Libertarian History/Philosophy

Politician Gary Johnson Makes Some Sweet, Sweet Sounds


As a more specific followup to yesterday's talk about where libertarian political support should go, let's step in with former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson, already being talked about as a libertarian-friendly choice for the GOP 2012 nomination. Here are some examples of why, from an interview with the Republican Liberty Caucus:

I could have cut big government in New Mexico drastically and no one would have noticed.  (That is, these government employees produce no value for the economy.) The spending train is out of control.  But the Democratic legislature fought me and the courts handed down adverse rulings…We are a bankrupt nation.  We're not taking care of our own house. Unlike the generation before us, interest and principle payments are due now. The enormous budget deficits will lead to inflation and an ever weaker dollar….

I would have opposed both [TARP and the bailout].  Government should not have been involved in this. The Paulson connection amounts to this being an inside job….

I would recommend a free market approach to health care reform.  Increase supply through the free market.  Gall Bladders R Us. We ended up with an insurance entitlement rather than health care.  Extending the current approach will lead to shortages and rationing health care.

The same principle applies to education.  We should blow the lid off publicly controlled education…..

The Federal Reserve deserves full responsibility for the housing bubble and as well deserves credit for mitigating the bust.  Overriding that, the dollar is now worth a nickel.  I understand the arguments for a free market in money and I support them…..I wouldn't say the Fed needs to be abolished.  I understand the argument for a gold standard, though…..

I do believe in a strong national defense.  But our security is not threatened by Iraq and Afghanistan….I believe we should pull out of both and return our focus to fighting terrorism. The focus needs to be protecting America.

….Social Security is flawed…..It's a Ponzi scheme.  A combination of benefit reduction and/or privatization are necessary….

….The states are 50 laboratories of democracy.  The burden that the federal government places on the states is outrageous.  The same is true of health care.  A return to federalism is needed.

Reason magazine has been on the Gary Johnson beat since this January 2001 feature interview with the then-governor of New Mexico.

NEXT: Health Care Is Dead—Just Don't Tell the Left

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  1. Sounds good to me, but I have a feeling the most vocal libertarians are going to nitpick at the details of his positions. Candidate #1 for nitpicking is going to be his position for national defense, as nothing short of complete and utter demobilization from every square inch of foreign soil will satisfy the bluebloods.

    1. Let’s just hope he doesn’t favor a more open border. Someone’ll put a bullet into him by year’s end.

      1. This is the kind of bullshit that sounds cool to say but it’s just false.

        People said the same thing His Blackness, President Barry.

        (“They” would never let it happen. “They” would see to that.)

    2. He’s saying all the right things, but he’s still a solid R.

      Won’t get fooled again.

      1. I’d help Gary out in the Republican primaries, if he’s willing to go rogue in the general election.

  2. Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good, right?

    Sounds like a good guy. Too bad many of us can’t afford more money bombs.

  3. He’s a madman, pure and simple. I don’t see a single regulatory fix for all our woes in his entire mindless rant. He’s proposed no new nd shiny government initiative that will reverse our troubles. How can I vote for that?

    1. because he’s offering us circuses in the form of legalizing marijuana!

  4. He sounds trucky. Rape-trucky.

  5. He’s making the right noises. If he sticks to his guns, maybe adding some small government thinking to the War on Drugs Liberty and promise to leave gay marriage to the states, he’ll be close to ideal.

    And unelectable.

    1. He has stated that he doesn’t think pot should be illegal, FWIW.

      1. And he had the courage to say it while still in office, even!

      2. Yeah, well Obama said some things about pot that made people think he might be decent on that issue. Whoops. Once he was elected he wouldn’t even consider talking about decrim despite the fact it was the #! issue voted for on

        1. What “things” did he say?
          I recall Obama said nothing other than the shifting position LIE on leaving medical marijuana up to the States.He vocally and openly opposed considering decrim or legalization.

          1. Waaaay back in ’99, GWB said that states should have the right to choose how they deal with medical marijuana.

            Of course, his handlers jumped all over it soon afterward, and it was just another empty campaign promise.

          2. Barry-O is on the record saying the War on Drugs is a “failure” and we need to “decriminalize marijuana laws.”

            Maybe you’ve heard of Teh Google?

            Video Motherfucking Evidence

        2. Obama’s been good on this. You have to say that you’ll uphold all the laws and regs; meanwhile, the states are rushing to make them obsolete.

          I used to be a Barry-skeptic; now I think he crazy like a fox!

  6. Fuck that. He didn’t say a damn thing about hope and change. You can’t get any of the retard votes without. The debate is over.

    Johnson/Napolitano 2012

    I still wish T Sowell would run.

    1. Perhaps you could get ’em with “Chop and Hang”? 😉

    2. I think of Thomas Sowell as not only educated but wise. It would be impossible for him to run for President.

      1. Perhaps he could be the Gray Eminence.

        Or is that racist?

        1. Racist!!!!!!!!!!

      2. I am a huge fan of Mr. Sowell. But, there is no way I could vote for him: I grew up in the Carolinas, I’m white, and I just couldn’t give up my membership in the Klan. Don’t listen to the MSM, we only have a few hundred members left. I’m sitting here with my hood on right now.

        I love hearing fuckheads talk about the South as if Jim Crow laws still exist. Well, I can’t speak for Alabama – “white power!!!” Just kidding Alabamians.

      3. I’m all for wisdom in positions of leadership, and as smart as Tom Sowell is, his brilliance is magnified by the wisdom to know the limits of our ability to apply reason. We have too many in government today who think they have the perfect system for this or that problem, when the reality is that their cures are almost all worse than the diseases they purport to cure.

    3. Make it Gary Johnson and Walter E. Williams, and I damn well might actually vote R in a general election for the first time in over two decades.

  7. Gary Johnson appears to be sincerely committed to individual freedom and free enterprise, and he has a record to back it up.

    If Gary Johnson runs in 2012, there is little chance the Republicans will nominate him, but he can be a high profile champion of freedom in the early debates.

    A Gary Johnson campaign will focus more on domestic policy than foreign policy, in contrast to Ron Paul’s campaign. But Gov. Johnson opposed the Iraq War and wants to bring the troops home from Afghanistan.

    1. I don’t know. If the Teabag (get it?) movement shows some independence from the GOP, the GOP might have to change their direction.

  8. Lets see pro-civil liberties, pro-money, anti-religious right….sounds like a great guy to me.

    1. I object to having Andrew Napolitano as Johnson’s running mate. If Johnson gets elected, appoint the Judge on the Supreme Court where he would be a voice of reason and sanity regarding individual liberties.

      As far a veep…how ’bout “The Jacket?”

      1. Whos “The Jacket”?

        1. “The Jacket” is a black leather jacket imbued with the spirit of Liberty. Like the helmet of Nabu, the Jacket has no life of its own, but can empower its host with the spirit of liberty. Legend has it that the jacket was worn by Paul Revere on his famous ride. It was worn by members of the Abolitionist movement and underground railroad in the antebellum North. It was lost after the invasion of Normandy, but rumor has it that James Dean wore it in “Rebel Without a Cause.” Its current host is Nick Gillespie, editor of

          1. And it gives you +50 THACO

            50 DKP!!!

            1. In addition to The Jacket, don’t forget about The Cosmotarian Hair Helmet of Rulership. Reason will remain under his control as long as he wears it.

        2. Hugh is totally wrong. Some years ago, Nick Gillespie, a product of thousands of years of Bene Gesserit breeding, took the skin of the sandcow as his own, transforming him into the God Editor of Reason. “The Jacket” merely refers to the leathery skin that-is-not-his-own.

          1. Technically, he’s the editor of Reason Online and

            I guess he lost the coin-toss to “Sticky-Fingers” for the magazine.

            1. What roles the God Editor leaves to mere men are his business.

              1. All the mythology surrounding The Jacket is cracking me up, yo. Big time.

          2. If that is the case, the Scattering is our future. Unfortunately, space travel is still at the moped level (I do have a mountain bike but put road tires on it). I think we are screwed, in general.

            Martinis Rule!

            I just finished ChapterhouseDune. Very confused.

      2. I agree. Napolitano deserves to be on the Court, not in the worthless position of President of the Senate.

        1. There’s NO WAY IN HELL that the Senate would vote to confirm Andrew Napolitano for the Supreme Court. In his books and on FOX News (of all places) he’s made it pretty clear how he would vote on any number of potential cases that would make it nearly impossible for him to lay claim to the mantra of “judicial modesty” (as Roberts referred to his jurisprudence).

          That said, he’d be the friggin awesomest AG in the history of the country I daresay.

    2. Without pandering to the religious right he is unelectable.

      1. Easy enough to do and remain consistent with liberty but he’d still be unelectable.

        1. How so the religious right is anti-liberty by nature

          1. Like Ron Paul?

            1. Ive never heard Ron Paul equate gay people to pedophilies and atheists to terrorists supporters. Dr Paul is not apart of the RR in my opinion.

              1. He isn’t, but that doesn’t stop the unenlightened from spewing their talking points.

  9. I could have cut big government in New Mexico drastically and no one would have noticed. (That is, these government employees produce no value for the economy.)

    hey! joe resembles that remark!

  10. I actually think Johnson is an excellent fit for the tea party movement. He needs to get his ass out there and start cornering that market.

  11. Nick Gillespie. He’s one of these guys, but I can’t remember which.

    1. Argh. @ LibertyBill.


  12. He clearly hates the poor and will lower our status in Europe. I say ‘YES WE CAN’ do better than that! Barak Obama 2016.

  13. These words are pleasing to me. He can have my vote.

  14. Sorry dude but I think he is smoking crack or something.


    1. Wait, anonymity-bot is a heroin addict, so is crack-smoking a criticism or a complement?

      1. I think a criticism, but anon-bot has some nerve to use chemical dependency as a slander.

  15. We went through this before with Palin, Richardson, and Sanford? What are the chances that this apple won’t turn out rotten, too?

    (Explanation: Every year or so, the Reason writers highlight a politician, usually a governor, who appears to be somewhat amenable to libertarianism, only to find that higher aspirations curtail that amenability, they are an imbecile, or they are extraordinarily ethically challenged.)

    1. Palin didn’t sound this sensible on so many issues. Johnson has been on the libertarian radar for quite some time. He may not be perfect, but I don’t think you talk this way for so long without at least having some libertarian in you.

      Richardson, incidentally, only sounded not bad for a stupid Democrat, which is another matter altogether.

    2. Johnson actually ran his own construction business before entering politics.

      Sanford was a real-estate agent, according to Wiki.

      Palin was an aspiring weather-girl and beauty pageant winner.

      and Bill Richardson (WTF?) was a poly-sci major and has been in government his ENTIRE life.

      I’d say Johnson is way better.

    3. appears to be somewhat amenable to libertarianism

      RICHARDSON? LoL!!!!

  16. What about some of these selfish good-for-nothin’ Reason writers?

    Gillespie/de Rugy (yeah, I know)

    Skikha I am parital to (yeah, I know)

    Now Nick, aka The Jacket, just the fashion angle alone. He could be our fashion equivalent of Ahmadinejad.

    I wear the same hip and cool Patagonia fleece jacket I’ve had since ’91, so I kid.

    1. Nick already has politician hair, too!

  17. I don’t like that he endorses NAFTA (as opposed to actual free trade). Also, why is he against closing the Fed?

    1. Can one not endorse both? NAFTA was then and is now better than any politically viable alternative.

  18. The states are 50 laboratories of democracy.

    50 labs for 300 million people is far too few. They have all become too big to fail. We know where that stupidity put us in banking, why do we think it’s a good idea for democracy? We need to break up the larger states. State Bankruptcy is a good way to facilitate that.

    1. I like it! Start with my home state of California!

    2. There are plenty of small states out there to serve as labs.

      I do however agree that the big states have become too big, if only because the gap between Senate representation per person has become ridiculously large. It’ll never happen though, as you either need the state legislature to agree to it (as happened in the MA/ME case) or have the state go into rebellion (VA/WV).

      1. Maybe California should allow private developers to start U cities right in the State. Kinda like ROBO COp but without nuke or robocop. It couldn’t be worse than descending into debt, or being governed in california.

    3. Try doing that with Texas.

      1. 1. Only steers and queers come from Texas
        2. Mess with a bull, you get the horns
        3. Assuming a 1:1 ratio of steers to queers


        4. Don’t mess with Texas

        1. I don’t know whether to be offended or laugh, LOL.

      2. Texas has a special provision in federal law that would allow it to split up into a few states. Something no other state has the ability to do.

    4. Should we have one state per representative or add more representatives? As long as Senators are just glorified reps (17th amendment) what do we gain? If senators were selected by, say net taxpayers, could the current situation be better?

  19. Good plan. I hereby declare the San Fernando Valley to be the new independent Republic of Akstonia, and Canoga Park will now be known as Hughstadt, and will henceforth serve as the capital of this brutal autocracy. While the laws and social structure will alter with time, the primary export of the Valley will remain a cornerstone of our economy.

    Long Live Akstonia!

  20. So, if you all believe that the Fed’s monetary policy was responsible for the financial crisis, and many people blindly parrot that they “kept interest rates too low for too long,” then where is your statistical and econometric evidence? After all, if you are going to make a claim, shouldn’t you at least attempt to test it?

    It’s getting to be a bit old and boring for people to blame the Fed with a quick soundbite on TV or sentence or two in some op-ed or LTE without providing any serious empirical evidence to support such a claim.

    It’s time to put up or shut up.

    Spit your game.

    No weak qualitative stuff — nobody cares about bogus Austrian macro — It’s time to put forth some serious empirical work and let it stand up to scrutiny. People can talk about theory all day long, no matter how amateurish it is, and everyone seems to have an opinion on everything, but talk is cheap, and going about lecturing people about Austrian macro demonstrates nothing, and most importantly, it’s absolutely no substitute for formal empirical work.

    You can go on talking a big game and fool the unsuspecting public with crackpot Austrian macro (After all, it’s both simplistic (look ma’, no math!) and a convenient justification for what you wanted to hear), but at the end of the day, if you want to convince people of your argument, you need to do some serious empirical work. And quite honestly, I hear nothing but silence on this front.


    1. There is healthy dispute even among laissez faire economists as to whether the Fed’s loose monetary policy was a primary blame.

      But it is awfully hard to argue against the fact that the Fed based interest rates on consumption prices, not asset prices, and that consumption prices were in deflation post Y2K bubble and with the greater productivity inherited from the 90s.

      Asset prices inflated greatly. No one at the Fed really cared. The asset bubble burst. This isn’t proof that the Fed caused the problem, but it does force one to wonder what the Fed could have or should have done differently.

    2. OK, a counter-challenge for you: show us a macroeconomic mathematical model that’s based on a solid scientific foundation.

  21. Johnson/Napolitano 2012 – Napolitano is a good match for Johnson because he’s a Libertarian who speaks the Conservatives’ language. He’s been a hardcore civil liberties advocate on Fox News for years now and they still love him.

    1. The Judge would be an awesome running mate.

  22. According to, Gary Johnson was known for:

    * Vetoing 750 bills (more than all the vetoes of the other 49 Governors combined).
    * Reducing taxes $123 million annually.
    * Eliminating the state’s budget deficit.
    * Shrinking the size of state government by 1200 employees (without firing anyone).
    * Leaving the state government with all-time high bond ratings.
    * Enacting major welfare reform, which cut government welfare spending by 30%.
    * Shifting state Medicaid to managed care.
    * Bringing the New Mexico state government and the Navajo nation leadership together to finally resolve century-old disputes over water, gaming, and other issues.
    * Privatizing half of the prisons in the state.
    * Shooting down campaign finance legislation.
    * Attracting many new private and parochial schools into the state.
    * Repealing the Little Davis-Bacon Act, thereby allowing non-unionized labor the ability to be employed in construction of new schools and other public works.
    * Overseeing the construction of 500 miles of new, four-lane highway (designed, financed, built, and guaranteed by the private sector).
    * Running 100% positive campaigns, never mentioning his opponents once in print or ads.
    * Coming from outside of politics with no political machine behind him to beat a former Republican Governor in the Republican primaries and then unseat an incumbent Democrat Governor in the general election by a 10 point victory margin, even at a time when Democrats outnumbered Republicans 2-1 in the state.

    1. Gary Johnson left New Mexico with a surplus, so that in 2003 Gov. Bill Richardson was able to sign a big tax cut while other states were raising taxes.

      Gov. Johnson was the only Republican Governor who declined to endorse George W Bush for President in 2000. In 2008 Gary Johnson supported Ron Paul.

      1. Sounds promising to me.

    2. He was able to increase the uninsured too, which would be good, cause they’ll die sooner instead of stealing our tax money. Too bad we let them live when they show up the the ER…stealing our money some more.

      Same with welfare spending, if they’d just die off we’d be set.

      I like the prison privitization thing except it ended up costing more in the long run so they took more of our tax money…but what can you do, you know? At least the government isn’t running it. Now they might just shut some of the prison and let prisoners out…thank god. Better than wasting money on keeping them in jail.

      1. He was able to increase the uninsured too,

        What, he took health insurance away from people who already had it? How did he manage that?

  23. Skeletons. In. His. Closet.


    1. Of course. He’s only human.

      I’m sure people will pick at him for his divorce, his decision to meet with militia leaders after the Oklahoma City bombing, and the fact that he’s almost gotten himself killed on a couple occasions with his fetish for extreme sports and physical activity. I’m sure there will be other things that will become known.

      But I can bet at the end of the day, when the dust settles, there is no one who is a better presidential candidate (with the possible exception of Ron Paul) than Gary Johnson.

      1. Just tell him to please, please, please not pull a Sanford.

        1. What are you racist against Latina women? lol

          1. I’m racist against possibly libertarianesque candidates self-destructing.

        2. Is Johnson married? You don’t have to keep it in the pants if you’re not.

          1. According to his wiki he’s divorced

        3. Done already. At least there seems to some evidence that he had an affair before his divorce. His ex-wife is dead now, IIRC, so maybe that issue it done.

          Like with the cocaine, I think if you ask Johnson directly about it, he will probably give you a direct answer.

          1. From Sept 29, 2005 Albuquerque Journal:

            Johnson, 52, said Tuesday that he initiated the separation and that he has been dating Deborah Werenko of Santa Fe, a family practice physician and divorced mother of three who is also a competitive athlete. Werenko on Wednesday confirmed the two are dating.

            Dee Johnson, 52, said Gary’s actions are responsible for the split.

            Also, Dee died in Dec 2006.

            1. But one thing to keep in mind is that Gov. Sanford carried out his affair, lying to his aids and constituents, and footed taxpayers the bill. Gov. Johnson (if he even started dating Ms. Werenko before the separation at all) did so after his governorship, when he was back to being a private citizen. If Gary Johnson’s “Seven Principles of Good Government” are any indication, Johnson is not going to “pull a Sanford” while in public office.

              1. In my above comment, it should read “while still in office” immediately after “footed taxpayers the bill”

              2. Whatever a politician does behind closed doors is their business… as long as they belong to my party.

                AND have lots of connections.

      2. I can bet at the end of the day, when the dust settles, there is no one who is a better presidential candidate (with the possible exception of Ron Paul) than Gary Johnson.

        Personally, I’d take Andrew Napolitano over Johnson. I think he’d do a better job shredding the pinkos and the neocons in debates, and I also believe he’d be rather more aggressive against them in office.


  24. This dude makes me wanna go gay.

  25. yonemoto|1.22.10 @ 9:44PM|#

    Skeletons. In. His. Closet.


    Start with his poorly managed privatization of NM prisons and failure to properly oversee Wackenhut, who got the contract.


    1. Funny, I don’t see many government-run facilities so quick to fire problematic guards and those who try to cover up scandals. The industry is bound to be full of prison guards who are poor excuses for individuals; the fact that Wackenhut actually has the ability to fire their employees without major hassles is a feature, not a bug.

      1. NM is just upset that a decent candidate is on the hunt for the Big Cushy Oval Office Chair.

      2. zoltan,

        I am not sure how firing guards from an understaffed prison full of undertrained guards after managerial incompetence has killed someone can be called a “feature.”

        The fact is, Johnson did not follow the details of the contract with Wackenhut carefully enough to prevent some pretty easily predictable problems. He just looked at the bottom line…and, iirc, most of the “savings” from the privatization of the prisons ended up being eaten up by the need for police interventions in the various prison riots that occurred and legal costs from lawsuits. Don’t know what the balance ended up, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the move cost more money in the long run.

        1. To put this in perspective, Wackenhut’s NM prisons had a death rate of 1 in 400 prisoners. Compare that to a national average of 1 in about 20,000.

          1. But would it include all the weed handlers? With just non-drug inmates, how many would populate the prisons?

  26. TLG,

    Johnson has some good rhetoric, and I agree with many of his positions. One of the skeletons he will have to face in a national race is his poor management of NM prisons.

    1. Considering that is the only negative you have been able to come up with in his term in his 8 years in office, that isnt too bad. Plus, that isnt a skeleton, skeletons are hidden (like if he did coke in college – oh wait, that isnt hidden either).

      The previous thread on Johnson you talked about how horrible he was as governor and never could name anything (other than the prisons) that wasnt a positive.

      1. I didn’t think he was any good as governor…primarily due to his handling of schools and prisons. Given the list of things that a governor is supposed to manage, that’s a pretty big chunk of his duties.

        I do think he has some correct positions on some issues. I don’t think he is a very skilled manager and have doubts he would be very effective in Washington.

  27. Because nothing spells “winner” in American politics quite like going after public education and Social Security benefits….

    1. “Public” education is socialism and tyranny. It should be abolished. If people don’t want their kids educated, its their choice. Stop stealing from me. I don’t care if a single person can read in this country, i’ll learn to read on my own. Stop with the nanny state.

      1. with all due candor, fuck you you socialist prick; I’m sick and tired of this strawman bullshit you fuckers spew to justify these zombie factories called in vernacular “public schools” Only UTF stooges think public schools are the best thing evar, most people with their heads not shoved neck deep in their ass realize throwing more money is not the answer, but throwing some of these shit administrators and teachers out the window might be.

  28. Of course, I would vote for him in a heartbeat.

  29. What I really like about Gary is his fiscal conservatism. Just look at his track record as Governor and tell me that he does not have the credentials to state his case on how to start fixing this nation’s debt. I think that America’s deficit is the greatest issue facing this nation and Gary is poised to jump in and start making a difference. He just launched a new website and a facebook page. I, for one, am ready to show my support:…..5297924363

  30. Plus, that isnt a skeleton, skeletons are hidden

    Often hidden in plain view (e.g.,”* Privatizing half of the prisons in the state” being presented in a list of positive achievements. Sure, he privatized them, but he didn’t successfully privatize them.

  31. To put this in perspective, Wackenhut’s NM prisons had a death rate of 1 in 400 prisoners. Compare that to a national average of 1 in about 20,000.

    How many prisoners does NM have? If it is 400, then that is not a big deal.
    If it is a million, then that number is huge.

    I personally would like to see prison abolished. Also, I fear Neu Mejican, that if the candidate is not a D like Obama, you will not be happy with them.

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