Last December this website enthusiastically endorsed U.S. Rep. Ron Paul’s campaign for the Republican presidential nomination – and specifically the “First in the South” presidential primary here in South Carolina.

Did Paul win?  No … although his support here in the Palmetto State quintupled from its 2008 level.

Why did we back a long shot like Paul?  That’s easy: Because unlike virtually every other “Republican” in America – and particularly the “Republican” chosen to be his party’s 2012  standard bearer – Ron Paul actually walks the walk.

“When it comes to Ron Paul, concepts like constitutionally-limited government, free markets, individual liberty and fiscal restraint aren’t merely spoken at the moment into a waiting bank of cameras – they have been given repeated, courageous expression (via) more than three decades of lonely, unpopular votes in the U.S. Congress,” we wrote in our endorsement.

GOP nominee Mitt Romney?  His commitment to these fundamental principles – to the extent he’s ever been committed to anything beyond his own political ambition – is “subject to change.”

You know … like an Etch-A-Sketch.

Also Romney has made it perfectly clear that he’s not interested in doing the hard work of cutting government – a shameful display of cowardice given the deepening hole into which future generations of U.S. taxpayers are currently being pushed.  Hell, Romney wants to expand military spending by more than $2 trillion over the coming decade.  In what universe is that conservative?

It’s not … it’s neocon pandering.

Mitt Romney: “Can’t Truss It.”

Also Romney has made it perfectly clear that any tax relief provided by his administration will be “revenue neutral,” meaning it will be offset by tax hikes elsewhere in government.

How on earth is that going to stimulate the economy?  It isn’t …

Therefore on our two bread-and-butter issues – taxes and spending – Romney has offered very little to distinguish himself from Obama.  Which isn’t all that surprising given the ideological symmetry these two have demonstrated in the past on issues like socialized medicine and immigration.

Hell, Obama is actually better on Second Amendment issues than the former Massachusetts governor.

Despite Romney’s atrocious record on freedom and free markets, we are routinely castigated by “Republicans” who say we are throwing away our vote – or handing the election to Obama – by supporting another candidate.

Our response?

“They don’t want to earn (our) votes, mind you, they just want them – and they believe that they are entitled to them by virtue of the fact that their pseudo-socialist nominee is running against a pseudo-socialist president,” we wrote two months ago. “We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again, if Republicans wanted our votes – they should have nominated a presidential candidate we can support.”

We’re not the only ones who feel that way either.

“This election … the Republican Party nominee has failed to demonstrate a consistent commitment to conservative principles,” the editorial board of The Chattanooga Times Free Press wrote.  “As a result of his failure to provide clear methods for reducing the size and scope of the federal government, unwillingness to address structural flaws with entitlement programs, reliance on government to intervene in issues best left to families and individuals, and sporadic support of the Constitution and America’s founding principles, Mitt Romney is too flawed to earn the Free Press’ endorsement.”

He’s too flawed to earn our endorsement either.

Accordingly, this website is proud to lend its support to the only 2012 presidential candidate with a proven track record of fighting for the fiscal values and individual liberties that we hold dear: Gary Johnson, the former Republican governor of New Mexico (and the Libertarian Party nominee for president).

Johnson is a tireless supporter of free market reforms like universal parental choice and an outspoken critic of failed government interventions (like America’s ‘War on Drugs‘).  He’s also a fiscal conservative rock star who makes the Chris Christies and Mark Sanfords of the world look positively timid by comparison.

During his two terms as governor of New Mexico, Johnson used his veto pen more than the nation’s other 49 governors combined – blocking tax hikes, slashing government growth in half and eliminating his state’s budget deficit.  In fact, “Governor Veto” left his state with a $1 billion surplus.

That sounds a lot like a recipe that the federal government should be following right about now …

Barack Obama: “Can’t afford it.”

In a country that desperately needs a principled leader to stand up and say “No” to the swarming special interests, crony capitalists and bureaucratic purveyors of dependance in Washington, D.C., Gary Johnson is the only candidate who seems to have any conception of what the word “No” means.

And let’s be clear, saying “No” isn’t a rejection of people’s needs – it’s a courageous embrace of economic and individual freedoms that enable society to meet these needs without relying on perpetual handouts.

Corporate or otherwise …

Whereas “Obamney” will keep us moving down the “road to serfdom,” Johnson will actually force our country to take the painful steps necessary to eliminate its soaring deficits, restore our crumbling free markets and reclaim our eroding liberties.

Of course these steps won’t be painful for long … because the sooner we rid ourselves of multiple layers of excess government (and eliminate government’s excessive intervention in our economy) the sooner we will usher in an era of expanded prosperity for all classes.

Obviously we don’t agree with Johnson on every issue.  We believe he should have stayed out of the marriage equality debate (government shouldn’t sanction marriages – gay or straight) and we disagree with his unilateral opposition to the use of unmanned drones in combat situations.

But Johnson’s flaws are minor compared to the glaring inadequacies of his two major party opponents … which is why it’s a shame he was completely ignored by the mainstream press and excluded from all three presidential debates.

There are indeed two paths America can go by in the coming election … but the fork in the road ahead of us has nothing to do with Obama versus Romney and everything to do with choosing real “hope and change” over four more years of big government bipartisanshit.

Johnson is the only candidate proposing to move us down the right path.