Libertarian History/Philosophy

Notes From Gary Johnson's Libertarian Coming Out Speech


The Santa Fe press conference at which Gary Johnson announced he will seek the Libertarian Party's nomination for president is in its Q&A stage. Earlier in the hour, Johnson made his case for switching parties and filled out a new voter registration card, saying as he signed on the dotted line, "This feels good." 

According to the LP's donor database, Johnson was a dues-paying member of the LP during his tenure as the Republican governor of New Mexico. So, this is a homecoming of sorts. Some highlights from the speech: 

"Libertarians talk about all the things they're not going to do in office. I think my 750 vetoes as governor of new mexico really gives me a unique voice as to all the things government should not do."

"As a libertarian president–as the candidate for the libertarian nomination–I'm going to talk ALL the time about balancing the federal budget. That means cutting 43% from the federal budget."

"Let's enact the fair tax. When I talk about taxes, libertarians are anti-tax all the way across the board, and so am I. The fair tax is the best of the worst." 

"Let's reduce welfare. Let's reduce warfare in this country. [The first line of applause came here -Ed.] Let's end corporate welfare now. Let's have a constitutional affinity to gay rights, let's have a constitutional affinity to gun rights, let's have constitutional affinity to property rights, let's have constitutional affinity to womens rights." 

"We need a strong U.S. dollar, not a weak U.S. dollar. We need to end the war on tens of millions of American who happen to use drugs. As president of the united states I would end the war on marijuana. I would remove marijuana from schedule I. As president of the United States, I would pardon nonviolent drug offenders." 

"We can secure the border without building a fence. What a waste of money. Let's make it as easy as possible to come into this country and get a work visa–not a green card or citizenship–I just bang my head when I hear candidates complain about border violence without saying what the root is, which is the prohibition of drugs."

"I'm doing this today because I think this is an agenda that resonates with most Americans, and it's not being represented by either political party. I want to thank all of you for being here. You have no idea how much it means for me to have you here in support of this."

[On health care] "The solution to all our problems is free market approaches. In a free market system for health care, it would be competititve. I would have pay-as-you-go in a very competitive market. Health care in this country is about as removed from a free market system as you possibly could be, and we can thank both political parties for that."

[On Afghanistan] "I would withdraw from Afghanistan immediately. I initially thought it was warranted. After six months, I thought we had whiped out al Qaeda. That was 10 years ago."

"Meth and crack are the two biggest examples of prohibition drugs. Without prohibition, we wouldn't have meth and crack. Cheaper highs. It's cheap and easier to make, so consequences fall disparately on the poor."

"The only drug I'm advocating legalizing is marijuana." [On other drugs, decriminalization.]  

More Reason on Gary Johnson

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  1. I think I might have found a candidate I can support.

  2. Something wrong with this country when Johnson isn’t a popular choice for high office.

    1. Kind of tough to get support when you’re blackballed from the media. If he can somehow get his message out, I think you will definately see some interest in him. Unfortunately, most people consider a 3rd party vote to be a wasted vote. How do you overcome that?

      1. No doubt. And not only the media. The party itself has taken steps to marginalize him. Paul has enough support and money that they couldn’t quite pull that off with him. Johnson is another story.

        The obvious problems with an out-of-control government that simply will not stop spending, regulating, or intervening in virtually everything are increasingly apparent, and, given the fact that the major parties seem entirely unwilling to change anything, many voters are going to start looking for alternatives.

        1. [M]any voters are going to start looking for alternatives.

          No they won’t. Team Red can’t risk Team Blue winning, and vice versa. The only way this will change is if people realize Team Red and Team Blue are the offense and defense for same team.

          1. Things are different today–we’re in real trouble if the status quo continues. People are starting to realize that. It’s possible that the major parties will shift to encapsulate such views, but that’s not on the immediate horizon.

      2. You overcome it by using your head when you vote. If your choice is Newt/Barack (frankly, Barack would be my choice in that case) or Gary Johnson then there really is only one logical option.

        If Ron Paul gets the R nomination, then your choice gets a little harder. Personally, I like Gary more than Ron, but either would be acceptable.

        1. If it were between Johnson and Paul for the GOP nomination, I might vote Johnson. But if it’s a nominated Paul versus Obama and LP Johnson, I’m voting Paul unless the world shifts so much on its axis that a Libertarian could win.

          1. I agree.

          2. I would love to have to make the call between Johnson and Paul in the general election. Talk about problem you want to have!

            1. Beats our normally scheduled choices, already in progress.

          3. Mine got complicated when I started thinking about voting for gridlock, so I wrote an Excel macro:

            If Republican = “Ron Paul” Then
                myVote = “Ron Paul”
            ElseIf RepublicansWinSenate Then
                If Republican = “Mitt Romney” Then
                    myVote = “Barack Obama”
                    myVote = “Gary Johnson”
                myVote = Republican

      3. “Unfortunately, most people consider a 3rd party vote to be a wasted vote. How do you overcome that?”

        In countries where there are many political parties, the solution is to have a second “runoff” election with the two leading parties.

        1. Compare this with our system whereby the people vote among a variety of candidates to lead one of two parties in a general election.

      4. “Unfortunately, most people consider a 3rd party vote to be a wasted vote. How do you overcome that?”

        In countries where there are many political parties, the solution is to have a second “runoff” election with the two leading parties.

  3. “The only drug I’m advocating legalizing is marijuana.”

    Go “good”! Fuck that “perfect” shit!

    I bet Gary doesn’t even want to abolish the FDA.

    1. TEAM RED concern troll is concerned.

      1. Aren’t his opinions as valid as yours?

        1. Aren’t his opinions as valid as yours?


          Next question?

          1. Is your other name “Episiarch”?

            1. You are 0 for 2.

      2. Mr an-capper who thinks a National Sales Tax is the “perfect platform”.

        You agree with Huckabee and Cain on tax policy, so who is TEAM RED?

        1. You are, TEAM RED concern troll.

    2. Perfect is the enemy of good. Anyone who’s been around the block a few times knows that well.

      1. “Perfect”= repealing the 16th Amendment

        “Good”= tacking on a National sales tax

        See how that “good” works out for ya

        1. How about “good” = replacing the current income tax with the national sales tax?

          1. if we could get congress to crack a dictionary to the “replace” entry, sure.

            1. There’s an actual bill. It replaces the current tax system with the Fair Tax. Either it passes or it doesn’t. If it does, the current tax system goes away, no more income tax. Simple.

              1. so simple that I’m even more suspicious.

              2. It doesn’t matter what one bill says. Once a national sales tax is in place it is never going away. NEVER. Later, an income tax can come in all it wants. Hell, that bill itself could morph as it moves through congress and people amend it and change it.

                If a national sales tax is enacted you WILL have both income and sales taxes at the national level and all the intrusion that goes with them.

                1. “FairTax legislation does three things that effectively dismantle the income tax: (1) it abolishes the IRS, (2) it repeals all statutory language having to do with taxing income and payroll (i.e., the Internal Revenue Code), and (3) it eliminates the filing of annual income tax returns to the federal government for over 140 million Americans. The 16th Amendment does not “require” an income tax, it only “allows” one, and the FairTax will have broken that egg in a million pieces. It would be extremely difficult to put that egg “back together again.” Once the FairTax is enacted it would be an extremely daunting task for Congress to make people start filing income tax returns again. There would be a public uproar. Once the American public has experienced the freedom from filing income tax returns it’s hard to imagine them tolerating going back.” Please check out Our system is broken and the Fair Tax is the fix we need. Understand the Fair Tax and you will demand it!

                  1. Okay, so if there is a National Sales Tax, how exactly do the feds collect the taxes without some kind of irs framework? Or would Treasury just have that responsibility. (Either way you’re still going to have accountant bureaucrats)

                    1. It’s actually handled by the states. So unless you are a business, you would never have to do any tax stuff again. And all the business would have to do, is mark up the good or service, just like they already do with state sales taxes.

  4. I know the Libertarian Party needs a convention in May to officially pick their candidate, but state parties should unofficially get behind Johnson immediately and organize the network of volunteers that will be needed if he is to break Ed Clark’s 1980 vote record by a substantial amount.

    1. Ed Clark’s record? How about getting elected? Sounds like Johnson will run on a mainstream platform, more mainstream than Romney or Obama.

      1. Huh? In that Speech Johnson says we should cut 43% of the federal government. Maybe we should, but I assure you that is not anywhere close to “mainstream”. If “mainstream” means “something at least a plurality of people want to do”. If you think it is you’ve been swimming in libertarian backwaters too long. People hate taxes…. but most of them don’t wanna cut shit.

  5. Can’t wait for all the LP lifers whose political chops include getting 15 votes as a paper candidate for county dogcatcher to come out of the woodwork and call GJ a fascist because he doesn’t want to legalize meth.

    1. *nods at George Phillies*

    2. This right here is why I refuse to be a member of the party. It’s the people-who-hate-people-so-much-they-can’t-cooperate-in-their-own-interest party.

    3. We already have Libertarian dogcatchers…say I give you all the Libertarian vote, would you back a Libertarian for Sheriff?

  6. Let’s enact the fair tax.

    As long as the Sixteenth Amendment is still part of the constitution, no, let’s not.

    1. Hear, hear. Let’s unenact the income tax first, thank you very much.

      1. nine nine nine nine nine

    2. I was under the impression that Johnson wants the Fair Tax to replace income and payroll taxes, not add to them. That is what he has said in the past. Have you read or heard something different?

      1. That’s what he wants. But you can bet every other politician sees this an an opportunity to impose a national sales tax, talk about getting rid of the other taxes, and then raise them.

        1. The “Fair Tax” was, and is nothing but a stalking horse for a VAT. “See even libertarians want a VAT” will now be part of the argument.

    3. FairTax legislation does three things that effectively dismantle the income tax: (1) it abolishes the IRS, (2) it repeals all statutory language having to do with taxing income and payroll (i.e., the Internal Revenue Code), and (3) it eliminates the filing of annual income tax returns to the federal government for over 140 million Americans. The 16th Amendment does not “require” an income tax, it only “allows” one, and the FairTax will have broken that egg in a million pieces. It would be extremely difficult to put that egg “back together again.” Once the FairTax is enacted it would be an extremely daunting task for Congress to make people start filing income tax returns again. There would be a public uproar. Once the American public has experienced the freedom from filing income tax returns it’s hard to imagine them tolerating going back.

    4. FairTax legislation does three things that effectively dismantle the income tax: (1) it abolishes the IRS, (2) it repeals all statutory language having to do with taxing income and payroll (i.e., the Internal Revenue Code), and (3) it eliminates the filing of annual income tax returns to the federal government for over 140 million Americans. The 16th Amendment does not “require” an income tax, it only “allows” one, and the FairTax will have broken that egg in a million pieces. It would be extremely difficult to put that egg “back together again.” Once the FairTax is enacted it would be an extremely daunting task for Congress to make people start filing income tax returns again. There would be a public uproar. Once the American public has experienced the freedom from filing income tax returns it’s hard to imagine them tolerating going back.

  7. What an absolutely terrific platform! I think ending the drug war would be the most liberating, transformative experience this oountry has had in the last 50 years.

    Get out of Afghanistan, and do it right now! We can join the Soviets in a mutual, “what the fuck were we thinking” exercise. If the Taliban, or Al Quaida, begin to threaten the security of the US, we can do another 90-day bombing exercise.

    1. The Soviets? LOL. Blathering troll self-destructs.

  8. That guy’s crazier than Ron Paul!

  9. I like how in pretty much every election some semi-famous sorta-libertarian dude bum-rushes the LP all “I’M YOUR FUCKING NOMINEE NOW BITCHES,” and they just surrender to it.

    It’s principled.

    1. Somebody voted Badnarik.

      1. That was me. Was I the only one?

        1. Nope. But to be fair, I was voting for [LP guy].

          1. I think Johnson would be my first vote for someone other than [LP guy] since Ed Clark, and that includes Ron Paul in ’88.

        2. I voted for Badnarik, after meeting him in person. I loved his speech in Atlanta at the LP convention. It’s just too bad he watered down his platform afterward to match the LP party line. A pure 2nd Amendment populist candidate might have done considerably better.

    2. Really, this is ridiculous. Johnson is a libertarian by most measures. Where he isn’t, he’s miles ahead of any Republican or Democrat.

      This isn’t Barr, people. Not even close.

      1. “miles ahead” of Ron Paul?

        1. “miles ahead” of Ron Paul?

          Yeah, I bet that’s what he meant. It really is a sign of good faith to deliberately misread people.

          1. No, it’s a sign of libertarianism to insist pedantic consistency of others.

            1. Ron Paul has been a Republican for many decades now.

        2. Paul excepted, of course.

          1. And, for that matter, me excepted. I’m registered as a Republican.

              1. btw, I only just read some of your writings, I like them. Keep up the good work.

                1. My writings?

                  1. Yes, you know – the ancient tablets and scrolls.

                  2. Shat/Nimoy slashfic, IIRC.

                    1. That’s definitely not me. Ancient tablets and scrolls are more likely.

                      It might be a reference to Will Grigg, the other Pro Libertate with the eponymous blog. Who isn’t me.

                    2. well, that’s confusing.

                    3. I’ve been commenting under this cognomen since before he started his blog, but it still surprises me that no one has confused us before at Hit & Run. At least, not that I’ve noticed.

                      Our source is the same, I think, though I got it from a family motto and he got it from liking William Wallace.

  10. Gary Johnson > Ron Paul

    1. Only if you revel in political irrelevancy.

      1. I had no idea that “relevancy” had anything to do with principles or a moral outlook of governance.

        Principles > Popularity Contests.

      2. You mean if I think Ron Paul is irrelevant?

        Even forgetting about the newsletters, I think some of Ron Paul’s ideas are pretty good in general but pretty crackpot in detail.

        Gary Johnson’s actually run a state, with a diverse population, and done so admirably. Ron Paul’s never run anything bigger than a doctor’s office or his own campaign.

        If I vote, I’ll vote for Gary Johnson over Ron Paul.

        1. I’m generally in agreement with this.

        2. I prefer Johnson over Paul, but I will take either over the status quo.

          1. I doubt that a governor “runs” a state. He can protect it from certain bad policies, especially if he can strong-arm the legislature.

            Running a medical practice probably involves more work. Why, you’re so busy you don’t even have time to proofread your own newsletter!

            Seriously, though, it’s a tough important job. Almost as important as managing an investment firm. Or being a community organizer.

      3. Only if you revel in political irrelevancy.

        You were pimping Michelle Bachmann a while ago. Your current hard-on for purity rings false.

        1. I was “predicting” not pimping. My prediction was proven wrong.

  11. The canary just left the Republican coal mine.

  12. So, wait, what is everyone arguing about here? I’m confused.

    1. See, some people want Johnson to go away to focus all libertarian energy on Paul.

      Others think both suck because they were Republicans and aren’t crypto-Marxist anarchists.

      Other others repudiate the idea that we have elected officials at all and aren’t commenting.

      1. All you half-assed pseudolibertarians disgust me. I’m splitting, and I’m gonna go start the Libertarian Child Porn Party.

        1. Mary Ruwart’s your candidate!

    2. GJ is so NOT Lysander Spooner.

      1. yes but neither is Ron Paul Calvin Coolidge.

    3. I’m having a hard time seeing what the arguing is about as well. RP is a long shot and I’m surprised the GOP hasn’t brought out the large guns to get rid of him. Chances are I will be voting for Johnson. NY is going blue anyway so I am safe voting my conscience. Unless someone resurrects Rothbard, the hardcore libertarians won’t be happy. Not a perfect libertarian but the best so far. He’s basically a RP sort of candidate that’s more likeable, less cranky, and no racist baggage for the media to feed on. Which is why Johnson has no chance. He comes across as too much of a nice guy.

      1. chances are you are voting for both on the americans elect Paul/Johnson ticket.

      2. I would be happy with a candidate that wants to end the foreign wars and the drug war but most importantly dismantle the state’s currency monopoly and central banking system.

        So… I’m happy with Ron Paul for the most part.

      3. I love being in NY, knowing that my vote will never mean shit, and then hearing how important democracy is.

        1. “Unless someone resurrects Rothbard, the hardcore libertarians won’t be happy.”

          Rothbard is unreliable – I would campaign against him.

  13. This is going to be fun – spending the next year watching the cosmotarians tossing their panties at a candidate who will, mercifully, never be heard from again…


  14. “Meth and crack are the two biggest examples of prohibition drugs. Without prohibition, we wouldn’t have meth and crack. Cheaper highs. It’s cheap and easier to make, so consequences fall disparately on the poor.”

    Wow this makes complete sense, yet we never hear a word of discourse like this in the MSM.

    1. I’ve said this for years. Cocaine may not be benign, but clean and legal and very, VERY few would touch the other stims.

      1. I actually like meth quite a deal better than coke actually. The biggest down side being up for SO long.

        1. of course if exctasy and acid were legal, I might just stick with them most times.

          1. Until you hit the 50 trip limit.

            1. oh, I’m WAY past that

        2. Exactly. Never was a fan of cocaine. Made me feel like shit and I’d get really irritable and turn into an asshole. Meth on the other hand, if done in moderation (tough), makes you feel like a million bucks for a most of the day and then…you don’t sleep…and feel like ass until you do, or keep doing it to stay awake…yuck…and become a waste-oid.

  15. What are the thoughts on whether Johnson can win the LP nod? The Convention was a really tight affair with Barr winning a close one last time around, and that ended in disaster. Johnson seems slightly more Libertarian than Barr, but he still doesn’t seem to understand the philosophy all that well and even in his coming out speech said some things that make you wonder if he’s ever going to get it. Barr’s greatest problem was that he genuinely didn’t understand why so many libertarians hated him. Gary is probably going to suffer the same defect. I don’t really get it. Is understanding libertarian philosophy really that hard? Or are these guys just really that dim? You’d think a week of intense study would be enough for you to get enough of a working understanding to avoid putting your foot in your mouth, and a few weeks of light reading on plane flights would make you an expert. Taking positions that fall out of libertarian orthodoxy isn’t a deal breaker per se, but you at least need to understand which of your views are unorthodox, and why.

    1. Will the LP nominate a libertarian-leaning two-term governor running on pragmatic platform that could draw record support, or will they nominate a true believer? I’d say it’s 50-50 either way.

    2. I think it could be close. Many of the people who voted for not-Barr at last convention will show up again and vote for Lee Wrights or whoever.

      I’m gonna be a delegate, and I haven’t made up my mind yet.

      1. If the LP nominates Lee Wrights or Mary Ruwart or Wayne Allan Root over Gary Johnson, I will write in some dead celebrity. The only reason I voted for Barr and Badnarik was to help the LP maintain ballot access. If they bypass the opportunity to nominate the most qualified libertarian candidate they’ve ever had, I will never, ever vote Libertarian again and will actively work to assist the party towards its apparent death wish.

    3. Bob Barr had a lot of anti-libertarian baggage, where I see GJ as being just un-libertarian on some issues.

      That said, we’ve had 3 ex-Repubs nominated before, and 2 went back to the Republican party. The one who didn’t, Bob Barr, went on to defend Baby Doc Duvalier — which I take as not building the LP brand.

      I think the candidates should build the party. Most of the ways to advance the libertarian movement are outside the party, and zeus bless every one of them. But if you’re going to use the LP, show some commitment to the LP.

      I have nothing against Ron Paul and am thrilled at how he is doing. But would he be worse off if he had skipped the LP nod in ’88? His vote totals weren’t much different than other LP candidates. Was the LP particularly better off for his running?

  16. Just back from the presser. Got my bumper sticker. I’m in.

    UN Agenda 21 only came up once.

  17. But has he sworn to protect and defend Israel?…..cture.html

  18. The fair tax is the best of the worst.

    I remain unconvinced.

    1. Land taxes are the best of the worst.

      1. In my ideal minarchist state, the government run a small military, police, and courts. The purpose of this government is to protect life, liberty, and property. Therefore, I suggest a small head tax, coupled with a flat wealth tax, which charges lets say 1-5 % of one’s total assets: property, savings, investments, possesions.

        The head tax is to protect life and liberty, the wealth tax is to protect property. All people pay the same rate, sans deductions. Richer individuals pay the same percentage, but a higher amount, which ends screaming about Teh Rich!!!1! getting off easy.

        1. What would you do to the people who could not afford the head tax?

          1. Off with their heads

      2. I agree, though I think Pigovian taxes (taxes on negative externalities, like pollution) also make a lot of sense. And before I am asked to cut up my Libertarian card, I would do away with taxes on labor, capital, and trade, and just rely on the ideas of Henry George and Arthur Cecil Pigou.

        What makes it kind of interesting is that there are Greens out there who are for both — they are considered very environmentally friendly taxes, encouraging people to conserve land and natural resources — and while their social platform can be antithetical to Libertarians, it’s one area we can make common cause. Which is frankly weird, since tax policy is often considered one of the fundamental differences between the two parties.

  19. I remain skeptical about the fair tax but Johnson has done more then any other to put it in the proper light. The fair tax doesn’t punish you for saving money or earning money, just the spending of it… I remain skeptical on how practical it is to carryout though.

    1. This is what lost me with Gary months ago. The correct answer is to shore up corporate income taxes and eliminate loopholes, institute a flat income tax with a single huge deduction. This is politically feasible if you set the flat tax rate between the highest income tax rate and the rate that the top bracket *actually pays* post-deductions. So that the rich “that pay their fair share” get a tax break but most get a tax hike.

      Then lower the income tax by 1% each year until it hits zero.

      You can fix the deficit by making congress pass a “bare minimum” budget and allowing them to tack on things, but pulling the plug when spending passes the previous year’s revenue.

      1. however, gary wants zero corporate taxes, which is incorrect from first principles.

        1. however, gary wants zero corporate taxes, which is incorrect from first principles.

          How so? The principled argument is that corporate taxation is double taxation – the earnings are taxed, and then the distributions are yet-again taxed at the level of those who benefit from the distribution. This is like taxing my income and then taxing my kids allowances when I distribute them.

          1. I agree on the double taxation deal I remain a flat taxer at the core, but I’ve been warming up to the fair tax. Its not perfect, but it certainly seems better then what we have.

            1. I honestly can’t come up with anything that would be better than the Fair Tax. It’s FAR perferable to tax consumption over income. It’s simple and easy, rewards savings and investment, and gets the government out of every detail of your personal financial life.

              A flat tax while still be better than what we have now, falls far short of the Fair Tax because it still gets the governnment involved in your business.

            2. I think the only way to get a flat tax through though, would be to couple with with a negative income tax. No matter how high you have the personal deductions you’re going to get the “::angryface:: How can you make the poor pay the same as the rich!! ::slobber::” objections.

              1. Inasmuch as liberals are often math fail, a flat tax with a single exemption is still a progressive tax.

                1. I know, but whenever a flat tax comes up it’s always portrayed as regressive (even though effective rates would in fact be progressive). The NIT would (hopefully!) offset that criticism.

            3. the Fair tax is awful because it encourages intrusive government monitoring over transactions it should have no jurisdiction over. Now, a sales tax strictly on interstate transactions is more reasonable.

              It’s both morally questionable – and politically intractable because it’s a regressive tax. Don’t we fuck over poor people enough with inflation?

              1. I understand what you’re saying and I agree. Setting into motion the mechanisms needed to make a Fair tax work can be costly and intrusive. I don’t like putting extra costs of compliance squarely on business’s who would be collecting the tax. Would it cost more then the current system? I don’t know, it would take time and you’d need to run models to see which system is more efficient. I think we can agree that all taxes in general are both intrusive and immoral. It is coercive confiscation of property. So I am agreeing with Johnson that we need to decide the best of the worse. In principal I’m libertarian, but I recognize that in reality there needs to be something we can compromise towards.

                1. “Setting into motion the mechanisms needed to make a Fair tax work can be costly and intrusive. ”

                  Sorry that’s false. Almost all the states already have sales tax. All the businesses would have to do would be to add the extra Fair Tax onto the sales tax, and keep remiting it the state. The state would then remit to the feds.

                  This would be SUPER easy.

              2. How about the federal government only taxes the states? No direct taxation of people.

                1. That is a very interesting way of going about it. I’d have to read more about it and hear the arguments before considering support. I’m fairly ignorant about this plan and don’t know anyone who’s endorsed it.

          2. what, exactly, about double taxation is more or less wrong than “single” taxation?

            Corporations are entities constructed by the state, and therefore are fair game for taxation – consider it a “user fee”. Individuals and their labor and contracts would exist without the state, and so should be exempt.

            1. Indeed. Nobody’s forced to form a corporation. You can always just pay normal personal income tax on a Schedule C, or file a 1065 and K-1s if you’ve got partners.

              Paying taxes as a C corporation is entirely voluntary.

              1. well, no we know why liberals complain about big corporations taking over everything.

        2. I’d support corporate liability taxes (NOT income taxes) as the “good” and ending state incorporation as the “perfect”.

          Still, FairTax is better than most other taxes actually proposed. At least the rebate makes it minimally intrusive (even beneficial) for the poor. My preferred corporate liability/land value tax-based code is not on the table.

          1. The prebate/rebate is where they get you. Now they still have to know all about your income and finances.

      2. I’m just happy that major tax reform is part of at least some of the discussion. The details can wait.

        1. definitely

      3. Fair Tax = no loopholes period. Corporations are not taxed. They also don’t have to spend billions on compliance and lobbyist to avoid paying taxes. They can bring home all their offshore money too. Everyone pays the Fair Tax including illegal aliens, drug dealers, tourists. Americans and legal residents receive a prebate to off set the cost of necesseties. Please check out The Fair Tax!

    2. The so-called “Fair Tax” is pure lunacy and wishful thinking, but a good political move by GJ. Thanks to Boortz and Huckabee and Cain, the Fair Tax has far more political support than the LP ever had.

      Add in marijuana activists and a Romney-Obama one-party race, and a lot of conservatives and liberals would have to seriously consider Johnson.

  20. I think part of the challenge with getting someone like Gary Johnson elected is that the left will like his stance on drugs, abortion and gay marriage, but then will get all like “oh, ick!” on his fiscally conservative policies and adherence to the core principles of the Constitution. Meanwhile, the right will like his fiscally conservative policies and adherence to the core principles of the Constitution, but then run up against “What? Teh gays? No f’ing way! Not teh howwible gays!”

    So you can’t win over the mainstream lefties and you can’t win over the mainstream righties.

    And the rest of the population mostly doesn’t care enough to vote anyhow.

    So when people say “he can’t win,” unfortunately, I tend to think they are essentially correct.

    Doesn’t mean I don’t like the guy and I might actually slap a bumper sticker on my truck and vote for him.

    Time will tell…

    1. The biggest problem period is the major parties writing ballot access rules and Duverger’s Law.‘s_law
      So as long as Paul is viable with team Red, Johnson is sadly a sideshow.
      Proportional voting could change that, but for those that accept it, we’re stuck with the Duopoly barring a major schism in teh Repubs.

      1. I’m not sure the GOP is set for a schism. It might lose some of its libertarians, but it’s likely to have complete control of Congress and the White House in 2013. That’s unlikely to result in a split.

        The Democrats, on the other hand, could be way outside looking in. That’s more likely to create some internal turmoil, though I’m not sure any one group within the party has enough clout to purge the other elements.

        1. Shut up you are dumb and gay and wrong.

        2. I think that Republicans can loose big this time around. The libertarian/GOP treaty has been strained from the beginning but this election cycle may just put it to bed. I can see tpot and libertarian leaning members walk away from the GOP with + of the vote if Romney gets elected. I walked away 5 years ago this month, many more will do the same. The GOP is ripe for a break. Maybe we’ll finally realize we can’t continue to do business with the GOP and have them screw up over and over.

          1. The White House race could get weird with the libertarian element in play for once, but I think Congress is definitely going GOP. After this election, the dynamics could change some more, I suppose.

            1. I’ll likely vote for GJ for President and whichever establishment party is not on course to win the Presidency for Congress.

      2. What’s even worse is that supposed “remedies” for ballot access, such as “Top-Two” primaries, end up restricting choices even more. The last election cycle was the first where I couldn’t vote LP in the general election.

        1. The purpose of a primary election is to limit choices.

      3. The LP is routinely on 48-50 state ballots. Ballot access isn’t the issue. Voters liking big government is the issue.

        1. Or simply being on a ‘winning team’. But again i think Duverger is key. If it was about ‘ponys’ teh Green P should have a few Congressional seats by now. All they have is Kucinich & maybe Sanders.
          As for the solutions to ballot access, note my weasel words, haven’t really looked into anything besides getting rid of disparity in needing sigs to get on. Though the VA situation IS some good comedy.

        2. CE, while it’s true that the LP gets on a number of state ballots for POTUS, the high costs the LP has to incur to get on those ballots would better be spent on advertising (which is needed to get poll numbers that will get Gary Johnson into debates)and the building of GOTV infrastructure.

          Also, keep in mind that LP congressional and legislative candidates may not have the resources to meet the ballot access standards, so they do routinely get kept off the ballot.

          1. “the high costs the LP has to incur to get on those ballots would better be spent on advertising”

            I hadn’t especially thought about the price of getting on ballots, but I think that Johnson should probably concentrate on a handful of states (I’m thinking NM, NH, WY) and getting a few electoral points. The publicity from a state going Libertarian in 2012 could catapult the 2016 candidate into the double digits nationally, and–if sustained–making LP a serious, national party.

            If anyone’s still here, cue lectures on Ross Perot…now!

  21. I am voting for him.

  22. Wow. This could make it a tough call when Ron Paul is the Republican nominee, and Johnson is running on a better platform…

    1. This could make it a tough call when Ron Paul is the Republican nominee, and Johnson is running on a better platform…

      uhh…as much as I would like that and everything…

      1. If we have that problem, it means that libertarianism actually has some mass appeal in the U.S. I’d be overjoyed to see that actually happen.

  23. He’s like Ron Paul on Sanity?…and I love me some Uncle Ron.

  24. Johnson is better than Paul on taxes (the Fair Tax is best plan out there by far. And I speak as both an economist, and a CPA)

    Paul is better than Johnson on WoD (why would we still keep meth etc illegal? All the arguments on weed apply to meth etc as well. Unless this is just a temporary measure to get votes, which I’m, ok with)

    If Paul by some miracle wins GOP, I vote for him. If not, I vote for Johnson as lib candidate

    1. Johnson’s platform is to treat drug addiction/use as a medical rather than criminal problem. Keeping stronger drugs illegal could appeal to potential Republican voters, while not significantly hurting his chances with Democrats.

      1. Yes, and I suppose that’s a reasonable campaign position at this time, although, IMO still wrong. The government has no authority to determine what I can put into my body.

  25. Just from a starting point in terms of a political message I can get behind, there is absolutely nothing I disagree with about GJ’s platform.

    But I still think Obama needs to go regardless. I just hope Johnson gets more press so people can hear some more libertarian answers to the current topics.

  26. The LP needs to get Mr. Johnson off on a three day intense seminar with the leading intellectual lights in the movement and see how much he “gets.”
    I care more that he gets that taxation cannot be intrinsically fair, even if most services are paid by user fees, than every specific detail of a proposed plan that will be altered by Congress even if he won the presidency.

  27. Pleased to see libertarian purism overcoming political efficacy. But you guys really don’t want to elect a president. It’s tough dealing with a leader you supported who has to make painful compromises in order to govern. All the more so if you’re motivated by purism.

    1. “Compromises”? Of the like that keep raping the very core of our civilization into nonexistence?

    2. But you guys really don’t want to elect a president.

      Wrong. 8 years of a libertarian president making compromises that push the country in the right direction (well it wouldn’t be the right direction to you), would be far preferable to the current situation. In fact, it would fall in with Mises’ three horizons view on policy quite nicely.

    3. Not really sure what you’re saying (and what else is new?), but Johnson has 8 years of experience of governing a strongly Democratic state, having been elected by a wide margin, then reelected, while still enacting a libertarianish agenda. I think he knows how to compromise enough to remain popular, while still maintaining principles.

      1. “maintaining *his* principles”

    4. That approach has worked really well so far. We have a “compromise” situation now where we get the worst qualities of the Republican and Democratic parties.

      Deficit spending, high taxes, wars, loss of civil liberties, moral panics, crony capitalism, and on and on.

    5. Tony|12.28.11 @ 3:08PM|#
      “Pleased to see libertarian purism overcoming political efficacy.”

      Yes, shithead, libertarians aren’t really corrupt enough to satisfy the shitheads of the world.

  28. Paul’s flawed, sure, but there’s no way in hell I’m voting for Johnson over him.

    1. I’m sure we won’t have this problem in November. One or the other will be on the ballot, or both as a joint ticket.

      1. No chance in hell of the latter. Paul as GOP nom or GJ as LP nom (we’ll see about that…but likely), Ron Paul goes Ind/3rd party and GJ won’t be in the picture.

        1. Johnson would love Paul as his VP. He’ll probably ask him to do that if/when Paul looses the Republican nomination. If Paul wins, he’ll probably ask to be his VP, and the Libertarians will remain in the Republican camp another cycle.

    2. If by some miracle, Paul wins the GOP nomination, Johnson is not going to be the libertarian candidate, because they will not run one.

  29. Gary Johnson wants to flood the country with immigration. He said what is wrong and just make them all legal.

    1. That’s pretty much what most of us here agree with.

    2. Immigrants who are here to work, yes, let’s make them legal. Lets collect Social Security and taxes from there wages, just like everybody else. Let’s see to it that all immigrants get fair treatment under the law. Is there something wrong with that?

      1. Buh buh buh BRoWN PeOPlEZ!!111!!!!11!111

      2. I’m all for letting people into the country, no matter what they want to do as long as they’re not hurting anyone. It’s not my place to stop them. Work? Sure. Not work? Well, good luck with that, playboy immigrant, but sure. But, I don’t wish these taxes on anyone regardless of who else is being punished with them.

    3. Correct. Gary Johnson is a libertarian.

      If you think the all-knowing state should select who can cross into our sacred borders, you will feel much more at home with either the Republican party (home of jinogist, anti-immigrant rhetoric) or Democratic party (home of a President who’s basically militarised our border).

  30. Gary Johnson didn’t decide to leave the GOP until he botched trying to get on the new hampshire ballot. He was supposed to have a delegate in order and instead had to fly last minute and as a result his staff walked out.

    Bob Barr is now back to thinking of running as GOP in a congressional race. Johnson would do the same in the future. Isn’t nominating a GOP retread getting a little old.

  31. Johnson said in his press conference he wants to get more work permits for mexican workers. Great way to bring wages down further.

    1. Not for the Mexicans.

    2. If you want higher wages, form a labour union or move to a country with higher prevailing wages.

      There’s no reason to expect to get paid more just because your parents were Americans, or because you live in America. Employees should be paid commensurate to what they can negotiate with their employer. If you want better pay, become more productive or start your own business.

    3. jason|12.28.11 @ 4:04PM|#
      “Johnson said in his press conference he wants to get more work permits for mexican workers. Great way to bring wages down further.”

      Somebody else can do your job as well and cheaper? Well, here’s your pink slip.

  32. Wrong move by Johnson, I would say he killed his political career but then I remember Ron Paul ran for president as an LP candidate. Johnson should of stuck in possibly till nevada and then endorse Ron Paul, he could of piggy backed on the movement instead he will get little support because most “insert whatever term you want for pro-liberty folk ” are already donating and helping our ROn Paul. If a miracle where to happen and RP wins the nomination what benefit would Johnson gain from running?

    1. If Gary Johnson sticks around until Nevada, he’d have likely won enough of the vote that would have otherwise gone to Paul who is currently in the margin of error from victory. I don’t think Paul can win, but I want him to do as much damage as possible so his walkout is epic and his endorsement of or running with Gary Johnson is actually impactful.

      1. This is pretty much what I’m rooting for. Paul is a long shot for the primary and even worse in the general, but he has a chance to scare the hell out of the republicans and leave blood on the floor before he retires.

    2. All the TV networks that excluded Johnson from the debates (even though he was polling at 0 to 1 percent along with Santorum and Huntsman) killed his political career. A mainstream LP run might revive it.

  33. Concerned trolls are concerned.

  34. If RP gets the GOP nod and Johnson runs as LP, I will have a hard decision to make in November.

    My usual preference would be to vote for the LP candidate as long as I can stand him or her at all, because small parties need every vote they can get and a really good showing would keep the LP and its candidate in the news (or at least on the talking head news/political shows) for several years, if prior experience is any guide. Also, good vote totals for a federal candidate can help to secure ballot status for the LP in many States, and the LP could make good use, in REAL candidate campaigns, of the money it would otherwise have to raise and spend for ballot access campaigns. GJ has the best chance of a “really” good showing that I have seen since I cast my first LP ballot in 1980.

    But if RP wins the GOP nomination, that will mark a sea change in public sentiment (or at least the GOP public), indicating that a well-managed national campaign for POTUS might actually be successful. Even with a populist groundswell behind his candidacy, Paul would be in a tight race with an incumbent President, which would mean that he would need every vote he could get. Assuming that President Paul would remain as true as possible to the political rhetoric he has espoused these several decades, it would be hard for me not to support him, as he would have the best chance of making good on that rhetoric of any libertarian-sounding GOP-guy I have seen since 1980 (when I declined to vote for Mr. Reagan, correctly predicting that, whatever his true intentions, his actual effect toward promoting true liberty would be negated by the political machines in DC).

    If Paul doesn’t win the GOP nomination, and decides to go independent, I will probably vote LP, for reasons mentioned above. But if Paul vies for and wins the LP nomination, I would definitely vote LP and hope that Johnson comes back in 2016.

    I haven’t faced such a difficult potential choice in my entire voting life, so 2012 promises to be an exciting campaign season.

  35. It wasn’t lack of media attention killed GJs GOP campaign. It was why he lacked media attention. Doesn’t anyone remember the suppressed Taft Club H&R speech post? That intern is hanging in chains in some Koch-funded cosmotarian dungeon somewheres.

  36. I like Gary Johnson, and will almost certainly be voting for him this next Autumn, but Georgist and Pigovian taxes are both better than any form of sales tax. Taxing land (in the economic sense) and negative externalities makes more sense than taxing trade.

    1. I used to thinking taxing land made the most sense of any kind of tax. Now, I just want to tax gamboling.

  37. Drug reform: Obama’s chance to reignite support

    President Obama promise of “Hope” and “Change”

    I respectfully suggest that you issue their full pardon to all cannabis prisoners

    Mr. President Obama, I am hereby respectfully requesting that your exercise your executive privilege as President of the United States and that you grant full pardons, vindication and subsequent removal of their felony convictions of all cannabis prisoners



  38. While I remain a staunch Ron Paul supporter I like Gary Johnson a lot and will be watching to see how he does as well. If Paul fails to win the GOP nomination I would all too happy to give Johnson my vote next November should he get the LP nomination.

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