By NICK SLOAN, NJSloan212@gmail.com
I'm mixed about writing this.
First, I know any opinionated piece could upset people. Believe it or not, I don't like upsetting people.
Second, the 2012 election has gotten very personal between the two parties - and even some of my friends and family members are fighting because of it. That's unfortunate.
Being a publisher gives me a right, but also a responsibility of disclosing all of my information.
That said, I'm disclosing the fact that I'm voting for Libertarian Party candidate Governor Gary Johnson in this November's presidential election.
Before I get into my eight reasons why I'm voting for Johnson, let me offer the Democratic and Republican parties of Wyandotte County this opportunity. If you have a representative write a column about President Obama or Governor Romney, I'll run it. No length requirement. No length limitation.
Outside of spelling and grammar, I won't edit it.
But I challenge both parties to do this - write a recommendation on why your candidate deserves to be president - not why the other candidates deserve to lose.
In my eight reasons why I'm supporting Johnson, I will not attack either Romney or Obama personally or policy wise. This is a pro-Johnson column - not an anti-Obama or an anti-Romney column.
I challenge all of you to find the positive reasons to support a candidate. It's not as fun, but a positive outlook on life is better.
With all of that out of the way, let me give you eight reasons to support Gov. Johnson. These are not in any special order.
1. Executive experience
For the most part in recent history, governors have made the best presidents. Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton are the two most popular presidents we've had since 1970 - and both were governors. Being a governor of a state gives you a lot more experience in running things, rather than simply voting yes or no on a piece of legislation. Johnson won two terms in a Democratic-leaning state, something that's not easy to do.
While Libertarians have a nasty stigma about how they wouldn't respond to crisis, Johnson's leadership was excellent when New Mexico was dealing with a large wildfire during his time as governor. He earned praise from both parties and local media who were reporting on the scene. In terms of running a government and being an executive of an efficient government, Johnson is the best candidate in the race.
2. Business experience
Johnson's experience in building his own business is the ideal story of the American Dream. He started his own business in 1976 by himself. By the end of the 1990s, he had grown "Big J Enterpises" to over 1,000 employees. Building a business from the ground-up is not an easy thing to do. You have to be committed, you have to know economics and you have to take risks.
A small-businessman who started a business and turned it into a big business has great qualifications for president. Small business is the backbone of this country. It always has been - and it always should be. If Johnson was the president, America's backbone would be strong for at least four years.
3. A balanced budget
Johnson's first-year budget as president would balance the budget for 2013. While $1.4 trillion in cuts is tough medicine, it has to be done for the sake of America's financial future. A $16 trillion debt and a $1 trillion deficit are not good for the value of the dollar. When the dollar's weak in value, the price of commodities increases. Among those commodities is oil. Economic confidence also increases when the budget is reasonable.
America desperately needs to get back on track with its finances. Johnson is the only candidate in the race who promises a balanced budget within his first term. And his plan is on paper. Part of that plan is cutting out wasteful defense spending and reforming entitlement programs. Defense and entitlement programs eat up 75 percent of the budget each year. Sorry, but ending earmarks or killing Big Bird won't balance the budget. Johnson is the only candidate in the race so far to have acknowledged that both areas need to be addressed.
He also successfully balanced the budget in New Mexico without increasing taxes or laying off any workers in the government.
4. Johnson's not a spoiler candidate - he's a candidate who threatens both major candidates
Based on the state polling, Johnson's taken support away from Obama in New Mexico and Colorado, while Johnson's hurt Romney in Ohio and Virginia. Assuming Johnson is only a spoiler for Romney is a myth.
His policies appeal to small-government types like myself. Other polices may appeal to my liberal friends who love personal freedom, privacy and support gay rights. Since most of our readers live in Kansas, Johnson will not a spoiler. Romney is 100 percent certain to win the state of Kansas.
If you are displeased Republican or a displeased Democrat, I encourage you to hop on the Johnson bandwagon. Do not let your two-party friends bully you into voting against Johnson if you believe he's the best candidate. It's not the Libertarians who let the economy crash. It's not the Libertarians who are doing their best to avoid any accountability. It's not us who accumulated a $16 trillion debt. It's the two major parties who have done those things.
5. A third-party threat is needed to shake up government
After Ross Perot won nearly 20 percent of the vote in the 1992 election, change happened believe it or not. Perot's biggest campaign issue in '92 was the debt. What happened after Perot won 20 percent in 1992? Former President Clinton and the Newt Gingrich-led Republican Congress balanced the budget for the first time in a few decades.
Clinton and Gingrich both deserve credit, but I also believe Perot raising awareness of the debt and earning a significant third-party vote forced the issue. If Johnson can win just 10 percent of the vote nation-wide, it would scare the Democrats and Republicans into straightening up a little more. And I think even a lot of Democrats and Republicans would agree that's a good thing!
6. Johnson has ran an honorable campaign
While the governor has been critical of Romney and Obama, he's ran an honest campaign that's been critical of the process. However, he's never attacked Romney or Obama personally like those two have with each other. Johnson has kept the campaign on the issues.
While I've never met Johnson, he strikes me as someone with high integrity. The fact he hasn't personally attacked the two candidates speaks volumes of his value system.
And Americans need to reward integrity any time we get the chance too.
7. Johnson would help usher out some of the nastiness in politics
To ducktail point six a bit, Johnson's also tolerant on the social issues that have ripped apart this country the past two decades. Johnson's campaign is not about the wedge issues - it's about fixing the country. While you may disagree with Johnson's opinion on the issues, the fact he doesn't preach his own values set on Americans is a breath of fresh air to me.
He's a compromise candidate for Democrats who have become disenchanted with their own party's economic policies and Republicans who want to go back to the Eisenhower/Goldwater years where believing in small government and fewer taxes were enough to be Republicans.
8. On the issue of the day, Johnson is the best
Jobs was a big issue in the first debate, or so I'm told, and rightfully so. There are millions unemployed right now and while the debate between Romney and Obama is competitive, Johnson actually has the best record out of the bunch. New Mexico's job growth was 11.6 percent during this two terms in office. I'll take 11.6 percent job growth any day of the week and twice on Sundays.
I know that my candidate is the odds on favorite to come in a distant third on election day.
However, until America starts voting third-party, government will not get better. Continuing to support Democrats and Republicans is like Kansas City sports fans giving David Glass and Clark Hunt their money - it's not an investment in a winner.
Before you say I'm wasting my vote, I decided on Johnson after two months of researching the records of Obama, Romney and Johnson. In my heart and mind, I believe Johnson is the right man for the job. I would hope you would at least do research on Johnson and his record before dismissing him or insulting me because of my choice.
If you do the research, I bet you would find some issues you would agree with.