"The governor who got rid of 1,200 state employees, vetoed 750 bills and left New Mexico with a billion-dollar budget surplus is not Republican enough for the GOP."

Ben Montgomery of The St. Petersburg Times interviews Gary Johnson for a piece that could one day serve as the governor's letter of resignation from the GOP (also, you should click through for the photo alone): 

The wildly popular former two-term governor of New Mexico, who lost part of his toe to frostbite climbing Mount Everest on a broken leg, has been excluded from 15 of 17 presidential debates.

The 58 year old who was elected governor in a state where Democrats outnumber Republicans 2 to 1 has virtually disappeared from major political polling. The governor who got rid of 1,200 state employees, vetoed 750 bills and left New Mexico with a billion-dollar budget surplus is not Republican enough for the GOP.

"They won't return my calls," he said.

That's why he thinks you've probably never heard of Gary Johnson. Even if he grew a handyman business in Albuquerque from scratch to 1,000 employees. Even if he has ridden his bike across mountain ranges. Even if some see him as an electable version of Ron Paul.

"The Republican National Committee has turned their backs on a message that appeals more and more to the American public," he said.

Also noteworthy: Johnson's Clearwater meet-and-greet was hosted by the Libertarian Party of Florida. Read the whole thing

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  • ||

    Listen, what part of "unelectable" do you not understand? Now just get in line, vote for Romney, and shut up.

  • fish||

    Can I consider Johnson if he makes a firm promise to continue killing middle easterners? Oh yeah....moon mining too...I hear the new front runner is all for that.

  • ||

    No. Not until he signs the Contract with America and promises to kill some gays.

  • fish||

    Gay middle easterners?

    Now I'm confused.

  • ||

    No, the Muslims have that part well in hand. No need to outsource to the US.

    What the Sunnis really are interested in is outsourcing the Shiite killing. And the Shiites would probably let us in on the Sunni killing as well.

    The customer is always right!

  • Gay Middle Easterners||

    We are both relieved we won't be killed by American government!

  • jtuf||

    Johnson is great, but I don't see him getting us out of the Middle East. His website says that he wants to rely more on alliances.

  • jtuf||

    Gay middle easterners?

    Now I'm confused.

    Then you haven't seen these websites:

    http://www.arab-gay.com/

    http://www.gaytlvguide.com/

  • Spencer||

    I'm guessing those aren't site one just stumbles upon...

  • jtuf||

    The lack of gay bars in most Middle Eastern countries results in a fair number of Arab men visiting the Yahoo gay chat rooms. One thing leads to another ...

  • ||

    There are no gay Iranians. Ahmediblahblahblah tells me so.

  • CrackertyAssCracker||

    No it's Newt now. See they heard we didn't like Romney, and we wanted a change. So they dug up the guy who didn't shrink government 17 years ago and now he's the guy. See, they totally listen.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    The governor who got rid of 1,200 state employees, vetoed 750 bills and left New Mexico with a billion-dollar budget surplus is not Republican enough for the GOP.

    The GOP leadership aren't for any of those things. It will never be Johnson's turn. Certainly not in a shoo-in year.

  • Spencer||

    Let's not count our shoes before they're in.

  • ||

    "Can I consider Johnson if he makes a firm promise to continue killing middle easterners."

    Yes, you can! Why do you think he is "unelectable?" In the GOP, an anti-imperialist in the running is like someone farting at the Queen's tea. Horribly embarrassing. Not our kind of people. Show him to the door.

  • Maxxx||

    Yeah, that explains why Ron Paul is going to win Iowa.

  • ||

    Santorum's winning Iowa. Bank it.

  • ||

    Santorum's about as likely to win Iowa as you are to win the H&R fantasy football league.

  • Sleeping Dog||

    Anyone else bothered by the fact that the only time anyone likes Iowa is around election time?

  • ||

    Ron Paul may win Iowa. Or some other state. Or more than one. Or the moon. But what he will not win is the the primary. I hope he does, but I am not going to hold my breath. The GOP wants men who can invade and bomb other countries while giving lip service to limited government and fiscal responsibility. Who love Jesus and baseball. What they will not tolerate are pinko-libertarian peaceniks who hate the military and Want The Terrorists To Win.

  • Apatheist||

    RP loves Jesus and baseball.

  • ||

    How can the man love Jesus and baseball when he's not willing to defend either against the Jihadi Hordes??? Huh??

  • Spencer||

    A love for baseball means a love for baseball bats.

  • robc||

    He needs to hold off on his 3rd party decision long enough to see if he will be Ron Paul's running mate.

    If Paul wins the nomination, I want a Paul/Johnson ticket.

  • ||

    If they start breeding unicorns, I want a pink one.

  • fish||

    Pink saddle to go with it?

  • ||

    You don't breed unicorns. They die in captivity. You must have had a public school education.

  • Old Salt||

    Why in the hell would I want to breed a unicorn? You need a ladder and it's impossible to keep your balance when those fucking things start to kick! Now, a sheep is much more manageable in that...

    ...Uh...

    ...sorry, wrong thread!

  • ||

    Unfortunately, to win a general election, you have to pick the VP very carefully, considering swing states, appeal to various demographics, name recognition, etc. ...anything that can give you an edge. As awesome as a Paul/Johnson ticket would be, I don't think it gives Paul any "lift".

  • Palin||

    What?

  • Zombie Jimbo||

    Damn it, if Johnson runs as LP and my fellow Republicans nominate The Newt, I guess I will end up being a big L libertarian instead of a small L one. He'd make an excellent president.

  • Mike M.||

    I don't know how you blame republicans for the fact that Johnson was completely blackballed by the scum in the so-called "mainstream media" after just one debate.

  • ||

    Because the Repubs could have told the debate organizers to include him, that's why.

  • Zeb||

    Because Republicans are mainstream and their media ignored him as well.

  • ||

    I certainly prefer Gary Johnson to Ron Paul.

    Given the treatment of Johnson by the Republican Party, I have to wonder if Johnson would have done much worse running against Obama as a Democrat.

  • ||

    Worked for Obama running as a Democrat.

  • ||

    In Obama's defense, the PNF has never polled very well in the states. He had no choice but to run as a dem.

  • Fay||

    8 years of Johnson was wonderful here in NM!well.... in most ways. Dont let him fool you with his lines of affordable healthcare tho. SURE i can walk into a clinic......be told theres something wrong with you get a bill and no specialist or follow up care.... thanks for that GOV health care Gary!

  • Atanarjuat||

    So you want to have a diagnosis from a highly-trained physician, but don't want to pay for it?

  • Spencer||

    And isn't this possibly still because the federal programs trump of the price?

  • ||

    Yeah, because it's so much better now being broke and having a train that we all pay for but 0.00001% of the population rides. Hopefully Susanna Martinez can clean up Bill Richardson's mess, but it's going to take a while.

  • ||

    Johnson's young enough to stay out of this joke of a GOP race. Then if he plays his cards right he could be a shoe in for the following election... Quite frankly any thinking person watching these debates wouldn't vote for any of these guys, (barring Ron Paul, but I'm afraid the party will sandbag him before they would allow him to run) and the Republicans need a few thinking people to vote for them in order for them to win the Presidency. My prediction is that unless something huge happens, The Obama has four more years, better to plan for the next election...

  • ||

  • Koan||

    I think it's becoming more and more likely by the day, hour, minute that Paul/Johnson is an independent ticket in 2012. Of course, it will get Obama reelected, but that's pretty much a given anyways.

  • ||

    If Paul wins the nomination, I wouldn't be surprised to see a black VP. He may need that to offset any lingering (and completely baseless) racism charges and to beat back whatever is left of the identity vote.

  • ||

    Paul/Cain? The mind . . . boggles.

  • ||

    I wasn't thinking Cain. How about Walter Williams or maybe J.C. Watts? If he does get nominated, the smart move would probably be a black conservative of the more traditional type--like Watts.

  • anon||

    Allen West?

  • ||

    Charles Barkley?

  • ||

    Only ones who I can think of would be Walter Williams or Thomas Sowell.

  • Sevo||

    Condi Rice.

  • ||

    That's another good possibility. I know the first reaction is that he won't be able to get a more "true" conservative to run with him, but in this scenario, he's the nominee. He could get most anyone with ambitions to run with him then.

  • Spencer||

    I think Paul could pull a Powell back into the fold. That would be a coupe of epic proportions.

  • ||

    Another possibility. Getting a military guy might be useful, too.

  • Spencer||

    That would be 2 peace advocating military guys to the dems war mongering civilians.

    I wonder if this is what people predicted in the 60s.

  • Jeesum H. Crowbar||

    Do you realize how delusional this speculation is? Are you fifteen? Is this a comic book message board?

    Ron Paul is not going to win the nomination. He'll do well, he'll influence the debate and the dialogue, and he may very well run third party and do well there also. But he will not be nominated (and surely he will not be president).

  • ||

    Thanks for that mind-blowing insight, Nostradumbass. Do you have a magic ball of yarn to stare at while you spew your bullshit?

  • db||

    Do you think the Reps would actually learn their lesson if they lost because of this? I wish it were true, but I also don't want another 4 years of an Obama administration. Of course, I don't think a Romney or Gingrich or Perry or etc. admin would be any better. Paul/Johnson, on the other hand, would be a joy to witness. Can you imagine the screaming from both the conservative and liberal media?

  • ChrisO||

    Like the Bourbons, the GOP Establishment learns nothing and forgets nothing.

  • ||

    I predict a double assassination would occur in the first year in the extremely unlikely event that Paul/Johnson won the presidency. Trillions of dollars would be at stake, so they'd have to hole up in the WH and have all their food tested for poison before each meal.

  • ||

    Did they learn their lesson from McCain?

  • k2000k||

    Paul has already stated numerous times that he will not run on a third party.

  • Andrew||

    There are far too many faux-conservatives who want an activist Government to do their bidding. They want their own pet projects or, more often, want to impose their religious and / or social values on everyone else. Hopefully, Ron Paul can serve as our Goldwater (although we don’t need to nominate him) and someone like Johnson can become our Reagan.

  • ChrisO||

    Don't kid yourself. It's not just the evangelicals who espouse big-government conservatism. Republicans are just as fond of their own government bennies as anyone else.

  • ||

    No one is unelectable if you're willing to vote for them. It's a hoax that the mainstream media is selling to the people. The candidates who they do not want to win are kept in shadows even when they are doing the best (Ron Paul.)

  • ||

    If most people aren't willing to vote for them, they're unelectable.

    Johnson's stance on abortion and gay marriage are dealbreakers in the GOP... I notice the article and the commenters skirting around that itty bitty sticking point.

  • Mike M.||

    No one is unelectable if you're willing to vote for them. It's a hoax that the mainstream media is selling to the people. The candidates who they do not want to win are kept in shadows even when they are doing the best (Ron Paul.)

    This, +1. This is why a professional concern troll with no chance of winning like Jon Hunstman is still absurdly treated like a serious candidate, while Johnson got blackballed after one debate.

    The disgusting treatment of Johnson has nothing at all to do with the RNC; it's entirely the doing of the scum in the media.

  • Spoonman.||

    Concern troll is exactly what Jon Huntsman is. He has a bright career ahead of him as liberals' go-to Mormon to say "Guyyyth, come on, be reasonable" to Republicans.

  • robc||

    At some point in time, I think Romney has held the same view on abortion and gay marriage.

    Then again, Im not sure he is electable.

  • k2000k||

    The more I see this the more I realize why George Washington and some of the founders never wanted political parties to develop.

  • o3||

    got that shit right

  • Maxxx||

    Johnson should run for Senate from New Mexico, he probably could win and be another libertarian voice there. That's the best way that he could advance libertarian ideas.

    His presidential run was never anything more than an ego trip. He didn't have the national exposure to gain serious traction this time. It's not because of his views, it's because he's unknown.

  • ||

    He didn't have the national exposure to gain serious traction this time.

    Unlike, say, small-state governor Bill Clinton?

  • ||

    I'll buy the idea that Johnson isn't a great speaker and may have been hampered by that. But the comparison of him and Clinton is instructive. The media liked Clinton. Without that, he wouldn't have even placed.

  • ||

    In fairness, though, Clinton was/is a champion politician (i.e. scumbag who speaks well). Gary Johnson is not...in fact, I think that is the major impediment that every libertarian minded politician runs into. Libertarians are, by nature, more dedicated to truth (however harsh it is) than most people.

    The public wants sunshine blown up its skirt and libertarians give it ice water from a firehose. That's not necessarily an insult...just the way it is.

  • ChrisO||

    Clinton was a sitting governor when he ran and did years of groundwork within the Democratic establishment to prepare for 1992. He was also closer to his party's ideological base than Johnson is to the GOP.

    Johnson has always been a maverick and reminds me a lot of Barry Goldwater, but Goldwater was already a prominent national politician when he ran in 1964.

    The problem for Johnson in trying to emulate Goldwater's path to prominence is that he be trying to win a Senate seat in a state that is solidly blue.

  • romulus augustus||

    Didn't Goldwater first get to the Senate by defeating an incumbent Democrat?

  • ||

    Actually, NM is purple. In 2004, NM went for Bush. Senator Pete Domenici was a Republican senator for 36 years till he retired in 2008. Our current governor is a Republican (Susanna Martinez).

  • Some dude||

    Maybe in a brokered convention, Newt Romney delegates and Paul delegates can come together and nominate Gary Johnson as a compromise candidate.

  • Lester Hunt||

    He would have done better if he were a better speaker. He should work on that -- it is a thing one can do something about.

  • Tom||

    My goodness, some of you are delusional, talking about how Johnson would be a shoe-in or how electable he is. You'd think you guys have never paid attention to politics in your life. Let me give you a hint as to why this guy is unelectable (and it has very little to do with his excellent record and issue positions): watch the two debates he was in. He's TERRIBLE in debates. He's not articulate, inspires no confidence in himself as a leader, and he looks like he's nervous as hell (the last thing he's actually admitted). If that's the way he debated, it's a wonder he got elected in New Mexico. In other words, he seems like a slightly more articulate version of Rick Perry in debates. And, unfortunately, these idiotic debates are a rather large factor in how people decide to vote.

  • Tom||

    Let me expand just a bit: in the first debate, he ignored almost every question he was asked and repeated the same line over and over, that he would submit a balanced budget in his first year. A good enough proposal, but when someone is asking you about how to turn our educational system around, you look like you lack understanding of issues and you're running on a gimmick.

    While he's speaking, his voice is quivering, his hands shaking, and his eyes are darting around like he's scared of something (standing next to Rick Santorum, that's understanable). From a purely PR perspective, he looks like a cowering child next to a Romney and Gingrich.

    Why can't we find a libertarian-leaning candidate who is BOTH good on the issues and good at conveying them without seeming like a crank (sorry, Ron Paul)? Some of the arguments above for Johnson remind me of the Republicans who support Perry by saying, "Heck, I don't need a slick talker. We already have one of those in the White House and look how he's doing." One of the stupidest arguments in politics I've heard. Guess what? You can have both.

  • ||

    Rand Paul seems like a pretty good messenger, and seems willing to moderate his positions to get votes (unlike his dad) while not significantly compromising them.

  • Tom||

    Actually, Rand Paul was one of the people I was going to give as an example. He's articulate and intelligent and does not come off as insane when speaking. He has a very bright future.

  • beowulf||

    Actually, for a libertarian, Johnson is pretty good - if we assume that Bob Barr looks like the baseline libertarian candidate, paunchy middle aged guy with facial hair, generally makes living as a computer programmer, Johnson looks and sounds a lot better on stage. Great line about dogs and shovel-ready jobs. Far far easier to envision him as a chief executive than Ron Paul, although perhaps not as entertaining.

    Judged strictly on looks and delivery, last election would have been between Romney and Edwards. 2012 Republican primary would be between Romney and Cain and perhaps Bachman.

    Even with Atlantic Magazine virtually adopting him and GQ giving him favorable coverage, Johnson just couldn't catch on. A terrific product with DOA Marketing.

    Much safer for media and electorate to focus on the cranky uncle...like a court jester, Ron Paul can utter the painful truths because he is not a legitimate contender for the throne.

    For the near future, the prize may be less about electing a libertarian candidate than it is about creating an accessible and attractive libertarian narrative.

  • ||

    This is an excellent point. Part of running a serious campaign is to hire a staff that can help with the "image thing". ANYBODY can be trained to speak in public. He's a world class athlete, but his suits hang on him like he's malnourished. And for Christ's sake, get a decent haircut.

    Don't get me wrong, I LOVE this guy, and would love to see him as POTUS, but unfortunately, "electable" actually means appealing to the 25-30% "swing voters" who haven't got a clue why they vote for anybody. That means looking good, and sounding good (Something Mitt Romney has down pat).

  • MWG||

    Your probably right, which makes republican voters little better than those who voted for Obama. Sheep demand an 'inspiring' leader... to hell with substance and track record.

  • ||

    "wildly popular"

    We wouldn't be having this conversation if that was really the case.

  • Neu Mejican||

    "wildly popular"

    We wouldn't be having this conversation if that was really the case.

    He won reelection with a smaller percentage of the vote than Richardson did when he was reelected, so "wildly popular" is hyperbole at best...even if you are restricting it to his run as governor. He was popular enough to get reelected. But he was not wildly popular by any stretch.

  • Brett L||

    Trust the SPT to give love to any enemy of their enemy. Now that Johnson's no longer viable thanks to being ignored by the press, the press will use him as a tool to show just how unreasonable Republicans are.

  • ||

    You jsut gotta love our bought and paid for Government lol.

    www.AnonSurfing.tk

  • ||

    It annoys me that Johnson insists on running against Ron Paul. Why can't he just wait until 2016? I like Johnson, but all he's going to do is split the libertarian vote and make it easier for Romney to win the nomination. And while I do think he's been treated unfairly, I'm somewhat relieved that he hasn't had more success.

  • ChrisO||

    Strong likelihood of a Republican winning next year would mean that Johnson's next shot within the GOP wouldn't come until 2020.

    Besides, Johnson would have been even more obscure by that point, with his stint as NM governor ever further in the rearview mirror.

  • ||

    And if a Republican doesn't win next year, he would be running against Rand Paul in 2016.

  • ||

    Be still, my heart!

  • ||

    Johnson was in the race first. I agree he should drop out at this point and go third party, so his voters can go try to push Paul over the threshold in close elections in the Republican primaries.

  • Oregon Scott||

    Almost everything Paul and Johnson stand for is antithetical to the Republican Party's values. Name the last Republican President who left his successor a balanced budget. Name one (after 1913) who didn't try to strong-arm the Fed into an easy money policy. Name one whose policies were more laissez faire than crony capitalist (actions, not rhetoric). Republicans generally want to stuff their religion down your throat. They actively push for laws to control your sexuality. And on and on.

  • ChrisO||

    Calvin Coolidge ran budget surpluses his entire term, and he was hardly a crony capitalist.

  • ||

    The Republican party is anathema to anything remotely libertarian. In the same degree as the Democrat party. They are both horrified by the thought of your liberty.

  • jtuf||

    I want Johnson on the LP presidential ticket in 2016.

  • Neu Mejican||

    a billion-dollar budget surplus

    Anti-GOP right there. A budget surplus means you are taxing too much.

    But seriously, I am fuzzy on the details, but didn't most (or a very large chunk) of that come from the Tobacco settlement?

  • Joe||

    I wonder why Gary didn't call his business Big Johnson Enterprises instead of Big J Enterprises. Must have been a character limit or something.

  • Neu Mejican||

    Big J was the nick-name he earned due to his joint rolling abilities, iirc. ;^)

  • ||

    D'oh. Reason's fascination with Johnson is quixotic at best.

    He was excluded from further debates because he had no support from primary voters. It's not a conspiracy, he just did poorly in his first debate, and no one liked him, not enough to muster even 1%.

    He got more airtime than that Thadeus guy did.

  • Amakudari||

    These are also good reasons to exclude Huntsman and Santorum.

  • ||

    So where do republicans who are like minded with Ron Paul and Gary Johnson go? The republican party is not big tent, unless you are for land grabbing and nation buiding, and the left side wants to continue their social agenda and redistribute wealth...

  • Ron||

    Gary Johnson was finished the moment primary voters found out he is pro-choice. Then they discover his views on gay marriage and the legalization of marijuana and they act like they'll catch a disease from him.

  • ||

    I would say gary johnson is like an unelectable ron paul :\. Better perhaps, but just doesn't have all the cards lined up just right like ron paul does. I became a libertarian before i knew who rp was, but I'd still say in terms of straight up majesty ron paul has done so much more for the libertarian party. He's probably responsible for the bulk of it's members today... >.

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