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Rank the Candidates

My list of best to worst possible presidents:
    --Rand Paul (R)
    --Gary Johnson (Libertarian)
    --Carly Fiorina (R)
    --Jeb Bush (R)
    --Ted Cruz (R)
    --Scott Walker (R)
    --Rick Perry (R)
    --Marco Rubio (R)
    --John Kasich (R)
    --Ben Carson (R)
    --Bobby Jindal (R)
    --Jim Webb (D)
    --George Pataki (R)
    --Donald Trump (R)
    --Lawrence Lessig (D)
    --Chris Christie (R)
    --Martin O'Malley (D)
    --Lindsey Graham (R)
    --Lincoln Chafee (D)
    --Rick Santorum (R)
    --Jim Gilmore (R)
    --Bernie Sanders (Ind./D/socialist)
    --Joe Biden (D)
    --Hillary Clinton (D)
    --Mike Huckabee (R)
    --Jill Stein (Green)    

OK, my list isn't very scientific. It's also probably unfair that I give demerits to candidates such as Huckabee, Christie and others who explicitly and cluelessly denounce libertarians.   

But basically, I rank presidential candidates on how much they want to micro-manage our lives, or involve us in dubious foreign wars. Those who recognize the harm done by state control and government overreach gain points.    

One candidate got bonus points just for not being politically correct (you know which one).   

And yes, all 26 people above really are running -- or are probably about to run.   

What do you think of my ranking? Tell me why I'm wrong or why I'm right!   

I love Donald Trump's willingness to speak his mind. But it's absurd to think that Mexico will fund construction of a giant wall between the U.S. and Mexico. Whatever Trump is doing, it isn't "outreach." One poll has Hispanic voters favoring Clinton over Trump by 70 to 13.   

What I'd like to hear from presidential candidates is the message that liberty is good for everyone, not something that divides people. I like Marco Rubio's speech about his parents leaving Cuba to seek opportunity in the U.S.   

I want an America that trades with the world and brings the message of free markets and liberty to every subset of the population, not just angry white guys.    

For a change, I'd like to see a president who's humble, something Trump and Clinton are definitely not.    

Sen. Rand Paul and ex-governor Gary Johnson lead my list because they are the only candidates who consistently talk about what I consider the most important issue: limiting the destructive power of the state.   

Unfortunately, in the big Fox News debate, Sen. Paul didn't appear very likable, and since then he's fallen in the polls. I hope we'll hear more about his good ideas, like limiting government spying, limiting the drug war, cutting spending and reaching out to minority voters. But I fear that talking about limits on government power is too subtle for a press and public that is excited by building giant walls.  

I assume that former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson will soon announce that he'll run on the Libertarian Party ticket. Maybe his campaign will catch fire. I doubt it, but it's possible! He and Sen. Paul understand that giant walls, more war and bigger government are not what we need. Johnson says he believes in "making government actually do less."   

I wish more politicians believed in that.    

Luckily, politicians don't really determine most of what goes on in our lives. The foolish media talk about them "running the country," but fortunately, politicians don't. They just run government.    

The important stuff in life -- friendships we form, products that fill our homes, the books, videos and music we consume, the languages we use -- all go on happening thanks to free markets and individual initiative, independent of who is president.    

John Stossel is host of "Stossel" on Fox News and author of "No, They Can't! Why Government Fails -- But Individuals Succeed." For other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit www.creators.com.



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