Gary Johnson

Cut Europe

With all this talk of isolationism in the GOP, namely over our “kinetic military action” in Libya and the wearying, ongoing wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, there’s an atmosphere that Republicans will be more willing to cut defense spending and reorganize our military to better fit in with the rest of the world. No more Dubya’s and silly foreign expeditions, more or less. But there’s one area that I see missing: Europe. I think it should be front and center.

When we Americans start arguing over welfare spending, it almost inevitably comes to be that those on the “left” say “Well, we’re spending billions and billions of dollars on bombing people in foreign countries, maybe we should cut that first, huh?” Naturally, conservatives balk at cutting military spending (while libertarians agree and then continue arguing to cut welfare anyways), but in terms of Europe, this is an area where they can make a great tactical manuever. I say this because, also almost inevitably, some liberal or progressive will then cite Europe as a great example of their welfare state ideal, saying “See, they can do it! Why can’t we, with the #1 economy in the world, do the same?” This was almost always brought up in the healthcare debate, focusing on the United Kingdom’s NHS, Germany’s social insurance policies, and infant mortality. And what else can conservatives and libertarians say? Europe sucks? Only in some limited aspects, and that’s simply not a respectable argument anyway.

New Hampshire GOP Presidential Debate Live-Blog

We’ll be covering the debate sponsored this evening by CNN, WMUR and the Manchester Union Leader beginning at 7:30pm. The candidates participating this evening are Rep. Michele Bachmann, Herman Cain, former Speaker Newt Gingrich, Rep. Ron Paul, former Gov. Tim Pawlenty, former Gov. Mitt Romney and former Sen. Rick Santorum.

Gary Johnson, who served two-terms as Governor of New Mexico, was not invited to the debate even though he met CNN’s criteria.

And before you watch the debate for tonight, here is some suggested reading: Dave Weigel has a report from the Granite State, AmSpec’s Jim Antle has a few quick thoughts on each candidate, The Hill offers five things for us to watch for this evening and a preview of tonight’s debate from The New York Times.

The Apathetic Voter and the 2012 GOP Presidential Debate

The following was authored by Ron Davis, a conservative activist from Georgia and blogger at UpholdLiberty.org.

I first became interested in politics during a GOP Presidential debate in 2008. In the middle of that array of candidates, one really stood out to me. What he had to say sparked my interest, and his 2008 campaign cured my political apathy.

There’s a significant group of people who will read this post who are, like I was, primarily apathetic when it comes to the political process.  If you find yourself in that group, this post is for you.

2012 is coming soon, and it’s going to be a huge election year.  The presumed frontrunner Republican candidates are, quite honestly, no good. So what’s so great about tonight’s debate? They won’t be there. Instead, we’ll be hearing from the people who actually have things to say – things that you won’t hear when those bigger names are in front of the camera.

Not everyone in tonight’s debate is a great candidate, but if you watch this evening, you’ll be exposed to some great minds – people who have real ideas for how to make America better who typically have to fight for their fair chance to be heard.

I’d like to ask each of you to tune into tonight’s debate. Watch it with an open mind and give fair consideration to what each of these candidates has to say. You may see somebody who stands out from the crowd – someone who resonates with what you believe.

And you might even go to bed tonight having found the cure to your political apathy.

Ron Paul to announce presidential exploratory committee today

News broke last evening that Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) will announce the formation of an presidential exploratory committee today as he continues to weigh a second bid for the Republican Party’s nomination:

Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, whose outspoken libertarian views and folksy style made him a cult hero during two previous presidential campaigns, will announce on Tuesday that he’s going to try a third time.

Sources close to Paul, who is in his 12th term in the House, said he will unveil an exploratory presidential committee, a key step in gearing up for a White House race. He will also unveil the campaign’s leadership team in Iowa, where the first votes of the presidential election will be cast in caucuses next year.
[…]
Paul took 10 percent of the vote in the Iowa caucuses and 8 percent in New Hampshire’s primary. He finished second, with 14 percent of the vote, in the Nevada caucuses, and eventually finished fourth in the Republican nominating process with 5.6 percent of the total vote. Paul’s campaign book, The Revolution: A Manifesto also reached No. 1 on The New York Times best-seller list in 2008.

This would seem to be an ideal year for Paul: Since the last election, the Republican Party has moved much closer to his view on deficit reduction, which made him an early tea party favorite. All of the party’s top-tier presidential hopefuls are focusing on lowering debt, government spending, and tax rates, issues Paul has long advocated.

It looks like Paul’s staff is getting better at planning, an aspect of his campaign that was missing sorely in 2008. This news will largely drown out the Gary Johnson’s announcement for president late last week (he is bypassing the exploratory process).

Gary Johnson or Ron Paul?

On Thursday, former New Mexico governor Gary Johnson announced his candidacy for President of the United States.  Texas Congressman Ron Paul is expected to announce his candidacy at some point in the future.  That would put two libertarians campaigning for the limited libertarian vote in the GOP.  Some argue that this would be a good thing, that the two could shred the likes of Donald Trump and Sarah Palin in the primary debates.  Unfortunately, let’s face facts.  Paul didn’t perform well last time in the debates, so the only reason to expect different this time is the pathetic line up we’re looking at from the GOP this time around.

However, as things stand at the moment, I’m putting my weight behind Gary Johnson.  This isn’t a lack of respect or admiration for Ron Paul, those are as strong as ever.  However, Johnson has a few things going for him that Paul doesn’t necessarily.

It’s true that both have a record to stand on.  However, Paul as repeatedly used earmarks to send money to his home district.  Granted, he always votes against the budget after adding those earmarks, but some can easily argue that Paul knows it will pass anyways so he’s just voting against the budget on form.  He’s bringing home the pork just like so many he criticizes, at least in their eyes.  Johnson, on the other hand, vetoed over 750 pieces of legislation during his time as governor of New Mexico.

Gary Johnson Announces His Candidacy For President

Former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson today announced that he is seeking the 2012 Republican nomination for President of the United States. Johnson served as governor from 1995 to 2003. The announcement was made Thursday morning on the steps of the New Hampshire State House.

Announcing his candidacy, Johnson released the following statement:

Let’s talk about America.

Today’s mess didn’t just happen. We elected it — one senator, member of Congress and president at a time. Our leaders in Washington, DC, have “led” America to record unemployment, a devalued currency, banking scandals, the mortgage crisis, drug crisis, economic crisis, loss of our nation’s industrial might – and a long list of other reminders our nation is way off course.

Why am I telling you this? Because America is better than this. And because I can help fix it.

I’m a fix-it man.

Before I was governor of New Mexico, I started a one-man fix-it business that I grew into an American dream with more than a thousand employees. My formula for success was simple. I showed up on time, did what I said what I’d do, and knew what I was doing.

I did the same thing as governor, exactly. Within two terms, I’d eliminated New Mexico’s budget deficit and cut the rate of state government growth in half while reducing the state workforce by over 10%, without laying off a single qualified state worker. Saying no to waste, corruption and political games is easier than you think. During my two terms I vetoed 750 pieces of bad, unnecessary and wasteful legislation, and used the line-item veto to save millions of dollars. I was called “Governor Veto,” and accepted that nickname proudly.

CPAC 2011 (So Far…)

It’s been an interesting CPAC this year. Before the conference even started it was embroiled in controversy over the participation of gay conservative group GOProud. Several organizations pulled out of the conference, but few of them were regular participants anyway. The most high profile and only real loss was The Heritage Foundation. Rumors are that their refusal to participate this year was not over GOProud, but due to a financial dispute with the American Conservative Union—the organization behind CPAC. Regardless of the dispute before then conference, GOProud seems to be getting a good reception from attendees.

The big surprise yesterday was Donald Trump. Trump showed up yesterday afternoon to a fairly responsive crowd, but quickly digressed into a fight over Ron Paul with a heckler. Considering the room was stacked with Paulie’s waiting to hear Rand Paul, that was NOT a smart move. No one seems to be taking Trump for President seriously. Rand Paul did a really good job. He seems to have more charisma than his father.

Speaking of presidential candidates, Gary Johnson, former Governor of New Mexico, looks like he’s gearing up for a run. Johnson has a booth and professional campaign consultants wandering around. He actually gave a good speech yesterday, but is still considered a long, long, long shot candidate. Johnson’s biggest obstacle is his drug policy (he supports the legalization of marijuana) and he will have a hard time getting traditional Republican primary voters to buy into him because of it.

Mitt Romney spoke earlier today and got a very tepid response from the crowd. The ballroom was only three quarters of the way full, and he largely skipped over the health care issue which did not go unnoticed. The fake Sarah Palin was a bigger hit than Mitt.

GOP Presidential Primary Wide Open

**Note** A good friend pointed out that Gary Johnson the former Governor of New Mexico is also a likely candidate and deserves a mention.  While I think Gary did an excellent job as Governor and know that he is ideologically solid, I don’t think he can win the nomination.  His stance on the legalization of marijuana would prevent him from appealing to a large segment of the Republican base.

Believers in limited government should be worried. Conservatives in general should be worried. The current crop of potential Republican presidential candidates is largely bereft of real leadership and consists mostly of a bevy of recycled candidates from 2008. All of the polls cover the same names you’ve been hearing since the end of the last presidential election—Romney, Palin, Gingrich, Huckabee, Pawlenty, et al.

Anyone who could not beat John McCain last time should automatically be disqualified from this primary cycle. If Romney wasn’t already disqualified by his failure to be beat McCain, Romneycare in Massachusetts would definitely disqualify him. Obamacare is one of the top three issues on voters’ minds. 58% of likely voters support a repeal of the 2000+ page health care overhaul. How can we have a Presidential candidate that speaks out against this federal takeover of our health care system when he passed a very similar law in Massachusetts? We can’t. That’s a deficit that Romney cannot overcome.

Will Libertarians Be Represented in 2012 Primaries?

I have a major concern: libertarians will not be represented in the Republican Presidential primaries in 2012.

As Ron Paul has reached an age that makes his battle for the nomination even harder, and Gary Johnson’s lack of exposure makes his nomination unlikely, libertarians are faced with a major dilemma as the 2012 presidential primaries near.

Yes, Obama has done a terrible job by any stretch of the imagination. But libertarians know McCain would have hardly been a better choice. If anything McCain’s election would have made it nearly impossible for a Republican to be elected president for the next two decades because his disastrous policies would have been (wrongly) blamed on free market policies. I for one do not think Obama’s election was as undesirable as McCain’s would have been.

2012 will be a year of tough choices for libertarians. Can we honestly vote for a neo-con who we hardly agree with? Would you cast a ballot for Sarah Palin, Mike Huckabee, or Mitt Romney? Even Tim Pawlenty’s credentials are questionable with his all-out embrace with the climate change movement.

What will be interesting to see is how “conservatives” react to the growing libertarian voting bloc. Will conservatives understand why we want marijuana legalized? Why we want the Federal Reserve abolished? Why we think our foreign policy is disastrous? When you ask yourself these questions and think about casting a vote for Palin, Huckabee, or Romney, can you stomach that vote?

Podcast: Discussing Prominent Issues Facing The Nation With Former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson

Welcome Instapundit readers!

In a special podcast, Jason and Brett interview former governor of New Mexico, Gary Johnson to discuss the Our America Initiative political advocacy committee, as well as the issues facing our nation, and what he sees as solutions.

Earlier this year, former Governor Johnson embarked on two new journeys, writing The Seven Principles of Good Government and serving as the honorary chairman of the Our America Initiative.  In the interview, Johnson discusses the economy, health care, civil liberties, the War on Drugs, the War on Terror, the environment, and his ample use of the veto pen.

We would like to once again thank Governor Johnson, as well Sue Winchester, the Media Relations Representative for the Our America Initiative.

You can download the podcast here (35 minutes/32 MB). The always lovely Aimee Allen graces us with “Silence is Violence” in the music that opens the interview.


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