Gary Johnson

Gary Johnson Disputes Rand Paul's Libertarian Cred

"Who's a bigger supporter of liberty?" would make for a great election year debate.

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He's actually reaching for a defibrillator.
Reason

This morning we noted that former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson has made it official (actually, he already had announced last fall) that he would again run for the Libertarian Party's nomination for president. He was also in attendance at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) yesterday, debating the legalization of marijuana on a panel. His applause line: "Having a debate right now over whether or not to legalize marijuana is kind of like having a debate over whether the sun will come up tomorrow." He also melodramatically keeled over when his debate opponent, former New York Rep. Ann Marie Buerkle, claimed that marijuana use dramatically increased people's risks for heart attacks.

He also took a moment to dismiss Sen. Rand Paul's brand of libertarianism of not being very libertarian. Or so CNN says in a weirdly short post that could use a little more context or accompanying video:

While Paul may be the most libertarian-minded candidate in the field of prospective GOP presidential candidates, Johnson said, Paul doesn't fit the libertarian mold on a host of issues: from abortion to marriage equality to immigration and marijuana.

"He's a Republican," Johnson said.

"Great, I mean terrific," Johnson said sarcastically. "I mean, the most libertarian candidate that Republicans may end up fielding."

And then the item abruptly ends with this paragraph that does not appear to be a quote but rather the writer's own analysis of Paul's foreign policy:

Paul has even sidled away from his libertarian foreign policy views, ?shying away from his isolationist views in favor of a more nuanced foreign policy that would better fit the mold of a Republican primary.

And there it just ends without any explanation of what this paragraph even means. Do we have a drinking game or bingo card for poor media descriptions of libertarian or libertarian-leaning political positions? "Isolationist views" is worth both a drink and a corner box on the bingo card. Rand Paul is not an isolationist and never has been. And certainly Gary Johnson is not an isolationist either, favoring a reduction in the size of our military forces overseas, but not necessarily (or as much) in places with a lot of unrest like the Middle East.

It is interesting nevertheless to see Johnson working to differentiate himself from Paul, building on similar comments he made last fall. Johnson's ability to match or exceed his vote total from 2012 (1.3 million votes, one percent of the vote total) will certainly be affected by who the Democrats and Republicans nominate. Paul has a much bigger chance to pull votes away from Johnson than somebody like Marco Rubio or Jeb Bush. So that "more libertarian than thou" branding is going to continue as long as Paul is a viable contender. And wouldn't that be an interesting debate to be having during election year?

NEXT: Mass Killings in Missouri, CPAC Continues, Net Neutrality Lawsuits Ahoy: P.M. Links

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  1. Yep. I’ll be throwing away my vote on Johnson again. Unless Rand is the GOP nominee. Because, fuck it, close enough.

    1. And I voted for Ed Clark over Reagan. (And would do it again.)

  2. Bitch, I voted for Gary Johnson.

    1. Big boi in the house. I wonder if he’ll be going paul or Johnson 2016?

      1. I’m writing in Lucious Leftfoot in 2016.

        1. Then you don’t live in Florida. They don’t count write-in votes.

        2. And this is why I love Reason comments.

    2. I did too

  3. The only true libertarian is the guy who thinks the other guy isn’t libertarian enough.

  4. Imagine Johnson, Paul and Clinton battling it out on stage. I think I just had a debate-gasm.

    1. How about Clinton, Biden, and a chimpanzee.

  5. I have to say I never expected to see an LP candidate trying to say a GOP candidate isn’t libertarian enough because he needs to create some separation. Normally they say it because the GOP candidate is basically a pure statist.

    1. It’s like some sort of weird alternative universe. Like one where Nimoy is still alive, but with a beard.

      1. Or T’Pol has long hair and looks even hotter than normal. Because Enterprise was your favorite Trek series. Don’t deny it.

        1. Don’t joke about such things today of all days. Or I’ll Vulcan Death-Grip you to, um, well, death, I guess.

          1. Hey, that’s what your mom calls the handjobs she gives me! She’s a little…rough.

          2. Vulcan Neck Pinch. Much more Vulcan. Less murder-y.

            1. Do you have an Agonizer? I think Episiarch needs some Agony.

              1. Don’t worry, your mom takes care of that. Like I said, she’s a little rough, and she refuses to take out her dentures.

              2. I have access to an Agony Booth.

                1. I think we’re agreed that Mr. Episiarch should get the full treatment. All the way to 11.

      2. Stop bringing it up. It’s almost The Weekend. I don’t want to have a sad this close to the weekend, ProL.

        1. It totally sucks. Who writes this shit, anyway?

      3. Or like the good one with Quinto.

  6. “While Paul may be the most libertarian-minded candidate in the field of prospective GOP presidential candidates, Johnson said, Paul doesn’t fit the libertarian mold on a host of issues: from abortion to marriage equality to immigration and marijuana.”

    RAND: “Every human being is a person from the moment he comes into existence through conception.”

    JOHNSON: “Fuck off, slaver! During the earliest stages of my existence, my mother had every right to kill me, and you’re excommunicated for saying otherwise!”

    1. 36 words in that quote, and the only one Eddie sees is “abortion.”

      1. Paul is the Libertarian version of a RINO.

    2. I’m with Eddie. Pro-life views are compatible with libertarianism; I’d even argue that the two views are necessary, which is why I’ll always vote pro-life.

      And before you call me a Republican in disguise, riddle me this: how many Republicans do you know who also support criminal justice reform, ending the death penalty, and prosecuting the Bush administration for war crimes?

      1. As long as you don’t spend 14 hours a day witnessing to us, we’re cool.

        1. What do you mean?

      2. I agree on the abortion question. The underlying principles of libertarianism do not define when “life” begins. This is the fundamental question of the abortion issue.

        Having a belief that life begins at conception is certainly as rational as any other moment in time prior to birth. This isn’t my position, but it certainly isn’t an unlibertarian one.

      3. To make such an argument, how do you address the question of the obligation of the mother to provide her resources to the child against her will?

        1. We do this all the time, moms can’t starve their children. Seems like a simple hurdle.

  7. Johnson’s ability to match or exceed his vote total from 2012 (1.3 million votes, one percent of the vote total)

    You have to round up to get GayJay to 1% of the vote. The 1980 Clark/Koch ticket is still the only one to break 1%.

    1. It’s almost as if we are structurally a two-party system.

        1. Wise man once said, “Whoever smelt it dealt it”

  8. I like Gary Johnson a lot personally, but I question what he expects to get out of a second presidential run.

    Like I said in the AM Links this morning, he is or was popular enough in New Mexico to have contended for a seat in the Senate or House. If he really wanted to make a difference why not do that instead of go on another vanity run?

    1. It makes you wonder if, for the time being, the best thing libertarians can do is educate (Ron Paul) or demonstrate (Gary Johnson as governor) libertarian principles.

      What is the best thing Rand can do? I don’t know at this point. Run for President or keep doing what he’s been doing as a senator?

  9. I’ll vote for Paul if he’s the nominee. But Johnson is my likely choice, otherwise, unless one of the other candidates in the GOP decides to shift, well, upwards.

  10. I’ll vote for Johnson over Bush and Paul over Johnson. The rest of the GOP I would have to give it some thought.

  11. Johnson supports ENDA. That would disqualify him IMO if his “Fair Tax” support wasn’t already the dealbreaker.

    1. Someone needs to explain the difference between the flat tax and the FairTax to me.

      1. Flat tax is an income tax, fair tax is a sales tax.

      2. You have this magic research library right at your fingertips…

        1. Yes, but I was going to give you an opportunity to do the honors. Looks like no one was home. Shame.

        2. A research library that chooses results based on popularity, no less!

      3. Flat tax=flat theft and fair tax = fair theft. Anytime you see the word tax its synonomous with theft.

    2. Johnson supports ENDA

      Really? I thought the LP was for the bomb-throwing radicals and not the mealy-mouthed pragmatic moderates? If he wanted to be a “big government is bad but we can’t cut anything” then he should have stayed a Republican.

  12. Johnson really needs to stop talking. If he can’t get past the fact that pro-life libertarians exist and are becoming more prominent in the Republican Party (I’d say that the two ideologies are not only compatible, but necessary), then he’s just missing the point. I’d prefer a presidential election between a Democrat and a libertarian-leaning Republican over one between a statist Democrat and Republican. And as someone who completely opposes the LP, I actually want Rand to gain momentum…although I’d prefer Justin Amash.

    1. Of course, I doubt that the GOP will take too kindly to Amash as a serious presidential candidate. His views aside, he’s an Orthodox Arab-American.

      1. Eh, I think that gives him Right Wing Victim points, actually. The status of Arab Christians is a Big Deal in certain circles (especially socially conservative circles).

        1. True, but his support for noninterventionism will lead many to question his motives. Hawks hear diplomacy and think anti-American.

      2. The key modifier should be Orthodox CHRISTIAN Arab-American

        He could spin it to his advantage – Antiochian Orthodox have a direct, personal, understanding of the dangers of militant Islam and the culture of the middle east. Plus he’d get all the “look-we’re-not-racist” points.

        1. Amash is as White as Whitey Hvitsson

        2. Possibly, but he’s not hawkish enough. If diplomacy was on some sort of spectrum, he’d be going beyond what Rand Paul’s position is.

          If Republicans think of Rand as an isolationist, then what will they think of Amash?

    2. Johnson can get preachy and more libertarian than thou. He would be better off staying on message.

    3. How do you justify forcing a woman to provide her resources to the child against her will? Libertarians know that right to life does not imply obligation to support.

  13. “Paul has even sidled away from his libertarian foreign policy views, ?shying away from his isolationist views in favor of a more nuanced foreign policy that would better fit the mold of a Republican primary.”

    He both sidled and shyed in the same sentence. CNN apparently gets their writers from the American Academy for People Who Can’t Write Well and Like to Write Bullshit about Things They Don’t Understand.

    Admittedly, there aren’t many people attending the AAPWCWWLWBATTDU because it’s name doesn’t fit easily on advertisements.

  14. I wrote Gary Johnson off when he took stolen money for his campaign.

    -jcr

    1. I’m guessing you don’t take a deduction on your taxes for mortgage interest then.

      1. Try again, you failed to understand the difference between keeping your own money and stealing money from someone else.

        -jcr

        1. I was under the impression that matching funds came from the voluntary contributions people make when filing their taxes.

          I actually agree with you that reducing your tax liability is keeping your own money but I’ve had many discussions with people who don’t get the mortgage deduction who argue it’s stealing.

          1. I was under the impression that matching funds came from the voluntary contributions people make when filing their taxes.

            Nope. IRS doesn’t even bother to count those checkboxes, because the campaign funding statute isn’t limited by the number of suckers.

            -jcr

  15. I don’t get Johnson’s lukewarm popularity with libertarians.

    I took a good look into his voting record and sweet talk during the last prez election. He talked all sorts of happy small-government budget and reduced deficits. Fact: Johnson took office in 1995, and New Mexico’s state spending for that year was $8.1 billion. The state’s deficit was $4.9 billion, and the population was 1.7 million. In 2003, when Johnson left office, the state’s budget had grown nearly 70%, to $13.4 billion, and the deficit was $8.8 billion ? almost doubled. However, the state’s population had grown by less than ten percent, to only 1.9 million people.

    I figured that it was not merely reasonable to conclude he’s a wasteful big spender of OPM, it was demonstrable. And since the numbers weren’t remotely difficult to find, he’s a liar AND a cynic.

    Then I read him saying prostitution should be government-regulated and said “NEXT!”

    I mean, hey, no judgment, y’all. I voted for Gary Locke in all sincerity, once. But I don’t get his tepid appeal.

    I voted Cthulu.

    1. Fact: Johnson took office in 1995, and New Mexico’s state spending for that year was $8.1 billion. The state’s deficit was $4.9 billion, and the population was 1.7 million. In 2003, when Johnson left office, the state’s budget had grown nearly 70%, to $13.4 billion, and the deficit was $8.8 billion ? almost doubled. However, the state’s population had grown by less than ten percent, to only 1.9 million people.

      So why did he leave the GOP again?

      1. He was polling behind Jon Huntsman and Vermin Supreme in NH.

    2. You might want to take a look at how much of that spending was via overridden vetoes.

      If legal but regulated marijuana is better than prohibition, why is the same not true for prostitution?

      1. “Vote for me because I don’t compromise libertarianism like Paul, I’m pure. Except when I’m not, and I need to compromise. But I’ll never compromise enought to be relevant!”

        1. If you’re waiting for the great libertarian epiphany when we get a complete turnover of all politicians to 100% “pure” libertarians, whatever that is, good luck with that.

          1. I just want to keep the government out of my hookers.

            1. Really? No secret service jokes?

              1. Secret service is where you went first? I’ve been waiting for vagina jokes. There’s only so much room in those things, you know.

      2. Not sure if serious…

        If so, I shall return in a moment (going to get cites this time).

      3. “You might want to take a look at how much of that spending was via overridden vetoes.”

        Who fucking cares? If he’s claiming that his actions have reduced the size of his state’s government (and he is), eliminated NM’s budget deficit (and he is), and cut spending (and he is) then he’s a bald liar. The numbers just are not there.

        How much worse it might have been if not for noble Gary isn’t relevant. He isn’t claiming that all this wonderful frugality would have happened “if not for those damned overridden vetoes”. He’s claiming frugality happened and he wants the credit for it, only the numbers don’t back that up.

        Data. Charts.

        “If legal but regulated marijuana is better than prohibition, why is the same not true for prostitution?”

        This is the part I think might be just joking. I’m tempted to overwhelm you with Maggie McNeill links.

        Short Pro-Hooker: No laws but those which apply equally to the random hook-up in a bar. No regulations but those which apply equally to a plumber. Prohibition’s better than being shot in the head, but that doesn’t make it a reasonable argument for prohibition.

        1. Who fucking cares?

          I’d say its pretty fucking important in evaluating his term as governor.

          1. Answered already. RTF post.

            1. I read it, the explanation wasn’t convincing. Besides, I was just answering your question.

              1. He said a thing happened. It didn’t. After-the-fact excuses as to why he might have lied are irrelevant to the facts is “unconvincing?”

                Well. Don’t I feel all covered in shame. You’re clearly correct, Johnson should lie his silly arse off with impunity because someone overrode his veto. The bastards.

                1. Data. Charts.

                  The post you link to doesn’t point out any lies; the author just doesn’t know what “balanced budget” means.

                  1. Mathematically prove that Johnson eliminated deficit spending, reduced the size of the state government, and cut spending. Show your work.

                    Anyone wanting to swing dick about math, should be willing to let other people check their figures.

    3. Well, looking at the party affiliations of the NM House and Senate over that period of time, a Johnson supporter could tell a story that he wasn’t able to get the legislation he wanted through the overwhelming sea of Team Blue.

      1. True. And if he had been claiming this – that he attempted to make good strides and was thwarted, but here’s what the numbers showed he could have accomplished fiscally – then he might have had my vote.

        He’s not. He claims the fiscal strides were a wondrous victory. Either math is lying, or he is.

  16. He also melodramatically keeled over when his debate opponent, former New York Rep. Ann Marie Buerkle, claimed that marijuana use dramatically increased people’s risks for heart attacks.

    That’s a new, where do they keep coming up with this bullshit?

  17. I voted for GayJay in the primaries and the general, and generally supported his career (ironically enough, because I thought he broke from the “purer than thou libertarian” mold in an appealing way), but this…

    Having a debate right now over whether or not to legalize marijuana is kind of like having a debate over whether the sun will come up tomorrow.

    If this is the fucking applause line, then Johnson’s problems in the primary had nothing to do with media coverage and everything to do with him simply not being interesting or charismatic in any way.

  18. Two political incumbents debating over each other’s libertarian creds is just silly.

  19. I say lets elect Hillary and burn dis mutha down now!

  20. Johnson did such a great job the last time, he deserves another shot. Maybe he’ll disappear on a hiking trip in the middle of the campaign again! I know the capital L’s love that.

    But we all know the LP is not about winning, it’s about making capital L’s feel superior about themselves while they enable the Dems to shove the country further and further into the septic tank.

  21. Gary:

    I voted for you last election. But I have to tell you something. If Rand gets the nomination, he’s got my vote because he’s going to be the closest thing to a libertarian president than we’ve seen in a very long time, and probably never in the lifetime of anyone who is alive right now.

    I’m not questioning your libertarian credentials, but I am now questioning your intelligence.

    You should get behind Rand now, or just STFU until he doesn’t get the nomination.

  22. ProLifeLibertarian|2.27.15 @ 5:14PM|#

    “Someone needs to explain the difference between the flat tax and the FairTax to me.”

    The Flat tax is theft, and the fair tax is theft. Both are forms of extortion, which violate the NAP. An inability to revoke consent to be governed or taxed makes individuals slaves to the entity that “collects” them.

    Because folks vote for other folks who wear fancy clothes and costumes making believe they could do complex magical shit they have no clue about, somehow it becomes ok when these said douche sheissers engage in theft, violence and that extortion thing they renamed “taxation” to trick the gullible.

  23. Honestly, I’ll say this. Johnson’s big push is to get the Libertarians in the debates. If Paul is the Republican candidate, this is especially a libertarian win. Basically, it will put the statist Democrat (probably Clinton, but maybe Warren) in the position of being the extremist.

    1. I’m imagining the debates:

      Johnson (pointing to Hilary asking Paul): Do you believe this shit?
      Paul (shrugging): I-uh-oh?

  24. The scariest thing about Clinton is she will probably get to nominate the next two or three Supremes if she wins. But I doubt there is a thing any of us can do about defeating her – our votes, our voices, our contributions just don’t have enough weight. The establishment GOP that already controls the money bags and directs the get out the vote effort is not going to be stopped by a relatively few libertarians who either get behind the GOP candidate or vote for the LP’s sacrificial lamb. Maybe with steady growth in ten or twenty years, but hardly in 2016.

  25. Considering some of his positions, GJ might want to cool it a little bit on the True Scotsman stuff.

    In his last presidential campaign his platform on abortion was “legal during first and second trimester, illegal in third trimester”. His platform on immigration was “background checks and temporary work visas for all, but no citizenship”. He’s since come out in favor of public accommodation and protected class laws (which is why I wouldn’t vote for him again). The only drug he supports fully deregulating is marijuana. He proposed making heroin available by prescription, but only to addicts as a risk management strategy.

    Aside from the “fuck your freedom of association” thing, none of those issues are big enough to be deal breakers for me, but they aren’t 100% pure organic grain-fed libertarianism by a long shot. It wouldn’t take the most radical libertarian in the movement to make the same challenge to Johnson’s libertarian bona fides.

  26. Goddamn. I so fucking try to live life as non-judgmental but jesus fucking buddha and mohammed straight in the asses with an old roll of papyrus…

    Was visiting some old heads deep in some other state recently… deep… in the reeds shall we say. Hubs makes about 200k a year. Wife is skinny, older, and I’d like to stick my cock in her because she has powers. Wouldn’t do it, tho. because I am an ethical slut. We were smoking some great fucking chronic and the talk started on Ron Paul and how they were so fucking worried about the entire world system and the whole fucking thing was going to pot and jesus was going to save them and made the whole thing better but not really cuz Ron will never get voted in and they’ll NEVER fucking vote for anyone else but Ron and praise the LORD JESUS they found happiness in the lord and RON and some strange crazy pastor over their TV monitor in some bizarro county in the Dakotas…

    I get it. I understand somewhat that these deep woods people who bizarrely have plenty of money are distraught cuz Ron went home and is now making peanut butter sandwiches for his grandbabies… but… why in the FUCKING CHRIST did they have to go on about chemtrails? REALLY!! Fucking chemtrails… Chemtrails and fucking JPMORGAN and world bankers….

    And I’m just getting started with Rons cast of characters…. NO fucking politician on the face of the earth has had a more unique set of personalities following him than Ron Paul the Movie. Yep, I went there….

    1. Problem is Hollywood would never ever ever fucking find the people I know that would likely make the fucking most interesting, funny, brilliant, profound, absurd, scary, disturbing, and ultimately unsettling film ever made about the American future.

  27. Gary Johnson, the bottommost crab in the pot.

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  29. I did vote for Johnson last time and like him. But if we get Paul I’ll have to vote for the guy that is libertarian enough to get elected. It would be an enormous improvement over the past decades of statist leadership.

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