Gary Johnson

Gary Johnson Roundup: Off Weed, Mad at NSA, Ready to Climb the Highest Mountain of U.S. Politics


The Libertarian Party and its presidential candidate Gary Johnson continue a historically high level of attention from major media. Some of the latest:

• USA Today, a very widely read paper in this here USA, profiles Johnson. Given his past as the first governor to advocate legalization and a former CEO of a pot-field company Cannabis Sativa, they couldn't help asking him when he last indulged. Seven weeks ago, in case you needed to know. The rest of it is decent basic limning of some of his differences with his major party opponents.

Gage Skidmore/Foter

• Daily Beast interviews Johnson and stresses his stance against NSA surveillance:

"China has a much lower incarceration rate than the United States, they don't spy on their citizens like we do with the NSA," Johnson [said]…Pressed further on that controversial point, Johnson pointed to the National Security Agency's widespread collection of metadata from private citizens. When told that the Chinese government monitors political dissidents, he replied: "What do you call the NSA and the satellites that are trained on us and the fact that 110 million Verizon users are having everything we do on our cell phones being data-collected?"

The Beast also got Johnson to react to Mitt Romney's questions about the probity of pot legalization:

While open to voting for a Johnson-Weld ticket, Mitt Romney recently told CNN: "It would be hard to come to support someone that takes those kinds of views… Marijuana makes people stupid and it is just not a good idea to say let's have more people falling prey to that."

"Are you any more stupid than the consumption of alcohol?" Johnson fired back to The Daily Beast. "Should anyone be denied to ability to get stupid for an hour or two, as long as that being stupid doesn't harm anyone else?"

Johnson admitted that his preferred method of consumption is via edible marijuana goods—gluten-free brownies mostly, due to his celiac disease.

• The Providence Journal stresses Johnson's mountain climbing exploits for an analogy to his current challenge:

During an earlier interview, in 2001, Johnson, in cowboy boots and with a turquoise clasp on his bolo tie, stood out amid the dark suits at a National Governors Association meeting in Providence. At the time, he was talking about climbing Mount Everest, and since then he has reached the summit of the world's highest peak…

"The similarities are incredible: you put one foot in front of the other, and you can't predict the outcome," said Johnson, now 63 years old. "In the case of Everest, you don't stand a chance if you don't show up in Nepal and attempt the journey."

• As we've noted before, Utah is where Johnson is polling the highest, and Donald Trump is very much unloved. Johnson's campaign chief Ron Nielson told me it's one of their major planned areas of emphasis, and The Los Angeles Times talks to Utahns on the ground, in the Libertarian Party and among disaffected Republicans, raising hopes Johnson can possibly beat the GOP there.

• And wouldn't you know it? Salon condemns Johnson because the libertarianism that surrounds him is still "fringe."

Matt Welch has had his eyes on the polls related to Johnson, and explains in granular detail what they tell us.