Ron Paul

Ron Paul on Gary Johnson: "I can't imagine endorsing anybody else"


One or both?

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?

But will *Nick Gillespie* run? THAT is the question.

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. […]

Securing the Red Rocker vote

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.

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  1. YES!! Oh, this is exciting news.

  2. Hahahaha I love the cop/stop light story

    1. He can’t drive…55.

      The only semi-listenable Sammy Hagar song. And that includes Van Hagar.

      1. There are parts of 5150 that were… well… no. Rank sentimentalism allows me to listen. But you’re right.

      2. Does that include Montross?

        1. It better not.

      3. I actually saw Hagar back in high school, though not intentionally.

        I think he opened for Queen, replacing a much better band that canceled. “Sammy the-fuck-who?” And yep, I only recall him singing “I Can’t Drive 55”.

    2. “Don’t ask me why.”

      It’s the Kochtopus, THAT’S WHY!

      *adjusts tin foil hat*

    3. I wonder about the light at 3am… I’ve actually been pulled over twice for stopping and then proceeding through a desolate 3am stop light with no other cars within a mile radius (other than the cop hiding behind a bush, obviously). I wonder what others would do? I have right wing authoritarian friends who would wait for the light no matter what, because that’s the rules and “rules are rules” – and for no other reason. It clearly matches a personality trait that drives them to be staunch conservatives.

      I never really stopped to consider what a far-left liberal would do. A stereotype of the anti-establishment hippie left would say they’d blow right through the light, maybe not even stopping. But that stereotype doesn’t really describe the left these days. They are better captured by the Prius driving, Whole Foods shopping, Starbucks Drinking suburbanite who sends her contributions to PETA. I’m thinking that her Prius is going to be sitting there at that light just like my born-again buddies, and for similar reasons. They are conformist, statist, authority driven compassionate liberals who wouldn’t dream of breaking the rules.

      I think he’s right…. a libertarian would look at that light and understand that the intent of a traffic light is to control the flow of traffic, enhancing safety and convenience. With no traffic, it has no purpose and can be ignored. The statist would hear this and know that a libertarian is a dangerous creature that must be purged from the state.

      1. I called the local DOT and got them to change the red light that was causing me to become an anarchist.

      2. I think my following of completely desolate stoplights at 3AM is mostly motivated by the well-hidden policemen who hand out 300$ tickets which further jack up car insurance costs.

      3. The staunch conservative will sit at the light because he believes society should have order.

        The modern leftist will sit at the light because he’s a puss who doesn’t want to “get in trouble.” There are no actual principles underlying his decision; in general, the modern leftist doesn’t really know why he believes what he believes.

        1. rac will sit at the light because the asshole in front of him won’t go. And that asshole is Hopey McChangey. And I will yell bad things, and my wife will say “why are you yelling, he can’t hear you.”

          1. Hi folks! Hopey McChangey again! You bet I stop at the light. Why, you might ask. It’s really a waste of time. And not really environmentally friendly. And it sure makes that angry gun-loving Obama-hating libertarian with the sensible wife behind me even angrier. But I tell you, that last part is pretty worth it.

            1. Libertine! You always get that wrong.

        2. I stop, and proceed carefully, not because I’m a puss, but because I usually have weed and guns and other items whose legality I have never bothered to check into riding shotgun with me.

      4. Let me add a twist. Some reds won’t change without a certain weight on the sensor. My motorcycle won’t force a switch. What do I do at 1am? wait for a car, no matter how long it takes?

        1. In Tennessee at least, it is legal to proceed through the red light if all of the following conditions are met:

          a.) you are on a two-wheeled vehicle
          b.) your light does not turn green after one minute
          c.) you have verified that there are no oncoming vehicles, and your decision will not impede the progress of any vehicles at the intersection.

        2. It’s not weight, it’s disruption of a magnetic field generated by a coil embedded in the pavement. Just clarifying.

        3. A right turn, a U turn, and then another right turn

  3. Johnson/Paul, with The Jacket as Chief of Staff. This.

    1. Ron Paul should just stay in his safe house seat. There is too much baggage there for a VP pick of someone making a serious run at oval office.

    2. J sub D is right, Paul wouldn’t be a sound VP pick.

      The odds of Johnson even getting the nomination are incredibly small, so it’s almost not even worth discussing. But I think I’d go with someone with a military/foreign policy background.

      1. The odds of Johnson even getting the nomination are incredibly small

        That’s true. It’s sad that first state to pick a nominee is also the one that loves them some farm subsidies.

        1. But McCain won the nomination even though he bypassed Iowa. The key to the whole thing is New Hampshire, and that will be a tall order. He’ll be competing against Romney and Pawlenty, among others.

          1. I thought NH was all big on freedom? Isn’t that where free-stater and open carry came from?

            1. Yeah, but Romney, Palin, and Pawlenty have been working on getting organizations in place. They’ve been endorsing candidates, so that those people will be interested in paying back the favor. Johnson has to overcome all that, if he wants to get above fourth place.

              1. in conclusion, with a wide field and no Democratic primary, Johnson can win in New Hamphshire…

          2. Pawlenty has spent some serious time in NH already… I’m really excited about the prospect of a Johnson campaign in New Hampshire – being an Everest-climber and triathelete, he’ll actually show up and hoof it around in the cold to get votes (unlike a certain congressman from Texas…) It would be like the Ron Paul revolution without all the structural disadvantages and first-timer screw-ups. Go Gary Go!

            1. RC –
              Where ya been?

              1. Workin workin workin… just had a fairly pleasant election day here in the Granite State 🙂

        2. If we can get Harkin to challenge Obama, then Iowa will be irrelevant.

      2. The odds of Johnson even getting the nomination are incredibly small,

        So were the odds for Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, and Barack Obama.


        1. And Bill Clinton!

      3. Jeff Flake’s abs for VP?

        1. Most fit ticket ever.

          1. ‘The White House Situation Room’ will already be appropriately named.

      4. Chuck Hagel, he’s far from perfect, but he was easily one of the two best foreign policy minds in the Senate (Dick Luger being the other.)

        1. I love Chuck Hagel, but he may need someone more hawkish to satisfy the base and keep the necons from running a third party challenge. Perhaps Jim DeMint would be better, there’s also Jindal, or Thune.

  4. “Look,” he says, “there are times and places where it would be perfectly safe to go one-forty,”

    LOVE IT! Which makes it also obvious he’ll get nowhere. This is a sacred cash cow very few states would gore.

  5. “Look,” he says, “there are times and places where it would be perfectly safe to go one-forty”

    My Ninja and I agree. Often.

    I like this guy…

  6. Sammy Hagar? I thought that was Bette Midler.

    1. They do sound the same.

      1. Look the same, too.

  7. I haven’t seen him around very much. How good at playing the game is he? Does he do well in interviews? It’s not enough to have a L candidate, we need one who can articulate the philosophy, but not scare people. A lovable L, if you will.

    After the last election (or every election), it should be obvious to everyone that the presidency is basically a big american idol contest. It’s not really about who’s the most competent, it’s the most likable. So we need a really likable, articulate candidate, that also happens to be competent and ideologically sound.

    1. hes pretty good in iterviews and comes off as a genuine regular guy – and not dumb. But hes not good giving rable rousing speaches. He has very little charisma.

      1. I don’t think he has little charisma, I just think he’s very blunt and gives straight no-bullshit answer. Johnson might be a welcome change after 4 years of long-winded, substance-free speeches from Obama.

        1. Look, I feel sorry for anybody who thinks Johnson have a snowball’s chance in hell.

          Past out-of-nowhere Primary winners like Obama didn’t hold beliefs that were toxic to the party base.

          Anti-War? No chance of GOP nomination. Period.

          Be prepared to watch Fox act like Gary is some Democrat that snuck into the debate, just like they did with Paul.

    2. After the last election (or every election), it should be obvious to everyone that the presidency is basically a big american idol contest. It’s not really about who’s the most competent, it’s the most likable.

      It’s that damned 19th Amendment that started this.

      1. I brought that up with my wife… And she agreed!

        Although I think it’s not really sex we should judge on, but emotive thinking. Too bad there wasn’t some quick and easy test we could give that would determine if someone used their emotions rather than intellect.

        There ARE women out there that think with their brains and don’t get their opinions from Oprah and the View.

        1. That’s easy. Smack someone in the face as hard as you can then made a statement of truth. If the smackee agrees, then they pass the test. If they disagree or attack you, they fail.

          1. I think best response is agreement with true statement, and a return smack to the face.

          2. If you hit someone in the face as hard as you can without cause, it’s not reasonable to expect them to be debating the finer points of the philosophy you articulate right afterwards.

            It’s not a fail to retaliate in response to that initiation of force.

          3. I’m a rational woman who used to box who would hit you and then agree with you when you are on the ground.

  8. Is Gillespie practicing the Bill Murray “Star Wars” lounge bit?

  9. People are complaining that this guy is boring?

  10. Be still my beating heart!

  11. I’m pretty sure that in 2016 Jeff Flake’s abs will run, win the votes of women everywhere (other than the womyn at feministing, maybe. Sugarfree?) and the world will be a better place.

    1. Womyn can appreciate rock-hard abs too. Jeff Flake’s torso is an inspiration to me.

  12. Goddamn Reason, trying to make me actually like a politician. Consider my subscription canceled!

  13. Johnson lacks a certain intangible quality that Paul has — a quality that drives people to follow him.

    I hope I’m wrong, but I think he’ll be a big dud.

    1. I think that Johnson will more than make up for that by not having a lot of the wierdo-libertarian baggage attached to him that Paul does.

    2. Considering that there’s no chance a libertarian can get the nomination without substantial conservative support, my guess is that his performance will be considerably less impressive than Paul’s was. As soon as the topic of immigration comes up, he’ll loose about 60% of the following Paul managed. And that doesn’t even factor in his dissing Palin. Something that, regardless of what you think of her, is a definite no-no in Republican circles.

    3. I completely agree with you. Ron Paul also has gained so much more support since the 2008 campaign I think he would much more successful this time around.

      Plus I have a pretty negative memory of Gary Johnson giving a speech and pausing for about a minute in the middle of a sentence. It was quite scary and seemed like he stroked out or something. I don’t know if I’ll ever get over it so I’m probably very biased.

  14. “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.”

    Wow, there are a lot of Libertarians down in the ‘hood around here! Some of them don’t even try to stop–those are the anarcho-Libs, right?

    1. Neo-cons who have been mugged by stopping?

    2. I’d say the same thing about Brazil. Except they’re charging through the lights at 5:00 in the afternoon, too.

  15. So, is there anything not to like about Johnson?

    1. He’s a politician?

      Wanting a job in politics is almost enough to disqualify a person from holding office.

      1. Except he doesn’t want it that bad. As the NR piece said, when he termed out he checked out, no PAC, no FOX appearances, no books, no next campaign.

        Toady, he’s kinda interested in forcing his (and our) message into the 2012 GOP primary and god bless him. His presence alone forces the others to tack our way so they can grab Johnson’s supporters when he drops out.

    2. Old folks won’t like him driving around like a coked-up speed-demon, using ILLEGAL!!!!!!! devices to pull of the crime.

    3. He plans to run as a Republican.

      If he runs as a Republican, he’ll be out well before the summer convention and the LP will be stuck with Wayne Root as its candidate.

      If he runs as a Libertarian, his voice will be heard until the November election and Wayne Root will take his deck of cards and go home. (At least we hope.)

  16. This is great news. If Johnson can get some of the Paul rub and get out in front of people that would be fantastic.

  17. I wonder what others would do? I have right wing authoritarian friends who would wait for the light no matter what, because that’s the rules and “rules are rules” – and for no other reason.

    Rule #1 — When you can see a cop, or are where you can expect a cop to be hiding, follow the traffic rules. Do the same if inebriated, so you don’t draw attention to yourself.

    Rule #2 — When rule #1 does not apply, drive using common sense. Go through red lights at 3 am if no cars are around. Do not come to a complete stop before making right hand turns at stop signs or red lights — preserve your momentum and save on gas and on brake wear. Drive up to ten miles over the speed limit.

  18. “Look,” he says, “there are times and places where it would be perfectly safe to go one-forty,”

    “Perfectly safe”? Not really. “Not too risky”, perhaps.

  19. I am a very enthusiatic Paul supporter. Have been for many years. Was looking foreward to a Johnson campaign and presidency. However, his comments on disregard for the law are baffling and disappointing. Such comments are sure fodder for his coming opponents and will distract from the issues.

    1. malum in se vs. malum prohibitum

    2. Saul Alinksky wrote that a radical must have fun, an organizer must organize around fun tasks to build a following, and humor is the best line of attack. That man & his disciples enjoyed (enjoyed!) success.

      You sound pretty clenched, you probably wouldn’t join fun civil disobedience, and writing “baffling and disappointing” puts you in the overwrought, non-funny literary section.

      1. Point well taken

    3. Yeah, I was looking forward to a Johnson campaign too until he said some commonsense stuff about red lights at 3AM.

      With friends like Dale…

      1. Hey, just because someone is a fan of Ron Paul doesn’t mean they’ve got more than a smidge of Teh Libertarianism on them.

    4. Think of laws as being like the pirate code: they’re more like guidelines.

    5. Future opponent’s tv ad: “This is what happens when motorists run red lights (visual of t-boned car, bodies on stretchers). Gary Johnson says you can run red lights and speed all you want. He doesn’t care about you.
      Oh, and he dressed as a savage indian when trick or treating in 6th grade.
      Do we want a road rage maniac and a mocker of native Americans in the White House?”

  20. Let’s say, as seems a pretty safe bet, that:

    (1) the economy continues to bottom-bounce for another couple years,

    (2) the Repubs manage to oscillate between brainless social-con posturing and going-along-to-get-along with increasing spending and deficits, and

    (3) Obama continues his weird combination of bloody-knuckled Chicago machine politician and haughty/disdainful uberman.

    I think the electorate might be receptive to a Gary Johnson.

    1. When you put it that way, his chances do look pretty good.

    2. Both of you forget that the electorate is comprised of mostly dumbasses.

      Unless he is going against Romney who is just like McCain or Republican Obama then voters will think him “too extreme.”

      I’m all for him running though and will probably campaign for him.

  21. In a world where a mans trust or gentleman’s handshake means no more I do trust anything that is said by Dr. Ron Paul. If he is saying Gary Johnson is a go then he will have my full support and I mean FULL support. Ill go out on a street corner with a sandwich board to support him.

    1. Ill go out on a street corner and hook for campaign funds.

  22. He spoke here in Arizona on Tax Day. He sounded like a reasonable man.

  23. Did the last Gary Johnson thread ever get reposted? The one that portrayed him as totally incompetent politically?

    1. Couldn’t find it in the archive. Reason should put that post back up. If accurate, it portrayed him as a walking trainwreck on steroids…or something really bad. Anyone save a screenshot?

      1. Yahoo has it.

  24. Sure, Gary has a pretty impressive record as the Gov of NM, but was he a community organizer?

    Has anyone checked on Paulie Krugnuts since the election? Is the little fella ok. I sure hope so.

  25. Ron Paul is badass.

  26. They both need to run. Think of the debates.

    Two libertarians on stage, tag-teaming the other candidates, would be absolutely great television

    1. Hell yes. I’d love to see the libertarian wing of the GOP get some serious exposure.

  27. ah yes, johnson, the “control it, regulate it, tax it” libertarian. kinda like a punch it, stab it kill it pacifist.

    1. Like it or not, that’s going to be the argument people will most likely respond to and actually get drugs legalized on any level.

    2. Wonderful, JL. I guess that’s part of today’s newspeak – the libertarian that doesn’t believe in liberty …

  28. I wonder sometimes if I’m the only libertarian in America who has never been drunk, never smoked marijuana, and obeys red lights even at 3 am.

    1. As someone who has puked his guts out numerous times post drinking binge, destroyed a ton of brain cells, and received a fuckload of traffic tickets, I can tell you that you are not missing much… except sex with whores.

      1. And as a libertarian who has done a lot of all these things, I can safely say that I probably had sex with Drax.

    2. Well, then, you have a lot of work to do.

  29. Gary Johnson is very good, and I’d love to see him run, but I like Jeff Flake even better. He’s a better speaker and doesn’t bother with that noninterventionist bullshit, which means there’s space for real foreign policy ideas.

    1. Interesting idea of “real” foreign policy you have there.

  30. I love Gary Johnson. I think that he is a great candidate for 2012 and I have high hopes of him gaining more national recognition. I think if my some miracle he could make it through the primaries he would do very well in the general election.

  31. I see no reason why this guy has a better chance of getting the nomination than Ron. Ron is critisied for not being an orator/ good media performer, which is true, but this guy is worse! Even in a video interview with reason he struggles to get coherent sentences out. Fox will chew him up and spit him out.

    As for Ron being too old, Johnsom ain’t no spring chicken either.

    I have nothig against him, but if he is going to deter Ron from running again he’s a damn fool. He is giving preference to his personal ambitions over the cause.

    He has no national name recognition, no organisation whatsoever in Iowa, NH or anywhere that matters, and there is no way he is going to appeal to as many people as Ron does.

    This is a stupid idea

    1. 1) Let’s see how he does with podiums and cameras come January

      2) He’s got nearly two decades on Ron

      3) We just finished mid-terms, He has over a year to build organization

      4) A Paul endorsement will give him all of Paul’s support

    2. 1) Let’s see how he does with podiums and cameras come January

      2) He’s got nearly two decades on Ron

      3) We just finished mid-terms, He has over a year to build organization

      4) A Paul endorsement will give him all of Paul’s support

  32. From “libertarian” Gary Johnson’s website:

    “Governor Johnson supports the right of Israel to exist as a sovereign country and believes that the United States should protect that right militarily if needed.”…..t-war.html

    1. Has there ever been a presidential nominee since Eisenhower that didn’t pay the same lip service?

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