Gary Johnson with my kids & I, at a recent campaign stop in Shelby Co, IN
Gary Johnson is easily the best candidate we've had in my awareness of the Libertarian Party, which began in 1995 with Harry Browne. He just brings so much more to that table than Browne, Michael Badnarik, or Bob Barr did.
Top of the list, Johnson is a two-term governor. The usual canard is that if a libertarian was elected to office, the state would be in flames within weeks. As it happened, no flames. The people liked him enough to re-elect him. Why? He balanced the state's budget, turning a deficit into a surplus- despite cutting taxes. He used the veto pen regularly. He cut the size of the bureaucracy. I really like having someone with real executive branch experience running for us. More on Johnson's record.
I also like his personal record. Johnson started a handyman business and grew it into New Mexico's largest construction company, with over 1,000 employees. He is an Ironman triathlete (big respect!) and has even reached the summit of Mt. Everest. If Gary Johnson was offered the role on those Dos Equis ads, it wouldn't surprise me.
I am not even slightly tempted to vote for Obama or Romney.
Obama has a track record of his own now, and it's all downside for me. When he was elected, there were a few things I could be hopeful (sigh) of. Candidate Obama attacked deficit spending, said he would get us out of Iraq immediately, would close Gitmo, would end indefinite detention, would curb Executive power, would reduce spying on US citizens, and would turn the economy around. That's actually a lot of things for a Libertarian to be upbeat about upon the inauguration of a Democratic President. Alas, he failed on absolutely every single one of them. Failed. He's been a miserable President.
In fact, Obama's term has been so miserable that the Republicans should have taken this easily. Alas, they posted a miserable nominee in Mitt Romney. Normally there are some things a Republican candidate can excite a Libertarian about, in the areas of the economy, size & scope of government especially. Romney excites nothing in me. It doesn't seem he has any clue what capitalism is, unless it's crony capitalism. His track record in Massachusetts leaves nothing that makes his pledge to repeal Obamacare credible. He's about the worst example of a plastic, empty suit, country club Republican I've seen in my lifetime.
What's so horrid about the choice of Romney is that there are so many things about Obama's record to run against. For example, Obama's foreign policy is the same train wreck as George Bush's, but then Romney largely agrees with them- except that he wants to EXPAND the military! No plan to pay for it, just keep on with the borrow-and-spend.
These are Reader's Digest-sized criticism. They could go another 10,000 words each. So, it's an absolute no-brainer for me to vote for Gary Johnson.
I am certain that he will break Ed Clark's high-water numbers for Libertarian presidential candidates. It's been a long time coming, but I think the combination of states that are 'settled' prior to election day, and the realization that neither Obama nor Romney are very exciting, will make it so.