The Johnson-Weld Libertarian Ticket: The Duopoly Gains an Ally
Darcy G Richardson
(July 22, 2016)
As Alice famously said, things are getting "curiouser and curiouser."
In a year of the "outsider," it's rather peculiar that the Libertarian Party — the country's only nationally-organized third party expected to be on the ballot in all fifty states this autumn — is fielding a ticket comprised of two former Republican governors, neither of whom has had a negative word to say about presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.
While ex-New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson, an embarrassingly shallow and poorly-informed austerity monger and brazen political deadbeat who ran up a massive campaign debt of more than $1.5 million during his 2012 bid for the presidency and currently owes the U.S. Treasury — American taxpayers, to put it more precisely — a staggering $332,191 in misspent federal matching funds stemming from that failed effort, and his ruddy-faced vice presidential running mate William Weld, a former governor of Massachusetts-turned-lobbyist, haven't been the least bit shy in their attacks on Donald Trump's insurgent candidacy, both men have lavished praise on the former Secretary of State.
The former New Mexico governor recently described Hillary Clinton as “a wonderful public servant" while his much more articulate and quotable running mate has been equally effusive in his praise of the presumptive Democratic nominee and establishment darling.
It's quite another story, however, when it comes to the Republican nominee.
Johnson, who hasn't won an election in nearly twenty years, claims the real estate mogul is a "racist" and a "pussy" while his vice-presidential co-star — a man who can reasonably be described as a "Rockefeller Republican" — recently called the Republican nominee a "huckster." Looking for headlines, Johnson's vice-presidential running mate, evoking images of Nazi terror, had earlier likened the Republican nominee's immigration plan to "the glass crunching on Kristallnacht in the ghettos of Warsaw and Vienna" — a preposterous analogy by any stretch of the imagination.
It's almost as though the Libertarian Party, a once-principled organization engaged in a 45-year fistfight with the Establishment, has suddenly become a groveling apologist of sorts for the ruling elite, those on Wall Street responsible for the recent "Great Recession" and who, by and large, are now flocking to the Clinton candidacy.
That said, it's kind of strange to see the Libertarian ticket holding its fire when it comes to a war-mongering, Wall Street-funded creature like Hillary Clinton.
These are strange times, indeed.
It's no coincidence, of course, that Henry Paulson, the former CEO of Goldman Sachs and Secretary of Treasury during George W. Bush's administration — the chief architect of the highly-unpopular Wall Street bailout — recently endorsed the presumptive Democratic nominee.
Nor is it just a matter of mere happenstance that Gary Gensler, a wealthy Goldman Sachs partner who, as a high-ranking Treasury Department official during the Clinton administration, played an instrumental role in assuring that credit default swaps — the instruments at the heart of the 2008 financial crisis — were exempted from the Commodity Futures Modernization Act — is currently serving as the chief financial officer for Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign.
Donald Trump wasn't wrong when he suggested that Hillary's campaign was being funded by "Wall Street fat cats." That's been true throughout her political career. According to the Center for Responsive Politics, four Wall Street firms — Citigroup, JP Morgan Chase, Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley — were among her top seven donors prior to her current campaign. And everybody knows about her lucrative speaking fees paid by the financial services industry.
In any case, it's beyond pathetic that the nation's leading minor party — the Libertarian Party — long a beacon for freedom-loving anti-establishmentarians of various political stripes, is now carrying water for the financial oligarchy. And that's really what it amounts to, if we're perfectly honest about it.
Can you imagine Ron Paul, the Libertarian Party's nominee in 1988, or the late Harry Browne — or any of the party's previous presidential nominees, for that matter — singing the praises of one of their major-party rivals? And why now, especially in a year when an unprecedented number of Americans are desperately clamoring for a viable alternative to both major parties?
From Teddy Roosevelt's Bull Moose candidacy in 1912 and the half-dozen presidential campaigns fearlessly waged by the Socialist Party's urbane and dignified Norman M. Thomas, the avuncular "conscience of the country" who never hesitated to criticize Franklin D. Roosevelt when it was warranted, to the Reform Party's Ross Perot and feisty consumer activist Ralph Nader — a national treasure if there ever was one — candidates running outside the entrenched duopoly have traditionally attacked their Democratic and Republican foes with equal zeal.
Not so with Gary Johnson and William Weld, both of whom have left many of their own party's longtime activists — those who really believe in liberty and smaller government — scratching their heads and wondering what's really happening. "Oh dear," they might be saying to themselves, paraphrasing the young girl in Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland, "what is this nonsense they're talking?"
In gaining an unexpected partner in this year's paradoxically perplexing, if not completely baffling, Libertarian ticket — an uninspiring, largely untested, and deeply-flawed Establishment pairing that makes Donald Trump perversely appear as the true "outsider" in the race — the duopoly has suddenly become a kind of political triumvirate designed to protect the rich and powerful.
The Libertarian faithful have been duped. Big time.
With this kind of opposition, moreover, the tyrannical Queen and her cunningly clever husband, the widely-discredited King — the man most responsible for NAFTA and the decline of America's middle class who later repealed the Glass-Steagall Act while deliberately deregulating over-the-counter derivatives through the Commodity Futures Modernization Act, both of which led directly to the 2008 financial meltdown of Wall Street's making — have nothing to fear.
The American people deserve an alternative willing to hold both major parties accountable for the nation's tragic economic decline, not a couple of washed-up Republican politicians who consistently applaud Wall Street's approved candidate, hoping against hope that they might get noticed by the same powers-that-be responsible for deliberately destroying this country's productive economy — a manufacturing marvel that only thirty years ago was still the envy of virtually every nation on Earth.