Friday, April 8, 2016

Part 2 of Fox's Libertarian debate airs April 8

Libertarian Debate Was Little-Noticed Breath Of Fresh Air - Lucy Steigerwald, The Federalist:

April 4, 2014 - "In an election season starring two historically loathed frontrunners, the third-most-popular party in the United States got a televised debate for the very first time.... It’s not as if even the libertarian-tolerant FBN was going to give the contenders much to work with. Friday’s debate was pre-taped, and only part one of the two-hour show (part two is on Friday!). Still, it was a debate not starring the usual suspects, right or left, and man does that look good for a change.

"The LP’s presidential choice this year will be likely be a repeat, as it should be. However, competition is libertarian, so joining [Gary] Johnson, 63, on stage were 35-year-old website founder [Austin] Petersen and 70-year-old former antivirus pioneer [John] McAfee, there to explain their positions on issues from abortion to war to Social Security and the social safety net. Even if the results of the experiment were open only to those with cable access, they were also more charming, warm, and spontaneous than anything the major parties can drum up.

"Each candidate supports caution and constitutionality in warfare. Each disavows the war on drugs and the death penalty. McAfee suggested Social Security and foreign aid were promises made, and therefore they can’t be reneged on. Johnson and Petersen argued otherwise.

"On abortion, Petersen said he was pro-life. Johnson and McAfee believe the matter is up to the woman. Petersen, who has spent some time scorning antiwar libertarians on his clickbaity website, appears to have decided on a new tactic that might be called Ron Paul lite. He comes off as a kid in his dad’s suit who just discovered French economist Frederic Bastiat — and not just because he’s the youngest, or '12 years old,' as Stossel put it. However, he delivered good lines, such as “if the American people have to balance their checkbook, so should Congress'.... Perhaps Sen. Ted Cruz supporters might find Petersen appealing, especially if they’re frustrated by Cruz’ recent soul-selling mainstream successes, or his likely loss in the race for the GOP nomination.

"McAfee is the oddest duck, a fascinating contrast between Petersen’s straining efforts at radical constitutionalism and Gary Johnson’s dispassionate moderate (for the LP) manner. McAfee’s early life included a great deal of drug use. His more recent history includes fleeing from Belize because he was a “person of interest” in his neighbor’s murder in 2012.... Maybe his gun-toting hippie with gravitas thing could leech votes away from Sen. Bernie Sanders, or his thoughtful weirdo thing could steal Trump votes.... Strangely, his stances on entitlements and foreign aid is a bit too timid for a libertarian audience, while his paranoia about cyber war and offer to unlock the San Bernardino terrorist’ phone for the FBI makes him come across as less than pure on Fourth Amendment issues.

"The choice is Gary Johnson. Even if there’s something a little uninspiring about him.... With two terms as the governor of New Mexico, Johnson lies in the sweet spot between overly Republican Bob Barr (LP nominee in 2008) and doesn’t-believe-in-drivers-licenses Michael Badnarik (2004). Johnson seems like a human being, both on television and in real life. He is a moderate anti-interventionist, and is pro marijuana, not denying the fact that he indulges in the substance, and even serving as the CEO of a medical marijuana company. His utter lack of apology for using marijuana, combined with his crazy-fit personal life (he’s climbed the seven summits!) may actually make pot users look better, as opposed to making Johnson look worse."

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