So we had our first Libertarian Party national debate on John Stossel, a lot was at stake as this was really the first debate that caught the eye of the mainstream, being televised worldwide on Fox Business.
Sadly, I’ve seen all three candidates perform better in a smaller debate, that’s not to say they where bad, I’ve seen worse with the Democrats and Republicans. But it’s a shame, they need to get used to the national stages more.
I’m not going to rank which candidate won on here (I did that on twitter already) but I’m going to look at the good and the bad moments of each candidate.
Good: When it comes to debating he comes over as the clear professional, he has the experience and substance and it shows, coming with clear concise answers on economics, he’s also very strong in regards to third party politics in general and is able to turn his marijuana use into something positive. He appeals to independents while still showing a strong record overall.
Bad: His answers in the last round really damaged him. He completely screwed up on the topic of baking wedding cakes which is just an absolute shame. He also flaunted and stumbled on the issue of privatized marriage. It’s clear that he wants to appeal as a moderate but it’s the libertarians that listen to this debate and as a last impression he just made himself look like too much of a fake and upon hearing his doubtful voice it seems like he knows it’s his Achilles heel.
Good: That voice, oh god that sweet voice. John McAfee has the savvy, he knows how to lure you in and get the message across. He also pleasantly shows a clear libertarian message despite being someone who really just got into the movement. While Gary Johnson might be the professional, McAfee is the speaker.
Bad: His Belize controversy is just a complete anchor for him, and his answer on it was just very questionable. I know it’s difficult to having to explain this issue to people but it raises eyebrows for whether he’s candidate material. His explanation about China and cyber-security also sound rather paranoid, and he was wrong about the fact that China and Russia face no terrorism.
Good: He clearly managed to take advantage of Johnson’s moderate stances to make himself look like the principled libertarian candidate, and with the last round that could not have been better for him. He definitely beat Johnson in the argument regarding wedding cakes. His penny plan is also a solid plan that I can get behind.
Bad: He’s absolutely the worst speaker of the bunch. Like Fox Business personality Kennedy said, he’s basically a bumper sticker. It’s like he pretty much took Rand Paul’s bumper stickers and turned them into a platform. His constant focus on hardcore constitutionalism also makes him sound more like a generic conservative than a libertarian, especially on the issue of war.
Overall Gary Johnson is definitely more “Socially Liberal, Fiscally Conservative” than Libertarian, which still makes him a strong candidate that appeals to both sides but can alienate more pure libertarians, John McAfee definitely earns the label libertarian in my opinion but he can be a bit too eccentric, Austin Petersen is a young Rand Paul clone who will likely appeal to constitutional conservatives but his overall charisma still feels fake and stiff.
I think all three would make solid candidates but they do need to polish their flaws.