Presidential candidate for the Libertarian Party Gary Johnson has been traveling across Texas this past week in an effort to make his policies known to voters. While Johnson has been on the campaign trail, some members of the media have been trying to label Republican vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan a libertarian, but Johnson begs to differ.
Now that Ryan is in the spotlight, a little controversy over his reading material has begun. It seems Ryan admitted enjoying and being influenced by the novels of Ayn Rand, a writer whose political philosophy greatly shaped the Libertarian party. Of course, now that he's running on the Republican ticket with Mitt Romney, Ryan is downplaying any affection he once had for the libertarian viewpoint.
Libertarians like Gary Johnson also want to drive a wedge between Paul Ryan and the Libertarian Party since the Republican vice presidential hopeful's voting record reflects policies that the party does not endorse. "He voted for the Patriot Act, he voted for the National Defense Appropriation Act, he voted to ban online poker, he's proposing a budget that gets balanced in thirty years," Johnson noted. "He is anything but a libertarian, anything but."
Johnson also pointed out how Ryan voted to limit abortion rights and is against marriage equality. Essentially, Paul Ryan and Gary Johnson are diametrical opposites despite Johnson's previous affiliation with the Republican Party. It also seems that no one involved wants a linkage between Ryan and libertarianism with both sides viewing the other as tantamount to the greatest insult imaginable.
Johnson is the first presidential candidate outside of the Republican and Democratic parties to be on the ballot in all 50 states since Ross Perot and is currently fighting for inclusion in the presidential debates. If such a debate does occur, it should soon be clear just how much Republicans and Libertarians differ on the issues closest to the American hearts.