Where I Stand 2012: Federal Offices
Each election, I share who I’m voting for and why. Here are my picks for federal races this cycle.
US President: Gary Johnson
To say that this presidential election cycle has been disgusting would be an understatement. There’s been a constant clown car parade of candidates with whom I have not just disagreements on the issues, but find to be simply disagreeable.
On the Democratic side, Barack Obama has been nothing short of criminal. He has taken every excess of the Bush administration and doubled down on it, be it an unsound budgeting process, blatant disregard for civil liberties, and an interventionist foreign policy that they won’t even really discuss. The icing on the cake, though, was that his administration created a “kill list” containing American citizens and used it on a 16-year-old boy. The idea that any executive could wield such power is simply terrifying, and that alone should place him well beyond being electable. (Let’s not even get into how this all flies directly in the face of the campaign he waged.)
Unfortunately, Mitt Romney isn’t any better in this regard. He touts the neo-conservative hawk view that we can just bomb our way to peace. On any other issue, he may or may not agree with me, but who can tell? He seems to take all sides of an issue rather than dealing in any kind of nuance. The real nail in the coffin, though, is his complete lack of character. At the GOP convention, Romney had everything very well locked up. Ron Paul, my favorite, wasn’t anywhere close to having enough delegates to win at convention, mostly because his delegate strategy depended on a divided field. Leading up to the convention, the Romney campaign outright cheated to keep Paul’s delegate counts as low as possible in multiple states, violating party rules without consequence. Instead of allowing Dr. Paul’s name to be put forth for consideration, John Boehner ruled that the threshold for doing so had changed even as many pro-Romney delegates strongly objected to the strong-arm tactic. Tell me, does a guy who cheats to widen his margin of victory sound trustworthy to you? Romney is a lying snake and I wouldn’t cast a ballot for him at gunpoint.
Out of the remaining candidates, Rocky Anderson is a bloviating hatemonger, neither Jill Stein nor Gloria La Riva support the issues I do, and the Constitution Party candidate, Virgil Goode, has made wrongheaded nativism his central tenant. You’d think that Gary Johnson would be the default choice as the last man standing, but it’s a lot more than that. He’s almost entirely in line with Ron Paul, my first pick, on most of the issues, particularly the important ones of returning power to the states and local communities, adopting a non-interventionist foreign policy, and restoring civil liberties. He’s not just the best candidate, he’s a good one.
I know I have the luxury in living in a state where the outcome of the presidential election is almost pre-determined, but if I were living in a swing state, I’d still be voting for Johnson. A lot of people have tried to convince me that a vote for anyone other than Romney is a vote for Obama, but given their congruence on the issue of assassinating American citizens with no judicial oversight, I can’t see much of a difference between the two. And I’ll bet a dinner at Carver’s that Romney runs a deficit in every year of his presidency.
US Senate: Shaun McCausland
Our current senator, Orrin Hatch, has become an institution unto himself. He didn’t even wait for the blood on the wall to dry after the primary before him quit his two-year panderfest to go right back into the things that got people upset in the first place. He has no principles, or, if he does, he sets them aside when The Party demands he does. On numerous occasions, he trounced over limited government to ensure that legislation requested by Republican presidents got his rubber stamp. He voted for indefinite detainment of American citizens, supported the odious PIPA censorship bill as a handout to his pals in the recording industry, and once called a flag-burning amendment the most important matter before the senate (no joke). He’s what’s wrong with Washington culture, and he needs to go.
I don’t find Scott Howell to be too much better. He’s a cut from the cloth of Jim Matheson (which, if that’s your thing, great) and he spends far too much time talking like he’s running for state office, not federal. He also puts too much emphasis on federal solutions rather than getting out of the way. I don’t have confidence that he’ll be much better than Hatch on spending issues, and he has nothing to say about foreign policy or civil liberties, areas in which the federal government does have purview.
After skipping past a couple of far-left candidates, I signed and read up on the positions of Shaun McCausland, fully expecting the right-leaning equivalent of a Green Party rant. Color me surprised when I read positions that, while definitely couched in language not as libertarian as I’d like, also came with a strong dose of acknowledging reality. For example, he acknowledges both that our broken immigration system is what has lead to a large non-citizen population and that we can’t reasonably expect to evict them after they’ve built lives here. Foreign policy strength through being an example to the world, not bombing them all? Check. Sending power back to the states? Check. Affirmation of the oft-abused Fourth Amendment? Check. Yep, this is my guy. He may not have a snowball’s chance against an institution like Hatch, but I can at least know I will have voted for someone deserving of the office.
US Congressional District 3: Jason Chaffetz
This is an unsurprisingly quiet race. There’s only two candidates, and Chaffetz is relatively popular in his own district. (None of his pre-primary challengers stood a chance at the state convention.) Soren Simonsen doesn’t seem to be taking the race too seriously. His website is pretty light on position details, and the few that I find are, well, boilerplate stuff.
I’ll state outright that I have some differences with Chaffetz. I think he needs to stop kicking the can on PATRIOT Act extensions and just kill it already. He was unnecessarily confrontational at the hearing about the attack on the embassy in Libya. I think he’s on the wrong track with immigration restrictions. All that said, he did vote (loudly) against both SOPA and the NDAA, has worked to build consensus with Democrats on specific issues (like ending mohair subsidies), and he’s doing stellar work on tech issues with Reps. Issa and Wyden. He’s definitely more towards the libertarian wing of the GOP, and it suits me just fine. I have no problems taking the few bad lumps when I get this much good.