Romney is lame, young Rs like Ron Paul equally, might like Gary Johnson more if he got any press

This article originally appeared in the Boulder Daily Camera on October 22, 2011.

“Unlike the incumbent, I won’t make the economy worse, I won’t keep spending us to the brink of fiscal catastrophe, and I won’t lie to you.” That’s what a Republican candidate should declare to defeat Barack Obama, writes Reason magazine’s editor-in-chief.  Can the GOP front-runner Mitt Romney assert this credibly?

Like a typical Republican politician, Romney talks a good game about effectively reforming costly fraud-ridden government dependency programs. But he opposes cuts to the military’s bloated budget. He claims to support repealing ObamaCare, but still defends the failing state-level version of Obamacare that he signed into law in Massachusetts. Worse yet, in 2007, Romney said that for national health care policy, “What you have to do is what we did in Massachusetts.”

Compare Romney’s proposals to the bold fiscal plan of candidate Ron Paul, who tied Romney for first in a Reason-Rupe survey of young Republicans. Paul’s plan would eliminate the budget deficit in three years by cutting government jobs, spending, and taxes, while eliminating foreign “aid,” corporate subsidies, burdensome regulations, five unconstitutional federal departments, and the dollar’s money monopoly.

More than Ron Paul, many young voters might prefer former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson. His fiscal policy resembles Paul’s, while he is more pro-liberty on gay marriage and immigration. But TV networks have unjustly excluded Johnson from polls and debates despite his strong polling relative to invited candidates. The “Gary Johnson rule,” says the campaign website, is to continuously shift debate eligibility criteria to exclude candidates named Gary Johnson.

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