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Maurile Tremblay

Libertarian Thread (Was: Gary Johnson Thread)

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This will be modeled on adonis's *** Official Barack Obama FBG campaign headquarters *** thread, which was largely responsible for propelling Obama to the presidency in the 2008 election.

Gary Johnson, a Republican, is the former governor of New Mexico. He seems to be an upgraded version of Ron Paul. (Udpate: He's dropping out of the Republican race and will seek the Libertarian nomination.)

He opposed the war in Iraq. He supports drug legalization. He favors open immigration (unlike Paul). He supports school choice (i.e., vouchers). He even supports legalizing prostitution. As governor, he vetoed over 750 bills. He also reduced the state's taxes by over $120 million annually, and reduced the number of state government employees by about 1,200.

When his second term as governor concluded in 2003, he figured he'd never get elected to anything again because of his stance on drug legalization, so he pretty much retired from politics. But with public attitudes changing, he is giving a presidential run a shot in 2012. (Update: And 2016.)

Some links (to be updated over the next three years):

Playboy interview (December 2000)
Reason Magazine interview (January 2001)
YouTube vid of speech at Ron Paul rally -- Part 1, Part 2 (2008)
Article in The American Conservative (April 2009)
Article in Pajamas Media (November 2009)
Article in Politico (December 2009)
Article in Salon (May 2010)
Appearance on Colbert Report (May 2010)
Article in The New Republic (November 2010)
Why Do We Have a TSA? by Gary Johnson (November 2010)
Forget Palin, here's Gary Johnson from CNN (November 2010)
Interview on Hannity (May 27, 2011)

(three parts) on The Alyona Show (June 2011).
Appearance on Fox News (Sept 23, 2011)
Profile in GQ (November 2011)
Wikipedia entry (current)
www.johnsonforamerica.com
http://ouramericainitiative.com/

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Can't wait until he travels to Colorado Springs to suck up to James Dobson and Co.

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seems like a rather controversial choice for the GOP. he's on the "wrong side" on a number of issues - immigration, drugs, prostitution - that the faithful (ie conservatives) would likely struggle to accept. he seems too hip to be their guy...

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:lmao:

I have also never heard of him, but I am intrigued. Sounds much more like a Libertarian candidate than a GOP candidate though.

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This will be modeled on adonis's *** Official Barack Obama FBG campaign headquarters *** thread, which was largely responsible for propelling Obama to the presidency in the 2008 election.

:thumbup:

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He looks a little nutty in that wikipedia picture. Anyone have a link to a speech or debate? Does he come across as polished or a kook?

That picture makes him look like the scientist guy on the Simpsons.

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I liked that speech a lot. I'd like to know more on his immigration stance you mentioned though. If he's an open borders guy that could be a problem for me.

From the Playboy interview:

PLAYBOY: As governor of a border state, what is your view of the immigration issue?

JOHNSON: I don’t think Easterners recognize that the Hispanics who immigrate are great people, great citizens. They care about their families like other Americans care about their families. They’re living in poverty in Mexico and can come to the United States and do a lot better.

PLAYBOY: By–according to some–taking away jobs.

JOHNSON: They work the lowest-paying jobs, which is a huge step up from where they come from. And they are taking jobs that other Americans don’t necessarily want. They’re hardworking people who are taking jobs that others don’t want. That’s the reality.

PLAYBOY: Would you open the borders and make it easier to immigrate legally?

JOHNSON: My vision of the border with Mexico is that a truck from the United States going into Mexico and a truck coming from Mexico into the United States will pass each other at the border going 60 miles an hour. Yes, we should have open borders. It will help enormously with the drug issue, too, by the way. One of the huge raps on Mexico is that it is a drug supplier, that it’s the drug corridor. But there wouldn’t be drugs coming in illegally from Mexico if there weren’t the demand in the United States. We have a militarized border with Mexico, and it’s a shame. It doesn’t work very well, either. Mexican mules get paid a king’s ransom to carry marijuana or cocaine across the border, but they are just mules. If they get caught, they’re the ones who get locked up, not the drug lords. One out of eight gets caught. Whoever’s paying them south of the border knows that equation and understands the risk.

PLAYBOY: In California, there was a backlash against illegal immigrants. Voters passed a proposition that would have denied them medical and other services.

JOHNSON: It wouldn’t be a problem if they were legal, so the process to make them legal should be easier.

PLAYBOY: Many Americans fear the flood of immigrants that would follow.

JOHNSON: Again, they would come over and take jobs that we don’t want. They would become taxpayers. They’re just pursuing dreams—the same dreams we all have. They work hard. What’s wrong with that?

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I liked that speech a lot. I'd like to know more on his immigration stance you mentioned though. If he's an open borders guy that could be a problem for me.

From the Playboy interview:

PLAYBOY: As governor of a border state, what is your view of the immigration issue?

JOHNSON: I don’t think Easterners recognize that the Hispanics who immigrate are great people, great citizens. They care about their families like other Americans care about their families. They’re living in poverty in Mexico and can come to the United States and do a lot better.

PLAYBOY: By–according to some–taking away jobs.

JOHNSON: They work the lowest-paying jobs, which is a huge step up from where they come from. And they are taking jobs that other Americans don’t necessarily want. They’re hardworking people who are taking jobs that others don’t want. That’s the reality.

PLAYBOY: Would you open the borders and make it easier to immigrate legally?

JOHNSON: My vision of the border with Mexico is that a truck from the United States going into Mexico and a truck coming from Mexico into the United States will pass each other at the border going 60 miles an hour. Yes, we should have open borders. It will help enormously with the drug issue, too, by the way. One of the huge raps on Mexico is that it is a drug supplier, that it’s the drug corridor. But there wouldn’t be drugs coming in illegally from Mexico if there weren’t the demand in the United States. We have a militarized border with Mexico, and it’s a shame. It doesn’t work very well, either. Mexican mules get paid a king’s ransom to carry marijuana or cocaine across the border, but they are just mules. If they get caught, they’re the ones who get locked up, not the drug lords. One out of eight gets caught. Whoever’s paying them south of the border knows that equation and understands the risk.

PLAYBOY: In California, there was a backlash against illegal immigrants. Voters passed a proposition that would have denied them medical and other services.

JOHNSON: It wouldn’t be a problem if they were legal, so the process to make them legal should be easier.

PLAYBOY: Many Americans fear the flood of immigrants that would follow.

JOHNSON: Again, they would come over and take jobs that we don’t want. They would become taxpayers. They’re just pursuing dreams—the same dreams we all have. They work hard. What’s wrong with that?

Wow. Guess my interest in him is short lived. He's so wrong on this issue I could never support him. Shame. Thanks for the info. I thought I read all the links but I must have missed this one.

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He even supports legalizing prostitution.

Pretty sure he has zero chance now.
He probably has zero chance. Ron Paul had about a zero chance as well. (He got up to around 4%-5% at Intrade for a while, but in hindsight I think he was badly mispriced.) That's OK. As long as he can get into some debates, he can spread a pro-liberty message that might do some good. I think Ron Paul did some good the last time around, and so far I think Gary Johnson is a lot better.

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I liked that speech a lot. I'd like to know more on his immigration stance you mentioned though. If he's an open borders guy that could be a problem for me.

From the Playboy interview:

PLAYBOY: As governor of a border state, what is your view of the immigration issue?

JOHNSON: I don’t think Easterners recognize that the Hispanics who immigrate are great people, great citizens. They care about their families like other Americans care about their families. They’re living in poverty in Mexico and can come to the United States and do a lot better.

PLAYBOY: By–according to some–taking away jobs.

JOHNSON: They work the lowest-paying jobs, which is a huge step up from where they come from. And they are taking jobs that other Americans don’t necessarily want. They’re hardworking people who are taking jobs that others don’t want. That’s the reality.

PLAYBOY: Would you open the borders and make it easier to immigrate legally?

JOHNSON: My vision of the border with Mexico is that a truck from the United States going into Mexico and a truck coming from Mexico into the United States will pass each other at the border going 60 miles an hour. Yes, we should have open borders. It will help enormously with the drug issue, too, by the way. One of the huge raps on Mexico is that it is a drug supplier, that it’s the drug corridor. But there wouldn’t be drugs coming in illegally from Mexico if there weren’t the demand in the United States. We have a militarized border with Mexico, and it’s a shame. It doesn’t work very well, either. Mexican mules get paid a king’s ransom to carry marijuana or cocaine across the border, but they are just mules. If they get caught, they’re the ones who get locked up, not the drug lords. One out of eight gets caught. Whoever’s paying them south of the border knows that equation and understands the risk.

PLAYBOY: In California, there was a backlash against illegal immigrants. Voters passed a proposition that would have denied them medical and other services.

JOHNSON: It wouldn’t be a problem if they were legal, so the process to make them legal should be easier.

PLAYBOY: Many Americans fear the flood of immigrants that would follow.

JOHNSON: Again, they would come over and take jobs that we don’t want. They would become taxpayers. They’re just pursuing dreams—the same dreams we all have. They work hard. What’s wrong with that?

I wish pro open borders candidates would do a better job making economic reasons for immigration.

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This will be modeled on adonis's *** Official Barack Obama FBG campaign headquarters *** thread, which was largely responsible for propelling Obama to the presidency in the 2008 election.

Still waiting on my cabinet appointment. :confused:

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I wish pro open borders candidates would do a better job making economic reasons for immigration.

There's been several economists recently pushing for more immigration to help with the housing problem. I believe it's being referred to as "Buy a house, get a visa" or something like that.

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I liked that speech a lot. I'd like to know more on his immigration stance you mentioned though. If he's an open borders guy that could be a problem for me.

From the Playboy interview:

PLAYBOY: As governor of a border state, what is your view of the immigration issue?

JOHNSON: I don't think Easterners recognize that the Hispanics who immigrate are great people, great citizens. They care about their families like other Americans care about their families. They're living in poverty in Mexico and can come to the United States and do a lot better.

PLAYBOY: By–according to some–taking away jobs.

JOHNSON: They work the lowest-paying jobs, which is a huge step up from where they come from. And they are taking jobs that other Americans don't necessarily want. They're hardworking people who are taking jobs that others don't want. That's the reality.

PLAYBOY: Would you open the borders and make it easier to immigrate legally?

JOHNSON: My vision of the border with Mexico is that a truck from the United States going into Mexico and a truck coming from Mexico into the United States will pass each other at the border going 60 miles an hour. Yes, we should have open borders. It will help enormously with the drug issue, too, by the way. One of the huge raps on Mexico is that it is a drug supplier, that it's the drug corridor. But there wouldn't be drugs coming in illegally from Mexico if there weren't the demand in the United States. We have a militarized border with Mexico, and it's a shame. It doesn't work very well, either. Mexican mules get paid a king's ransom to carry marijuana or cocaine across the border, but they are just mules. If they get caught, they're the ones who get locked up, not the drug lords. One out of eight gets caught. Whoever's paying them south of the border knows that equation and understands the risk.

PLAYBOY: In California, there was a backlash against illegal immigrants. Voters passed a proposition that would have denied them medical and other services.

JOHNSON: It wouldn't be a problem if they were legal, so the process to make them legal should be easier.

PLAYBOY: Many Americans fear the flood of immigrants that would follow.

JOHNSON: Again, they would come over and take jobs that we don't want. They would become taxpayers. They're just pursuing dreams—the same dreams we all have. They work hard. What's wrong with that?

I wish pro open borders candidates would do a better job making economic reasons for immigration.
:bs:

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Just from watching the YouTube video that Maurile posted, I do think he gives off a better vibe to the masses than Paul did, although that's not saying much.

Still waiting on the "superstar" that'll make Paul's ideas mainstream.

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You should add his FB page: http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=38552147212 (1478 members - get in on the ground floor!)

I was a big Obama guy in 2008, but I am very intrigued by Gary Johnson, as I (like many of us) have strong libertarian leanings. His take on the major issues mirror mine. Not sure I will support him at this point, but this earey he's the most likely Republican who could get my vote.

Abortion is not a litmus test for me, (I have voted for far more candidates that disagree on my stance than for it) but I will be curious to see how he positions himself on abortion, previously it was as a pro-life guy who leaves abortion alone.

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He looks a little nutty in that wikipedia picture. Anyone have a link to a speech or debate? Does he come across as polished or a kook?

That picture makes him look like the scientist guy on the Simpsons.
GBSP. :moneybag:I don't vote for white dudes anymore.

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I think Johnson is a guy I could back when the 2012 campaign comes around. I like his track record as New Mexico Governor and I'm one of those guys that puts a lot of weight into a guy that actually governed a large body of people instead of playing political games in Washington.

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I think Johnson is a guy I could back when the 2012 campaign comes around. I like his track record as New Mexico Governor and I'm one of those guys that puts a lot of weight into a guy that actually governed a large body of people instead of playing political games in Washington.

:thumbup: I have said on this board before that I can get on board with libertarian views except foreign policy. It looks like this guy has a more traditional libertarian view on foreign policy... more of a 'let's stay out of it' view. I have always been more in agreement with the Reagan view of 'no war was ever started because the US army was too strong'.... but... even though I may not agree with him in this matter... I would absolutely be willing to support him because I agree with him so much on other policies... especially being a pro choice republican / libertarian. I consider myself anti abortian / pro choice.I would also be willing to admit that a more traditional libertarian view towards foreign policy may be the correct direction right now... and that I am wrong. Times are a lot different since Reagan... and I am certianly no expert on the matter.One thing that did make me chuckle a little is that it said he started out as a door to door handyman. The first thing that came to mind is those 'grifters' that scam elderly people into making un-needed house renovations. Judging by the size his company grew... I would have to assume that is not what he was doing... but it is the first thing I thought of. Edited by Jutz

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This will be modeled on adonis's *** Official Barack Obama FBG campaign headquarters *** thread, which was largely responsible for propelling Obama to the presidency in the 2008 election.

:towelwave:

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This will be modeled on adonis's *** Official Barack Obama FBG campaign headquarters *** thread, which was largely responsible for propelling Obama to the presidency in the 2008 election.

Still waiting on my cabinet appointment. :rant:
I am shocked that you were not given a Czarship already. Or have you?! :towelwave:

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This will be modeled on adonis's *** Official Barack Obama FBG campaign headquarters *** thread, which was largely responsible for propelling Obama to the presidency in the 2008 election.

Still waiting on my cabinet appointment. :popcorn:
I am shocked that you were not given a Czarship already. Or have you?! :goodposting:
If he has... maybe Glenn Beck can do an expose on all his FFA posings...

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Here's a speech he gave at a Ron Paul rally in 2008. (And here's part 2.)

Not a great speaker, but perhaps better than Paul.

No not a great speaker but yes he is better than Paul. However, being better than Ron Paul at public speaking is like one homeless guy being richer than another because he has a dollar.

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This will be modeled on adonis's *** Official Barack Obama FBG campaign headquarters *** thread, which was largely responsible for propelling Obama to the presidency in the 2008 election.

Still waiting on my cabinet appointment. :popcorn:
I am shocked that you were not given a Czarship already. Or have you?! :goodposting:
If he has... maybe Glenn Beck can do an expose on all his FFA posings...
Uh, is this a private thing you have going on with Adonis?

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This will be modeled on adonis's *** Official Barack Obama FBG campaign headquarters *** thread, which was largely responsible for propelling Obama to the presidency in the 2008 election.

Still waiting on my cabinet appointment. :bag:
I am shocked that you were not given a Czarship already. Or have you?! :wall:
If he has... maybe Glenn Beck can do an expose on all his FFA posings...
Uh, is this a private thing you have going on with Adonis?
:lmao: ...oops... forgot the 't'...

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He was my gov here in NM b4 Richardson. As close to a libertarian as is possible in our system. Couple probs - while a deep thinker, not a fluid one at all, which hurts him in debates & such. Also a naturally diffident individual - if there's silliness, his instinct is to walk away. That has hurt his fundraising in the past and, since labyrinthian silliness are probably the best two words to describe US govt (and campaigning even moreso), i doubt he is capable of being a force for change. Interesting guy, though - would be a great "special projects" Veep.

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He has a long way to go. On Ron Paul's website they have a poll, asking who should be Ron Paul's running mate if he Paul runs in 2012. Even Ron Paul supporters don't know who the guy is, Johnson is 12th. What a motley crew ahead of him in this poll.

http://www.ronpaul.com/2009-11-05/ron-paul...running-mate-2/

Andrew Napolitano (31%, 1,961 Votes)

Chuck Baldwin (26%, 1,656 Votes)

Peter Schiff (24%, 1,498 Votes)

Lew Rockwell (15%, 944 Votes)

Jesse Ventura (15%, 941 Votes)

Rand Paul (12%, 761 Votes)

Sarah Palin (11%, 677 Votes)

Michele Bachmann (9%, 539 Votes)

Dennis Kucinich (8%, 524 Votes)

Pat Buchanan (7%, 465 Votes)

Glenn Beck (6%, 370 Votes)

Gary Johnson (6%, 363 Votes)

Mike Huckabee (5%, 322 Votes)

Jim DeMint (5%, 291 Votes)

Other (specify below) (4%, 280 Votes)

Michael Badnarik (4%, 273 Votes)

Alex Jones (4%, 244 Votes)

Lou Dobbs (4%, 240 Votes)

Adam Kokesh (4%, 234 Votes)

Mitt Romney (3%, 197 Votes)

Alan Grayson (3%, 196 Votes)

Wayne Allyn Root (2%, 139 Votes)

Mark Sanford (2%, 113 Votes)

Michael Bloomberg (2%, 111 Votes)

Cynthia McKinney (2%, 109 Votes)

Chuck Hagel (1%, 89 Votes)

John McCain (1%, 61 Votes)

Mel Watt (0%, 4 Votes)

Edited by Fennis

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“Gary Johnson, former governor of New Mexico, may lead a libertarian insurgency for the GOP nomination.”

http://pajamasmedia.com/blog/america-heres...idate-for-2012/

Count another one in. Gary Johnson, the former two-term Republican governor of New Mexico, is launching his new Our America PAC, an obvious stepping stone to launching a run for president. Next time around, the “Ron Paul revolution” will have a new candidate, one that will promise sweeping libertarian change and that has executive experience and a persona more marketable than the squeaky-voiced self-proclaimed “defender of the Constitution.”

In many ways, Johnson makes for an obvious Republican presidential candidate. He was reelected as the governor of a swing state that tends to vote Democratic and the press gave him the middle name of “Veto” for his constant rejection of legislation. He slashed government and left office in 2003 with a surplus without raising taxes.

Johnson wouldn’t be a “change” candidate if he didn’t ruffle a few feathers. He openly talks about his pothead past and has defined himself by calling for an end to the war on drugs, a position that speaks to advocates of limited government but alienates social conservatives; he also endorsed Ron Paul during the last presidential election cycle. He opposes the Iraq war and hasn’t given a public position on the war in Afghanistan. He’s even suggested legalizing prostitution. These positions mean he can’t win the Republican nomination, but that doesn’t mean he can’t become a significant force in the race or spark an intellectual battle inside the Republican Party as the libertarian element gains in popularity and coverage.

It would be a big mistake to assume Johnson has limited appeal and can only hope to poll in the single digits. Never underestimate the power of college kids who want pot legalized. I’ve seen political science classes erupt into a furor when the topic is mentioned, with students who previously could have passed for a corpse suddenly becoming passionate policy experts, throwing out statistics and eloquent arguments. Their lungs may contain so much smoke that they get high every time they exhale, but their votes count just as much as anyone else’s.

Johnson has the capability to activate a very enthusiastic portion of the American public with his libertarian message and the fact that he is simply so different. It is this latter point that is key to understanding Ron Paul’s relative success, considering the hostility to most of his positions and lack of name recognition. People get excited by big change, especially the youth. As a college student, I can tell you that the majority of people my age knew the name Ron Paul when they had no clue who Huckabee, Romney, or most of the other candidates were — and they were Democrats, Republicans, Greens (like I said, college students), and independents.

If he runs for president, you can bet that Johnson will have the impressive grassroots network built by Ron Paul from the get-go, along with additional support from college students who supported Obama but want to move onto the next “change” candidate, and again, those who favor drug legalization, especially of marijuana. Only Huckabee with his endorsement of the FairTax has done a similar job of finding a signature issue that will harness the power of a certain group of activists. Furthermore, Republicans who are very conservative on domestic issues and don’t feel convinced by the authenticity and records of people like Romney, Huckabee, Gingrich, or whoever else will find in Johnson a candidate that can pass most conservative litmus tests. It will be interesting to see how many Republicans (and independents, in the case of Johnson’s likely target: New Hampshire) are willing to overlook their differences with Johnson’s foreign policy to support the candidate advocating the smallest government.

Johnson’s unique stances will save his campaign the time and money of trying to create an image. He will automatically garner a mammoth amount of media coverage that normal campaigns would spend millions of dollars on. He’ll have a devoted group of volunteers that another candidate would have to spend many months winning the hearts of. You may not agree with his positions, but no objective watcher of politics could look at Ron Paul’s campaign and not be impressed with what it achieved, and there is reason to expect more from Johnson.

The discussion of Johnson’s and Paul’s campaigns goes beyond 2012, though. Johnson’s entry into the race may start a tradition where each Republican contest for the presidential nomination will include a more libertarian, Paul-like candidate. If this is the case, then that means that internal Republican Party politics are changing and you’ll see a libertarian segment gain more traction. Today’s “conservative” would become “moderate,” and today’s “moderate” would become “left-wing” by comparison. The effects of such a libertarian gain are too far-reaching to be discussed in this article, but it is worth pondering as Johnson prepares for 2012.

Johnson is still a long shot to win the Republican nomination, even if he has assets that give him an advantage that Ron Paul lacked in the last contest. That doesn’t mean he won’t be a decisive factor, politically and intellectually, and it doesn’t mean he won’t have more of a long-term effect than the other failed candidates. Ron Paul has passed the torch to Gary Johnson. How far can he carry it? The next cycle will determine whether the “Ron Paul revolution” was a temporary fad fueled by those wanting to attach themselves to something alternative, or whether it is a force that is here to stay.

If the Whig party thing doesn't work out, I might have to throw some support to this guy. Edited by Sarnoff

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I'm IN.

While no politician will ever offer everything I believe in, I really like this guy's views. Seems like a Libertarian in Republican's clothing...and I'll support a fellow Libertarian, no matter what token mainstream party they align themselves with.

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Profile of Johnson in Politico.

Ex-gov. emerges as next Ron Paul

Jonathan Martin

December 17, 2009

Former New Mexico Republican Gov. Gary Johnson is a teetotaling triathlete who looks the part of the laid-back Mountain West politician.

But don’t let the jeans and black mock turtleneck he's sporting on his new website fool you: Johnson is starting to sound like a mad-as-hell populist with an eye cast on 2012 and the building fury aimed at Washington.

“I’m finding myself really angry over spending and the deficit,” he said in an interview with POLITICO this week. “I’m finding myself really angry over what’s happening in the Middle East, the decision to stay in Afghanistan indefinitely. I’m angry about cap and trade. And I’ve been on record for a long time on the failed war on drugs.”

Is that enough to design a presidential campaign around? It might be, at a time of tea parties, rage at bailouts, job loss and general voter discontent. And there is plainly an opportunity for some politician to harness the anti-establishment, populist grass-roots fervor that is right leaning but untethered to any party at the moment.

It’s what Ron Paul tried to do in last year’s presidential campaign, but Johnson may better positioned to ride the populist wave than the longtime Texas GOP congressman. For one thing, the anti-establishment energy was not at the fever pitch then that it’s nearing now. And, unlike the unlikely Paul, a 73-year-old who got interested in elected politics when Richard Nixon abandoned the gold standard in 1971, Johnson is telegenic, is media savvy and, equally important, has twice been easily elected to statewide office.

A libertarian-leaning Republican, Johnson this month launched “Our America,” a group that aims to draw attention to the principles of limited government at home and noninterventionism abroad.

But as the subtitle on the website indicates, “The Gary Johnson Initiative” is also designed to elevate the profile of the ascetic and unconventional former governor, who is known nationally — if at all — for his support of legalizing drugs.

Johnson is doing little to knock down the idea that he may be looking toward a 2012 presidential run.

“Is there room for something a little different?” he replied to a question about whether there was an opportunity for a new GOP voice emphasizing a different approach. “I’d like to think I’m putting that to the test.”

Johnson is extremely cautious in responding to direct questions about his prospective White House ambitions, citing the legal restrictions on his 501(c)4 group, but he didn’t hesitate when asked if he’d soon be seen in such first-in-the-nation states as Iowa and New Hampshire.

“Yeah, you will [see me],” he said.

So could Johnson be the burgeoning tea party movement’s preferred candidate in the next presidential election, the tribune of the disaffected and disgruntled?

He’s certainly on the same page when it comes to the fiscal issues that have galvanized activists. In the interview — and in a high-production-value video on his group’s snazzy website — he touts his small-government record in Santa Fe, where he vetoed 750 bills, a total that at the time was more than that of the other 49 governors in the country combined.

And he embraces the outsider spirit of the tea party movement, noting that he was a construction business owner before winning election as part of the much-heralded Republican class of 1994 governors.

“I had a ‘Mr. Smith Goes to Washington’ experience as governor,” he said.

But Johnson is no political rube — as he demonstrates by offering the same sound-bite-friendly quotes in an interview that he voices in the video, exhibiting the well-honed skills of a new-media-age pol.

And while he’s an admirer of tea party energy — and has actually attended a few rallies himself in New Mexico — he’s cautious about their politics.

He said he’s uncertain about what exactly they stand for out of fear that he “may not get that right.” But without prompting, the former governor brings up the hot-button issue of immigration — an issue on which he takes a far less restrictive view than many on the populist right.

Word about Johnson is already circulating among grass-roots activists. A handful of draft-style websites have popped up to urge him to consider a presidential bid. And some tea party leaders say they like what they see.

Citing the five limited-government principles that adorn the side of the Tea Party Express buses, Joe Wierzbicki, a national coordinator for the Tea Party Express group, noted that Johnson is in agreement with the group on those issues and had a record to back it up.

“He championed personal liberty and a smaller, less intrusive government, and we applaud both his record and his efforts to continue his fight at the national level,” said Wierzbicki, adding that Johnson has “generated a lot of excitement in the Ron Paul constitutionalist and libertarian sect, which is furious about the policies of both Bush and Obama and the Congress of the last three sessions.”

Johnson actually endorsed Paul for president last year, and he shares some of the Texas congressman’s libertarian alarmist views — but without the penchant for gold standard wonkiness.

David Boaz, executive vice president of the Cato Institute, said Johnson could find some overlap in support between the younger Paul adherents and a broader libertarian-leaning demographic.

Plus, Boaz said, the New Mexican might also be the only Republican giving voice in 2012 to a noninterventionist national security message.

“By the time of the first Republican primary, there will be two more years of these wars, and I would guess support for them will drop,” said the Cato thinker. “And every month that passes, they become Obama’s wars, not Bush’s.”

Johnson, for his part, noted his early opposition to the Iraq war and said the mission in Afghanistan had crept away from finding Osama bin Laden and Al Qaeda.

“I don’t believe that our national security interests are being threatened in either location,” he said.

What seems clear is that for now Johnson has no plan to leave the GOP. He resisted a draft effort from the Libertarian Party leading up to the 2000 presidential race and now, while noting his disillusionment with the party’s fiscal record during the Bush years, says: “I am still a Republican.”

Wes Benedict, executive director of the Libertarian National Committee, said he suspects Johnson is trying to nudge the GOP closer to libertarianism.

“It would not bother me one bit if both the Republican and Democratic parties move towards the Libertarian Party positions,” Benedict quipped. “If Johnson fails to convince Republican candidates to support ending the U.S. occupation of Iraq and to legalize marijuana, his results will probably benefit Libertarian Party candidates.”

Drug decriminalization is no small matter in a prospective Johnson bid. An admitted former marijuana user whose construction firm was known as Big J, Johnson is a vigorous advocate for decriminalizing drugs — an issue that no serious presidential candidate has ever embraced.

“Why continue to arrest 1.8 million people each year on drug-related crimes?” he asked, unprompted.

While legalization could help raise national money among others who feel as passionate about the issue, New Mexico political analyst Joe Monahan notes that it could also turn off some voters who might be otherwise sympathetic to Johnson’s small-government agenda.

“That’s what he’s identified with here,” said Monahan, when asked about Johnson’s legacy as governor. “Is his campaign going to be about legalizing drugs or a broader agenda?”

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I'd consider supporting him. More importantly, I'd pay attention to him, and hopefully others would too. Some of his ideas need a respectable figure who can take them out of the shadows and get them taken seriously in public discourse.

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Today’s “conservative” would become “moderate,” and today’s “moderate” would become “left-wing” by comparison.

Um, the pajama folks show a profound lack of understanding here. I'm not in the R party, but this kind of generalization vis-a-vis Liberpublicans is silly IMO.Guess everything has to be on some sort of straight line scale?-QGedited for my profoudn lack of proofreading Edited by QuizGuy66

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seems like a rather controversial choice for the GOP. he's on the "wrong side" on a number of issues - immigration, drugs, prostitution - that the faithful (ie conservatives) would likely struggle to accept. he seems too hip to be their guy...

:ptts:

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