Is Gary Johnson the most “fit to lead?”
What does it mean to be “fit to lead?” Is leadership about inspiring and informing people so that they make wise personal choices? Or is leadership about creating divisiveness and confusion, intimidating opponents, or even cheating them out of a nomination?
Soldiers tend to be people who respect the issue of leadership, right? If the officers do not properly lead, that can quickly be a serious problem (like as in life or death).
So, why do so many US military personnel (including active duty soldiers and veterans) so strongly favor Gary Johnson for President over Hillary Clinton? I invite you to ask one (or several).
I can speculate that one of the main answers would be some version of this issue: “respect.” Many people who have met Gary Johnson (or who have at least reviewed his record in two terms as Governor) believe that Johnson respects people and respects his role as leader far more than most politicians. Speaking of “far more than most politicians,” Governor Johnson vetoed more legislation than the Governors of all 49 other stated COMBINED. (He vetoed 32% of the legislation that came to his desk.)
Why? Most legislation contains multiple policy initiatives that are not related to each other. That is how special interest groups get lawmakers to “hide” controversial changes in laws with titles like the “Affordable Care Act.” Many people question whether that legislation made health care more affordable or less affordable? But no one questions that the new law penalized people with new fines for failing to purchase a qualifying health care plan.
But how many pages of that legislation had nothing to do with health care? Further, how many lawmakers actually read a single page of that legislation before voting on it?
By using his veto power, Governor Gary Johnson forced lawmakers in his state to slow down the normal pace of restricting more and more choices of the public. Johnson respects personal choice (for health care services, for choice of intimate partners, for owning firearms, for which schools children attend, and so many other issues).
We can notice the contrast between Johnson and certain prominent politicians who seem not to respect a person’s right not to be groped. Or, if a particular past president of the United States wants to have consensual intimate interactions with a variety of people, that is not a crime, right? However, when that person is repeatedly accused of sexual assault by a variety of people, how do other people respond to that? Do they seek to intimidate and silence “whistle-blowers?” Do people who have great political influence respect the trust of the public?
Johnson’s political and personal records are not full of scandals. Maybe that is why the media has not yet given him much attention. He is just not as alarming and divisive as certain other candidates.
So, let’s go back to the issue of health care choice, as well as the issue of the immense military support for Johnson. Soldiers are aware of the problems with giving a government agency control of health care services. The hospitals of the Veterans’ Administration are famous for low levels of patient satisfaction.
Have you ever waited in line to get a driver’s license? Have you ever run a business and had to prepare complex tax forms? Well, imagine being very sick on top of all of that. That is just a hint of what it can be like to wade through the paperwork hell of the VA.
Governor Johnson supports the personal choice of military veterans to go to the health professional of their choice (yes, even when the health care services will be funded by government payments). Governments can regulate and fund something without having to actually deliver the services.
A current example of that is college education. There are state schools plus there are also private schools. Students can pay for any of those schools by using federal grant money or special loans.
However, education is not a core responsibility of the federal government. Issues that are the core responsibility of the federal government are foreign relations (including the military), immigration, and disputes between states in the US. That is the entire list.
Do you have a strong opinion on abortion? Great, address it at the state level. Do you have an opinion on whether people should be forced to use medical marijuana or should have the right to vaccinate their children? Great, address it at the state level.
By focusing on too many issues, the federal government has been neglecting it’s duties. Take the issue of immigration. The biggest issue is a lack of respect for immigration laws. Why? One reality is that it is easy to legally enter the US and then stay past the permitted time.
Who should enforce those regulations? The federal government. Who should pay for that? Visitors.
What is the reality today? There are dozens of other “priorities” getting the attention of the federal government.
Why? There is a lack of leadership.
So, why do so many military veterans support Gary Johnson. First, he is committed to prioritizing US military objectives. Does the US military need to identify and then effectively neutralize major threats? Yes.
Does the US need to leave soldiers in distant foreign nations for decades and basically colonize the world? That is just not a consensus priority.
Be aware that military personnel are some of the most conservative people when it comes to imperialist aggression. Many of them consider the proper location of “the front line” of military engagement to be the borders of the US. In other words, it is the job of the CIA to handle concentrated uses of force in foreign nations, not the job of the military to engage in long, expensive invasions.
To them, it is not the job of the US military to “bomb innocent people all over the world.” US Military personnel tend to favor maintaining the capacity for military dominance WITHOUT constantly spreading that military capacity thin across multiple long-term “combat zones.”
Historically, empires like great Britain have repeatedly invaded and occupied a variety of distant nations, like China, India, South Africa, and of course North America. However, the perceived ideal of most US military personnel is that the US is not fundamentally a colonizing empire.
Even if that has been true at times, that is still not fundamental. Many US military personnel are very familiar with the long history of the US military and so they currently are advocates for reducing US military occupations worldwide.
For instance, even though the US Navy was an ally of Britain when the British, French, and Americans invaded China in the 19th century, many people in the US consider that to have been a low-point in “moral authority.” Those invasions (known as “The Opium Wars”) were to prevent the Chinese from stopping British imports of opium and heroin to sell to the Chinese.
The Chinese kept resisting, so the British had to invade multiple times (so it was not just one Opium War, but a series of Opium Wars). Ultimately, the British were successful and soon they even set up a bank to manage the transactions to make it easy for the Chinese to purchase the British drugs. That British-owned bank in Asia still operates today: HSBC (the Hong Kong & Shanghai Banking Corporation).
Today, if the US wants to expand in to a new territory (like “annexing” the islands of Samoa or the Phillipines), there could be a lot of places that would welcome annexation. However, to most people, expansion is not a priority over serving the existing citizenry. Distant military occupations are also not a priority, even to many soldiers. Many soldiers would rather “come home” and strengthen the function of the US military as a “deterrent” to aggression (rather than as an invading force or occupation force for colonial expansion).
Regarding the issue of expanding US territory, if the US federal government does not have the political will to even enforce basic laws in the mainland US, then maybe it would be better to wait before adding new territory. Also, before adding new military objectives, maybe it would be better to complete a few of the unfinished missions of recent decades.
The morale of soldiers is an issue when a leading candidate for Commander-in-Chief has a reputation of being someone who would neglect the safety of soldiers (as well as morale). In fact, that candidate has a rather famous reputation for aggregiously neglecting to protect the safety of diplomats working for her abroad in the US State Department.
Do soldiers really have great faith in the leadership of Gary Johnson… or are they mostly just distressed at the idea of a particular other politician as their Commander-in-Chief? Again, you can ask some military personnel and let them speak for themselves.
I know several veterans (not active duty) who consistently state that they believe Gary Johnson would be a great leader in regard to resolving some of the messy domestic issues within the US as well as abroad. Unlike other candidates who focus on divisive issues (foreign or domestic), Johnson has a record of inviting displays of unity. When he was governor, if the legislators could not unify to a 2/3 majority, he would regularly veto what they sent to his desk.
Lots of people complain about how the US congress interferes with policy initiatives from the US President. I have heard that complaint at different times from partisans of both of the two major parties in the US.
Maybe if the US President focused on making policy initiatives that unify support, then there would not be such an issue of “who to blame when we pass an immigration law, but then simply do not enforce it.” Maybe instead of championing divisive issues, the role of a President is to champion a single unifying issue, then another, then another.
I began with the question of whether Gary Johnson is fit to lead. I have focused on questioning what leadership means, including what it means to US military personnel.
But I did not focus yet on the issue of fitness directly, like as in physical fitness. Briefly, Johnson does seem to display excellent health. He does not cover a balding head with fake hair. He does not have a crew of people to intervene if he collapses (and then hurry him out of sight in to a van to protect a pretense of health).
To me, it is not the superior physical health of Johnson that matters. It is not just the fact that he vetoed a lot of legislation and forced his state legislature to prioritize and unify.
I like that he has consistently campaigned to reduce government regulations that were swallowing the time (and money) of businesses. He consistently cut taxes in his state, moderating the amount of wealth that the Democrat-dominated state legislature was extracting from the public.
Johnson did support some measures that the state legislature repeatedly defeated. However, in a state dominated by the Democratic Party, he won as a Republican twice. After his first term, the Democratic Party tried to create a massive opposition to his re-election. He consistently resisted their efforts to concentrate power and wealth in the governing bureaucracy. He won despite their opposition.
I never said that Johnson inspired united support including the Democratic party. He did inspire the support of the voters.
Further, after reaching the term limit of two terms, Johnson was followed as Governor by Democrat Bill Richardson. While that Governor later was the center of scandal, one of the first things that Richardson did was continue the tax-cutting trend of Johnson.
Everyone agrees that Johnson was not as successful at cutting taxes as he had hoped. However, he did single-handedly prevent the Democrat-controlled state congress from raising taxes. He also blocked a lot of spending. I have read that he left the state government with a $1 billion budget surplus.
How? It was not by raising taxes. It was by cutting state-controlled spending. His state actually received a big surge of federal funding during Johnson’s time as governor. Even though his state spent more money than usual, it also saved far more than usual. (in fact, only 4 out of 50 states even had a balanced budget that year.)
This is a bit of an interesting detail to me. They key issue is prioritizing spending. When a massive, powerful bureaucracy actually reduces spending and accumulates a big surplus (especially like as big as what Alaska has done), then suddenly it can be easier to get people to relax enough to reduce taxes.
Cut spending first. If debts are owed, reduce them or pay them off. Then, cut taxes.
I’m not sure why so many people seem to freak out when someone suggests cutting taxes. Maybe people think that when the government takes $100,000 from someone wealthy and then gives $5,000 to someone poor, that is a huge favor to the poor person. However, if the wealthy person eventually was going to spend that $100,000, then having a government control everything just means that there is no way that the poor person is going to get hired by the wealthy person for a $95,000 job.
The government bureaucracy took away the personal of the wealthy person to be able to hire the poor person. The government will spend the money however internally decide to spend it.
However, bring in a leader like Gary Johnson, and he takes action so that the extra $95,000 cannot be spent. It can only be saved as surplus. So, he would not release the money to build a new NFL stadium with public spending or to pay $600 for a single dose of epipen (that would be close to $15 if the government were not driving up prices by paying $600 for thousands of units of it).
Instead of lobbyists convincing people that more public funds are needed for the latest issue, like to compensate the victims of vaccine injuries, how about getting the government out of that loop? (FYI, the VICP is a $3 billion US government program to protect vaccine manufacturers from lawsuits by taking money from US citizens to pay compensation to – so far – over 4,000 individuals who have each been awarded an average of $750,000 for severe injuries or deaths that have been ruled by a US judge to be caused by vaccinations.)
What happens when someone boldly take actions that say “this government WILL prioritize better in regard to spending?” Just saying that has no effect. However, the actions of Governor Johnson forced a climate in which it was hard to justify maintaining high tax rates (taxes that extract so much wealth from the economy and direct it to the benefit of special corporate interests). Even the Democrat who followed Johnson as governor reduced taxes!
Once the spending was cut and the budget had a huge surplus, Democrats were forced to stop focusing on which taxes to raise, but focused instead on which taxes to preserve… since they new that the public tolerance for punitive tax rates would be plunging.
I’m not asking for the US government to give me back the fines that I paid for not participating in Obamacare’s “Affordable Fine Act.” I’m not even demanding that they stop collecting those fines in future years (though that would be okay with me too).
First, let’s consider the value of a President who would not be chasing for new excuses to spend money. If a President is not pandering to private corporate lobbyists to present another billion-dollar “spending priority,” then those lobbyists might have to find productive work in a new career.
Cut the spending first. Then, once the federal government has a decent surplus (like Alaska still does), then we can talk about how to take millions of CPAs and tax lawyers (who spend all their time tracking trivia and juggling complicated loopholes) and convert all that intelligence in to work that is actually productive.
Maybe we simplify tax laws. Maybe we even reduce tax rates. First, we may have to prioritize spending.
Who is fit to lead in that challenge? In a recent poll of US Navy personnel, over 42% supported Gary Johnson. That was 14% more than the support for Donald Trump and more than double the support for Hillary Clinton.
Some people are aware that a huge portion of the US federal budget is military spending (for current expenses plus still paying debt on the wars of several decades). Now, imagine that you are a military veteran and you see the VA Hospital wasting huge amounts of money on diagnostic methods and treatments that you consider ineffective or even dangerous. You would just love if it the federal government gave you a fraction of what they have been spending on you, plus the personal choice to determine on your own how to spend that health care funding.
Why not let you research which diagnostic methods are most useful and which treatments are safe, reliable, and effective? Wouldn’t you just love it if they stopped only saying that they respect you and started showing it?
Of course, this principle is not just about VA spending. It could be extended to health care for all people (in contrast to the government control of health care competition through programs like Obamacare). It could even be extended to many other issues.
When a government allows you to apply for funding to go to the college of your choice, do you feel pressured? Or do you feel respected?
Want to reduce violent crime in your state? What if the state government said “we will give every citizen a $200 coupon that they have the option of using to purchase the firearm of their choice from the seller of their choice?” Of course that would drive up demand for firearms (and thus drive up prices). Of course gun industry lobbyists would love it.
But so what? Think about the message that kind of program would send. It says “we respect your right to protect yourself.”
Are you worried about Donald or Bill making unwanted sexual advances on innocent youth? Even sexual predators who so conspicuously disrespect the law will respect the personal space of people in a society in which everyone is presumed to be armed.
Why do so many US military personnel respect Gary Johnson? Maybe they sense that he respects them. Maybe they sense that he even respects the safety of their families back in the US while they are in far away nations taking risks day after day.
He’s not trying to bait them with socialist dependency or with fear-mongering about foreign terrorists. Let people choose their health care services. Let people choose like they choose their college and their major. Let people keep more of the money they earn. Let people choose to protect themselves from predators. Oh, and return the priority of the US military to defending our borders, not to expanding them.