It’s a time-worn question — everyone laments the poor quality of choices we have in our national elections. Politicians are routinely caught lying through their teeth while campaigning, such as Gary Johnson who claims to be a model of fiscal restraint while Governor (when heactually increased state debt by $3.88 billion or 74.7% and increased spending 50% during his time in office), Mitt Romney who claims to be for the Second Amendment (when he actually permanently banned guns that “looked scary” while Governor of Massachusetts) and President Obama (who said he would halve the deficit within four years and instead roughly doubled it.)
And these lies are just representative samples; the list for all of these clowns is as long as your arm. In fact, it would be better called a “rap sheet”, because it is.
This is not a new phenomenon, but one must ask – why does it keep happening, or more succinctly, “why don’t we see a better class of politician“?
I’d like to put forward a hypothesis on this point — that this dysfunction occurs because of people just like you and I and our actions. Specifically, it is our willingness to sell not only our votes but more importantly our money and our time to candidates that get caught lying to us that leads to this outcome.
Let’s just take one example. Gary Johnson’s claim of fiscal responsibility was known to be a joke long before he was the Libertarian Party nominee. While he was contending for that nomination it came out that his campaign was ridiculously in debt compared to his cash on hand (disclosed in mandatory public filings) from his failed Republican Presidential run. A man who cannot manage to run his own campaign on a cash-flow positive basis is certainly a poor choice to run on a platform of fiscal responsibility!
Governor Johnson could have used his (considerable) personal wealth to extinguish that debt before coming into the Libertarian Party, or he could have attempted to solicit the funds to retire it. In short, he could have done the responsible thing and been personally responsible for his actions, which is what a leader is expected to do. He did not. Instead he came into the party and started soliciting for money from Libertarians. As of his February 2012 filing he was $140,792.60 in debt and had $10,501.53 in cash, for a total leverage ratio of about 13.4:1
What’s worse is that this record of personal fiscal responsibility within his campaign has gotten worse, not better. Gary Johnson’s latest FEC report shows that he is $296,201 in debt (as of July 31st) and has just $14,264.95 on hand in cash, for a total leverage of some 20.7:1.
That is a 55% increase in debt-to-cash since February — an utterly monstrous deterioration in fiscal position.
This is a man who claims he will veto any legislation that spends more than we take in via taxes and who will submit a federal budget with a 43% reduction in spending on the first day. This very same man, however, has demonstrated that he is incapable of running his own campaign in a cash-flow positive fashion and in point of fact is levered at nearly 21:1 in debt-to-cash at the present time.
Then there is the minor little matter of debt and spending in New Mexico while he was Governor. We’ve all been led to believe that he actually cut spending and reduced debt and this qualification is one he would carry into federal office. That’s something that’s so easy to check that during the selection process I didn’t vet it myself, as I would have never believed any candidate would be so audacious as to lie about something that can be verified in this fashion. But he did; State (not including municipal and local) spending went up 50% during his eight years in office and total state (again, not municipal and local) debt rose by $2,000 per person during the same time period.
One’s fiscal responsibility starts with one’s personal and professional fiscal conduct, both in the past and present tense.
So what has been the reaction to my exposing this? Anger from other Libertarians that “I’m not on board” with “our” candidate.
But I don’t endorse, support, give money to or campaign for people who lie to me before they get into office. You shouldn’t either, because the only way these people get onto the ballot and into office is because people just like you and I will campaign for, give money to, support and vote for those who are dishonest.
Let’s look at Mittens for a comparison. He claims to be for The Second Amendment. But in point of fact he signed a permanent assault-weapons ban in Massachusetts, and worse, he issued a strong signing statement in support of it! He claims that he was in a “liberal state” but as Governor he could have forced the legislature to override his veto. He did not. In short, he has lied to the American people, and as such if you donate money to his campaign, work for his campaign, promote him as a politician or vote for him then you are voting to place into office a man who has proved he will lie to you before he is elected, just as has Governor Johnson.
Obama is even worse. The most-blatant of his false claims is that related to the deficit. He claimed he would cut it by 50% in his first term. Instead it more than doubled. Case closed.
The usual defense for one of these buffoons is that “we must choose between these choices.”
But how is it, other than by our supporting known and documented liars in the first instance, that we wound up with these choices? Exactly who do we have to blame when we have a primary and/or other selection process for our candidates where these facts are on the table and many people, myself included, pound the table with them prior to the selection and yet we vote for documented and factually-dishonest people right up front?
You, of course, are free to vote for, support, work for and donate to anyone you’d like in a political contest. But I argue that even for alleged officers and principals of various political party elements, whether at the state, local or federal level, providing support to documented liars in this form and fashion is exactly as intelligent as is placing a loaded shotgun into your own mouth and then using your big toe to depress the trigger.
Those who whore themselves out so cheaply should be removed from office by the people of the parties involved. They should face incessant recall petitions and no-confidence votes from the bodies that authorize their assembly, whether that be from the rank-and-file political party members, executive committees or otherwise.
More importantly for you and I, however, is the fact that rewarding intentionally-dishonest political candidates with money, support, campaign help and votesleads to exactly the result we have seen over the last several decades – a loss of economic and personal freedom across the board.
This result is entirely our own fault, and ends only when our complicity does.
I will not be complicit in the furtherance of destruction of our nation’s freedom.