Reason Writers Around Town: Shikha Dalmia on Gary Johnson for President


Independent voters hankering for a genuine alternative to Barack Lyndon Roosevelt Obama on the left and Fox News flunkies on the right might have their man. No, it's not Ron Paul, the Texas Republican congressman who electrified them last election cycle. In her latest column for The Daily, Reason Foundation Senior Analyst Shikha Dalmia notes that it is arguably someone better: the former two-term Republican governor of New Mexico, Gary Johnson. As Dalmia writes:

Johnson, who became the first to declare his candidacy for the 2012 Republican nomination last week, is the most consistently pro-liberty Republican or Democratic candidate in living memory. Like Paul, he is anti-war, anti-big government and pro-civil liberties. But unlike Paul, he is pro-choice (except for late-term abortions), pro-immigration, pro-trade and untainted by bizarre conspiracy theories that NAFTA is a prelude to the dissolution of North American borders.

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  1. I need to find out more about Johnson. Another thing in his favor; I don’t think he has a voting record on TARP or stimulus which he can be cudgeled with.

    I have no idea if he commented on the record about them.

  2. I strongly believe in monetary freedom, and on that I agree with the Austrians and LRC. Some are wary of statements Johnson may have made defending Israel and humanitarian wars. If Johnson’s pragmatism means he takes a moderate stand on NAFTA I basically agree with him: The Mises people are against NAFTA because it is not pure enough, but as long as we have government we will have impure trade agreements. I am not one for harping on national sovereignty because I think individual sovereignty is the most important goal.

    That being said, I love Ron Paul and believe he would be a great President. Until GJ stands up in a debate and wins folks hearts and minds like RP did againt Guilliani, it will be hard to go against RP by supporting GJ.

    Let the best libertarian win !

    1. The LRC stance on NAFTA: “You can’t free nine slaves, because you have ten slaves on the plantation!”

  3. lol, I dont think it will ever happen. No way no how.

  4. I would be delighted with either of these two, but I think I generally favor Johnson because of the abortion and immigration issues. I will say, however, that the disagreements they have on issues are legitimate, principled disagreements, something we basically never see in presidential political campaigns.

  5. Not necessarily a Ron Paul guy, but he’s not anti-trade, he’s anti-NAFTA, which isn’t the same thing as free trade.

  6. Agree. Particularly about immigration. From what I have read so far about Governor Johnson, he seems to support a much more sensible immigration policy than Ron Paul, and much more in-line with my views on immigration.

    Although they disagree on certain issues, Paul and Johnson generally seem to respect each other. Hopefully that respect continues.

  7. Ron Paul was a great pathbreaker and has a lot of courage, but it is easy to imagine a better candidate.

  8. Unlike Ron Paul, Johnson is not a fucking racist bircher batshit wingnut. He’s still a libertoid asshole, though.

  9. Yeah, I got to say that while a lot of the “RP is teh crazy11!” stuff is unfair, the NAFTA=Amero stuff really is just loony. Way to vindicate your enemies Ron.

    1. Ron Paul doesn’t actually say that though. He just winks and nogs to let the nutters imagine he did.

      1. Example: I was at a lunch with Ron Paul when a troofer asked him about 9/11. Ron Paul very clearly said he didn’t believe it was an inside job, but then continued and said he would be in favor of spending more tax money on another investigation. Afterwards the troofer was flush with excitement saying that Ron Paul was one of them.

  10. Gary Johnson is certainly better than most politicians, but I don’t think he’s a libertarian. He’s not anti-war or anti-Fed, he endorses school vouchers (which don’t seem to be any less coercive than state-run education), and he wants to legalize and regulate marijuana for the extra tax revenue.

    1. Vouchers are a step in the right direction. Can you see one day when all schools are private, those that can afford to (the vast majority) will pay outright and those that can’t afford it will get a voucher from the state? That’s the next step.

    2. He is most definitely against the Fed, and said he would sign a bill to end the Fed should it reach his office. But he is also a realist that understands merely ending the Fed does not solve the problem. Transfering control of the money supply to politicians (Congress) or bureauctrats (treasury) would actually be WORSE.

      In the meantime our spending is the greater problem. Get the spending under control and the inflationary pressures disappear. Give control of money to Congress but keep the spending and we get hyperinflation.

  11. Like Paul, he is anti-war


    On the other hand, Johnson is open, in principle, to waging humanitarian wars. “If there’s a clear genocide somewhere, don’t we really want to positively impact that kind of a situation?” he says. “Isn’t that what we’re all about? Isn’t that what we’ve always been about? But just this notion of nation building?I think the current policy is making us more enemies than more friends.”

    In one notable break from Ron Paul’s foreign policy, Johnson offers rhetorical support for Israel. “I think that we really do have a vested interest in Israel and that we shouldn’t walk away from that interest,” he says.

    1. Ron Paul isn’t anti-war either! He says it is okay to defend your country if attacked! OMG, he even voted to invade Afghanistan!

      Is there no True Antiwar Scotsman out there?

  12. Johnson is very wishy washy on foreign war and interventionism issues, as well as on foreign aid. In short, he is terrified of offending the AIPAC crowd. For those libertarians who want America to come home, to come home now, and to start spending American money on Americans instead of the world, Johnson’s libertarianism is merely a second class alternative to Paul’s.

  13. Johnson’s treatment by the MSM will be at least as poor as RP’s during 2008. Why? They’ll already have a “non-standard” candidate gumming up their storylines in Paul himself, so most talking heads won’t even know that Johnson’s there to ignore.

    My preference is for Johnson over RP, but I’d happily take either over anyone who actually stands a chance.

  14. “unlike Paul, he is pro-choice, pro-immigration”

    Which pretty much kills him in the Republican Primaries, (combined with his “anti-war”, pro-pot, and pro-civil liberty views), unless he can beat Romney in big states like Cali and New York. And also win western states like Nevada, and his own home state of New Mexico. Gary Johnson might be the strongest candidate among libertarians, but on the flip-side Ron Paul is probably the strongest of two when it comes to appealing to Republicans. It’s kinda sad when you think about it.

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