Friday, May 4, 2012

Liveblog from the LP National Convention: Part 2

Gary Johnson and Lee Wrights debate...(My comments in parentheses due to popular demand)

First of all, I'm not happy that there are only two people on stage.  I think it's a travesty.

Johnson opens with a pretty decent statement.  He says he will propose a balanced budget in year one and will also propose to get rid of the income tax and replace it with a consumption tax.  He closes with saying he will veto any legislation that involves deficit spending.

Wrights counters with saying he will end all war: no more foreign wars, no more war on drugs, no more war on education or poverty.  He says he is the candidate of peace.

Question 1  When did you come to become a libertarian:  Wrights says he came to the Libertarian Party because he has always been a libertarian.  He says he was raised to be a libertarian and respect all others and never intervene in the actions of others.  (He is not a very good public speaker, btw)

Johnson says he came to become a libertarian in the early 70's when he read a book about freedom and not imposing your will on others.  He says he has always been a libertarian, even when he was Governor of New Mexico.  (He is a more polished speaker than Wrights)

Question 2  What will you do if elected:  Johnson praises Team Blue's record on civil liberties and Team Red's fiscal record.  (Is he out of his fucking mind?)  Wrights says both parties suck ass and are in bed with cronies, special interests and their contributors and are at war with regular people.  (Wrights kicks Johnson's ass.)

Question 3  What is Libertarianism:  Wrights says it is leaving people alone.  Johnson says it is having other people leave him alone and being the best he can be and lead by example free from coercion.  (Both good and fair answers.)

Question 4:  Will the LP end the war on drugs?  Johnson:  legalize, control and tax.  (Is that real freedom?)  Wrights says the drug problem is the drug war.  He calls for the immediate end to all drug prohibition.  (Boom!)

Question 5  Where do you stand on the 2A?   Wrights says the 2A is the linchpin of American society and the only thing the founders got wrong was that they should have made the 2A the 1A.  He is a strong proponent of gun ownership rights.  Says gun control is "using both hands."  Johnson says we should strictly adhere to the 2A as it is written.  He pretty much agreed with Wrights, but not as eloquently.  (Wrights is finding his voice.)

Question 6  Immigration:  Johnson says they need a registration system and a temporary amnesty so people can get in line.  He goes off on a fair tax tangent that he says would eliminate the problem with illegal workers anyway.  He also says the drug war effects illegal immigrants unfairly.(?)  Wrights says the law is impossible for people to follow and says we need to abolish the immigration laws.

Question 7:  What do we do with Social Security?  Wrights says Social Security is a contract we each have with the government.  He says we need to honor existing contracts and not make any more going forward.  Let the young keep their own money and take care of themselves.  Johnson says SS pales in comparison to Medicare.  He calls for means-testing, scaling to the inflation rate and perhaps an opt-in.  He goes back to his fair tax proposal which will render SS unnecessary.  Then says it pales in comparison to Medicare, Medicaid and Military Spending.

Question 8  Medicare/Medicaid/Obamacare?  Johnson says the federal government tied his hands when the Gov of NM.  He wants it devolved to the states or wants the feds to give block grants with no strings attached and let the states run it themselves.  Wrights says it is rationing care, and that is crazy.  He says health care is about saving lives, not saving money.  He wants the government out of medical care altogether and the rest of the runaway federal spending.

Question 9  Bailouts?  Wrights:  fuck em all.  No more bailouts.  Johnson:  If people make bad decisions, let them fail.  (IOW, fuck em all)

Question 10  Farm Subsidies?  Wrights says to get rid of the DoAg and eliminate subsidies.  Says we pay more people not to farm more than what they do farm.  Johnson says he will eliminate subsidies in his first budget and will also do the same for ethanol.

Question 11  What Executive Orders will you make?   Johnson said he did it for welfare when he was Governor of NM.  He said it helped people go to work and nearly eliminated unemployment.  He also said the SC declared it unconstitutional and unemployment went back up and people went back on welfare.  He says he is not opposed to executive orders to shrink government.  Wrights says he would issue only one:  He will repeal all previous executive orders.  (He holds up a pocket Constitution-will govern only from it)

Question 12  What will you do with all the cabinet positions?  Wrights says something about screwdrivers (I could use one right now, or a Bloody Mary).  Says something else I couldn't hear.  Johnson says he will propose a balanced budget.  Says he is open to discussing closing federal agencies, especially HUD, DoE, DHS (standing ovation) and gives a good argument panning the DoE.

Question 13  What will you do as Commander In Chief?  Johnson says is a non-interventionist, but he will be vigilant and that we must be prepared for threats, although none currently exist.  He says any action must get congressional approval.  He says Iran is not a threat but they are pissed because we invaded Iraq.  Wrights says he will declare peace but he is not a pacifist.  He says he will fuck someone up if they attack us, but that is the only way.  He will bring all troops back home.  Doesn't say what he will do when they get back here.  Tells a story about a guy in Hawai'i that waited his entire life to go to war.  He says we shouldn't be raising children to be that way.

Question 14  What will your overall foreign policy be?  Wrights says ours creates more enemies than friends.  Says we are a "nosy neighbor" always screwing with people.  Says stop being a nosy neighbor and start being a good neighbor.  (Basically says nothing at all, which is odd since he started by saying someone told him not to discuss his foreign policy...I guess they were right)  Johnson says he will bring the troops back home (again).  Talks about his dad at Normandy (whose dad didn't help bail out the Frenchies).  Says he will eliminate all foreign aid and follow a policy of non-interventionism.  Will engage in diplomacy and propose balanced budget with a 43% reduction in military spending.

Question 15  How would you deal with Domestic Security?  Johnson says he would have vetoed bill that established DHS.  Says he would never have allowed TSA.  Would have vetoed the NDAA.  (Does he know they passed with overwhelming veto-proof majorities?)  Wrights agrees with Johnson.  (They both need to look at the way those votes went, especially the ones setting up DHS and TSA.)  Wrights calls it all security theater.

(This is exhausting.  I swear to God, there better be more than just a couple of people reading this or I'm gonna be pissed.)

Question 16  What are the essentials of a LP economic policy?  Wrights says to get out of the way and f ro the President to fire people who work for the government.  Says for every bureaucrat fired there are 150 private sector jobs.  (I'd like a citation for that.)  Johnson says his record in NM was rated the best of all governors.  Says he created no jobs, but the private sector did.  Says to not underestimate the power of the Executive Branch in making rules and regulations.  He says they took less time and money in NM to make things better for the free market.  Goes back to the fair tax argument and says it will create tens of millions of jobs.

Question 16  What is the role of the FedGov in regard to Education?  Johnson says it was to get out of the way and to offer school choice with vouchers at the state level.  Does not want the feds involved at all.  Wrights says he will abolish the DoE because he doesn't believe in child abuse.  He says it's too important to turn over to any government agency.  He says he would even take it away from the state government and devolve it to the local level.

Question 17  What should the government do about the mortgage crisis?  Wrights says the government should get out of the way and let the people underwater fail.  He says we need the government out of it.  Johnson says government bears responsibility for writing the loans.  He also says the homeowners bear responsibility for knowing what they were signing on to.  He says the government should have allowed the collapse and let the bubble burst so smart people could buy now and the market could come back quicker.  (A bit of a non-answer from Johnson, IMO.)

Question 18  What would you do to fix the IRS?  Johnson says he will abolish all federal taxes and the IRS.  He says he never raised taxes as Governor of NM.  He says the solution is to slash spending and supports a fair tax.  Wrights wants to abolish the IRS and replace the income tax with nothing.  He says taxation is unfair.  He wants to abolish the 16A.

Question 19  How will you pay for the essential functions of government?  Wrights says with tariffs and excise taxes in the Constitution and to cut spending to those levels.  Wants to stop all non-essential government programs.  Johnson wants to cut spending by 43% for his 2013 budget.  Wants to kill the income tax and eliminate corporate interests.  He is outraged(, I guess).  Says the country is for sale.  ( I missed part of his answer talking to Banjos, sorry.)

Question 20  What to do with the Fed?  Johnson would abolish it if given the opportunity.  Says we must also stop printing money.  Wants to audit the Fed first and get it away from their mandate of price control and full employment.  Wrights says to simply end the Fed.  He agrees with Johnson and also advocates repealing all legal tender laws and auditing the Fed.  He says that will make the Federal Reserve notes go away because they will be useless.  He wants to go back to competitive currencies.

Question 21  One Subject At A Time Act (I think)?  Wrights says "why?"  He says they don't read stuff, and even if they do, they don't follow the constitution.  Johnson says he supports it, and he is a veto king from his time in NM.  Says he will do the same at the national level.  Johnson touts his record on this.  (I start the crowd clapping.  I am very proud of myself.)  Now the moderator is asking the same question again.  Is this the matrix?  WTF?

Question 22  Will you take the red pill or the blue pill (see question 21 or The Matrix)?  Welcome to the matrix.  Johnson nails the question the second time around.  Wrights doesn't.*
*When the machines are inserting an agent, you may have a case of deja vu, hear the same question at a debate twice or see a chick in a red dress.  I swear to God I heard the moderator ask the same question twice.

Question 23  Stance on US territories becoming states and trade with them?  Wrights says to let people be Americans if they want to and to leave them alone and/or trade with them otherwise.  Johnson says to leave it up to the territories.

Question 24  How do you feel about nullification?  Johnson supports it and hopes it gets used more and more often as it catches on.  Wrights says it is among the brightest ideas man has ever come up with.  He says the people are not bound by unjust laws and should nullify whenever applicable.

Question 25  How do you feel about AGW/climate change/whatever they're calling it today?  Wrights says the issue is unsettled and that government needs to stay the hell out of it.  Says if the government gets involved, the temp will go up 10 degrees. Johnson accepts that it is happening and it is man-made, but that the government should stay the hell out of it as well.  He says a good economy will drive a cleaner planet.  Says people want cleaner emissions and they happened because of the free market.  (I guess he hasn't heard of CAFE standards driving up the prices of vehicles to where poor people can't buy a car).

Question 26 What will you do after the race?  Johnson says he really wants the job and will run again in 2016 (I think) and that he will stay with the LP.  Wrights says he will sleep for 2 weeks and then take a nap. He says he has always been a Libertarian and always will be.

Question 27  Will you solicit Ron Paul (cheers from crowd) fans if he doesn't get the GOP nod?  Wrights says absolutely, and that he agrees with Ron Paul and his supporters will be at home with him.  He says it is their natural home.  He says the GOP is destroying their relationship with the Paul supporters.  Johnson says he endorsed Paul in 2008 and earlier in this season before coming over to the LP.  He says Paul supporters will need no prodding to support him and the LP.  He says we need to court them because their home is here.  He wants Ron Paul to win the GOP nod but doesn't think he will and the LP needs to go after his supporters.

Closing  How will your candidacy help the LP?
Johnson says Team Blue has been good on civil liberties and the GOP has been good on fiscal issues.  (I disagree)  He says he has been a civil liberties champion.  Pans the GOP, except Ron Paul on civil liberties and says that his veto pen in NM was his strongest asset.  He says governing is easy if you do it from a libertarian perspective.  He wears a motorcycle helmet and wants people to do the same...if they want to.  Apparently he supports the organ donor program as well.  (Nice closing.)

Wrights hopes we see what he's been talking about when he talks about love.  He thanks his campaign and staff.  He refers to himself in the third person (ugh).  He says he will continue the fight after tomorrow and can't be anything but a libertarian.  He cannot imagine being anywhere else.  He thanks the people for honoring him with the opportunity to be here.  (Pretty gracious.)

Well that's it, folks.  I hope you've had a bit of fun if you were following along live.  If not, I hope you enjoyed it afterward.  I tried to be impartial, open and clever.  I may or may not have accomplished one of those things.



  1. Yeah, Johnson is a better speaker than Wrights but not by much. There should be more voices on stage, I agree.

    Is the audience as white as it is on TV? nttawwt

  2. Wright also said send them to get help not to jail. Why send them anyhwere??? Leave them alone!!!

  3. It sure came across like he wanted it to be voluntary. I may be wrong.

    1. Not sure. I admit I'm drinking and watching. I'll rewind it later if I think of it.

  4. I like the line about 'repealing all executive orders' said by Wrights.

  5. So do I. You should be helping me with this. It's a bitch keeping up.

    1. Adding my opinion when it burps up.

  6. Yes, abolish the IRS. Full stop. No sales tax at national level. I'm with

    Wrights on this one. First difference I'v noticed between the two.

  7. finally an interesting question! global warming...

    More candidates on stage and or a moderator that was well versed yet skeptical of libertarian ideas would have made this a better debate.

  8. Read my earlier post. That's the one thing that pissed me off.

    Hope you enjoyed it and I hope I came across as fair.

  9. I'm not sure how a libertarian candidate can think it's a good idea to fund a government through tariffs. My thinking on this has always been that we want to wind down tariffs until there are none left and we are left with truly free trade.

  10. Thanks Sloopy! That was both great and helpful. So sad I could not make it to the LP convention this year.

  11. I was going to masturbate this afternoon, but this comically inept and pointless reportage and chat-room support group has saved me one jerkoff sock. On the plus side, Slap & Jog's amateurish punditry is only slightly less cogent than the Mother Ship's (Hit & Run) incompetent and perfunctory coverage of this political nonevent.

    Keep flying your freak flag, libertarians! One of these decades, more than 1% of us Americans will fall for your clown-car schtick.


    From the Mother Ship (Hit & Run)
    Former two-term New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson will be the Libertarian Party's 2012 presidential nominee, and former judge James "Jim" Gray will be his running mate.

    Gray beat out Lee Wrights and one other candidate for the vice presidential nomination.

    OMG! I'll be polishing my monocle and dusting off my top hat!

    You're a towel!


  13. Sloop sez: "Once they are on a level playing field, [libertarian politicians] can win elections and abolish the systems that are in place."

    Did Sloopy really utilize the "level playing field" argument? Whoa.

  14. Via the Mother Ship:

    sloopyinca|5.5.12 @ 6:05PM

    Serious question: Banjos just called the Garmin a cunt.

    Why won't anybody take libertarians seriously?

  15. Audience Member is making me reexamine my entire life. Oh, what a waste its been up to now.

    Thank you so much for saying what needed to be said. You truly are an inspiration to us all.

    1. "Oh, what a waste its [sic] been."

      Yup. There's hope for you yet.


  16. From the Mother Ship (Hit & Run)
    Episiarch|5.5.12 @ 6:03PM
    "The LP is actually going with a credible, real ticket this year."

    Hahahaha! The self-identified nonlibertarian "individualist-anarchist" weighs in. Yo Epi, couldn't you paste in a Futurama reference to fit this page-nine filler story?



  18. Replies
    1. You seem to have taken care of that little problem.