Frankel: Third party candidate not necessarily “breath of fresh air”

He’s against the war in Afghanistan, in favor of legalizing marijuana and a proven fiscal conservative. He’s neither a Republican nor a Democrat, but a bold maverick, bucking the traditional two-party system of American politics. He is former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson, a paragon of libertarianism, and he is running for president on the Libertarian ticket.

Lest you think he is an antidote to the antiquated social policies of the GOP and ineffective fiscal stances of the Democratic Party, Gary Johnson would make a thoroughly disastrous president.

Johnson’s primary platform is submitting a balanced budget by 2013. What this entails is an across-the-board 43 percent cut in spending. He would also turn Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security into block grant programs, allowing states to determine how much money should be spent on each or, as he said, “innovate, find efficiencies and provide better service at lower cost.”

Throwing money at states to spend as they please, free of government oversight, may be in line with Johnson’s small-government philosophy, but it would in no way benefit senior citizens who are already facing billions of dollars in cuts from Medicare and Social Security.

In regard to unemployment, Johnson staunchly opposes President Barack Obama’s jobs bill and bailouts without offering much in the way of an alternative. Johnson said ending “uncertainty” for a small business is the only effective way to spur job growth and that the government is entirely ineffective at creating jobs.

Johnson’s position on gun control is unconscionable given the recent rash of mass shootings.

Johnson said, “From the United Nations to city council chambers across the nation, gun rights are constantly under attack from those who believe, mistakenly, that restricting our right to own firearms legally will somehow make us safer.”

His logic flies in the face of numerous studies proving otherwise, such as one from the Harvard Injury Control Research Center, which found that homicide was more prevalent in cities, states and regions with greater numbers of guns.

Johnson’s stance on pro-abortion rights may appeal to some liberals, but it should be noted that under his budget he might decrease federal funding of Planned Parenthood – which devotes only 3 percent of its patient care to abortion services. His pro-abortion stance, along with his liberal views on civil liberties, immigration, marijuana legalization and foreign policy endear him to many Democratic voters.

The reality is that a Johnson presidency would result in a standstill between Congress and the executive branch. As governor of New Mexico, Johnson earned the nickname “Governor Veto” because of his propensity to wield veto power. Furthermore, Congress members of both parties would be extremely hesitant to collaborate with Johnson on legislation for fear of upsetting their core constituencies as a result of his politically inconsistent ideologies.

To say that a vote for Johnson is a wasted vote undermines the entire democratic process. A vote for Johnson will, however, weaken both Obama and former Gov. Mitt Romney’s campaigns. Voters have plenty of reasons to be disillusioned by Obama and disappointed by Romney’s nomination, but going rogue and voting for Johnson will not help. Choosing a mainstream candidate is not a choice between the lesser of two evils when you consider how poor a job Gary Johnson would do as president.