Mother Jones' Tim Murphy conducted a wide-ranging interview with libertarian former New Mexico governor and Republican presidential candidate Gary Johnson. Let's just say that Johnson doesn't sound like the other GOP hopefuls:
The governor has a knack for spin that's requisite for any candidate for higher office, but he's also got less of a filter, and is noticeably exasperated at some his competitors' antics. For instance, he thinks Herman Cain's fixation on the threat of Islamic Shariah law—and perhaps Herman Cain himself—is a waste of time. "I don't see it happening," he says. "I've never seen or smelled a whiff of it. It's a nonexistent issue as far as I'm concerned. And when Herman Cain answers the first question at the South Carolina debate about what he would do in Iraq and Afghanistan by saying he would consult with his advisers, gosh." Ditto for the party's focus on social issues—the Iowa Family Leader's anti-gay-marriage pledge, he says, "is the reason why the world doesn't like Republicans." I asked about the rise of China, which has prompted some tea partiers, including Rep. Allen West (R-Fla.), to call for an arms race. "When people understand that the United States spends 52 cents out of the worldwide dollar on military spending and that China spends 9 cents, what arms race are we gonna engage them in? I mean really, is China a threat? No, they're not."