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Libertarian Thread (Was: Gary Johnson Thread)

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Former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson (1994-2002) talks about legalizing drugs. He says the War on Drugs is too costly and he advocates for treatment programs over incarceration. Additionally, he says the U.S. should be nation building with Mexico as a way to curb drug violence along the border of both countries. He also talks about his new political action committee.

Johnson said the U.S. should be nation building with Mexico, more so than Iraq or Afghanistan. He is against militarizing the border with Mexico. If you build a 12 foot fence, they just need a 13 foot ladder.

90% of the drug problem is prohibition related NOT use related.

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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.
That's basically how it works. If you have a vision for the future in politics, the first thing that needs to be done is to get your message out. Sometimes that means a guy like Ron Paul is laughed at and marginalized, but once the ideas are out there, over time they can go more mainstream.Take for example Barry Goldwater. He failed as a candidate, but that failure helped lay the groundwork for Ronald Reagan to win. I think Goldwater had to come first before Reagan could succeed. Goldwater helped acclimate the public to the message.Take for example the high ratings for Fox News. I hear a lot of liberals say that they watch just to make fun of it. But the point is THEY ARE WATCHING. And even if 5% of what is said sinks in and makes some of the viewers reconsider their leftist views, that is very important. Edited by kaa

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Take for example Barry Goldwater. He failed as a candidate, but that failure helped lay the groundwork for Ronald Reagan to win. I think Goldwater had to come first before Reagan could succeed. Goldwater helped acclimate the public to the message.

Too bad the religious nutbags took control of the party after Reagan got elected.

Take for example the high ratings for Fox News. I hear a lot of liberals say that they watch just to make fun of it. But the point is THEY ARE WATCHING. And even if 5% of what is said sinks in and makes some of the viewers reconsider their leftist views, that is very important.

You bring up Goldwater and Faux News in the same post? How dare you!

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http://garyjohnson2012.wordpress.com/

Important Voices: JohnsonForAmerica.com interviews Robert Higgs, author of Crisis And Leviathan

In Economy, Foreign policy, Free trade, Important Voices, Inflation, Interviews on April 19, 2010 by Josiah Schmidt

This is interview #29 in JohnsonForAmerica.com’s “Important Voices” series, where we talk with key figures, such as elected officials, candidates, authors, commentators, and policy experts, about the issues of the day. A new interview is released every Monday and every Thursday, so check back often!

———–

Our guest for today’s Important Voices interview is Robert Higgs. Robert is a Senior Fellow for The Independent Institute and Editor of the The Independent Review. He received his Ph.D. in economics from Johns Hopkins University, and he has taught at the University of Washington, Lafayette College, Seattle University, and the University of Economics, Prague. He has been a visiting scholar at Oxford University and Stanford University, and a fellow for the Hoover Institution and the National Science Foundation. He is the recipient of numerous awards, and has edited or written many books, including Crisis and Leviathan. He has contributed to more than 100 articles and reviews in academic journals, and his articles have appeared in The Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, and many other publications, television programs, and Web sites.

Josiah Schmidt: What is the Independent Institute all about, and what do you do as Senior Fellow for it?

Robert Higgs: The Independent Institute is a nonpartisan, not-for-profit organization that sponsors and publicizes research on public policy and related issues across a broad range of topics. My principal responsibility at the institute is to edit the institute’s quarterly scholarly journal, The Independent Review. I also write occasional op-ed columns for newspapers, and I contribute to the institute’s group blog, The Beacon.

Josiah Schmidt: How did you come to hold such a liberty-oriented philosophy?

Robert Higgs: My training in economics gave me an appreciation of the free market. After I finished graduate school and began work as a professor, I read more and more of the literature of liberty and found the ideas appealing.

Josiah Schmidt: Why is government so prone to growing, as opposed to shrinking?

Robert Higgs: The people who compose the government can get more of what they seek–power, money, and kowtowing by the public–if the government grows. Therefore, in general, they seek to make the government bigger whenever they see an opportunity to do so without excessive risk to their retention of public office.

Josiah Schmidt: Why is free trade better than so-called “fair trade”?

Robert Higgs: Free trade means an absence of government obstacles to trade. “Fair trade” is a slogan used by protectionists to argue that they should have protection if sellers in other countries enjoy protection. In reality, “fair trade” means that if other governments are hurting their countries’ consumers, then our government should hurt consumers in this country.

Josiah Schmidt: Do you see this current recession getting worse, and why?

Robert Higgs: It might worsen. I don’t know. I will be surprised if a vigorous recovery occurs. My best guess is that a long period of stagflation lies ahead of us, but I am only guessing. I’m not a prophet.

Josiah Schmidt: In what ways is our current economic situation similar to the situation before and during the Great Depression?

Robert Higgs: The similarities are many, including a prior real estate/construction boom fueled by easy money policies, and a variety of government interventions that made the recession worse once it began. Also, in both cases, government employment has displaced private employment, and the state has grown rapidly in size, scope, and power.

Josiah Schmidt: What’s wrong with the US government’s current foreign policy?

Robert Higgs: The U.S. government intervenes excessively in virtually every part of the world. Many of these interventions worsen the local situation (e.g., by propping up local dictatorships) and cause foreigners to hate Americans. American foreign policy aims at global hegemony; it ought to withdraw from a great many of its foreign entanglements.

Josiah Schmidt: What is the best thing the US government could do to truly strengthen homeland security?

Robert Higgs: Remove its military forces from the Middle East and stop sending military and economic aid to the governments of the area–all of them.

Josiah Schmidt: Is there any country in the world today that’s doing things right?

Robert Higgs: No country does everything right. Switzerland may be the country whose government does the least wrong.

Josiah Schmidt: Any parting words for our readers?

Robert Higgs: It is more important to live a decent life than to succeed (in any way) in politics.

Josiah Schmidt: Thanks for speaking with us, Dr. Higgs!

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Gary Johnson Continues Road Tour in NYC April 26th – 29thIn Deficit, Drug reform, Economy, Gary Johnson, Health care, Our America, Press Release, Taxes, Tea Party on April 17, 2010 by Josiah SchmidtPress release from Gary Johnson’s Our America Initiative this week:April 15, 2010, Santa Fe, NM — Gary Johnson, former Governor of New Mexico and Honorary Chairman of the OUR America Initiative, today announced his upcoming visit to New York City, as part of his road tour of America. Governor Johnson will speak at several political events and fundraisers in New York, from April 26th – 29th, to be followed by speaking engagements in Washington DC, Maryland and Virginia. Governor Johnson will continue to focus on lowering taxes, reducing deficits, the impact of health care reform, and arguments for the legalization of marijuana.Recently, Governor Johnson has been a featured speaker at several high profile Tea Party events in Fresno, Tempe and South Carolina, each with audiences of several thousand people. Additionally, he has conducted productive visits to New Hampshire, Washington, DC, Michigan, Orange County and Missouri, in the past several months. Governor Johnson has garnered significant national press and media attention since the launch of OUR America in early December, “I’m looking forward to continuing the message of lower taxes common sense government and reductions in deficit spending,” stated Johnson. “The message of OUR America is clearly resonating with the public; I’m extremely encouraged as I encounter people from around the country – from every walk of life – who are eager for a return to common-sense policy and governing.” Governor Johnson will be available for media interviews throughout his New York trip.Please contact Sue Winchester at media@ouramericainitiative.com or 801.303.7924 to schedule an interview.

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He is apparently on Colbert tonight, May 10, 2010.

I know it was Colbert, but that didn't seem like an interview a presidential candidate would do. More like he was just getting the legalization message out.

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Free Johnson

The next Ron Paul.

Ben Birnbaum

November 11, 2010

There are certain shibboleths in presidential politics that even the most forthright candidates feel obliged to repeat, certain topics they feel compelled to avoid. Yet talk to former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson, the unorthodox 2012 GOP hopeful, and those rules go out the window. Ask about church, and he says he doesn’t go. “Do you believe in Jesus?” I ask. “I believe he lived,” he replies with a smile. Ask about shifts in position, and he owns up to one. “I changed my mind on the death penalty,” he tells me. “Naïvely, I really didn’t think the government made mistakes.” Ask about his voting history, and he volunteers (without regrets) that he cast his first presidential ballot for George McGovern (“because of the war”). Ask about his longstanding support for marijuana legalization, and he recalls the joy of his pot-smoking days. “I never exhaled,” he says. (An avid athlete, Johnson forswore marijuana and alcohol decades ago when he realized they were hurting his ski times and rock-climbing ability.)

Like Ron Paul, whom he endorsed in 2008, Johnson is an unabashed libertarian-and, in some ways, a purer one (he’s pro-choice, pro-free trade, and pro-immigration). So, while he’s no culture warrior or foreign policy hawk—he opposed the war in Iraq and the troop surge in Afghanistan—he outflanks any Republican on fiscal issues, proposing an immediate, across-the-board 43 percent spending cut. “We’re on the precipice,” he says, of the country’s finances. To illustrate what lies in the abyss, at times he flashes his favorite prop: a $100 trillion bill from Zimbabwe that he keeps in his wallet.

Over the past ten months, Johnson has taken his libertarian gospel on the road, speaking to conservative campus groups, Tea Party rallies, and Republican conferences in over 30 states. He has appeared on countless radio and TV programs—everything from “Hannity” to “The Colbert Report”—and is putting the finishing touches on a book. Johnson isn’t merely testing the presidential waters; several Johnson confidants told me that nothing—not even another Ron Paul campaign—will stop him from running. “There’s no waiting or seeing,” says one. “It’s a done deal.”

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With the rules on his 501c4 PAC, he can't make any announcement of 2012 interest until Jan. 1st. :fingerscrossed:

Salon piece I stumbled across:

The most interesting Republican you've never heard of

Gary Johnson supports abortion rights, gay unions and legalized pot. And he's probably running for president

Gary Johnson, a former governor of New Mexico and a likely candidate for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination, is talking about hookers.

"It's never been a consideration that I would enlist the services of a prostitute, myself personally," he says. "But if I were to do that, where would I want to enlist that service? Well, it would probably be in Nevada, where it's legal, because it would be safe."

When's the last time Mitt Romney engaged in a hypothetical like that? But Johnson doesn't even blink. It's not like this is the only topic on which he risks offending the GOP's base. He also favors legalizing pot, supports abortion rights, and opposes the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Oh, and he doesn't go to church. "I don't think you'll ever hear me invoking God in anything I do," he tells me.

It is an incongruous foundation from which to seek the mantle of a party whose last president, George W. Bush, famously claimed that his favorite philosopher is Jesus Christ.

Johnson faces other obstacles, too. Aside from his low name-recognition, he has no discernible power base. After eight years on the job in Santa Fe, he was term-limited out of the governorship at the end of 2002 and stepped back from public life thereafter. Fundraising will be arduous. And his ambitions are the object of outright scorn from the Washington establishment.

"His chances are zero," political analyst Stu Rothenberg says via e-mail. "I'd say that they are less than zero, if there was such a thing. I'd expect his impact to be nonexistent."

That assessment may prove correct, but it's also worth remembering that the same things were said a few years ago about an obscure Texas congressman named Ron Paul. True, Paul didn't come close to winning the 2008 GOP nod, but he did raise tens of millions of dollars, outpoll Rudy Giuliani and have an impact on the party in ways that are still being felt.

Political observers back in Johnson' s home state don't necessarily fancy his chances of becoming the Republican standard-bearer in 2012. But they have been wary of underestimating him ever since he came from nowhere to win the governorship.

"He's got to be viewed as a long shot," says New Mexico pollster Brian Sanderoff. "On the other hand, he makes good arguments, he's an energetic guy, he' s not your typical politician and he' s got his rap down pretty well.

"If ever there was a time for someone like Gary Johnson, it's now."

A 57-year-old fitness fanatic who climbed Mt. Everest in 2003, Johnson chooses the New York Athletic Club on Central Park South as the venue for our interview. Besuited and with reading glasses dangling around his neck, he answers almost every question with a smile and, sometimes, an idiosyncratic, wide-eyed expression. The overall effect is of a courtly, mildly eccentric uncle. This, in itself, makes him seem like a misfit in today's aggressively orthodox -- and virulently partisan -- GOP.

Ask Johnson what he thinks of Barack Obama, for instance, and rather than the stream of vitriol that might issue semi-automatically from the lips of some party colleagues, he answers: "You can't help but like him."

Obama, he says, "touched" him with his rhetoric during the 2008 campaign, though he adds that the president has proven disappointing and disingenuous since then.

Johnson seems ill at ease with the belligerent icons of modern-day conservatism. What does he think of the idol of the Tea Partiers, Glenn Beck?

"I have not watched Glenn Beck. I don't watch him."

Does he listen to Rush Limbaugh?

"I don't. Not that I haven't [ever]. But I don't tune in to Rush."

He parries inquiries about supposed 2012 GOP front-runners like Mitt Romney, Sarah Palin and Mike Huckabee. A direct question about whether he considers Palin qualified to be president elicits a lukewarm response:

"Who is qualified? Who isn't? I really do believe that people are smart when it comes to rendering that judgment. If she's not, ultimately people won't vote for her. Conversely, if people vote for her, she'll get a chance."

At moments like these, one gets the impression that Johnson is engaged in a delicate balancing act: trying to remain true to himself and his iconoclastic impulses while also seeking to avoid gratuitously offending would-be supporters. A similar dance commences when he is asked what he thinks of the Tea Party movement.

He went to a Tea Party event in South Carolina a couple of weeks ago, he says, and was impressed when one attendee gave him a handout that claimed to identify the movement's top 10 priorities.

"Basically, one through 10, it had to do with the economy and spending and taxes. And I thought, 'This is who I am! This is what I care about!'"

Then he adds: "There was a lot of fringe there."

What does he mean by "fringe"?

"My son had a conversation with somebody who was a birther, [who] described 'birther' to my son. Well, I didn't have that conversation, but --"

Johnson stops abruptly. A full six seconds of silence ensue. Would he like to complete the thought?

"Well, just to get to hear that ... To me, it's just hard to grasp," he says, a little sadly.

On other issues, Johnson doesn't bother to hide his disdain for his party's hard-liners. Take the incendiary new immigration law passed in Arizona, for instance:

"I just don't think it's going to work," he says. "I think it' s going to lead to racial profiling. I don't how you determine one individual from another -- is it color of skin? -- as to whether one is an American citizen or the other is an illegal immigrant."

Johnson favors an expansive guest worker program and is uncomfortable with the idea of mass deportations. What about the idea of increasing security by means of a border wall?

"I have never been supportive of the wall," he replied. "A 10-foot wall [just] requires an 11-foot ladder."

Up until now, Johnson's main national claim to fame has been his effort, while he was New Mexico's governor, to legalize marijuana. The push failed, but Johnson remains committed to the cause.

"I have always seen this as a gigantic issue, when you consider what we spend on law enforcement and the prisons," he says. "The fact that we are arresting 1.8 million people a year -- and to what end? We have had virtually no effect on this in decades of pursuing current policy. I don't know why we can't accept marijuana use similar to alcohol."

All of this raises an obvious question: What is Johnson doing in the Republican Party?

He argues that the GOP is a broader coalition than is commonly portrayed. On the marijuana issue, he contends that there are "as many very conservative Republicans" in favor of legalization as there are "what you might call left-wing Democrats" opposed.

"I haven' t found the Republican Party to be exclusive as much as inclusive," he adds.

Still, he concedes that the libertarian strain of Republicanism he embodies is somewhat marginalized in today's GOP. "On the other hand," he is quick to claim, "the rising wing, the heartbeat, really, of the Republican Party right now is this rising libertarian element -- the campaign for liberty."

By this, he means the movement centered around Ron Paul. On foreign policy, Johnson' s views are straight out of Paul' s rhetorical armory. He asserts that "our security is not being threatened" in either Iraq or Afghanistan. In fact, he argues, America' s "actions have actually had a reverse impact on our security. We have made enemies out of tens of millions of individuals that maybe we wouldn' t have made otherwise."

It is the drain on the nation' s finances caused by the two wars that seems to horrify him more than anything else. His fierce fiscal conservatism represents the main -- or perhaps only -- sliver of common ground Johnson shares with the mainstream of his party.

He laments that the nation is "bankrupt" and adds that the current level of national borrowing is "catastrophic." He blames both parties for this sorry state of affairs.

Johnson' s prescription is plain: "slashing spending," especially with regard to "the Big Four: Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security and Defense."

Advocating for this surely represents a hefty political gamble -- namely, that people are so worried by the deficit that they will countenance massive cuts in programs from which they themselves benefit.

"Sure," Johnson says. "That' s my hope."

The alternative, he suggests grimly, is for the United States economy to slide to "third world" status. There is, he insists, a real danger of a "fundamental collapse."

As governor of New Mexico, Johnson vetoed some 750 bills, a total that he has said surpasses the aggregate vetoes of all the nation' s other governors during that period. He became known as "Governor No," a label he seems to wear with some pride. Ron Paul is, of course, known in some quarters as "Dr No."

Johnson' s current role is as the honorary chairman of the Our America Initiative, a political advocacy committee that appears to exist solely to propagate his views and boost his profile. But the organization' s place within the dense thicket of election law -- it is a 501©(4), an even less-regulated version of the better-known 527 type of group -- means that Johnson cannot discuss whether he is going to be a candidate for federal office.

"You can make any conjectures you might want," he notes.

Johnson is betting that the country is in the mood for some more tough love, albeit wrapped in flamboyantly libertarian garb. It' s a risky wager at best. But one thing is guaranteed: If Gary Johnson runs for president, he' s sure to freshen up the national conversation. And those debates with Mitt Romney should be fun to watch.

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Article by Gary Johnson: Why do we have a TSA?

Article about Gary Johnson: Forget Palin, here's Gary Johnson

Interesting thoughts about the TSA. Certainly clearer and more compelling than Hitchens, whose piece today hits a lot of softballs without saying anything interesting.

I'd be curious to hear how airline-enforced security would work on a practical level, considering that most security work now is done before you enter the gate area of the terminal. Would we have to reconfigure our airports? Would the airlines instead pool their resources to do passenger monitoring through private third parties, giving them the chance to dodge the accountability and savings he claims privatization would offer?

Edited by TobiasFunke

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Article by Gary Johnson: Why do we have a TSA?

Article about Gary Johnson: Forget Palin, here's Gary Johnson

Interesting thoughts about the TSA. Certainly clearer and more compelling than Hitchens, whose piece today hits a lot of softballs without saying anything interesting.

I'd be curious to hear how airline-enforced security would work on a practical level, considering that most security work now is done before you enter the gate area of the terminal. Would we have to reconfigure our airports? Would the airlines instead pool their resources to do passenger monitoring through private third parties, giving them the chance to dodge the accountability and savings he claims privatization would offer?

I wasn't a fan of the TSA piece because I don't have a lot of faith in the market solving that problem. Our fear of a terrorist incident is probably irrational (or at least the extent of our fear is probably irrational) and I just don't see any airline, even faced with the prospect of improving market share, dealing with the threat of having "bad" security on their watch. I also seriously doubt that consumers would flock to the less invasive airline. It seems quite possible, even likely, that most people would choose the "more secure" airlines.

With all that said, I hope Johnson runs and at least has a Ron Paul-like effect on the race.

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Article by Gary Johnson: Why do we have a TSA?

I'm not sure this argument works in a world where the government bails out airlines and establishes victims funds to dissuade 9/11 families from suing airlines that may have had negligent security procedures.
I'm not sure that matters. Even if post-disaster payouts wouldn't be covered by insurance (though I think they would be), avoiding such payouts would constitute only a tiny part of the incentive to have competent security, I would think. A bigger reason is the desire to avoid losing business in the wake of a disaster. An even bigger reason is the desire to avoid losing business (even in the absence of any such disaster) because the public perceives your security as being ineffective. Having effective security will not only reduce insurance premiums; it is also good marketing. Convenience is important, too. Customers will be willing to sacrifice convenience for the sake of genuine safety improvements, but not just because they enjoy inconvenience for its own sake. The trade-off between safety and convenience would probably be made more sensibly by appealing to customers' preferences than by appealing to politicians' desires to buy expensive equipment from campaign donors.

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Article by Gary Johnson: Why do we have a TSA?

I'm not sure this argument works in a world where the government bails out airlines and establishes victims funds to dissuade 9/11 families from suing airlines that may have had negligent security procedures.
I'm not sure that matters. Even if post-disaster payouts wouldn't be covered by insurance (though I think they would be), avoiding such payouts would constitute only a tiny part of the incentive to have competent security, I would think. A bigger reason is the desire to avoid losing business in the wake of a disaster. An even bigger reason is the desire to avoid losing business (even in the absence of any such disaster) because the public perceives your security as being ineffective. Having effective security will not only reduce insurance premiums; it is also good marketing. Convenience is important, too. Customers will be willing to sacrifice convenience for the sake of genuine safety improvements, but not just because they enjoy inconvenience for its own sake. The trade-off between safety and convenience would probably be made more sensibly by appealing to customers' preferences than by appealing to politicians' desires to buy expensive equipment from campaign donors.
Won't your proposal just create the incentive for airlines to give the appearance of great safety procedures, even if those procedures are largely ineffective? And wouldn't it also create the incentive for airlines to promote exactly what their safety procedures are, thereby giving valuable information to anyone that wanted to bomb a plane? Even in the absence of any safety procedures at all, the likelihood of any specific flight getting hijacked or bombed is very remote. I'm skeptical that Joe Shmoe can adequately discern the difference between having a .00000001% chance of his plane being blown up and a .0000000001% chance of his plane being blown up.

With all that said, maybe privatizing security would have the salutary effect of diminishing security procedures altogether. That would be a step in the right direction.

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Won't your proposal just create the incentive for airlines to give the appearance of great safety procedures, even if those procedures are largely ineffective?

Maybe a little, but IMO probably not to the same extent as we currently see. And the private fake security measures would probably be a lot less intrusive.

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It would probably be smart to get people that are interested in Gary Johnson to start registering as republicans so they can vote for this guy in the primaries. "Traditional" republican primary voters might not be the best people to rely on to get this guy the nomination.

You don't have to swear allegiance, sign an oath, or do anything crazy to register with a political party. Just check the box, and you can vote in the primaries. Even people who consider themselves independents and democrats can do it.

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It would probably be smart to get people that are interested in Gary Johnson to start registering as republicans so they can vote for this guy in the primaries. "Traditional" republican primary voters might not be the best people to rely on to get this guy the nomination.You don't have to swear allegiance, sign an oath, or do anything crazy to register with a political party. Just check the box, and you can vote in the primaries. Even people who consider themselves independents and democrats can do it.

It depends on the state. Some states allow non-Republicans to vote in the Republican primaries.

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Gary Johnson shut out of CPAC

Snubbed. Despite speaking at CPAC 2010, Johnson won’t be taking his turn at the microphone at this year’s conference.

“We did put in a request, but he was not asked to speak,” Ron Nielson, Johnson’s longtime advisor, told POLITICO. “It probably has something to do with his stance on some of the issues. We’re the only one there that is taking the position that he’s taking.”

Specifically Team Johnson has been theorizing that the former governor’s support of legalizing marijuana and gay rights left them out in the cold.

But Grover Norquist, who is on the ACU board and has been lobbying to get Johnson a speaking slot, ruled it out. “It’s just a question of things being full,” he told POLITICO. “There’s no, ‘No we don’t want him.’”

Nevertheless, Our America Initiative has been selling CPAC ticket packages, and will have a booth at the conference.

Plus a number of groups are throwing parties in honor of Johnson. On Thursday seven groups, including Log Cabin Republicans, are hosting a reception at the hotel’s Stones Throw Restaurant, and later that night GOProud will put on a separate event for Johnson. And on Friday, Marijuana Policy Project’s Rob Kampia is hosting the former governor at his home.

“It’s not as if you don’t make it on the CPAC schedule you’re not there,” Norquist said. “You can do your own events.”

But Johnson is holding out hope that he might make it on the schedule. Norquist, along with Kampia, continues to fight to get him in the official lineup.

“I guess we won’t know until the event actually opens,” Nielson said. “Maybe suddenly they’ll call up and say you’re speaking at 4.”

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Back in business! (9:30 Friday morning slot - lol)

Johnson scores last-minute CPAC slot

For weeks, Gary Johnson was told there just wasn’t room for him to speak at CPAC. But late this morning, the former New Mexico governor landed a last-minute invite.

He’ll be stepping up to the podium in the main ballroom about 9:30 on Friday morning.

“For whatever reason, it happened,” said his spokeswoman Sue Winchester, chuckling at the timing. “We’re just like, ‘ok, great.’”

But his late addition to the line-up doesn’t mean he’ll be any less controversial, Winchester said. Johnson still plans on advocating legalizing marijuana and gay rights.

“It should be fun,” she said.

Edited by Fennis

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Gary Johnson played off at CPAC. :thumbup:

The Tea Party "establishment" is becoming just as bad as the establishment behind the rest of the parties.

I guess we'll see soon how the Average Joes out there decide to go.

Read today:

“Despite what you might have been told, the Tea Party movement is not about national groups based in Washington, D.C. or those who arbitarily claim to be its national leaders.”

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Here's a brief profile of Johnson from the Atlantic.

...But his unconventionality is also what makes him fascinating, for this simple reason: Johnson appears poised to inherit swaths of Ron Paul's following -- the campaign-turned-movement that, in many ways, became the story of the 2008 Republican primary.

Of course, that all depends on whether Paul runs for president a second time.

If he does, Johnson's voice will likely echo Paul's onstage at Republican debates throughout the coming year. But if Paul doesn't run, his supporters could very well turn to Johnson, who is the only other GOP presidential candidate offering the same kind of stripped-down libertarianism that has attracted so many supporters to Paul. They share a thoroughgoing commitment to small-government that extends even to social policies and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, which Johnson vehemently opposes, as Paul did in 2008.

Of note: It's looking like Ron Paul will run again.

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Gary Johnson played off at CPAC. :goodposting:

:mellow: Seemed like he finished his speech and got some applause.
you can hear the music kick in around the :11 mark.

Gary Johnson, the libertarian former New Mexico governor who got a CPAC speaking spot at the last minute, was played off-stage during his Friday morning speech. Johnson is best known for supporting marijuana legalization.

A Johnson staffer told Talking Points Memo: "Yeah, they played him off."

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Here's a brief profile of Johnson from the Atlantic.

...But his unconventionality is also what makes him fascinating, for this simple reason: Johnson appears poised to inherit swaths of Ron Paul's following -- the campaign-turned-movement that, in many ways, became the story of the 2008 Republican primary.

Of course, that all depends on whether Paul runs for president a second time.

If he does, Johnson's voice will likely echo Paul's onstage at Republican debates throughout the coming year. But if Paul doesn't run, his supporters could very well turn to Johnson, who is the only other GOP presidential candidate offering the same kind of stripped-down libertarianism that has attracted so many supporters to Paul. They share a thoroughgoing commitment to small-government that extends even to social policies and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, which Johnson vehemently opposes, as Paul did in 2008.

Of note: It's looking like Ron Paul will run again.
I personally support Johnson, would consider donating both time and money to his campaign, but wouldn't even vote for Paul.

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Johnson's IN

Gary Johnson to Announce Intent to Run for President in Late April

Fox News has learned the former Governor of New Mexico will announce his candidacy, for President of the United States in late April. Johnson insiders say he will bypass the exploratory stage, announce his candidacy and immediately travel to New Hampshire sometime after tax day, April 15. Johnson is a strong supporter of legalizing marijuana and gay marriage. Strategists say his libertarian approach to GOP politics may prove very popular in the Granite State, whose motto is "Live Free or Die."

Johnson has not himself, and will not when asked, state his intention to seek the White House. He currently runs a non-profit organization and under FEC regulations cannot run for office at the same time. "I do have the fact that I'm a 501c (4), the Our America Initiative," the former Governor explains. "It allows me to raise money and speak out on the issues of the day, and of course I don't want to get sideways with that legal status."

When asked in a wide ranging interview with Fox News what he thinks is the most important issue facing America today, the answer is immediate, "I think it's the fact that we're bankrupt, that we're borrowing 43 cents out of every dollar that we're spending."

When asked what other issues he thinks are most important, the answer is pretty much the same. "I am in the camp that believes that we are on the verge of an imminent financial collapse. The only thing that government could do and should do in my opinion would be to balance the budget. That would really send an unbelievable message that we as Americans understand that you can't continue to spend more money than what you take in."

Johnson has traveled to more than 30 states and spoken to 500 groups in the last 15 months, and plans to visit Iowa, New Hampshire, Florida, and South Carolina in coming weeks, all states crucial to anyone eyeing a White House run.

His background would seem to make him appealing to Americans worried about the nation's massive debt and what many view as out-of-control federal spending. As Governor of New Mexico from 1995-2003, Johnson held state spending in check, vetoing more than 750 pieces of legislation in his two terms of office.

"I served New Mexico for eight years doing that," he points out. "New Mexico is 2 to 1 Democrat. So I've gotten reelected in a state that's 2 to 1 Democrat vetoing as many bills as I did." Only two of those vetoes were overturned. Term limits kept Johnson from seeking a third term.

Johnson believes there is plenty of blame to go around for the nation's current financial situation. "Both parties share in this responsibility, the fact that the Republican Party controlled both houses of Congress and the Presidency eight years ago and passed the prescription and drug benefit. That's not why I signed up to be a Republican."

The lifelong Republican does believe the GOP is the only party that can fix America's financial problems. But, he believes the White House can only be won if the party becomes more inclusive. "If you take the 15 or so that may be out there as potentially running, I think for the most part most of them are saying the same thing about every single issue. I'm trying to grow the base; I'm trying to grow the Republican Party."

He does not see his stand on issues like marijuana legalization as detriments to a potential GOP nominee. "It's just one in a series of cost-benefits. What are we spending our money on and what are we getting for the money we're spending. Half of the money we're spending on the courts and law enforcement and prisons is drug related. And what are we getting for that? Well, we're arresting 1.8-million people a year in this country, which is just staggering when you considering the population of New Mexico is 1.8-million."

As for gay rights, "I support gay unions, and yeah, I think this country is first and foremost about liberty and freedom and the personal responsibility that goes along with that, and I can't imagine denying rights to gay couples that want to experience the American dream just like everybody else."

Having traveled the country and spoken to countless Republicans, Johnson believes he is not alone on these issues. "I'm under the belief that I might speak on behalf of 50% of Republicans. That's what I believe and I'm putting that to the test. This isn't lying on the couch theorizing about it, this is actually burning some shoe leather."

Johnson had no experience in politics when he ran for Governor of New Mexico. He says his appeal to Independents and cross-over Democrats was the key to his victories there. One can only speculate how much that appeal would help a GOP candidate for President in 2012.

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Tomorrow's the day. :excited:

Gary Johnson for President: Is the Republican Party big enough for two libertarian candidates?

America's Next Top Libertarian

Gary Johnson wants to be the Ron Paul of 2012. Unfortunately for him, so does Ron Paul.

By David Weigel Posted Wednesday, April 20, 2011, at 6:43 PM ET

Seventeen years and six months ago, Gary Johnson announced that he was running for governor of New Mexico. His leadership experience? He'd only ever run his Albuquerque construction business; he'd never run for office before. He looked, in other words, like the sort of candidate who runs for office on a lark, gets pulverized, and goes back to building ranch houses.

"I sized him up as a total neophyte and somebody who had no chance," remembers John Dendahl, who got into the Republican primary later and had much more government experience than Johnson. "I think it would be fair to say he didn't exhibit a great deal of knowledge of how politics worked. But he spent a lot of money. He bought a lot of ads on the sides of buses in Albuquerque, and he acquitted himself very well in the debates."

Dendahl remembers one particular example of Johnson's approach to political blood sport. "At one of the debates," says Dendahl, "the candidates got asked how we'd deal with the Democrats in the legislature. New Mexico is basically two-to-one Democratic, you see. Johnson got that question and said he'd veto them. Now, most of us laughed at that. We didn't have enough Republicans to sustain the vetoes!"

The joke was on them—twice. Johnson won, and Republicans won enough seats to sustain his vetoes. And he vetoed everything. In eight years in office, he vetoed 750 bills. In his second term, he came out for legalizing and regulating marijuana. He was the most libertarian governor in America, no contest. He was the Tea Party more than a decade before the idea occurred to Rick Santelli.

On Thursday, on the steps of New Hampshire's state capitol, Gary Johnson will announce that he's running for president. It's a pretty safe bet that you're not aware of this. Only 14 percent of Republicans have the faintest idea of who he is. Half of them don't like him. The original Tea Party candidate starts his presidential campaign pretty close to zero.

Why would a former governor with an impeccable small-government record get next to no attention? Two words: Ron Paul.

When Johnson first emerged as a potential candidate in December, he was billed as the "next Ron Paul." In the first article about Johnson's 501©(4), Our America, Politico's Jonathan Martin speculated that "Johnson may better positioned to ride the populist wave than the longtime Texas GOP congressman," because anger against the political establishment had metastasized since 2008, and Johnson is "telegenic, is media savvy and, equally important, has twice been easily elected to statewide office."

All true. Before Ron Paul ran for president in 2007, Johnson was the Great Libertarian Hope. His come-to-Jesus moment on marijuana made him a national figure. Libertarians in the GOP hoped he'd run for their nomination; the Libertarian Party hoped he'd bolt and join their team. But Johnson was dismissive, ruling out a future in politics. "I have effectively pulled the pin on my political career with my stance on drugs," he said in a 2001 interview with Reason magazine. After he left the governor's mansion, he used the substantial earnings from the sale of his company to travel the world, climb Mount Everest, and ski. When I interviewed Johnson in 2007 (as a reporter for Reason), he asked to be described as a "businessman-slash-adventurer."

So the Great Libertarian Hope job went to the only applicant: Ron Paul. He was imperfect. The more cosmopolitan members of the movement frowned on Paul's abortion stance (life begins at conception), his immigration stance (he ran spine-tingling commercials about Mexicans climbing over the border), and his views on international trade. But Paul tapped into an anti-war, anti-state, pro-gold sentiment that few people knew existed. He raised $35 million. He came fourth in the delegate hunt.

Johnson studied the Ron Paul campaign. He hired Paul's finance director, Jonathan Bydlak. He ran third in CPAC's straw poll because some Paul supporters made him their first choice, to prop him up. In an interview earlier this year, conducted outside a restaurant in Arlington, Va.—Johnson thought we could save money if we didn't grab a table—he explained that he wanted to expand the GOP's base and do what Paul couldn't quite do last time.

"I just would point out also that he ended up getting 9 percent of the vote, and I'm trying to be astute as to why that was the case," said Johnson. "I mean, why wasn't that a higher number? Because the idea would be—speaking hypothetically—the idea would be to win. And he didn't win. So I try to understand that as well as I possibly can."

The problem is that Paul still wants to run for president. At last check, his advisers said he was 60/40 on a new presidential run. He's RSVP'd to the first Republican primary debate, scheduled for May 5 in South Carolina. He has already raised millions of dollars. The last report for Johnson's PAC, Our America, reported only $205,000 raised, and most of it spent, in the last quarter of 2010.

Maybe the problem is best explained with an analogy. In Braveheart, Mel Gibson's subtly fictionalized account of the 14th-century fight for Scottish independence, William Wallace leads a rebellion. Robert the Bruce, the King of the Scots, hangs back and watches. Wallace dies. Robert gets the courage to take his place. In the 2011 Republican version of the story, the original rebel leader never fell, and decides he wants one more go at it.

Johnson, understandably, does not like talking about what effect Paul will have on his campaign. "It's not a zero-sum game," he said to me in Arlington. "It can't be a zero-sum game. Nine percent of voters don't just turn to Johnson and Paul—we have to get more than that."

But how? Johnson will need some hook, some crucial showdown, ideally on a debate stage. That's what happened to Paul. At the second Republican debate of 2007, Paul calmly explained the "blowback" theory of foreign policy, and then-frontrunner Rudy Giuliani—who would win far fewer votes than Paul—demanded that he "apologize" for blaming America for 9/11.

"Did Ron Paul get any coverage before Rudy attacked him?" asks David Boaz, the vice president of the libertarian Cato Institute. "Before that, Ron was a member of Congress running to get on national television and talk about his issues. It was Rudy attacking him that made him an Internet and cable star."

Theoretically, there is nothing preventing Johnson from having a Rudy Moment. I've interviewed Johnson three times about his campaign. He doesn't seem to know how to evade questions, or that this is typically what you're supposed to do with questions. Gay marriage?

"I support gay unions," he says. "I don't think the government should be involved in marriage."

Should states and cities be allowed to declare bankruptcy?

"I've been talking about that now for a couple months. I think that's a great idea that Congress ought to let them do."

Should marijuana be legalized? That's an easy question—Johnson came out for marijuana legalization during his second term in the governor's office.

"Control it. Legalize it. Tax it. When it comes to all the other drugs, treat drug use as a health issue, not a crime issue."

Again, theoretically, there is a path to Republican success in there. Johnson, unlike every other potential Republican candidate, believes that abortion should be legal "until the viability of the fetus." How many Republicans believe that? According to the exit poll of the 2008 New Hampshire primary, 52 percent of Republican voters (independents and Republicans) said abortion should be "always" or "mostly" legal. Johnson isn't much of a churchgoer—22 percent of New Hampshire GOP voters said they "never" went to church. Thirty-eight percent of them favored civil unions. Twenty-eight percent favored a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants. And so on. There is a constituency here for someone.

Johnson's struggle will be informing that constituency that he is someone—he exists, he's viable, and would better serve them than Ron Paul. When I saw Johnson in Arlington, he spoke to a fairly crowded room full of young Republicans. He was introduced, glowingly, by Amit Singh, who'd run a Ron Paul-inspired campaign for Congress in 2008 and had switched candidates. Johnson took questions for a half hour. The Second Amendment?

"I don't believe there should be any restrictions when it comes to firearms. None."

Was Citizens United decided correctly?

"Yeah. My issue with campaign finance is 100 percent disclosure. Wear a suit with patches from your big contributors. Depending on the size of the contribution, that's how big the patch should be."

One more question: What would set him apart from the 2012 field?

Johnson didn't quite know what to say.

"Really? After all this?"

Yes, still. There's one other candidate he needs to set himself apart from.

Edited by Sarnoff

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Hard for me to support Ron Paul when he didn't even stay in the race last time around. Love RP, but even I know that he's not going to get elected. Might as well hand the reigns over to someone new.

Had to unsubscribe from Gary Johnson's facebook groups though. I'm tired of getting excited about having a new message and then seeing it's just this Aaron Biterman character from GJ's facebook group, with yet another message about Gary Johnson's campaign. Other than that though, he has my vote/support.

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when he left New Mexico:

1) was prostitution legal?

2) were drugs legal?

3) how did the voucher system work and what impact did it have on the educational system?

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I like him what I know about him so far. Didn't see the debate and can't find it anywhere online.

As far as I can tell, he and Paul agree on every big issue except for abortion and immigration. Is that correct? It's really hard not to like both of them.

These Republican primary debates should be quite comical. Sadly, I can't see how either could compete, but at least they'll keep highlighting how insane the Republican Party has become.

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