Gary Johnson Presidential Announcement Gets High Fives


Encouragingly libertarian-leaning former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson made it official last week that he's running for the GOP presidential nomination, and the world has had some things to say. A roundup of some of the more interesting reactions:

Race 4 2012 sums up some highlights of a public Twitter question-answering session from Johnson. I summarize their summary with quick picks, some obvious, some less so: no intervention in Libya, originalist Supreme Court nominees, blames the Federal Reserve for the economic crisis and supports the idea of commodity-based currency and would pardon Liberty Coin maven Bernard von NotHaus if his conviction stands, would legalize pot and pardon pot criminals, no tax hikes (but for a Fair Tax reform), very pro-domestic oil drilling, abolish the Department of Education and cut agricultural subsidies by at least 43 percent, kill the Transportation Security Administration, says he's into Austrian economics, thinks WikiLeaks is a good thing, and wants a path to legal working status though not citizenship for illegal immigrants.

* Brian Ross at Huffington Post, who knew Johnson from old New Mexico days, sees him as a real threat to Obama:

National political analysts still mislabel Johnson as your Dr. Paul fringe candidate. True, Johnson has been an advocate over the last year for the legalization of Marijuana, a controversial stance which even President Obama has shied away from, which definitely alienates him from many in the fundamentalist religious base of the national GOP. It does, however, open the door for him with many liberals who are dissatisfied with Mr. Obama, and many independent voters, and he approaches the issue from a tax-dollars bottom line, which might even find a few libertarian and fiscal conservative adherents….

Mitt Romney, arguably the front-runner in current polls at around 16%, is a fatally-flawed candidate. Religious zealots don't like his Mormonism. He will not easily explain away Romneycare to the Health Care bashers. He would almost certainly have to run to the far Right to get the nomination, then spend the next year running away from everything that he just said to win the general.

Johnson is going to have a tough time surviving the primaries, particularly navigating the crazy waters of the fractious Tea Party. His tough, common-sense, low-key style worked in New Mexico, though, at a time when that state suffered from much of the same kind of partisan divide that the federal government experiences now.

His downside is that his style, his business acumen as a rancher, and his limited experience in the bigger shark tank of party politics may play well to folks who want more outsiders in government, but may make it very difficult for him to raise money, get much media attention, or even run a country controlled by insiders if he beats the deck stacked against him and succeeds.

Still, he is going to win converts. If he makes it to the general election, he has enough expertise at wooing skeptical independents and even fiscally conservative liberals into taking a serious look at him.

Even though there is very little significant in anything a president has to do with in policy terms other than immigration on which Paul and Johnson differ, I suppose that sort of pitting them against each other is inevitable as they seem likely to each be vying for office. Such comments cast as insults against Paul ignore his remarkable and real success in 2008 in fundraising, attention, movement-building, and even votes–he had the 4th highest delegate count during the campaign. That said, I think Ross is correct in the end: a Johnson who gets any attention in the media at all will win converts.

* Two major voices of old-world conservative journalism note his annoucement with little fanfare or commentary: National Review and Weekly Standard. I suspect that lack of fanfare or commentary will continue to define the mainstream right commentariat's attitude toward him, unless and until a primary shocker occurs.

* The 420 Times tests whether its pot-loving audience are complete idiot tools by polling them on whether they prefer the powerfully pro-pot legalization Johnson (he toured California regularly supporting its failed legalization measure Proposition 19 last year) to Obama, who is terrible on the issue in every way.

* Conor Friedersdorf at The Atlantic sees the Zen in Johnson, and likes it:

Johnson's dearth of name recognition and unproven track record as a fundraiser make him a long-shot candidate, especially in a nation obsessed with political celebrity. Let us not, however, be prisoners to opinion polls. Early in primary season, the press and the public ought to focus on better knowing candidates rather than handicapping their chances in Iowa and New Hampshire. In that spirit, I sought out Johnson when he passed through Los Angeles in late January, hoping that I'd be impressed by a candidate I liked on paper. We've got differences, but he's a successful two-term governor, a fiscal hawk, and almost alone in advocating an end to America's unaffordable wars (drugs, Iraq, Afghanistan, and now Libya)….

Other right-leaning journalists warned me that Johnson is unable to answer policy questions with the specificity required to successfully win a major party nomination—a point he partly conceded when I asked him if that was a fair criticism. "If you go back a year ago, when I started giving interviews, that was really a soft opening relative to today," he said. "I'm a lot sharper now—and a year from now it's going to be much different. It's the same process I used when I successfully ran for governor. And I know I won't be viable unless I can provide that  level of specificity."….

As another long-time Johnson watcher, I can vouch for both the validity of the complaint and that he's getting better at question-answering with seeming specific understanding. The story goes on with many specific details on his openness to the citizens he governs and his desire to hire people who are willing to disagree with him, as well as fire whoever needs to be fired if they are ineffective. Back to The Atlantic:

As noted earlier, Gary Johnson finds zen—"living in the moment"—in both sports and politics. His most impressive feat, as a sportsman, is climbing Mount Everest…

ME: I've played enough sports to understand its appeal to someone like you. But how is politics similar?

JOHNSON: When I first enjoyed a level of financial success like I had never dreamed of, it was very destructive. Because the reality was, guess what, bells and whistles don't go off all day long. They don't. I still have to get up every morning, I still have to put my shoes on, I still have to eat. And so it's not a bells and whistles kind of experience all the time. I could then say with certainty that financial success wasn't the key to life. The key to life, what it's all about, is enjoying what you do everyday.

ME: And you enjoyed being governor?

JOHNSON: It was a blood boiling job. It was 24/7. On hundreds of issues, I got to be in the middle of understanding them. What I liked was the process. The learning, the deliberation, the decision-making—putting it all together, and asking, 'Given these options, what is in the public's interest? How can we get that done?' It was an 'in the moment' experience for me. It was really in the moment.

If elected, how would he govern? What would it look like to have a zen personality leading the executive branch? As yet, I'm unsure whether I'll cast my ballot for him or not. But I'd I'd love to see what happened if an honest man with executive experience, an aversion to wars of choice, and a soft spot for civil liberties took the White House.

The amazing part is that even after all that love, he still isn't sure he'd vote for him. That's the weird part of public reaction to obscure politicians who seem too good to be true. (Friedersdorf also threw in some irrelevant Paul-bashing to disguise how similar Paul is to his new possible love Johnson.)

NEXT: Crusty Old Libertarians Spar Over Public Education

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  1. The 420 Times poll is currently running 115 votes for Johnson; 2 for Obama. I wonder how many of those votes are from the 10 of us monocle wearing libertarians.

    1. Beat me to it. I was going to comment on how apparently their readers aren’t complete fools.

      I don’t think anyone who wears a monocle would patronize that particular publication. Unless it were somehow possible to make a bong out of a monocle.

      1. Do you know how many joints you can hide in a top hat?

        1. Wouldn’t you just make a bong out of the top hat? Lincoln did.

          1. True, you can make the bong out of the tophat and use the monocle as a magnification of the sun’s rays in order to light the downstem, which of course is made from the hollowed out bones of child laborers who died after their 16 hour shift in the coal mine.

            1. +1 child femur

              1. These are all quotes from Radley Balko concering James O’Keefe from the last 6 months alone. I wonder why he encourages taping police, but not US Senate offices, or NPR?

                ?James O’Keefe bars spectators from recording his speech.
                ?James O’Keefe reaches new depths of despicableness. Worse, he’s spawning imitators.
                ?James O’Keefe bars spectators from recording his speech.
                ?There’s so much real investigative journalism conservatives could be doing on government waste, incompetence, accountability, and transparency. It’s pathetic that donors on the right keep handing over money for these moronic “stings”. The right needs 10 more Tim Carneys. Instead, they keep churning out James O’Keefes.
                ?Holding Andrew Breitbart to the same standards he holds ACORN. It’s a fair point.
                Joining Me Now To Discuss What James O’Keefe’s Latest Video Means for Obama’s Plan for Libya, Are Democratic Strategist Bob Beckell, and Republican Advisor Dick Morris (Link has babies talking, really funny stuff.

      2. I don’t think anyone who wears a monocle would patronize that particular publication.

        Unless it was an ironic hipster thing.

    2. I voted. I won’t say whom for, as is my right in a democracy.

      1. Given that so far 97% of the voters at 420times went for Johnson, and 2% for Obama, out of 278 votes so far, I’m gonna guess you prolly weren’t one of the 5 or so Obama voters.

        I don’t have any qualms saying I was one of the 97%ers.

        1. Which makes then, on average, more intelligent than the reason staff and contributors.

          1. operating off better starting assumptions =! more intelligent

            plenty of smart people saying incredibly dumb-ass things because of statist ideology

    3. I’d like to be a monocle-wearing libertarian, but I’m nearsighted in both eyes…


  2. This is the greatest rambly sentence written on Hit-&-Run over the course of this millenium:

    The 420 Times tests whether its pot-loving audience are complete idiot tools by polling them on whether they prefer the powerfully pro-pot legalization Johnson (he toured California regularly supporting its failed legalization measure Proposition 19 last year) to Obama, who is terrible on the issue in every way.

  3. The amazing part is that even after all that love, he still isn’t sure he’d vote for him

    That amazes you?

    And here I thought I was the na?ve optimist on the board.

  4. I feel like I must be missing something. Can anyone tell me something about Johnson that is not to like?

    1. His speaking style sometimes makes him sound like some sort of “Libertarian Sarah Palin?”

      He’s a lazy campaigner?

      He honestly volunteered that he has personally smoked weed in the last three years, which may be awesome in its own right but will extinguish that tiny flicker of an ember of a spark of a chance you had at winning your major party nomination?

      1. GWB was a drunk and a cokehead, and he still got nominated. Obama bragged about how much he enjoyed getting high, and he got nominated. I don’t think admitting that you smoked dope, or even admitting that you smoked dope just before the interview is enough to keep anyone out of the running these days.


        1. True, but they also had media support. I seem to recall a Newsweek cover with GWB’s mug and the caption, “The Next President?”…It’s worse for a “fringe” candidate to admit to drug use.

          1. “fringe” candidate

            He is a former Governor with a record….

            As in not fringe.

      2. All of his positions are supposedly “pragmatic” which means “unprincipled”. He doesn’t value our freedom to smoke pot, he values the tax dollars he can take from us for doing so. That is a HUGE difference and trust me, it will play out.

        1. If you don’t know that Gary Johnson “value[s] our freedom to smoke pot”, you have never actually listened to him on the subject.

          He has hardly ever talked about taxing it.

        2. Yeah, I think that’s how you have to market it to average Joe – you can get the foot in the door with the people who don’t even think it should be legal but could be convinced with enough benefits.

          I’ll be interested in if he takes the “Don’t like hordes of immigrants fleeing drug violence? Legalize drugs!” approach. If Mexico is not a safe place to live and for businesses to invest in, and that is largely due to our own irrational policies, how can we expect people won’t do what it takes for their families to be safe?

        3. Califronian, can you find a speech where Ron Paul talks about legalizing marijuana (and I mean MARIJUANA, not industrial hemp)? I’ll be waiting with bated breath…

      3. Well, that should appeal to the Palin fans … and at least he has an excuse.

      4. I wouldn’t worry about it. The biggest surprise of this election cycle will be how much the flyover states don’t give a shit about the MJ.

    2. He once slaughtered seven ethnic young boys in Harlem with a meat cleaver, then tried to get rid of the remains by dumping them in acid. Covered in blood and still in a murderous rage, he then proceeded to make sausages out of the remains that couldn’t be dissolved, and then force-fed them to nuns whilst simultaneously raping them.

      When asked to comment on this, he chalked it up to “youthful exuberance” and a touch of the “reefer madness”, but then went on to express his regret over the incident and provided his assurances that such “immature” behavior would never be acceptable in a Johnson administration.

      But other than that, not really.

      1. Sounds like this Johnson guy needs to develop his own damn material or we’re calling our lawyers.

      2. But we have to admittedly give a +1 for the use of “ethnic.” It really allows the audience to project onto those young boys their favorite particular ethnicities, or a combination of various ethnicities, in order to both a) personalize the experience b) to exclude any ethnicity for which the audience might harbor some ill-will and to c) really drive the point home.

        1. I pick ‘asian’! Do I win??

      3. Well, it looks like he’s learned his lesson. Just a youthful indiscretion, like running a business into the ground or learning about politics from terrorists.

    3. Johnson did a radio interview, this afternoon, with Sean Hannity.

      Shock number one – Hannity wasn’t a douche bag towards Johnson. He did bring up Johnson’s position on the legalization of marijuana, and while he didn’t agree with him, Hannity stated that he was sympathetic to Johnson’s argument. Hannity then proceeded to rave about Johnson’s use of the veto pen, and his “strong fiscal conservative” principals.

      Shock number two – Johnson is playing to the base. He mentioned the need for a strong military, and their were one or two other comments that took me by surprise, I just don’t remember in enough detail to go on. I’m sure he is being realistic, and realizes that this is a GOP primary he is competing in, and if he is going to have a chance to win, he may need to play the game.

      1. RE: Johnson on the military

        Hasn’t the pentagon said that it could do as good a job with reduced spending? What about those boats they didn’t want, but congress bought anyway?

        He just needs to emphasize that “Military Spending != Military Strength”

        1. Great point. I don’t remember the exact number, but only about 19% of the military budget goes towards “the troops”.

      2. I’m sure he is being realistic, and realizes that this is a GOP primary he is competing in, and if he is going to have a chance to win, he may need to play the game.

        Precisely. He’s keeping mouth shut on all the things that hard core conservatives can’t accept, while appealing to the fiscal conservatism of the tea partiers. Then he can run to the center in the general election.

        1. Exactly. Somehow he needs to minimize his more “socially liberal” (to borrow how other people describe his positions on pot, immigration, abortoin, gay unions, etc.), then once the general election comes he can count on the ABO vote pretty much no matter what he says about pot, abortion, gay unions in order to draw away some of the lefties. And, yes, I realize how slim his chances are of making it through the primaries.

          1. Right, but I think the small-government focus of the Tea Party, for the first time in ages, makes it *possible* for a libertarian to survive the primaries. The “base” is no longer social conservatives, it is now focused on fiscal and economic issues.

            1. This assumes that the fiscal TP types are NOT also SoCons, which I think is erroneous assumption.

      3. I have no problem with a strong military. I just have a problem with bases all over the world and fighting wars with nations that do not threaten or imminently threaten our security.

    1. For some fucked up reason i thought that your site might be ironically named or something.

      Nope its just a porn site

      1. And not a particularly good one. At least link to pornhub or something, Christ.

        1. The only thing I don’t like about PornHub is no comments…someone always knows the girls’ name in the comments (e.g., SpankWire), so you can look up her other videos.

          1. xvideos seems to have the best porn site — lots of content, tags so you can find that niche stuff, and a ranking system to weed out the junk.

            friktube has by far the highest def porn of any free site i know of, but the content isn’t all that varied.

            1. Most definitely. Although I wish that it could shuffle results more.

              1. you can get xvideos to shuffle results by searching for different time periods, length of videos, or by using different or creative search terms: “big ass” gets different videos than, say, “big arse” or “bubble butt”, and asking for just today’s results will get you new stuff too.

      2. what? No porn recommendation?

        1. I recommend you spend a lot more time watching porn and a lot less time posting here.

          1. Hmm, already did:-)

  5. As I see it, Johnson is the only candidate in the field so far who stands a chance of winning the general election.

    Palin and Trump? Be serious.
    Romney and Huckabee? When was the last time a loser in the previous primary ran AGAIN and still won the general election? What? Nixon?

    Gary Johnson may be an unknown, but he at least is an experienced politician. He won the govornorship of New Mexico, so he’s obviously not a complete neophyte. He knows how to run a campaign. Plus he can appeal to the Tea Party as well as the general public. That means he can run to the middle without losing the base. Which is what you need to do to win.

    And if the Republicans have any brains they are going to want someone who can win the general election. Voting for the most ideologically pure candidate (from their perspective) is not a strategy for success.

    He’s like Clinton in 1992. No name guy from a small state who is the only guy in the field that voters don’t have an opinion of yet. And ideologically represents a shift from the previous party orthodoxy.

    1. I hope you are right. If Johnson can get anywhere close to a nomination it would be a hopeful sign for libertarian friendly politics.

    2. Do you have a newsletter? I’d like to believe…

    3. When was the last time a loser in the previous primary ran AGAIN and still won the general election?


      1. Bush the Elder?

        1. Bush 1 didnt run in the 1984 primary. If you go back to ANY previous primary, then he would count.

          1. Being vice president sorta changes the equation. Bush I was essentially “appointed” by Reagan as his sucessor.

      2. Ok, you got me. Still, I don’t think Romney or Huckabee is the next Ronald Reagan.

  6. He’d be so much better than Obama, no question, but I still could’t live with myself if I voted for someone with an R or D after their name.

    I KNOW what will happen once he’s in office. It’s guaranteed.

    1. I’m optimistic too, but I’m afraid you’re too certain of how awesomely positive it would be to have Gary Johnson elected, just because of the all the evidence of the great things he did when he was in office in New Mexico.

      1. Vetoing 700+ bills would be a good thing.

      2. I think you misread calif’s post.

        …I still could’t live with myself if I voted for someone with an R or D after their name.

        I KNOW what will happen once he’s in office. It’s guaranteed.

        Shorter: I’d love to vote for him, except he wont veto 700+ bills once he’s the president, he’s gonna do what most (all?) presidents do, and serve his party’s agenda.

        1. The One Ring corrupts all who wear it.

        2. I’d settle for 350.

      3. Has any governor elected to the Presidency ever governed as President radically different than he did as governor?

        1. W, but not in a good way.

    2. I’d vote for any libertarian-friendly politician no matter what party. I’d rather take a possible better over a known worse if perfect is a remote chance.

    3. Dude. 50% rule.

      If the candidate is 50% better than the other guy it’s worth selling out for. I think it’s really hard to see GJ not make it that far. I was skeptical about Rand but threw my hat in and I’ve been more than pleased.

      1. I’ve never heard of this rule but, dag gum, it makes a lot of sense.

        1. yup. I voted principle (ron paul) in the presidential elections because I couldn’t tell if obama was better than mccain, or vice versa, and I wasn’t happy with either. So the 50% rule didn’t kick in.

    4. Johnson’s track record is damned good. He did what he said he would do when he was Governor of New Mexico. The state legislature was about 60-40 Dem, and the folks in Santa Fe (the state capital) absolutely loathed him, as he vetoed hundreds of feel-good or otherwise stupid spending bills. Outside of Santa Fe, he was very popular. When he left office, the state had a surplus and over 1,000 fewer state employees. I don’t think he ever raised taxes.

  7. I have recently met Governor Gary Johnson and he certainly has my support. Ron Paul does too, but Johnson is definitely the candidate for 2012.

  8. This weekend, while he was in NH to announce his candidacy, he took a quick side trip, in snow and rain, to ski Tuckerman’s Ravine.

    1. Seriously? Tuckerman’s is some serious shit – a definite 5 diamond slope.

      1. Yup, the top part of the headwall is pretty extreme — on a good day. The day Gary hiked/skied Mt. Washington there was freezing rain and snow with 60+ mph winds. Remember that next time a candidate poses on a bike or something.

        Outside magazine sent a reporter along… hopefully he made it to the top with Gary. It sounds like the NPR reporter didn’t even make it to the bottom of the ravine 🙂

  9. Race 4 2012

    for. 4. for. 4. for. 4.


    1. it’s not just the whole texting-language BS either, it’s replacing a word with a number in front of another number. Their marketing department should be shot.

  10. Snoooooooooooooooooooooooozzzzzzzze.

  11. Ha, Brian Ross says that Gary was “a rancher from the Northern part of the state.”

    1. Which is something he apparently made up out of whole cloth.

      Stay dilligent, Huffpo!

  12. He’s got my vote. I just hope I get a chance to cast it. Stupid primary will probably be all but over when it gets here, just like last time.

  13. he approaches the issue from a tax-dollars bottom line, which might even find a few libertarian and fiscal conservative adherents

    Can someone explain this to me? If anything, approaching pot legalization in that manner will drive a few libertarians away.

    1. Does it matter how he arrived at libertarian or libertarian-friendly ideas?

      I’ll take better over worse.

    2. Shit. Because not arbitrarily arresting people doesn’t matter if they’re going to be taxed. Until then, those 1,000,000 people in prison for “crimes” that don’t violate anyone else’s rights will have to suck it up.

      Perfect. Enemy. Good.

      1. I wasnt criticizing his position. I was asking how the journalist could write obvious false crap like that.

        1. Do you have to ask?

    3. From a tax standpoint, perhaps he’s referring to the fact that the states are strapped and our tax dollars should be spent on priorities higher than people getting high.

    4. You’re probably right, but it’s really sad when libertarians can’t accept alternative justifications for the ends they want besides ideological rigidity. If the ends are the same, and using a slightly worse means will be the only chance of reaching those ends, you gotta go for it. As a petrified orthodoxy, libertarianism makes no real progress while the completely unprincipled State continues unabated.

  14. the legalization of Marijuana, a controversial stance which even President Obama has shied away from, which definitely alienates him from many in the fundamentalist religious base of the national GOP.

    Obama has more than “shied away from” dope legalization, he was NEVER for it.I almost hope every weed-addled hippie would get popped for per se DWI or “civil forfeit” their wallets at the dispensary.

    Johnson doesn’t alienate the fundies with legalization, he does it with Baby-Killing.

    1. Except he did more to eliminate abortions than most pro-choice governors have.

      He singed a parental consent law in NM.
      He signed a partial birth abortion ban in NM.
      He would appoint originalist judges – which, with enough, could possibly be the end of Roe v Wade.
      He, I assume, opposes federal spending on abortions.

  15. The Kochtopus drum-beat for Johnson begins. And, no, the Paul-bashing on Friedersdorf’s part wasn’t ireelvant: it’s the whole point of the Johnson campaign.

    1. Yes, the only conceivable reason Johnson could be running for president now is to embarrass the 4th-place finisher from 2008. Who he endorsed.

    2. Justin, relax. Yes, the whole 2012 thing is going to be a libertarian clusterfuck, but it’s not like Ron’s going to win anyway.

    3. If the powers that be are rooting for Johnson, perhaps it’s because they don’t think Paul has a hope in hell of winning.
      Not because they disagree with any of Paul’s political positions.

    4. Justin, love but you’re wrong on this. Two antiwar Republicans on the stage is evidence of momentum on our side in the GOP. This is important. Yes, Johnson may not be as reliable as Ron on this but he is right on Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya so is hardly pro-war. I am so used to having no one to vote for and now I have a choice. Who would have thunk it?

  16. I was for Johnson until I saw him on the Judges show tonight. He came off real wishy washy about cutting federal departments, ending the wars and he supports keeping Gitmo open.

    1. you can’t commit to cutting departments wholesale, because then you wind up as the libertarian equivalent of obama. The best you can do is promise to begin the process of winding them down.

      1. I won’t defend him on any gitmo comments, though. It’s not a dealbreaker for me. The sin’s already been committed, if I were president-elect the first thing I would do would be to tell the president that they better resolve it because I’m deleting the problem as my first executive order. Good thing I’m not running for president.

    2. That means he’s not an idiot and is actually trying to win the primary.
      You think by coming out against Gitmo and the wars he’s going to win over the Republican base?

      1. And beyond that, do we really want him making more bullshit promises he might not be able to keep? We already have that guy in office.

    3. In interviews I have heard him say he favors eliminating the Departments of Education and Housing and Urban Development. That is more departments than just about any other Republican candidate has promised to cut.

  17. Gotta love the comments over at Free Republic — ‘Johnson doesn’t want to outlaw abortion? No thanks’. Too bad the people at that site are precisely the Iowa Primary types.

    Of course, nevermind that the President won’t ever be able to singlehandedly do anything about abortion anyway — just like W. couldn’t (or wouldn’t) even with both houses of Congress.

    You have to be pro-life just for the sake of it apparently.

    1. Iowa is often a non sequitur. Remember Huckabee in 2008?

    2. Johnson would probably lose Iowa anyway on the grounds that he’s likely against farm subsidies.

      1. From Iowa. Attended republican straw poll in 2008 – voted for Paul. Voted libertarian in the general election (otherwise choosing turd sandwich over a giant douche).

        In my opinion, farm subsidies (retention, reduction and/or elimiation) are not on the radar within Iowa for most voters from either party. Abortion and non-heterosexual marriage (i.e., removal of Iowa Supreme Court Justices) have traction – especially has traction the farther west you travel in the state (Representative Steve King).

        I will vote for Johnson in the straw poll for 2012. I wish Iowa republican primaries were not winner take all – would help to document were not all bible-thumping luddites.

    3. I don’t understand that either. Until the Supreme Court has a radically different makeup, being pro-life doesn’t mean shit for a presidential candidate as far as effectiveness.

  18. abolish the Department of Education and cut agricultural subsidies by at least 43 percent

    Only 43%? No true libertarian!

  19. “…kill the Transportation Security Administration…”

    For some reason I read this as ‘kill the Transportation Secretary,’ and before I even noticed my error I had already transitioned from thinking that was a little extreme to thinking it’s a policy I might be able to get behind.

  20. Ron Paul has more raw charisma and passion than Johnson, although Johnson is more technically articulate in his speech. Paul is also a die-hard guy who really sticks to his principles. Though many of you may say Johnson is just “playing to the Right now,” what’s going to stop him from doing that if he gets elected? If you’re willing to wiggle in the campaign, you probably will in office too. That’s not to disparage Johnson…maybe Ron Paul with his principled, rigorously intellectual approach is better suited for a legislative body than the executive branch.

    It’s great there are now two libertarian leaning candidates in the race. And there’s some significant differences between them (abortion and immigration) which is good. But I do think they’ll split the libertarian Republican vote. The GOP establishment must love this. The flip side is a strong showing for Paul/Johnson (let’s say a combined majority of the votes if not a victory by either one) may build momentum for a third party to split off from the GOP, or a major movement to the existing Libertarian/Green party. I’d love to see that happen.

    1. See, I think Johnson should be betting on pulling in libertarians, Tea Partiers impressed by his record, independents and progressives who need not waste their time in the Democratic non-primary. Yes, he’ll have to pander to some degree, but he’ll never, ever win the Republican base with his policies, so he should embrace this and take a nontraditional approach.

    2. I think there might be some advantages to having two libertarians in the race. It adds legitimacy. You can dismiss ONE candidate as a loon, but you can’t so easily ignore two. Plus they can play off eachother during the debates and force others to prove their libertarian credentials.

  21. Here are some comments from Gary Johnson on a recent trip to New Hampshire:

  22. I love Ron Paul, but his gold standard shtick has got to go. That alone is enough to put Johnson over the top for me. It’s why I couldn’t vote for him in 08′. It’s as least as kooky as our current monetary policy and just makes him seem like a fool to many. My progressive San Francisco/Berkeley/Oakland friends are sympathetic to him until he talks about doing away with the fed replacing it with the gold standard, and I’m sure it’s a huge part of his kook factor and why he’s so easily sidelined.

    1. you gotta learn how to talk to progressives about the Fed. Sometimes I wish I had spent my unemployed period writing that “end the fed” book for liberals instead of writing an android app.

  23. lol, yeah right, when pigs fly rotfl.

  24. I really wish I could understand why libertarians are so high on Wikileaks. “Openness and transparency” are all well and good when it comes to people who have a monopoly on force making us dance to their strange tunes, but do private individuals have a right to… you know, privacy? Wikileaks attacks the private sector (like giving away private cryptographic keys for calculators) more often than it does government. Why should libertarians favor such people?

    And the irony of these people working for the sacred causes of “openness and transparency” while hiding behind a wall of anonymity with a server bank hidden in a James Bond villainesque underground fallout shelter (really) seems to suggest some sort of black comedy prank site.

    1. I don’t agree with everything they do. They’re not an unalloyed good, but I think the things they’ve exposed put them in the net good category in my libertarian eyes. Nobody has exposed as many open secrets. Everyone seems to have known the wikileaks public sector exposes, but now nobody can deny them. We get to see the terrible things our govn’t does in the words of the officials instead of hearsay.

      1. What open secrets? That Saudi Arabia hates and fears Iran more than Israel? I think the problems with Wikileaks are that a: it is run by far leftists – witness the leak of the (far right) BNP membership list (twice. Do people have a right to privacy in free countries?) and their efforts to undermine coalition efforts in Afghanistan and Iraq. Now I know libertarians are not too fond of those endeavors either, but you should not support people who openly admit that they mean to put soldiers and private infrastructure in danger in the name of their ideology. Remember the publishing of the list of targets vulnerable to terrorist attack? Was publishing that in the public domain a service to us or a service to those who would harm us?

        Problem b is the reason that I’m not a libertarian: a lack of restraint and a belief that anything goes, rules and laws be damned! That’s what Ayn Rand meant when she claimed that libertarians are whim worshiping anarchists that don’t care and or understand that actions have consequences and the rule of law is what makes civilized life possible.

        The problem is that Wikileaks has proclaimed itself above the law and people can do a lot of damage when they put themselves in that position. Nobody has a right to claim they are above the law, especially when they claim that they have granted themselves that privilege for the good of those who haven’t. Reeks to high heavens of the politicians who force us to bend to their will “for our good”/for “the public good”.

        1. But They are private individuals breaking the law for their principles and can face the consequences. I don’t worship them, or deny they do things I don’t like, but they’re putting their asses on the line here, not like government functionaries who are almost completely insulated from justice for their transgressions.

          Besides, what the fuck does this have to do with Mr. Johnson’s candidacy?

          1. TL;DR? Mr. Johnson said he believes that Wikileaks is a force for good. And nobody at Wikileaks is putting their ass on the line; they declare themselves above the law (which you seem to support) and then hide behind every piece of technology that will allow them to remain hidden from onion routing to underground server farms. Right now they are “insulated from justice for their transgressions” and you (and practically everyone else who’s ever heard of Wikileaks) refuse to damn them. Why the double standard?

            Am I some kind of freak for believing that publishing every piece of private information they happen upon is immoral and often dangerous? Does anybody else believe that privacy is the mark of a free country and “openness and transparency” is the mark of a police state?

            1. TL,DR as in didn’t remember. Anyways, you can still have your misgivings about something and think it’s a force for good. Why should wikileaks make it easy for the government to arrest the leakers they rely on? I would find that morally offensive if they’ve promised to try to protect their leakers. They shouldn’t make a case for the federal attorneys in the various countries building cases against them, that’s the governments damned job! I believe that it’s so easy to obtain and distribute secret and private information that the duty is upon the information holder to keep whatever they want secret secret. I don’t think you can use the old property rights rules with digitally held information. And I don’t believe there’s a right to privacy. Privacy is necessary to a free country, but I don’t think it should be protected with the force of law. And that’s very possibly why I’m a libertarian and you’re not. That’s fine

              1. “The duty is upon the information holder to keep whatever they want secret secret.”

                That excuse wore thin a long time ago and I don’t think anybody, including the people who use it, believe that it is anything other than a rationalization. That’s like saying that a person who is being bullied is to blame for giving attention to the bullies or the logic that griefers use to rationalize their online abuse: “serious business! lol! It’s only a game!”

                Well I don’t agree. If a person has had their private details stolen then it is the thief that is in the wrong, just like the burglar is in the wrong if he finds that a homeowner has carelessly left the door unlocked.

                And as for protecting the privacy of the leaker’s don’t you see the irony and the jaw dropping hypocrisy? They’ll leak any and every private detail they find but they’ll protect their own privacy with every tool at their disposal.

                “Privacy is necessary to a free country, but I don’t think it should be protected with the force of law.”

                Err, what? Why do we have a government then? If something is a fundamental right then government must use force to ensure that right is never violated, or to punish people who do violate it. If you say that a right shouldn’t be protected by the force of law then we might as well just revert to lawless anarchy.

                1. I agree with you that privacy ought to be a right in a free society. Also, I think most of the information Wikileaks has released has been already public knowledge (i.e. Saudi Arabia hates and fears Iran) to any reasonably informed person.

                  So I agree with you about the release of things like the BNP membership list and other information belonging to private entities.

                  But there has been a positive benefit from the releases of government information. I think it helps lay to rest some conspiracy theories. For instance, has there been anything in Wikileaks to support 9/11 trutherism? If 9/11 was an inside job, wouldn’t there be some traces of this information in the “top secret” files?
                  Nor do the leaks particularly show that the US is propping up or supporting despotic regimes. The dimplomatic cables suggest more that the US hold’s it nose with disgust when dealing with middle eastern despot, while privately complaining about the level of corruption. I havn’t seen any terribly shocking revelation that shows the US engaged in some nefarious conspiracy that the leftists always like to think we are. And with so many cables released, you would think there would be something.

            2. The only people putting soldiers in danger are the U.S. government and terrorists.

        2. Wikileaks has proclaimed itself above the law

          Like Obama?

  25. Freepers hate Johnson… which means he has merit.

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