Gary Johnson Braves the ACLU

The Libertarian presidential candidate charms a gathering of civil libertarians.

Orlando, Fla.—On January 29 the Miami Herald ran a full-page ad excoriating Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney for their “abysmal” constitutional records. The ad wasn’t paid for by Ron Paul or his supporters, but by the American Civil Liberties Union, which invited the GOP field to its annual staff convention in Orlando to “face the nation’s largest gathering of real experts on the Constitution and explain yourselves.” Neither Gingrich nor Romney showed up.

Gary Johnson chuckled when a member of the ACLU’s excutive board showed him the ad on Sunday. Had the last six months gone differently—had Johnson been included in more televised debates, had a media gaggle tracked and reported his every move as he went door to door in New Hampshire—he would likely be campaigning as a GOP candidate in Florida this week, and perhaps not speaking to a small room of ACLU staffers.

Alas, the avalanche of earned media he anticipated for biking several hundred miles across the Live Free Or Die State never materialized, so Johnson dropped out of the GOP and joined the Libertarian Party, where he is, for the first time since his days as a gubernatorial candidate in New Mexico, a frontrunner. “I’m polling at 73 percent among libertarians,” Johnson told me before his speech. “I’ve never known what that’s like.”

After five minutes of small talk in a makeshift green room at the Doubletree Inn, ACLU Executive Director Anthony Romero introduced Johnson to a crowd of 100 or so ACLU staffers as the most conservative former governor running for president and the top scorer on the group's policy scorecard. I expected Johnson to talk civil liberties right out of the gate, much the way GOP frontrunners Gingrich and Romney have tailored their speeches throughout Florida based on the demographics of a given crowd. But instead of leading with the drug war, gay marriage, or indefinite detention, Johnson started his speech the same way he starts most of his speeches: by describing his commitment to cutting federal spending by 43 percent.

As a result, the ACLU audience barely made a peep for the first 12 minutes of Johnson’s speech, though one person gesticulated approval, OWS-style, when Johnson said he’d cut the military’s budget and end Obama’s interventionism. It wasn’t until he got started on legalizing marijuana that the crowd (figuratively) lit up. A steady stream of applause followed Johnson’s declarations after that.

“I support gay marriage equality. I support repealing the PATRIOT Act. I would have vetoed the Department of Homeland Security, because I think it’s redundant. I would’ve never established the department of—the TSA agency. I think we should end the practices of torture. Period. I can understand the complexities in the following, but I think we should end the practices of detainment without being charged. There is nothing I want to see the government come in and fix with the Internet.”

Johnson also made a point throughout the evening of highlighting the differences between himself and Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas), who sought and received Johnson’s endorsement in 2008.

“I don’t think that Ron Paul is going to win the Republican nomination. For the most part, we are talking about the same message, but we do have differences. And when he drops out, or finds an end to the Republican primary, I don’t see this agenda moving forward,” Johnson said.

“And I think it’s important to point out differences between myself and Ron Paul. I don’t support building a fence across the border, I do support gay marriage equality, I do believe in a strong national defense. I do believe in our alliance with Israel, for example. And I think military alliances are key to reducing military spending by 43 percent and still provide for a strong national defense. And I believe in a woman’s right to choose.”

The crowd went nuts over that last one.

Johnson closed his remarks with something I’d never seen him do before: a bit of audience-specific pandering.

“I want to thank you for all that you do. For your activism. As I’ve said, ever since I’ve been governor, ‘The ACLU: You don’t like what they have to say or you like what they have to say, they’re always right.’”

When the laughter died down, Johnson opened the floor for questions the way he has at so many other events. “"Now we'll start off with how unright I am, with any questions, any comments, and any insults you might have."

An ACLU staffer from New Mexico asked Johnson why, as governor, he refused to support a bill ending capital punishment. Johnson explained, as he has several times before, that the enthusiasm he had for capital punishment during his first term as governor was all but obliterated when he read up on the case of four members of the Vagos motorcycle gang who were wrongly convicted of murdering William Velten in 1974, and sentenced to death. Nearly two years after the gang members had been on death row, the real killer (a DEA informant) confessed to Velten’s murder. Johnson, who wanted to limit capital punishment appeals to exactly two years, told the questioner that it occurred to him that his own policy, had it been in place in the 1970s, would have led to the execution of innocent people, and that capital punishment is simply “bad public policy.”

At the end of the Q&A session (during which the bulk of the questions were about Johnson’s time as governor) ACLU Executive Director Anthony Romero asked Johnson what he’d say to ACLU card-carrying members who were concerned that a vote cast for Johnson would be a vote taken from Obama, and thus a vote for the GOP. “Do you run the risk, in other words, of being a Ralph Nader, given the fact that you have so much more coincidence with the president’s agenda than with Mr. Romney or Mr. Gingrich?”

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  • Max||

    Ron Paul can show the ACLU Constitutional experts all those references to God in the Constitution.

    The War on Religion

    by Rep. Ron Paul, MD

    As we celebrate another Yuletide season, it's hard not to notice that Christmas in America simply doesn't feel the same anymore. Although an overwhelming majority of Americans celebrate Christmas, and those who don't celebrate it overwhelmingly accept and respect our nation's Christmas traditions, a certain shared public sentiment slowly has disappeared. The Christmas spirit, marked by a wonderful feeling of goodwill among men, is in danger of being lost in the ongoing war against religion.

    Through perverse court decisions and years of cultural indoctrination, the elitist, secular Left has managed to convince many in our nation that religion must be driven from public view. The justification is always that someone, somewhere, might possibly be offended or feel uncomfortable living in the midst of a largely Christian society, so all must yield to the fragile sensibilities of the few. The ultimate goal of the anti-religious elites is to transform America into a completely secular nation, a nation that is legally and culturally biased against Christianity.

    This growing bias explains why many of our wonderful Christmas traditions have been lost. Christmas pageants and plays, including Handel's Messiah, have been banned from schools and community halls. Nativity scenes have been ordered removed from town squares, and even criticized as offensive when placed on private church lawns. Office Christmas parties have become taboo, replaced by colorless seasonal parties to ensure no employees feel threatened by a “hostile environment.” Even wholly non-religious decorations featuring Santa Claus, snowmen, and the like have been called into question as Christmas symbols that might cause discomfort. Earlier this month, firemen near Chicago reluctantly removed Christmas decorations from their firehouse after a complaint by some embittered busybody. Most noticeably, however, the once commonplace refrain of “Merry Christmas” has been replaced by the vague, ubiquitous “Happy Holidays.” But what holiday? Is Christmas some kind of secret, a word that cannot be uttered in public? Why have we allowed the secularists to intimidate us into downplaying our most cherished and meaningful Christian celebration?

    The notion of a rigid separation between church and state has no basis in either the text of the Constitution or the writings of our Founding Fathers. On the contrary, our Founders' political views were strongly informed by their religious beliefs. Certainly the drafters of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, both replete with references to God, would be aghast at the federal government's hostility to religion. The establishment clause of the First Amendment was simply intended to forbid the creation of an official state church like the Church of England, not to drive religion out of public life.

    The Founding Fathers envisioned a robustly Christian yet religiously tolerant America, with churches serving as vital institutions that would eclipse the state in importance. Throughout our nation's history, churches have done what no government can ever do, namely teach morality and civility. Moral and civil individuals are largely governed by their own sense of right and wrong, and hence have little need for external government. This is the real reason the collectivist Left hates religion: Churches as institutions compete with the state for the people's allegiance, and many devout people put their faith in God before their faith in the state. Knowing this, the secularists wage an ongoing war against religion, chipping away bit by bit at our nation's Christian heritage. Christmas itself may soon be a casualty of that war.

    December 30, 2003

    Dr. Ron Paul is a Republican member of Congress from Texas.

    Ron Paul Archives

    Back to LewRockwell.com Home Page

  • Alack||

    I'm not sure you've posted this enough. Do you think you can spread the word on any vaguely-Ron Paul or Constitution-related article you see?

    I'm sure that will convince people of your position instead of getting them to think you're an asshole.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    Max has had a hard-on for Ron Paul for a very long time. I suspect a mental illness of some sort.

  • tarran||

    Dude, it's a lost cause.

    Ever since John Edwards cratered, Max (aka Edward, aka Concerned Observer, aka Lefiti, aka Mr Clips, aka Carlos Mildweiner) has been obsessed with Ron Paul. He's a husk of a man, with only a shell of a personality remaining. He's more a set of unconditional responses than man now; twisted and evil.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    And he's seeing things. Must've projected Paul's head on Gary Johnson's body, to post that bullshit in a thread which has bupkis to do with Paul.

  • tarran||

  • Max's Mom||

    No, he keeps swiping my medication. Plus, he ate an entire bag of peel-and-eat shrimp, but damned if I can find any of the shells.

  • ||

    Ron Paul hides his religiosity well using bullshit language like "plain text" and "states rights" - but apparently he has never read the 14th.

    Since he is stuck in 1850 and "sound money" this is no surprise.

  • Rev. Blue Moon ||

    The 14th Amendment is not carte blanche to shove whatever Federal Government whimsy is passing through the Empty Heads in the Capitol Building.

    shrike, if you are really a classical liberal, then you believe in smaller government, and if you believe in smaller government, that means that local government control > state control > federal control. It's a liberty-enabling power dynamic that deliberately gridlocks and adds tension between the States and the Federal Government.

  • ||

    I believe the Bill of Rights should apply as broadly as possible and since all those rights restrict government what is wrong with this position?

    RP is opposed to the Right to Privacy (which the 9th and SCOTUS confirms) - that is a BIG deal to me.

    Ron Paul is backing into an anti-choice position with this textual/originalism garbage.

  • Jumbie||

    And if he gets into power Paul will singlehandedly destroy the 9th with his bare hands in a cage match.

    To hell with all that 3/4 of the legislatures etc that's required...

  • Barry the Jaunty Future King||

    If only I could do that... maybe in one of My future terms in office...

  • Rev. Blue Moon ||

    I believe the Bill of Rights should apply as broadly as possible and since all those rights restrict government what is wrong with this position?

    The problem is the level of Federal control required to implement these changes. Should the states adhere to the Bill of Rights? Yes - fortunately for us, most state constitutions contain their own Bill of Rights, and the Federal Bill of Rights famously borrowed from the Virginia Declaration of Rights.

    The other problem is that top-down control on controversial issues does not permit the states to act as Brandeis's "laboratories of democracy". Where libertarianism fails, federalism should rule the day. For example: abortion. There are legitimate positions to be had on all sides of the issue, but as it stands, there is only one legally permissible policy throughout the United States.

    Also, the "Right to Privacy" is sort of incoherent, and you can see that in the chaos that is "reasonable expectation of privacy" in the courts.

  • ||

    The "right to privacy" had to be articulated because the junking of the idea that we had a government of limited, enumerated powers, and the abandonment by the sophisticati of the notion of inherent human rights, opened the door to abuses that certain of Our Masters go nervous about.

    Thus, the creation of the "right to privacy" as a bandaid to cover the suppurating wound that the Statists had left on the body politic.

    It may be better than nothing, but it is vastly inferior to what we would have if the Constitution were applied as written.

  • anon||

    The "right to privacy" had to be articulated because the junking of the idea that we had a government of limited, enumerated powers, and the abandonment by the sophisticati of the notion of inherent human rights, opened the door to abuses that certain of Our Masters go nervous about.

    I just happened to be thinking about the TSA when I read this, and laughed at the idea of "right to privacy."

  • Paul||

    The "right to privacy" had to be articulated because the junking of the idea that we had a government of limited, enumerated powers, and the abandonment by the sophisticati of the notion of inherent human rights, opened the door to abuses that certain of Our Masters go nervous about.

    This is the best brief articulation of the discovered right to privacy that's been posted.

    If I may add, it's essentially what I call "The European Problem". When you accept that your government can and should do everything for (and to) you, then at some point you get specific and complex texts describing your right to privacy and other picayune things which are taken for freaking granted when you have a government of limited, enumerated powers.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    + a lot

  • Hugo Longbone||

    because that whole privileges or immunities things is so fucking clear cut?

    Last time I checked the right of privacy was created in the case of Greenwald v. Connecticut. The several states have always been understood to have any powers not specifically denied by the federal constitution, granted to the federal government or prohibited by their own state constitutions.

    Let's not sugar coat this motherfucker. The 14th Amendment was enacted to allow the Federal Government to control the states. The problem is the Supreme Court has appropriated such regulation to itself when there is a genuine question if Congress intended to grant that power to itself.

    Now don't get me wrong a lot of the criminal procedure decisions in the 1960s and early 70s were a high water mark in civil liberties jurisprudence. But a lot of the court's decisions on social issues, especially the questionable logic on the line of cases stemming from Greenwald and the blatant bench legislation of Roe v. Wade; the court caused a massive backlash that has lead to major erosion of the criminal procedure protections.

  • ||

    I believe the Bill of Rights should apply as broadly as possible and since all those rights restrict government what is wrong with this position?

    The government doesn't create rights. Not one of the Bill of Rights actually applies to the federal government. The only time you get to make any claim against them is when it applies to States, which the Constitution shouldn't apply to in the first place.

    It's not the States that are the problem. It's not the States I need protection from. In the worst case I can always move. I need the Bill of Rights to apply to the Federal government.

  • cynical||

    "RP is opposed to the Right to Privacy (which the 9th and SCOTUS confirms) - that is a BIG deal to me."

    Dude, if someone hears a scream from inside your house, someone saying "Oh my god, he's trying to kill me!", the cops are perfectly justified in kicking your door in without waiting for a warrant. Right to life trumps right to privacy and right to property, these days at least. If a fetus has a right to life, a woman's right to privacy means shit at that point.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    Speaking of people with mental illness... hey, everyone, it's shrike!

  • ||

    Needs more Christfags!

  • Mr. FIFY||

    I'm guessing shrike had to get an abortion at one time, and was freaked out afterwards.

  • ||

    Too bad his mother was pro-life.

  • Max's Dad||

    Shit, I probably banged shrike's mom, too. I was drinking Detroit moonshine pretty heavily in those days.

  • Paul||

    Needs more Christfags!

    I have to give Shrike credit. He's been off the Christfag kick as of late.

  • ||

    He throws it out sparingly now. I just like to give him a hard time over it.

  • Prosecuting Attorney||

    Show us on the doll where Max touched you, shrike.

  • ||

    He then sticks doll's head up his anus.

  • lily||

    looking for the bilover?---datebi*cO'm--- is a site for bisexual and bicurious singles and friends.

  • Prosecuting Attorney||

    Show us on the doll where Ron Paul touched you, Max.

  • Colonel_Angus||

    God dammit, I asked for the full academic thesis with citations, not the annotated version. Consider this your termination, dipshit.

  • ||

    Did Ron Paul actually write this garbage? The Constitution is not replete with references to God. The only reference to God (actually Jesus) is in the date.

    "The notion of a rigid separation between church and state has no basis in either the text of the Constitution or the writings of our Founding Fathers."

    I guess Thomas Jefferson wasn't one of the Founding Fathers because he's where the phrase comes from.

    Seriously, this sounds like it was written by Sarah Palin or Glen Beck.

  • ||

    Just as long as some high school kid doesn't cross himself before getting into the blocks for the 400 high hurdles.

  • ||

    Gary Johnson is far more packagable to the US public than Ron Paul is. Here is hoping he does well.

  • ||

    He should have stayed in the Republican race.

  • ||

    No. The GOP is a dying party.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    Hopefully, Team Blue is dying as well.

  • ||

    Both parties would be long dead if there weren't so many crazy ballot access laws and federal funding of presidential campaigns.

  • ||

    Both parties would be long dead if there weren't so many crazy ballot access laws and federal funding of presidential campaigns.

    This.

    The two party system is the result of statutory monopoly.

  • ||

    Tru dat, li'l ho.

  • Doctor Whom||

    The GOP is a dying party.

    ... and has been since the seventies.

  • ||

    It's been dying of the same heart attack for twenty years.

  • milli||

    Why? He had no support and garnered very little attention.

  • ||

    Neither did Gingrich or Santorum.

  • milli||

    Gingrich always gets lots of attention.

  • Paul||

    Gary Johnson is far more packagable to the US public than Ron Paul is. Here is hoping he does well.

    I generally agree with this. Which means Gary Johnson is fucked sideways.

  • Palpatine||

    He's pro-choice. How do you present that to GOP? Also you can't really support late abortions without citing eviction, which will be a gaffe to the left and right alike.

  • ||

    I just made a donation to his campaign.

  • ||

    What he should have said to that last question was: "You're kidding right? Obama has been abysmal on civil liberties since he took office. If any of your members still want to support him after three years of killing people abroad and busting dispensaries here they must not care about civil liberties too much."

  • Jumbie||

    No, what he should have said is that Romney would be no better for civil rights than Obama, so returning Obama wasn't a priority.

  • Rich White People||

    Nates answer is good, your answer sucks.

  • Jumbie||

    So what was the applause like when Johnson touted his support for 2nd Amendment rights to the 'no individual right to bear arms' crowd at the ACLU?

  • milli||

    ^^this

    The Libertarian A liberal Republican presidential candidate charms a gathering of civil libertarians liberal lawyers.

    FIFY. Yeah, yeah, Gary Johnson is a "libertarian", not a liberal. Whatever.

  • Rev. Blue Moon ||

    If you define Johnson as a "liberal", then that word has no meaning.

  • Citizen Nothing||

    He doesn't hate teh dope or teh geys, therefore, Johnson = liberal.

  • mad libertarian guy||

    ^^THIS^^

    The brain of conservatives is something that should be studied.

  • Brother Grimm||

    Wait, let me guess. Johnson is not a libertarian because he supports the gambol lockdown.

  • Toolbag||

    “I'm an ardent supporter of the 2nd amendment and openly advocated conceal carry as Governor. It was a new concept at the time, but I believed it would result in less crime — a fact borne out by the statistics. Join me in preserving our fundamental rights.” -Gary Johnson

    Straight from his site. 2nd amendment is my litmus test for candidates

  • ||

    I'll start liking the ACLU as soon as they start liking my guns.

  • Korduroy Kristen||

    I'll start liking the ACLU when they start liking my guns and they start spending my donations on real, substantive litigation. Like IJ does, in other words.

  • ||

    Let's see, Tinker v. Des Moines, the Skokie trial, Reno v. ACLU, Loving v. Virgina, among many, many others. What has IJ done?

  • ||

    Perhaps cases from this decade would be more convincing to potential donors.

  • Paul||

    Hey, I'm just happy the ACLU fought campaign finance reform. I mean, after a long, protracted, bloody internal fight. But sharper minds prevailed.

  • ||

    Sure. How about Snyder v. Phelps, which reaffirmed Americans' rights to unpopular speech? The ACLU supported the Citizens United decision as well. These are two unglamorous cases, especially the former, that few other groups would take on.

    Is the ACLU a perfect libertarian organization? No. But they do far more good than harm. While they don't advocate for economic rights, they rarely argue against them. They don't defend the second amendment, but they don't lobby against it, either.

    But they do stand up for freedom of expression, freedom of religion, our rights to due process and against post-9/11 liberty infringements harder and better than any other group out there. I agree with about 80% of the stuff they say, but I staunchly agree with them when I do, and that's why I'm a member.

  • ||

    Ron Paul doesn't want a border fence. Why would Gary say that? And Ron Paul doesn’t want a federal law to approve or ban abortion or gay marriage. Just leave the fed out of it. And if you can't discriminate at the national level you can't discriminate at the state level either. That is something most people do not understand so they think if Ron Paul gets elected then we go back the 1800's... if we elect Obama or the other GOPers then we might end up back in the dark ages.

  • Derek||

    He does want a useless law defining life as from conception. His law leaves enforcement up to the States, and prohibits anyone, another State or Federal gov't, from interfering with said State's actions. So a State can legally ignore the Federal law.
    In upholding DOMA, he ignores the Federal Gov't purpose of interstate mediation. This is an issue because DOMA presumes that a family is only in one state.
    It may have been an older vid, but I have seen Paul say something to the effect that he supports the border wall.

  • Joe||

    He doesn't call for a ban on abortion but he does state in his official platform that he wants to repeal Roe v Wade. I'm voting for Paul today in the Florida primary, but he's by no means the perfect libertarian candidate.

  • Apatheist||

    Plenty of us libertarians think abortion violates the non-aggression principle. And I'm I'm betting plenty more think that Roe v. Wade is bad law even if they are pro-choice.

  • There is no "we"||

    Libertarianism is one thing.

    Committing the government to stopping every single possible instance of a violation of the "non-aggression principle" is something else entirely, and not at all compatible with anything that could reasonably be called "Libertarian."

    If the government can physically coerce a woman into carrying a pregnancy to term from conception forward, it can do most anything, because the notion of "aggression" versus "non-aggression" is infinitely malleable.

  • Jordan||

    No, not really. Assault and murder are easy to define. If one believes that life begins at conception (I don't, but it's not clear cut), then one must conclude that abortion is murder.

  • There is no "we"||

    But one need not conclude that all "murders" are a problem for government.

    If life begins at conception, then every fertility clinic in America is a mini-Treblinka.

    The mode of preventing such a "murder" as happens when a woman aborts -- forcing a woman to carry a baby to term inside her body -- is a mode of law enforcement that is in no way consistent with anything that could be honestly labeled "Libertarian." It reduces "Libertarian" to merely "as much liberty as the situation otherwise permits once other values are secured," which is a vacuous and worthless concept for a Libertarian politics.

  • Hugo Longbone||

    I hear lots of platitudes but little logic. I don't want to get into this debate, but to think there is some dogmatic truth that no community, no group of people can agree abortion will not be practiced among them or their group is sheer nonsense.

  • protefeed||

    If the government can physically coerce a woman into carrying a pregnancy to term from conception forward

    How about "If the government can physically coerce a woman into not killing her child from birth until the minor becomes an adult"?

    Reasonable, intelligent people have different, well-articulated views on when a fetus becomes a human being with the right to life. Thus, it is possible to be either a pro-life or pro-choice libertarian.

  • There is no "we"||

    If you begin the discussion by obliterating the very real, obvious, and politically and morally crucial distinction between a post birth child and a non-viable pregnancy-stage fetus, you reveal yourself to be utterly unserious and unworthy of engaging in debate.

  • pdog||

    At 26 weeks, the baby is viable -- Should this be the cut-off age of the pregnancy where abortion shouldn't be permitted? I think there are is a large spectrum of different opinions and views on this, from baning from conception, or only late-term, or allow abortion post-birth, to cases of incest, threatining life of mother, morning after pill, etc.

  • Derek||

    Gary's stance is Viability-Life.

    I concur with the opinion that there's a large spectrum. My stance is Independence-Life, which makes life-start a process. It begins when the fetus could survive as a premie, and ends sometime between late High School and college graduation. This dependency of existence is the basis for Parental authority, the child is still a part of the parents.

  • UnCivil Liberty||

    He not only wants to repeal Roe V. Wade, he wants to remove abortion from the federal courts jurisdiction so that the States can sort it out on their own. If it's not in Article I, Section 8 it falls to the States under the Tenth.

  • Moogle||

    Gary who?

  • Doctor Whom||

    I faithfully follow the campaign as spoon-fed to me by the MSM and my liberal acquaintances. I've never heard of him either.

  • jellydonut||

    Capital punishment isn't 'bad public policy', it's evil. If your best reason to oppose government executions is that it's bad for said government's image, I'm not sure how you can be the LP candidate..

    Oh well, he isn't the most principled libertarian out there. He is the only one with executive experience, though.. I guess that's something.

  • anon||

    Why should rapists and murderers get to live out their lives at the expense of society? Hasn't society been robbed enough from these types of criminals?

  • There is no "we"||

    What are you advocating for? Mass extermination? You expect the government to get that right when you scoff at its ability to set up an insurance pool?

  • RZR||

    ^^^+1^^^

    And a big difference between libertarians and conservatives too far to the right for their own damned party.

  • KPres||

    That's different than saying it's "evil".

  • Rich White People||

    "Capital punishment isn't 'bad public policy', it's evil."

    Welcome to my ignore list.

  • Brian E||

    When he talks about "bad public policy", why do you assume he's talking about image? That wasn't the issue he raised at all.

  • Jordan||

    Did you even read what he said?

  • protefeed||

    Johnson isn't the purist libertarian imaginable. Still, he's pretty good on most issues, far more than any of the candidates for the two major parties, better than Ron Paul.

    Johnson would be a huge improvement over any president in the last 100 years.

  • Citizen Nothing||

    When he talks about "bad public policy", why do you assume he's talking about image?


    They have eyes, but fail to see, ears but fail to hear.

  • dope||

    His food labeling stance is a deal breaker for me.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v.....e=youtu.be

  • Derek||

    He has since recanted.

  • Derek||

    He has since recanted.

  • ||

    That makes a lot of sense dude.

    www.puter-privacy.tk

  • Uh no||

    "given the fact that you have so much more coincidence with the president’s agenda"

    Anyone who believes this is a goddamn moron.

  • BC||

    +1

  • ||

    All this infighting... I'm actually really glad Johnson went third party: it would have been a hard choice for me, but now Paul can make the GOP put up or shut up, and once that fight is over there will be somewhere to go with someone who will break that sad 1% window the LP just can't seem to break. Neither is perfect, and we won't all agree on why (Paul's anti-NAFTA stance, Johnson's pro choice are the things I personnally disagree with). So fellow Paulbots, here's a suggestion: let's finish this race hard and see what's what. If the unfortunately likely event that romney grabs the nomination and the party joins Kristol in showing us where to shove it: it's clear where we can go from there IMHO. If Johnson can break the 15-20% mark drawing from both aisles, who knows if the two party myth will hold?

  • UnCivil Liberty||

    NAFTA isn't free trade, it's government managed trade. Fuck NAFTA.

  • ||

    It's free-er trade. That should count for something.

  • ABC||

    Yes, it should count negatively. Seeing as NAFTA, the EU etc create even more red tape and tend to impede trade coming from outside of the designated zones.

  • BC||

    My thinking on capital punishment has gone through the same evolution as Johnson's has. I still believe that there are some crimes so evil that the death is an appropriate punishment -- but I have zero confidence in the competence of the state to adjudicate those offenses and administer that punishment.

  • Derek||

    This

  • Gilbert Martin||

    "the American Civil Liberties Union, which invited the GOP field to its annual staff convention in Orlando to “face the nation’s largest gathering of real experts on the Constitution ...."

    "Real experts", eh?

    That's funny from a group that was founded by communists and has continually flunked 2nd Amendment 101.

    Not to mention 10th Amendment 101 and 5th Amendment private property rights 101.

  • ||

    I will be voting for Governor Gary Johnson! Pro-Choice, Pro-Gay rights, Anti war Libertarian candidate who wants to balance the budget and legalize marijuana! Johnson is by far the best steward of tax dollars. He came into office with a huge deficit and left 8 yrs later with a billion dollar surplus. His staff once asked him how he wanted his name read on the state welcome signs. He said Don't put my name on those signs, If we change them at all put welcome to New Mexico from the citizens of New Mexico so we dont have to spend money to change them in the future. As Governor he raised the speed limit to 75 on the highway and allowed people to buy beer on Sunday saying "this is a choice the people of New Mexico can make for themselves and don't need the govt telling them on what day they can buy beer." He understand the proper role of govt to protect you from force or fraud but to otherwise leave you alone unless your actions interfere with the rights of another. Check out Two term(one more than Mitt) Governor Gary Johnson! Dont let the media pick your candidate! Johnson's socially liberal and fiscally conservative stances will be attractive to democrat and independent voters in the general election, I think he is the man to beat obummer.. Gary Johnson is who we need in the White House. The People's President!

  • ||

    RIGHT ON!

  • TheWild Webster||

    The whole noting of 'splitting the ticket' or 'wasting a vote' is such a hypocrisy. It is entirely and blatantly pragmatism - the same pragmatism that is turning our federal representation into a recipe for disaster.
    It's the proverbial Douglas Adams, continuing to "vote for the lizards so the wrong lizard doesn't get in!"
    It never fails to astound me how so many people can levy so many complaints against politicians that pander or compromise on key issues, change their stance on legislation out of expedience or political strategizing and get to Washington then seem to do something completely different than what they campaigned upon. How can you possibly expect a politician to act on principle if you refuse to VOTE THAT WAY!??!
    Anyone that espouses a 'wasted vote' or 'splitting the ticket' mentality, in my opinion, gives up their legitimacy and integrity to ever complain when the person(s) they vote for behave pragmatically. You are getting what you vote for - own up to it!
    http://thewildwebster.wordpres.....hypocrisy/

  • ||

    Yep.

  • ||

    If Ron Paul had been less egotistical, he should have graciously withdrawn from the race early on and endorsed the much younger much more experienced in governance, much more electable Gary Johnson.

    In the policy items, there is very little difference between the two.

  • UnCivil Liberty||

    Much more experienced in governance? Johnson served 2 terms as governor, Paul has served 10 terms in the House of Representatives.

  • ||

    Executives govern. Representatives vote.

    Paul displayed his lack of leadership skills when he let those newsletters get out and when he failed to take responsibility for them after.

    I like Paul, and he's a really close second for me after Johnson, but serving in the legislature is not governing.

  • ABC||

    There is enough of a difference to warrant both of their appearances. Paul is more of a purist than Johnson in terms of trade and foreign policy, and Johnson's inability to understand the concept of federalism vis a vis issues such as drugs and abortion and his utilitarian function are different from Paul's.

    Johnson is more of a moderate than Paul, and his relative lack of success shows that being a moderate doesn't necessarily translate to success.

  • ||

    Gary Johnson is the best candidate for President - by far! If you look at his experience, policies and the decent and accomplished person he is, it's almost embarrassing how brutal Obama and Newt Romney are in comparison.

    No one candidate is perfect but Gary Johnson is qualified and electable.
    This guy is the real deal.

    This is the best year in long time for a third party run. Please shout Gary Johnson's name from the roof tops!

  • ||

    Thank you for writing this piece about Gov. Johnson. I've been following his campaign for about a year now and I'm very impressed, both with his intelligence and his ability to really listen to and interact with people; he's quite different from the other people running for office in that he's not coached in any way; what you see with him is what you get, there's no pandering.

    An interesting anecdote from his days as governor; one of the bills he ended up vetoing was meant to require that pet shops exercise their dogs and cats for sale so many hours a day and days a week; he vetoed it even though he stated it was a great idea on the grounds that enforcement would have required a 'petshop exercise police' and corresponding expense to the state; he instead simply made a press release to the effect that 'it would be wonderful if all pet shops would do this' and that they could advertise this as a draw to customers; in other words, do the right thing, we don't have to mandate it. It's a small issue but shows his take on things.

    For a very good introduction to the man, I recommend googling for a video on Youtube 'gary johnson and mt. everest' for a wonderful documentary he made of his climb up Mt. Everest several years ago.

    We would be very lucky to have him as president this next term; I shudder to think of the alternatives, whatever they may be.

  • ||

    But will he be able to get on the ballot in every state? In the last two elections, the Libertarians didn't qualify in Oklahoma and we were stuck with only two choices. I ended up voting for Obama, and we all know how badly that turned out.

  • ||

    When the "libertarian" is Bob Barr... well.... You didn't miss all that much.

    Although I suppose Paul was once known by the name Saul, so maybe folks do change....

  • UnCivil Liberty||

    I think Gary Johnson would do well to try and attract RP voters to support him in the general election, as opposed to turning them off by misrepresenting their current candidate's actual positions:
    “And I think it’s important to point out differences between myself and Ron Paul. I don’t support building a fence across the border,"
    Neither does Paul, during the debate he equated them to people controls and suggested they are used just as much to keep Americans in as they are to keep foreigners out.

    "I do support gay marriage equality,"
    RP supports removing government from regulating marriage all together, I'm not sure how one takes a more libertarian position. Marriage is a social contract between individuals, not individuals and the States.

    "I do believe in a strong national defense."
    So does Paul.

    "I do believe in our alliance with Israel, for example. And I think military alliances are key to reducing military spending by 43 percent and still provide for a strong national defense."
    I imagine support from libertarians will be limited here, many would agree with Jefferson in regards to "Peace, commerce, and honest friendship with all nations — entangling alliances with none."

    "And I believe in a woman’s right to choose.”
    Grand standing, as a constitutional issue it is clearly left to the States under the Tenth Amendment.

    Now, taken from another prospective, pointing out the differences between Paul and Johnson: Johnson said he wouldn't end the Federal Reserve, wouldn't end the Department of Agriculture or Department of Commerece, thinks the EPA is good governance, and said he wouldn't close Guantanamo Bay because it's just going to be done somewhere else.
    http://www.lewrockwell.com/blo.....86709.html

  • goober1223||

    And even the Democrats who like him will still say that he's just trying to become King of the Libertards. They act as if they are less partisan than Republicans. Ha.

  • ||

    I would love to see him win and I would love for America to wake up and see that the 2 main stream political parties are just playing you for the moment and after your vote will not care if you exist. We need sanity back in our government!

  • ||

    Ron Paul has pointed the way for libertarians to "be" a Republican. That is, sell out on the Open Borders issue & ProChoice issue. Everything else stays the same.

    In the same way, I think Gary Johnson could point the way for libertarians to "be" a Democrat. Sell out on the defend Israeli issue and the No Income Tax issues.

    Most of all, the libertarian party needs to dissolve before it warps and metastasis into something totally horrific. It is better that the LP turn itself back into a movement, the R3VOLution is a good place to start. Then let libertarians work through the two party "system".

  • ||

    Gary Johnson is pathetic. Pandering to a New World Order front and a bunch of wackos who defended other wackos "right" to publish books teaching pedophiles how to victimize children and get away with it. He is pathetic...he is truly the Cosmotarian.

  • Dixson Macoochie||

    There's nothing brave in telling a group of people exactly what they wanted to hear.

GET REASON MAGAZINE

Get Reason's print or digital edition before it’s posted online

  • Video Game Nation: How gaming is making America freer – and more fun.
  • Matt Welch: How the left turned against free speech.
  • Nothing Left to Cut? Congress can’t live within their means.
  • And much more.

SUBSCRIBE

advertisement