OK, libertarians; get ready to beat me up.
I've written frequently, both here and on the editorial page, about the need to give third-party candidates their share of exposure during political campaigns. It's both fair to them and beneficial to the voters.
But after watching the gubernatorial debate last night, I have to say that Libertarian candidate Andy Horning was an annoying distraction. This was his answer to the very first question, "What do you expect to be the most important issue during the next four years"?
"The corollary to 'In God We Trust' is that 'In politicians we do not.' And I'm afraid that what we have done is, kind of, we've entrusted politicians with everything."
And almost every single answer he gave was a variation on that. Now, I bow to noboby in my love of liberty, my desire for smaller and less intrusive government, my belief in the individual over the collective, my distaste for rule-obsessed bureaucrats. But I don't want to be hectored on the points over and over and over while I'm trying to listen to one candidate defend his record and another candidate challenge it and tell my why she could do the job better. Mitch Daniels and Jill Long Thompson were running for governor. Horning was conducting a philosophy seminar.
It so often seems the case that third-party candidates -- and Libertarians in particular -- are far more interested in being right than getting elected, and that was obvious last night. Being governor requires someone actually interested in running the government, and that whole concept seems distasteful to Libertarians. I know this is not a new observation, but a Libertarian seeking political office is like an atheist wanting to be pope.
I'd like to see at least one debate with just Daniels and Long-Thompson. The state will face big challenges and have big opportunities over the next four years; whichever one wins will have a tough job to do. I want to hear, without distraction, why they think they're up to the task.
I promise not to start putting all my trust in politicians or stop believing in the Constitution. Government bad. I get it, OK?