As a former supporter of Austin Petersen, I liked his maverick attitude. I liked his energy and his passion. But I was wrong about him and I was wrong to say he was the choice needed by the LP.
It all started when Petersen called John McAfee and Gary Johnson drug dealers in the Mississippi debate. Though he tried to defend himself in an interview with The Libertarian Republic, the attacks were childish and immature. His reasoning was that the American people wouldn’t want a guy who used to sell heroin and/or used to be the CEO to a marijuana company. The American people have elected presidents who have admitted to using marijuana and cocaine. I think they can handle a guy who sold marijuana.
His proposal to defeat ISIS with letters of marque and reprisal is ludicrous. As highlighted by Randall Meyer at The Daily Caller, Europe, home to some of our closest allies, outlawed privateering in 1856 and we haven’t issued a single letter of marque since the War of 1812. Contrary to Petersen’s contentions, Jefferson used the Navy and Marines to handle the Barbary Pirates, not privateers (though Eaton, the Marine in charge of attacking Derne, did hire five hundred mercenaries). We do use private contractors such as Blackwater. The jury is still out on their effectiveness, but this short paper highlights their impact.
His speaking in a “series of bumper stickers” as Kennedy puts it, makes him appear scripted. His constant falling back on Ron Paul makes him appear as if he is somehow the second coming of Paul. He isn’t. The simple fact is that Austin relies on the legacy of others to make his case. Which isn’t necessarily bad. It’s not wrong to fall on the wisdom of Dr. Paul and the Founders. It’s bad when that’s all you have to fall back on.
To be clear, I like Petersen. But his personal behavior and his attacks against the other Libertarian presidential candidates have made me switch my support. I liked his willingness to criticize Johnson. But the attacks have gone too far.
I will vote for him if he is the LP nominee, but I will not support him during the nomination selection process.