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Refusing to settle: Gary Johnson for president

Photo of Christopher R. Barron
Christopher R. Barron
Chairman of the Board, GOProud
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      Christopher R. Barron

      Christopher Barron serves as Chairman of the Board of GOProud, the nation's only national organization for gay conservatives and their allies. He is also a Republican political consultant.

I simply can’t put the square peg in the circle hole. I am firmly committed to defeating Barack Obama and turning back his disastrous policies, and I wanted to believe that I could support whomever the Republican Party nominated. Unfortunately, I cannot in good conscience do that.

Let me be crystal clear: I am speaking only for myself and not for GOProud, the organization that I co-founded. I fully expect the GOProud Board will endorse the eventual nominee of the Republican Party. I, however, will not cast a vote in favor of that.

Partisan political affiliations are far less important to me than principle. I don’t consider myself a Republican first, I consider myself a limited-government conservative first; the party label comes in a distant second. I won’t simply blindly support a Republican nominee just because he has an R beside his name. The truth is political parties don’t believe in anything — well, anything except winning — and believing in something is exactly why I got involved in politics in the first place.

When it comes to selecting a candidate for president, I don’t want to settle on the lesser of two evils or support the nominee just to be a good “team player.” I want to believe in that candidate.

Early in the Republican primary process, I endorsed Herman Cain for president. I was a vocal and early supporter of his campaign. I wrote about it, talked about it on television, and donated to it. I was a passenger on the proverbial Cain Train from the beginning — when he was little more than an asterisk — till the very end.

I was drawn to the Cain campaign because of a simple message: that Washington is broken and it is the politicians — of all ideological and partisan stripes — who are responsible for it. If we were truly going to change Washington, we needed a candidate who would break from the conventional mold, someone who would challenge politics as usual at every turn and was offering bold solutions and big changes — not just change on the margins.

After Cain’s withdrawal from the race, I looked at the rest of the GOP field and decided that there was only one candidate who could carry the tea party’s message of fundamental change forward: Governor Gary Johnson.

Unfortunately, Governor Johnson left the GOP after being unfairly denied an opportunity to participate in the primary debates and announced his intention to seek the Libertarian Party’s nomination for president.

After Governor Johnson’s exit, what tea partiers and limited-government conservatives were left with was a GOP field that failed to inspire anyone. It certainly lacks a candidate who can claim the tea-party mantle — and sadly, the longer the GOP primary process goes on, the clearer this becomes.

The Republican primary fight has become a train wreck in slow motion. Instead of talking about fundamental reform, we are left to hear fighting over contraception and gay marriage. Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum have waged a campaign over the last few weeks that has been shameful and politically tone deaf. The Democrats want a culture war because they can’t defend President Obama’s failed record on jobs and the economy, and it seems like the Republican Party is hell-bent on giving them a culture warrior or at least — in the case of Romney — one who plays one on TV. Well, this where I get off.