Tonight the Libertarian Party had a debate in Orlando, Florida, moderated by Larry Elder, and from what I could tell, about 2000 in attendence.
Since our conservative audience may not be familiar with this lesser subscribed party, I’ve decided to describe the five participants, describe some of their platform and then declare a winner.
Overall, the production quality and fanfare were nowhere near that of the Republican debates, but the crowd was enthusiastic. Interesting that candidates were booed and cheered almost randomly, different segments of the crowd cheering contradictory answers at times. Format was 30 seconds for an answer, so issues moved quickly.
Dr. Marc Feldman – This gentleman reminds me of the actor Rick Moranis, (Honey I shrunk the kids), in manner and voice. His closing speech was embarrassingly animated. Not a serious candidate. Appeared naive on even the Libertarian point of view at times.
John McAfee – (founder of McAfee, the anti-virus software) While I admire this guy for his ability to build a company, he comes across as just creepy. He added at one point he has been in jail for drugs more than anyone in the audience. It could have been nerves, but my impression was he was likely under the influence of something (I know not what!). I’m sure he believes he is a legitimate candidate, but he’s not.
Darryl Perry – Perry is one of the co-founders of the New Hampshire Libertarian Party. He is a radio/tv host who sounds like a 1950’s newscaster. Listening to him was very nostalgic. Like other talk show hosts, he talks in sound bites and appeared to have very little depth on the issues. I’m sure this is helping him with notoriety, and like every other candidate promised he would win. But he won’t.
Gary Johnson – former governor of New Mexico. Johnson is the best candidate by far, his answers were well thought out (although I’m not completely sold on the Libertarian agenda). He occasionally got booed for his more practical approach, a refreshing change versus the other candidates who remained hardcore. Other’s were more Sander-ish, proposing conflicting ideas, without even acknowledging the conflict.
Austin Petersen – My impression of Austin is he talks and communicates like he is running for high school class president. Definitely needs more seasoning, but knows the Libertarian Party line, and could be a serious candidate in the future. He runs Libertarian Republican (thelibertarianrepublic.com) a site worth checking out, if you want to know more about the cause.
It was tough to tell who won with the audience, but in my opinion Gary Johnson was the clear winner, and the only viable choice among the five. Unfortunately my favorite Libertarian, Vermin Supreme was not there, but if you want to be entertained, check out his web site,
Some of the major points covered:
- Taxation is illegal, if you want to fund government operations it should be voluntary. One candidate mentioned donations and bakesales!
- Minimum wage is always zero – Libertarians do not want a minimum wage. Couple of good points, sometimes as an entrepreneur you work long hours and you net less than minimum wage. Who should make up the shortfall? Another point, why not declare minimum wage to be $75? Then everyone would be rich, right?
- Infrastructure – should be funded from user fees.
- Its not the president’s responsibility to make sure anyone has health insurance. Universal health care – everyone should universally care about their own health
- Get rid of the Fed
- Legalize all drugs
- Education should not be mandatory
As a final note, I find many of the Libertarian ideals to be naive. They don’t seem to understand that capital formation and organization wield power, that can gobble up very freedom the Libertarians prize. Competition is productive, but unfettered competition means that whoever wins gets to change the rules (Lot of theory supporting this, but no time to go into it).
But as a political philosophy, the influence of Libertariansim on America is worthy of consideration. If you aren’t familiar with it, you should be.