After 80 years of endorsing mostly Republican presidential candidates, The Chatanooga Times Free Press
on Wednesday broke with tradition and threw its support behind Libertarian Party presidential candidate Gary Johnson.
“For most of those election cycles, we have endorsed Republican candidates for president,” said the endorsement. “The GOP candidate, even when flawed, generally provided the best platform for ensuring that the United States remained on a path of limited, constitutional government and free market economic policies.”
This election Tennessee’s fourth largest newspaper said that it cannot support GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney, who it says has “failed to demonstrate a consistent commitment to conservative principles” based on his failure to provide clear methods for reducing the size and scope of the federal government, an unwillingness to address structural flaws with entitlement programs, “sporadic support for the Constitution,” and reliance on government to intervene in issues “best left” to Americans.
“Mitt Romney is too flawed to earn the Free Press' endorsement” the paper said. “Romney may be less eager to tax, spend, attack personal freedoms and disregard the constitutional limits on government than his Democratic opponent, President Barack Obama, but only slightly.”
The newspaper added, “To the extent that Romney offers an alternative to Obama, the difference is in degree, not in kind.”
It said that Johnson promises to deliver a balanced budget to Congress every years he’s in office, undertake a complete overhaul of “America’s ridiculous federal tax structure,” and “fundamentally" restructure entitlement programs to give Americans more choice in healthcare as well as a “greater opportunity to retire with dignity.”
Even so, the paper acknowledges that Johnson doesn’t have a chance of beating the establishment party candidates.
“Some may argue that voting for a minor party candidate is a waste of a vote. While Johnson won't win on Nov. 6, the more votes Johnson receives, the more the Republican and Democratic parties are forced to consider adopting his policies,” according to the paper. “Voting for Johnson is the most effective way to inject the ideas of liberty and limited government into the political mainstream.”
As a two-term governor of New Mexico, Johnson slashed his state’s gasoline tax and fought to reduce the state’s income tax while championing school choice, according to the paper.
“A vote is an affirmation that a candidate is on the right track, but Barack Obama and Mitt Romney clearly aren't when it comes to limiting government, promoting individual liberty and protecting free market economic principles,” the paper stated. “Voting for bad policies and unprincipled people will only ensure that parties will give voters more of the same bad choices in the future.
“With the founding principles and the economic future of our nation at stake, Gary Johnson offers the best plan to restore the values of limited government, personal freedom and free markets that made America the greatest country in the world.”
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