Some bits of news on the Gary Johnson front: First, as former Reason intern Amanda Carey writes in a Daily Caller profile of the ex-New Mexico governor, it looks like we can expect a formal presidential-race announcement within three or four months:
Johnson was clear from the very beginning of the interview [...] that because his organization – Our America — is a 50C(4), he couldn't comment on a 2012 presidential bid. But hypothetically speaking? Without missing a beat Johnson said that hypothetically, if a libertarian-minded candidate like himself were to announce a presidential bid, it would probably be around February of 2011.
Second, The New Republic's Ben Birnbaum gets some good stuff on what many libertoids have been wondering about: What Will Ron Paul Do?
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."
"Everybody's been aware of it, even during the last campaign," says Paul, whom Johnson informed of his intentions in April 2008. "I don't remember when anybody didn't assume that he would run for president." Fortunately for Johnson, Paul, while not ruling out a second act, has shown little appetite for one. ("I have made no plans," he told me.) And if he doesn't run, he'll "most likely" throw his weight behind Johnson. "I can't imagine endorsing anybody else," he says. The path, then, looks clear for Gary Johnson to become the Ron Paul of 2012[.]
As an unabashed Johnson supporter (which is an extremely unusual place to find myself vis-a-vis a politician), my main hope has been that at least one libertarian-minded candidate make it to the GOP's final round in 2012. Though as one wag suggested to me on Election Night, why not two?
This part of The New Republic piece is fun:
What does Johnson make of Palin? On a drive through the foothills of New Hampshire, I ask him. Riding shotgun, he turns the question around on me. "Um, I guess some people think she's folksy," I say from the backseat. "Well, at first she strikes you as folksy," he shoots back. "And then you realize: She might be running for president of the United States! And then, don't we have the obligation to tell her what a terrible idea that is?" Cupping his hands to his mouth, he brays, "Sarah! We love you! Don't run!" He also performs a rendition of the "deer-in-the-headlights" interview she did on "The O'Reilly Factor," about the BP oil spill. [...]
After trashing Palin on our drive through New Hampshire, Johnson spots a cop car in the rearview mirror. The chauffeur, Johnson adviser Ronald Nielson, pulls the rented Mazda SUV to the side of the road, and the green-clad officer ambles over. "I stopped you because you were going eighty-three in a sixty-five," he says, peppering the driver with questions. As he disappears with Nielson's license and registration, Johnson scolds himself for forgetting his Valentine One radar detector. "You can't seriously speed without a Valentine One," he tells us. "The Valentine would've sniffed him out long before that happened." The officer returns two minutes later, and the roadside ritual ends anticlimactically. "I'm letting you off with a warning," he says. "Don't ask me why."
As we drive off, Johnson breathes a sigh of relief, floating theories about the merciful cop. But the close call sends him into a lighthearted rant on the absurdity of federally mandated speed limits. "Look," he says, "there are times and places where it would be perfectly safe to go one-forty, and there are others where it would be reckless to go fifty-five." Within moments, he's taking aim at stop signs and red lights. "I'm not opposed to the concept," he allows. "But sometimes, you know, it's 5:30 in the morning! There's nobody on the road!" Johnson laughs, turns in his seat, and fixes me with a grin. "That's the first sign you know you're a libertarian," he says. "You see the red light. You stop. You realize that there's not a car in sight. And you put your foot on the gas."
Reason on Gary Johnson here.