Buried at the bottom of this Hit and Run blog post is a viewpoint of Gary Johnson’s that might well conflict with purist libertarian’s views of state-first disaster response:
Johnson did not touch on Hurricane Sandy during his speech, but it did impact his day as he was late for his event in Boise that afternoon. In a scrum with reporters after the event Johnson said that he thinks the Federal Emergency Management Agency is an appropriate function for the federal government.
“I do see a role. The whole notion that we do have difficulties. I just want to do all of this in the context of not spending more money than we’re taking in,” he said.
“I think (disaster relief) may come under the basic notion of the government protecting us. There are these natural catastrophies that without the federal government, states aren’t as well equipped,” Johnson said, pointing to government assistance New Mexico received in response to the Cerro Grande Fire in 2000. Johnson did note, however, that the National Park Service started that same fire as a controlled burn.
“It was federally caused, it was federally lit,” he said.
It seems to be the case with many libertarians that they’ll at least let a federal agency try to manage a disaster response until it’s apparent they are a failure. But given the fact that such failures can lead to loss of life and property, it’s surprising to see that he’s willing to stick with FEMA after all their blunders in the past.