Jim Burns

It's Johnson vs Wrights in the LP debate


Las Vegas – Tonight's pivotal Libertarian Party presidential debate will feature Gary Johnson and Lee Wrights.

Here's quick primer on the candidates:

Gary Johnson
New Mexico

A former two-term Republican governor of New Mexico with a background in the construction industry, entered the race for the Libertarian Party nomination after failing to take off in the race for the Republican nomination. While governor earned a reputation of being fiscally conservative and socially tolerant by vetoing over 700 bills and becoming one of the first officials elected to prominent office to call for the legalization of marijuana. When Johnson left office in 2003 due to term limits the state budget had a billion dollar surplus.

Before serving as governor he built up a successful construction company that he eventually sold for millions.

More from Reason on Gary Johnson here.

Lee Wrights

After graduating high school in North Carolina Wrights joined the US Air Force and worked his way up to the rank of sergeant. Wrights was honorably discharged and went on to pursue a career in journalism and activism in the libertarian movement. Wrights has worked at numerous outlets including  Liberty For All and the Free Market Daily. Wrights was Mary Ruwart's campaign manager in 2008. He currently resides in Texas where he edits Ration Review News Digest. Wrights launched his campaign in April 2011. 

The theme of Wright's campaign is Stop All War. When asked about it he said it extends beyond just foreign policy. "Our political rhetoric is rife with war. Whenever our politicians have a problem that needs to be solved they want to have a war on it. That doesn't work." 

My interview with Wrights here

Carl Person and Jim Burns came up far short of the threshold needed to participate in the debate but they are within striking distance of the all important 30 tokens required to be a presidential nominee. They can continue to submit tokens until the period for nominations is closed in the convention hall sometime tomorrow morning.

 Final totals of delegate-token counts after the jump

263 Gary Johnson 

127 Lee Wrights

28 Carl Person

27 Jim Burns

12 Sam Sloan

3 Rita Nunez Neuman

2 James Ogle

1 Jim Gray

1 Illegible

NEXT: Ron Paul Roundup: The World Gazes on His Delegate Strategy in Wild Wonder

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    1. I read it. Thank you sloopster. Pretty good job for an amateur transcription.

      Don’t forget your luggage next time. 🙂

    2. wow your blog is a thing?

    3. I had trouble separating the quotes from your comments. Use styles (bold, italics) or put all your comments in parentheses.

      1. It wasn’t easy to do it live. I just went back and did it this morning though. Hope it’s easier to follow now.

        1. Thanks for that. It’s nice to get some coverage when I can’t watch it directly. I’m still not sure about Wrights’ ability to run anything, but I definitely line up with him on the issues. Does that make me a hard liner purist?

  1. Fatty is now on cspan at the cato thing. Opinions on Christie?

    1. Oh! The Electable Endomorph! The Stately Statesman! The Rotund Repube! A Ton of TEAM RED! Blech. I personally have no use for The Corpulent Jesus. Just because McGreevy and Corzine set such incredibly low bars of incompetence and crookery and The Hefty Hatchetman managed to clear them some, doesn’t make Christ Christie the Second Coming or even POTUS material. I bet he takes the VEEP nod if offered since I don’t think he could win a second term. NJ likes it cronyism and deficit spending.

    2. douche

      1. I’m willing to give him a cunt rating based on the bullying law he signed.

        1. One thing I do like about Christy… he takes no shit from hecklers. But that’s not nearly enough to make me vote for him.

          So… how about a Johnson/Wrights campaign?

          1. Shrug. Long time non voter here. I got off my ass to vote for RP in the primary in SC. Waste of time imo. johnson/wrights I’d vote for if RP is out and I find myself at the polls.

          2. So yeah I might waste more time voting the LP ticket this year. Who knows.

          3. I could definitely get behind a Johnson/Wrights campaign.

        2. Hey man, that’s like totally a naughty word.

          1. All I’ll say is that cunt is great word. Also there is matthewhunt.com

            1. I’m going to link to that next time Ken Shultz gets uppity.

  2. Your comment contains a word that is too long (50 characters)

    So is it a glitch or does Reason not want us quoting their text?

    1. Watch for special characters. I got that error message here one time, and it was because of a single quote or apostrophe in a word, or something like that… It definitely was not due to the amount of characters in the post.

      1. Hyperion|5.4.12 @ 11:20PM|#
        “Watch for special characters”
        Yeah, I’ll do that.

          1. See below. Looking for ‘special characters’ isn’t something those who wish to post should have to do.
            Who is the customer here?

            1. And where the fuck is my edit feature, (:

            2. Who is the customer here?

              How much do you pay to comment here again?

      2. You are correct, quoting reason at reason gives you an error that has nothing to do with the problem.

      3. I got that error message here one time, and it was because of a single quote or apostrophe in a word, or something like that

        It was probably a non-breaking space.

        I use a text editor to convert everything to ASCII when I quote it.

        1. That seems like a PITA.

    2. More tiresome than the squirrels: you.

  3. “He currently resides in Texas where he edits Ration Review News Digest.”

    I don’t get it – he reviews the food he ate when he was in the Air Force?

    1. he lives off his AF retirement plus whatever investments he made, but kinda sounds anti-libertarian when presented that way, ergo, the fabled RRND.

  4. Well, shoot. I really thought Illegible would do better.

  5. I didn’t see the debate, but Wrights comes off like a Libertarian Colonel Sanders or something and not too polished at all. Johnson may not be eloquent but he is light years ahead of this guy.

    I like Johnson, I think he has good character. If we were to run Johnson with Ron Paul as VP, or vice versa, we would probably pull off a 20+ percent general which just might get the attention of the GOP, alhtough I doubt it at their current level of stupidity, I think they prefer complete self annihilation.

    Not sure that RP will jump the GOP ship though. He is still dead set on the LP infiltrating and taking over the GOP. It still might work, although I am not so sure as I was at one time of that strategry, the SoCons are almost as crazy as the progressives. Ok, that is an exaggeration, but they are still pretty annoying crazy.

    1. “Not sure that RP will jump the GOP ship though. He is still dead set on the LP infiltrating and taking over the GOP. It still might work, although I am not so sure as I was at one time of that strategry, the SoCons are almost as crazy as the progressives.”

      A really rotten So Con Repub running for dog catcher in Snake’s Navel, ID ends up with more votes than the best LP presidential candidate ever has. Well, maybe not that bad, but not far off.
      I’m hoping (only hoping…) that RP’s efforts make the Repubs take notice that the So Con efforts ain’t gonna do it.
      Which means it’s a pretty sure bet my vote goes to the LP candidate, and Johnson would be my choice, as he would if he had a chance at the Repub candidacy.

      1. Sevo, I am voting LP this time for POTUS, first time ever. All of my friends and family that are Libertarians, and some that are not, are doing the same. Our attitude, and seems to be spreading rapidly, is fuck you GOP, we aren’t falling for the ‘you’re just going to throw it to the Dems’, or ‘wasting your vote’ crap. Not this time assholes, if Obama wins, you said we didn’t matter, well, too fucking bad, you asked for it.

        1. If the GOP offers Romney, and then claims that voting for him over Obama is some sort of real alternative, they (and he) deserve to lose.
          Between the two, AFAICT, there is this difference:
          Romney = 5 letters
          Obama = 5 letters
          That’s the most difference I can find.

          1. Romney is white Obama. No racism intended, it is the truth. No 1 donor for both, Goldman Sachs. I for one, am not really digging this big government cronyism police state shit.

            1. Obama is black Romney. Get it right or you will be purged from the BOIBR. Don’t listen to the nonsense of RIWBO.

          2. What about his energy policy?

            I’m not fan of Romney, but Obama is essentially waging a war on fossil fuel energy production in this country, not so much out of ideology, but to enrich his cronies.

            Romeny will likely do the opposite, but the net result would be cheaper energy for everyone, which means the economy will be better.

            1. Romney in letter to Pataki:
              “I concur that climate change is beginning to effect on our natural resources and that now is the time to take action toward climate protection. … We are the first state to enact a cap on CO2, implementing regulations that, by 2008, will reduce these emissions by 10%, removing 6,750 tons of Co2 per day. …

              I believe that our joint work to create a flexible market-based regional cap and trade system could serve as an effective approach to meeting these goals.

              1. http://grrrgraphics.com/data/i…..y_toon.jpg

                But you know… he is better than Obama.

                1. But you know… he is better than Obama.

                  I suspect we agree that in fact he is not.

                  Kill ’em all.

            2. Obama is essentially waging a war on fossil fuel energy production in this country

              US natural gas production is at all-time highs. US oil production continued its modest production rise from its recent lows around 2004-5.

              Some war on fossil fuels.

              1. That’s despite the Administration, not because of it.

                President Obama has stated that his energy policy is geared towards having 80% of America’s energy come from “clean” energy sources. So, what would you call it?

                1. If Obama is waging a war on fossil fuel production, we should expect to see falling output of oil and gas. After all, he’s the most powerful person on Earth. If they’re both rising, and natural gas is rising to record production, then 1 of 2 things is true:

                  1. Obama doesn’t have the power to wage a war on fossil fuels. In which case, why worry?

                  2. Obama isn’t waging a war on fossil fuels. In which case, why say something that isn’t true?

                  You don’t have to credit Obama for the production increases – I don’t – to point out that he’s obviously not waging a war on anything. He can say anything he likes. The production numbers tell the story.

                  1. If Obama is waging a war on fossil fuel production, we should expect to see falling output of oil and gas.

                    No – you can wage an ineffective “war”; that does not mean that it still doesn’t cause damage. Subsidizing fossil fuel competitors is a good way to route what would have been free-market resources to politically preferred corporations (i.e. green energy companies). CAFE standards that are completely ridiculous don’t help the market either.

                    Let’s say that oil production has increased 1%, but had the President not engineered the government’s forces against the oil companies, the increase would have been 5%. That’s a pretty effective war that still shows an increase.

                    You’re operating on false premises.

                  2. He can say anything he likes.

                    He can also refuse to allow more offshore exploration. He can also use his EPA to shut down existing operations. He can refuse to grant permits to explore federally owned lands. He can put up barriers to entry that cuts the ability for new players to enter the market. He can subsidize the competitors of fossil fuel companies and impose idiotic CAFE requirements.

                    Regardless of the increase in output, that sure looks like a war to me.

          3. From a GOP stand point voting for a big government candidate you don’t like to get rid of a big government candidate you don’t like makes sense to them.

        2. It might be worth noting that Johnson thinks he will actually draw more votes from disgruntled Democrats than from disgruntled Republicans.

          I recall Browne saying that, according to exit polls, he drew basically the same amount of votes from disgruntled Democrats as from disgruntled Republicans.

      2. Sevo writes, “A really rotten So Con Repub running for dog catcher in Snake’s Navel, ID ends up with more votes than the best LP presidential candidate ever has. Well, maybe not that bad, but not far off.”

        Not far off? Do dog-catcher candidates typically get 921,128 votes?

  6. The War on Wars. The War to End All Wars.

    1. You have to have lots of wars on something to keep the sheeple hiding under their beds in obedience.

  7. SIV|5.4.12 @ 11:10PM|#
    “Your comment contains a word that is too long (50 characters)”

    I’m assured there are various punctuation ‘weeding’ processes you can go through to make some posts acceptable, but only if the apostrophe is ‘slanted’ or some such.
    Also, there are some ways of copy/pasting/recopying/repasting through one or more apps that make some posts acceptable.
    You can also, it seems, learn the magic words or mail in for the decoder ring.
    Or you can, as I have done, say it’s their damn problem, and until the fix it, fuck ’em with a rusty chain saw.

  8. Johnson may not be eloquent but he is light years ahead of this guy

    That’s quite the accomplishment for the Governor. Akin to his climb of Mt Everest.

    1. What is your point? Are you saying that being more eloquent than Colonel Sanders or climbing up a big, taller than others rock, doesn’t mean shit? Just trying to figure out where you are coming from…

  9. Johnson is charismatically challenged.

    1. I like Johnson’s laid-back style. That said, I also like Wright’s reflective and well-reasoned grandpop style.

  10. HI!

    I have a new co-worker, and she is situated very near me. She offends 3 of my senses: sight, smell, and hearing. She smokes menthols.

    Her job involves a lot of phone calls and she talks loud.
    I’m not getting into visuals.

    What are my options?

    1. Internecine office warfare. I suggest you start here: http://www.thinkgeek.com/geektoys/warfare/

      I recommend the micro sonic grenade or the annoy-a-tron for starters.

      1. Thanks. Just put the grenade in my cart at Amazon…hehehehe.

    2. Eat lots of beans and be sure to go to her desk and ask questions rather than crop dust the rest of the office.

      And I mean fart a lot right around her. When she complains, claim microagression to the company HR person and demand she be terminated.

  11. She smokes menthols.

    This is racism straight up.

    1. She’s caucasian no joke

      1. My kid used to smoke menthols, and he’s white as fuck, just like me.

      2. But is she the right kind of white people, PF?

        You see, there are actually two types of caucasian. There are the type that like craft beers, raw milk cheeses, and jogging; those are the right kind. Then you have your menthol smoking, rap listening to, trakter pullz attending kind, they’re the wrong kind of white people.

        Minge taught me this a while ago.


          1. I was real close to including a walmart reference, but was in the middle of something and figured someone else would make mention.

  12. So that “who do you like” test many of us took yesterthread, I was 90% Paul supporter, 70% Romney, 6% Obama. I noticed similar numbers for most of us. So if we agree with ~70% of Romney’s positions vs ~5% of Obama, why all the daily comments that Romney and Obama are interchangeable? Not that I am much of a Romney fan, but hell, I’ll take someone who I am two-thirds in common with rather than someone with whom my commonality is an asymptotic line approaching zero.

    1. I think it’s assumed that Romney doesn’t mean what he says.

    2. I’ll ask you what I ask every libertarian-minded person that is planning to vote for the GOP candidate: why in the hell would you vote for a candidate that you agree with 2/3 of the time when you could vote for someone you agree with 90 or 95% of the time?

      It’s about maintaining your personal ideology, IMO. If you vote for a turd sammich because you don’t want to vote for a giant douche, then you still voted for a turd sammich. And there’s no reason to do that when there’s a person you could vote for that is neither.

      1. I’m not voting for either. Gary’s support of the fair tax is a deal-breaker for me. It’s not like he is going to get elected, much less implement a VAT (prediction: watch Mittens try. I can take a less-than-perfect LP candidate but not a “fair-taxer”.

        1. The fair tax thing for me is a deal-breaker as well. I’m almost certainly going to vote for Wrights in an hour or so. Not sure what I’m going to do in the General Election. I’ll probably vote for Ron Paul again.*

          *A vote in California doesn’t matter anyway.

          1. Why is the Fair Tax a deal-breaker? Because it’s somehow worse than the establishment tax “plan”? Because social engineering through the tax code is so great as it is?

            1. The fair tax is a potential dealbreaker for me because it’s only going to fuel the big government machine. It can be manipulated the same way an income tax can be. The only way I could support a national sales tax is if it were tied to an amendment that:
              1: Abolishes at least 80% of the government
              2: Locks the rate in at a % that reflects the funding required for #1
              3: Abolishes all forms of income tax, corporate tax and any other taxes or fees imposed on individuals
              4: Eliminates any and all government unions, scaled pay for government employees and taxpayer-funded pensions
              5: Abolishes Social Security, Medicare and any other tax-funded programs

              Social engineering under any guise is horrid. I’m not sure that a fair tax (unless imposed with the conditions I listed) gets us away from it.

              1. I believe that the Fair Tax plan Johnson puts forth comes with big cuts and a balancing plan, along with the repeat of the 16th Amemdment.

                1. That’s not exactly what he said last night. But I’ve decided to vote for him here in a few minutes.

            2. The so-called “Fair” Tax, even if enacted by a libertarian, can still be manipulated by future, nonlibertarian politicians, politicians who might aim to insert exemptions for certain types of purchases (e.g., foods, “green” products), who might set higher standards for certain classes of goods than other classes of goods (e.g., “luxury” items v. “nonluxury” items), who might create a national exemption card and registry for those of different socio-economic classes, et cetera. There’s also no guarantee that such future politicians might not re-introduce the income tax, yielding a situation where Americans are thus stuck with both a national sales tax and a national income tax.

      2. Okay Sloop, not that I totally disagree with you, but you need to take into consideration the likelihood of your candidate winning as well.

        I was absolutely going to vote for Johnson (95% perfect candidate) if it came down to Obama/Frothy. Obama’s a 5%, Frothy 15% (perfect candidate). At this point, for me, it’s worth making a statement and voting for someone who has a 2% chance of winning. (I did this in the last presidential election)

        Mittens is a 60% candidate. At some point, the percentage of the “lesser of two evils” candidate gets high enough to surpass me needing to make a statement and becoming more concerned with actually winning. Where is that? 70%? 85%? Hell, for me, Paul is only 95%. (I am the only 100% potential candidate).

        I haven’t made a decision as to whether I’ll burn my vote in protest or vote for Mittens. I need to see more.

        1. I haven’t made a decision as to whether I’ll burn my vote in protest or vote for Mittens. I need to see more.

          I respect that. I just think if we all hold our nose and vote Romneybot2012 into office, we’ll end up with more of the same bullshit we’ve had under Obama. Or Bush. Or Clinton. Etc.

          I personally believe the only way we break that cycle is to actually vote for the candidate we actually want to win. If you’ve got a half-dozen people getting 2-3% of the vote, you’ll end up with the winner of a national election coming in at 35%. And when that happens, you’ll see a citizenry scratching their collective head at the two party system. And then they’ll seek out alternatives.

          1. Like I said, I don’t really disagree.

            In fact, another four years of Obama might be just what the libertarian movement needs. If Mittens wins it could be up to 16 years before someone like Rand could run and conceivably win. If Obama wins, it could be four.

        2. Just though of a more succinct way of putting it.


          If it came down to Obama/Paul, and you consider Paul a 95% candidate, would you vote for a 100% candidate (me) who only had a 1% chance of winning?

          1. If it came down to Obama/Paul, and you consider Paul a 95% candidate, would you vote for a 100% candidate (me) who only had a 1% chance of winning?

            I doubt I’ll ever be faced with that prospect. As someone upthread put it (it may have been you), the only 100% candidate is me.

            Oh, and if that 95% to 100% scenario did ever happen, I’d probably vote for the third party candidate as opposed to a Team Red or Team Blue candidate simply to grow the prospects of a multi-party America.

            1. Fair enough.

        3. I am having a really hard time seeing how Mitt Romney is a 60% candidate but Obama is only a 5%. There is little daylight between the two of them. What about Mitt Romney specifically pushes him up a whopping 55% when it comes to matching you?

          Is it:

          – Doubling the size of Gitmo?
          – Continuing the war on Drugs?
          – Saber-rattling with Iran?
          – Auto Bailouts?
          – Criticizing the withdrawal from Afghanistan?
          – Support for ground forces in Libya?
          – Supports No Child Left Behind and an increased role for the Department of Education?
          – Opposition to and continuing crackdown on online gambling?
          – “Moderate, predicatble” increases in the minimum wage?
          – Vague support for economic stimulus?

          That’s the just the start. You have some really lose criteria if Romney is somehow a whole 55% better than Obama.

          1. Obama is obliterating the economy. Romney wouldn’t.

            1. Romney wouldn’t.

              Just look at what he did in Taxachussetts. You may want to take that back. Besides, Obama may be ruining the economy, but he’s doing it with the help of Team Red and the rest of Team Blue. Hell, the two parties have been ruining the economy together for decades. I don’t think Romneybot2012 is going to break that streak.

              1. Okay, it was an oversimplification to say Romney wouldn’t.

                What I meant to convey is that I think our biggest (not only) threat today is the act of demonizing business. Mittens is a businessman and actually understands how it works. In that respect he’d be a significant improvement over Obama.

                This class warfare shit will be the ruin of civilization unless checked. I believe that if it gets to a certain point, it becomes unrecoverable and we all get to move to a little village nestled in the mountains of Colorado.

            2. He’s obliterating it through a) spending and b) Federal Reserve policy, neither of which would substantively change under Romney.

              And even assuming you’re right, a vague sense that Mitt Romney might better on the economy does not justify a 55% boost, even if it is personal to you. You have to be reasonable.

              1. I agree with almost NOTHING Obama does or says. I agree with about 60% of what your average Republican SAYS. I believe Mittens to be your average Republican. Thus 60%.

                What the Republicans DO. Is another matter altogether. (What the Republicans DO. Is another matter).

                Without listing EVERY issue I value and charting it. In general, I value fiscal conservatism slightly higher than social liberalism.

                1. So, knowing that Mitt Romney is not going to live up to the 21 positions he’s taken on 10 different issues, what justifies voting for him, especially at a confidence level of 60%?

                  1. claiming that Romney is not going to live up to the 21 positions…. is just that, it is a claim based a couple of position shifts that have been magnified to Nth degree. Obama routinely and regularly outright lies and fully expects to not be called on it.

                    The differentiating point, for me anyway, is Romney has actually worked his own money, faced risk, made economic decisions, and had some success. Obama, well, let’s just say I believe the current outcome is precisely what he wanted to see.

                    In this case, electoral calculus says I’ll take the guy with 65% approval who has at least a 50-50 shot of winning over the guy with 90% approval who has virtually no shot. A multi-party system would be a good thing but even getting the LP on some state ballots is ridiculously difficult.

                    1. There is only one reason I can think of as to why Romney might be better than Obama:

                      Under the presidency of the war-monger Obama, the antiwar movement has virtually disappeared (with the noble and notable exception of libertarians, who remain antiwar even when the Blue Team controls the White House).

                      If Romney takes the White House, perhaps the antiwar movement would return. Perhaps, or perhaps not. But, if the antiwar movement did return, that would be a positive thing.

                      Respectfully yours,
                      Alex Peak

                  2. I believe if you re-read my original comments, you’ll see that I said that I’m still undecided as to where the “lesser of two evils” becomes good enough to vote for over making a statement with a candidate that can’t win.

                    I believe I also said I need to see more, which is my way of saying I haven’t completely vetted him as a candidate. He was significantly worse than Paul, as were all of them, and I’ll be voting for Paul in the primary. If/when Romney’s the nominee, I’ll delve deeper to see if he’s worthy.

                    There are also other factors to weigh. For instance, would four more years of Obama benefit the libertarian cause in the long run, more than a Romney victory.

                    As far as the nominees go, Romney was pretty much always the second choice (Republican) after Johnson dropped out. Will he earn my vote? I’m on the fence.

                2. Re: social liberalism and fiscal conservatism

                  Personally, I find the two inextricably connected.

            3. Romney’s economic agenda does not appear to be very different from Obama’s. Ergo, it would seem that both would obliterate the economy to the same degree, relatively speaking.

        4. Except in rare instances in which someone extraordinary runs under the banner of one of the two establishment parties (e.g., Ron Paul), I generally consider it a wasted vote to vote for either of the two establishment candidates.

          Here’s why.

          You only have one vote, and it is lost in a sea of other voters. Your vote, whether it goes to Romney or to Obama, is going to have no impact on the election whatsoever. How could it? It’s one measly vote. It’s nothing.

          The only way to not waste one’s vote (except for those rare instances, e.g., Ron Paul) is to vote for a third party, for an independent, or for NOTA. At least then your vote, as tiny as it is, sends a message. Sending a message is almost the only way to not waste one’s vote (again, notwithstanding those rare instances, e.g., Paul).

          Respectfully yours,
          Alex Peak

  13. Whoa no way man are they like for real? Wow.


  14. I was watching the LP Debate, and on the question of immigration, Johnson was doing well until he said that all legal immigrants had to get Social Security numbers. So he’s not much different from Romney or Obama, in that he sees the people as subjects, not as sovereign citizens.

    1. Even though I did like a lot of the things Johnson said, it seemed clear that Wrights won the debate. Even Johnson admitted that Wrights was the victor.

  15. The debate went as predicted and congratulations to Gary Johnson. Now we must watch the polls to see if Gary Johnson can obtain the goals he seeks to garner the necessary national attention. Some reports say that he has already reached 15% in NM.

  16. Come on Wrights! Beat the carpetbagger.

    1. *yawn* You’re lucky anyone even as prominent as Johnson cares about the LP.

  17. Everybody watch CSPAN. I may take my opportunity at the mic to call Ken Shultz a cunt. I’d like to see what it does for the movement.

  18. Very good article.

  19. The original piece says, “While governor [Johnson] earned a reputation of being fiscally conservative and socially tolerant by…”

    If you are going to say fiscally conservative, then say socially liberal.

    If you’re going to say socially tolerant, then say fiscally responsible.

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