I was driving back and forth across Maryland this weekend picking things up and getting things ready for a friend's wedding, and so I got to listen to large chunks of the LP convention on C-Span. A couple points stuck with me:
1. I was impressed by how much Gary Johnson talked about state-level experimentation. As readers know, this is a big deal for me and I think a potential big source of improvement on the health care legislation. Often libertarians shy away from being too loud on this because it risks demonstrating good cost effective ways to have the public sector play a role in health reform (for example). Good to hear him make these points (and at a variety of times during the debate too).
2. The repeated balanced budget promises were scary though. Needless to say, that's not what we need a president proposing in Spring 2013.
3. Lots of "we're the only ones and the only party that care about liberty". Horse shit. And it's getting old. This isn't 2008 when there was a big boost of interest in libertarianism and neophytes could get away with saying dumb things. This is really getting old now.
4. Another thing that shocked me that Gary Johnson said was how happy he was to push things through with executive orders. He talked about one instance in New Mexico with welfare reform where he essentially legislated via executive order. It was a very questionable move, and sure enough the New Mexico Supreme Court struck it down as unconstitutional. The lesson Johnson got from that episode? The legislature was bad because (1.) it didn't legislate a solution that worked, and (2.) I'm very willing to do things by executive fiat even if it's not constitutional. This is the sort of thing that leads people like me to question the adherence of some libertarians to the Constitution. Same with Ron Paul when he just decides what things Congress can't do, because he doesn't like it, even if it's in the Constitution that our elected representative have the authority to do it.