tinkering with the code and rewarding key constituencies instead of undertaking the kind of reform that will help the entire country. Make our country more competitive and grow our economy.

The war on drugs has destroyed many lives and it is responsible for eroding our Fourth Amendment rights more so than the war on terrorism. Gary Johnson is proposing to legalize marijuana. He is the only candidate that recognizes that drug addiction is a medical problem and not a reason to fill our jails. Once again, Johnson is showing political courage while the other two White House aspirants shy away from controversy.

Whether one agrees or disagrees with Johnson,  he is the most qualified candidate. He has the best overall record. He is the only candidate willing to deal with the pressing issue of the day, the national debt. He is the only candidate that has consistently shown a combination of principle and pragmatism that will deliver good government. He is the only candidate offering a chance for American voters to turn a new page. To challenge the duopoly that has failed our country.

For me, there is only one choice: Gary Johnson.