Adherence to constitutional principles. REALLY cutting government spending. Getting government out of our personal lives and into preserving our liberties. Avoiding foreign entanglements we can’t afford.
To the business-as-usual political ruling class and its allies in the elite media, these ideas are just bromides to conveniently ignore. They are ignored because actually doing them would be too upsetting to the system. That is, the political and policy system that has given us a national debt equal to national production, laws that try to define personal values and some of the longest, costliest and least justified wars in American history.
But something funny happened Tuesday in New Hampshire. Ron Paul finished a very strong second in the state’s “open” primary with 23% of the vote. Perhaps even more significant, every exit poll shows that Dr. Paul was the winner among young voters, independents and other “non-traditional” Republican primary voters. In other words, he did pretty darn well among those same demographic groups that elected Barack Obama.
The crowds at Ron Paul’s events in New Hampshire may not have looked like the good folks who typically show up at Lincoln Day dinners, but they were big, they were enthusiastic and they produced an election night outcome that shoved several “mainstream” candidates to the back of the bus to South Carolina and beyond.
What does that mean? When I announced my decision to seek the Libertarian nomination for president, I stated my belief that there is a majority of Americans who are looking for a real home in American politics — a home they are not finding with either the big “R” or big “D” parties. In New Hampshire, that majority reared its head and gave the so-called mainstream candidates a run for their money. They did that by supporting the one candidate in the Republican field who is unabashed in advocating the Constitution, is calling for a trillion dollars in government cuts instead of billions and isn’t afraid to suggest that maybe government doesn’t need to control our lives.
It’s no secret that I don’t agree with Ron Paul on every issue — nor does he agree with me on all of them. But his victory — and it was a victory — among the young voters, independent-thinking voters and believers in real liberty who will likely decide the election in November is very telling.
There is a freedom agenda America is ready to endorse: freedom from crushing debt and freedom from crushing government. It is that agenda that has prompted me to unapologetically call myself a libertarian, and which WILL find its rightful place in the 2012 election.
Gary Johnson is a candidate for the Libertarian Party presidential nomination. Johnson served two terms as governor of New Mexico from 1994 to 2002.