Election 2012

LP Presidential Candidate Gary Johnson's Vision for "Our America"


Back in early 2010, Libertarian Party presidential candidate and former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson was starting to explore a White House run. He stopped by Reason's DC HQ to talk about his nonprofit "Our America," which he conceived as a platform to talk about political change, economic policy, and all sorts of issues.

Johnson is down in Tampa, hanging with Ron Paul supporters and other interested folks. This is a good time to take a look at what was on his mind in 2010.

Note: This originally ran at Reason.com on February 5, 2010. The original text, including a link to an hour-long version of his interview, is below:

Former Republican Gov. Gary Johnson was the top elected official in New Mexico from 1994 through 2002. He took office after beating a primary opponent backed by the Republican party and won election twice in a state that has two-to-one Democratic advantage in registration.

Born in 1953 and a one-time competitive skiier, Johnson was not your typical governor. Instead, he governed as fiscally responsible and socially tolerant. He didn't raise taxes at all during his time in office and pushed through an aggressive privatization agenda that reduced costs while improving services. He vetoed 750 bills and trimmed the state workforace by 1,000 positions at the same time. He was also the highest-level elected politician and one of the most vocal proponent of drug legalization during his tenure.

Johnson is now fronting the Our America initiative, which is dedicated to advancing the public debate on topics ranging from immigration to civil liberties to free enterprise to the federal deficit to the war on drugs to Afghanistan and Iraq. He is frequently mentioned as a possible Republican presidential candidate in 2012.

Reason's Matt Welch and Nick Gillespie talked with Johnson about the issues of the day-and what it was like to climb Mt. Everest with a busted leg.

Approximately 10 minutes. Shot by Dan Hayes and Meredith Bragg; edited by Bragg.

Note: This is a condensed version of a longer interview. For the full half-hour version, go here.

Back in 2001, Reason called Johnson "the most dangerous politician in America." Find out why.

NEXT: The Final Co-Option of the Ron Paul Grassroots?

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  1. It’s really too bad that most people do not even know who Gary Johnson is. As the election approaches, I am finding that it comes up more in daily conversations with people who rarely discuss politics. When the ‘who are you voting for’ question comes my way and I answer ‘Gary Johnson’, it almost always draws a blank stare followed by ‘who?’. This is why Ron Paul should have been the L candidate with GJ as the VP pick. Love him or hate him, at least almost everyone knows who he is. Of course old Ron is locked into the ‘take over the GOP’ strategy, along with his son, so he didn’t go there, and I understand that.

    When GJ does not get into the national televised debates I am going to be very pissed and I hope a lot more people will be equally pissed, enough so that the topic at least gets some prime time attention. I really hope that Johnson breaks 10% of the popular vote. I don’t think it will happen, but I am hopeful. Even 5% will get some attention. No matter the outcome, I will never feel like I wasted my vote.

  2. “Never going to be legal to smoke ot and get behind the wheel of a car.”

    By 2020 that not only will it be legal to smoke pot but cars will drive themselves.


    1. By the way if Gary Johnson is elected cars will drive themselves and pot will be legal by 2014…

      and zombie Christopher Reeve will be able to walk again.

      1. Obamney Care will destroy tech innovation in medicine. We will all be standing in lines to get our rationed aspirin so we can die in a little less pain.

        Although, the only chance at all that Obamney Care will be sent to the trash can is if GJ wins the election. Therefore, moot point.

    2. The problem with that scenario, is that if someone is tested for pot, it could show positive when they are not high at all, even days or weeks since the last time that they were high. That is BS.

      We are more than 8 years away from cars driving themselves 100% of the time. Even if in 2020 cars CAN drive themselves, there will be situations when human intervention will be necessary. For cars to drive themselves 100% of the time we would need some type of smart infrastructure highways everywhere. Not going to happen. At the rate we are going, it’s more likely that we will be broke and our existing not smart roads will be crumbling into dust.

      1. For cars to drive themselves 100% of the time we would need some type of smart infrastructure highways everywhere.

        How do people drive cars without smart infrastructure?

        Is it our immortal souls that keeps the cars from diving off the road?

        here is a video of a blind man driving a car.


        1. Cars are not exactly going to have the processing power of a human brain by 2020. Tell me exactly how that is going to work without sensing devices in the car and in/on/beside the roads? Satellite will not work, too easy to lose the signal. Anyone with GPS knows that. So, I will let you explain how this is going to work to an acceptable degree of safety?

          1. Tell me exactly how that is going to work without sensing devices in the car and in/on/beside the roads?

            The same way humans do. Sight sound and feel….plus one more we do not have radar.

            Anyone with GPS knows that.

            When I was younger i drove drove all over the western US without even knowing what GPS was. When i was really young my parents drove the family from Washington to Florida then back again. I don’t think GPS even existed then.

            Cars are not exactly going to have the processing power of a human brain by 2020.

            There is no way in hell a car needs the processing power of a human brain to drive a car.

            In fact the video above proves my point.

            1. I drove all over the USA without a GPS also. But that doesn’t prove the point. The car not only needs to know where to go, but how not to drive off the road or across the line into oncoming traffic, also needs to know where all other cars are at, at all times and when to stop, how to merge, etc.. A car will have to have sensing devices in it and also the road will have to have them. How else the hell is a car going to know where the middle line or the shoulder of the road is on a poorly marked road. What you are talking about is impossible from a technical perspective, without smart roads. The video does not prove anything. Hopefully some engineers who have knowledge of things like this will weigh in on this thread. You and I, while I respect your opinion, are not going to agree on this one.

              1. A car with relatively simple sensor technology would obviously be far better than the human brain at negotiating traffic. Faster reaction time, no emotions.

                1. Agreed, but… don’t get me wrong if you read my posts about this. I am all for being able to drive anywhere, drink all I want, and have the car drive me home. It just is not going to happen soon. Sensor being the key here. It can’t happen without smart roads. In the forseeable future, we will have to have human override feature on any self driving car, and this will kill any possibility of drink and drive livre vontade.

                  1. Some type of fixed guidance devices placed on public and private infrastructure would greatly reduce the complexity in how an automatic vehicle negotiates its movements.

                    1. Exactly this. This is the only way it is possible with current tech.

                2. T o n y| 8.26.12 @ 5:36PM |#
                  “A car with relatively simple sensor technology would obviously be far better than the human brain at negotiating traffic. Faster reaction time, no emotions.”

                  Shithead presumes driving requires only physical data. Shithead is wrong again.

      2. Count me in favor of roads reverting to dirt, and letting the private sector pay for all infrastructure improvements that the market demands.

  3. Gary Johnson was with Air America back in 2010? Wasn’t it already tits up at that point?

    1. Air America? I thought it was tits up long before that.

    2. Air America the Progressive radio propaganda house or Air America the CIA front airline?

      1. I thought we were speaking of the former.

      2. CIA front airline? WTF?

  4. Climbing Mount Everest is like a guided nature walk these days. Its something outdoorsy to do if you have the time.

    1. Do they have elevators yet?

      1. He died near the summit.

        Empathy is one of those things that tends to shut down when the brain is oxygen deprived.

        1. Empathy, lol. I think it is plenty abundant when the brain is fully oxygenated…. if you are a libertard.

          According to Libtards, Rethuglicans lack empathy and that is the chief flaw in their ideaology.

          So, I break this down. Republicans have an inherit flaw that does not allow them to break people down by race, color, creed, gender, etc…. and that is their sin.

          Republicans suck, for the most part, but Democrats are so fucking stupid that they should not even be allowed to breathe, let alone vote.

          1. I thought we were talking about some dude that people passed by on Everest and left to die.

            Are you drinking hyperion?

            Also are libtards retarded liberals or retarded libertarians?

            1. Are you drinking hyperion?

              Fucking a bro, and you don’t know that libtard is a liberal?

  5. The mayor of New Orleans was in TV today saying that they were not going to use the Super Dome to shelter people and that people should “shelter in place”. Shelter in place? In a city that is mostly below sea level? Is he insane.

    1. This should be interesting. I watched a documentary on … I think it was the food channel, that showed mile after mile of deserted neighborhoods in Nawlins. Maybe this will be one of the new starts of the new Liberty communities…

    2. I’d shelter in place in the same situation. Of course, I know that I should choose the highest place in my home and have some way to access the roof. Despite the danger, it would be safer than going to the FEMA-certified Rape Dome.

      Jus’ sayin’

      1. Here is the thing. The Super Dome worked. It saved a lot of lives. There were not any rapes or lawlessness in there. That is a total myth and a racist one at that. The problem was the levies broke and the city flooded after the hurricane was mostly through. Had the levies not failed, everyone would have walked home and that would have been it.

        But if people hadn’t gone to the Super Dome, they would have been in their homes when the levies failed and probably drown. So now we are not going to use the Super Dome mostly thanks to the idiotic fucking lies told by the media about Katrina.

        1. Here is the thing. The Super Dome worked. It saved a lot of lives

          Horsepucky. While it wasn’t Liberia during civil war, it wasn’t any place I’d choose to be.

          There was no water purification equipment on site, no chemical toilets, no antibiotics and no anti-diarrheals stored for a crisis. There were no designated medical staff at work in the evacuation center, no established sick bay within the Superdome, and very few cots available that hadn’t been brought in by evacuees. The mayor of New Orleans had, in fact, stated that as a “refuge of last resort,” only limited food, water, and supplies would be provided. Residents who evacuated to the Superdome were warned to bring their own supplies.

          Maineprepper says it better much than I.

          1. Anything about crime? And they were only supposed to be there for a few hours. The problem was the levies broke and they were stuck there for days. But that is still better than if they had stayed at home where they would have drown.

            There are no good options for a city that is below sea level and full of tens of thousands of people too poor or too stupid to leave.

            Stop repeating media lies.

            1. Media lies or NOLA Police cover-up?

              Quite frankly, I think if you put 10,000’s of scared, angry people together in one place without enough food, water, and medicine to think that crime and violence won’t happen is cloud-cuckoo-land stuff. After all, you’re the one who always pulls out the Hobbesan view of human nature when arguing against Anarcho-Capitalism.

              1. But they were only there for a few of days. It takes longer than that for things to break down.

                And whatever it was, it beat drowning, which is what would have happened had they not been there.

              2. And there was law enforcement in the Super Dome.

              3. John is right you’re just grasping straws HM. The SD sucked but people were better off there than elsewhere. They would’ve been better off still if they had JUST LEFT the city.

  6. Gary “too many ahhh” Johnson. I will probably vote for ahhhh the guy but he ahhhhh loses me with the “ahhhh.”

  7. At least voting for Johnson will be less embarrassing than the Obama endorsing 4 years ago.

    1. Want to save face, amigo? Vote for Gary Johnson. GJ is by far the best guy running… want to feel good about your vote???? Gary Johnson, feel good, be right, that is the answer…..

  8. Based on the number of comments in the Gary Johnson thread, when they think of him they……zzzzzzzzzzz

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