With Ron Paul still pushing for the GOP nomination and Gary Johnson running as a Libertarian it begs a question. I’ve written at length about how I firmly believe that Ron Paul would beat Obama in a general election; however, what about Gary Johnson? No, I don’t think he’d win, but there are likely many Ron Paul supporters who would vote for Johnson over Obama or the GOP nominee. So if that is true it suggests another reason why, if you want nothing more than to defeat Obama, Ron Paul should be your choice for the GOP nomination.
But is it true? What percentage could Gary Johnson receive should Paul not get the GOP nomination and would it be enough to help re-elect Barack Obama? I suspect it is. To add more fuel to this fire Obama is starting to campaign as an anti-war president to difference himself from the GOP field of likely nominees. This “Campaigner-In-Chief” move could be completely stymied by Republicans making Ron Paul their nominee. Who would be the real anti-war candidate if it were a Ron “non-interventionist” Paul vs Barack “drone bomber” Obama contest? This is yet another reason to make Paul the nominee.
Let’s see what you think about the Ron Paul and Gary Johnson factor.
Ron Paul is on fire. That is my opinion of his performance in this first GOP debate. Of course, I’m biased. Feel free to make your own judgement after watching the entire debate below. There were a few stellar moments from Ron Paul, including his answer when asked about legalizing drugs, and his answer about being the “Founding Father” of the Tea Party movement regarding Michele Bachmann.
I don’t agree with a lot of what Herman Cain says, but I have to admit he has charisma that will give him a lot of support. Expect the other candidates to start attacking him if his poll numbers go up. I think they will.
Gary Johnson did very well with a few odd moments. If I’m looking at him through social-con or neo-con eyes voting for him would likely be impossible. He did come off as a very honest “make the hard choices” candidate. Sort of like Cain without the charisma.
Pawlenty seems to be channeling John McCain a bit too much and Santorum just comes off as angry. Both seem to be going after the George W. Bush voting block; however small that is these days.
Recently, one of my classes took time to discuss John Stuart Mill’s “On Liberty”. It was a nice deviation from the week spent on the joys and frustrations of Communism. It didn’t take long before one of the most prominent issues in the writing, victimless crimes, or the right to do things that may affect you but not others, was brought up.
“I don’t think my friend should be able to kill herself,” pontificated a fellow classmate. “Because then I will be sad and this will affect me negatively.”
For whatever reason, the concept that one can do something to themselves but not others was ungraspable for many of my fellow students. Mill argued that people must have control of their own lives and be free to do whatever they wish with it as long as it does not hinder the rights of others to do whatever it is they wish with their lives. In a society that is becoming increasingly collectivist, it may be surprising to some people that victimless crimes actually exist. They include prostitution, smoking marijuana, not wearing a seat belt among others.
In his address to 2008’s Campaign for Liberty, former New Mexico Governor Gary E. Johnson joked, “When I go out on my motorcycle, I wear protection from head to toe. However, if someone doesn’t want to wear a helmet when riding their motorcycle, that should be their choice. There is a donor shortage in this country.”
The idea behind victimless crimes is simple. You have a right to your life. You have a right to make decisions, and yes even obviously stupid ones, because it is your life and yours alone. The idea that government intervenes on your behalf even with the best of intentions is a tragic and corrupting suggestion and one that should be abandoned. Only when you do something that would hinder the rights of others should the law involve itself.
The most important figure in the libertarian movement is the individual. If collectivists are allowed to control aspects related only to the individual, even in an effort to good on the part of the individual, than libertarianism has no chance at surviving and flourishing. Mr. Mill understood the benefits of individual liberty and warned in his timeless manuscript that if victimless acts are allowed to be crimes, than the individual, for all other factors of liberty, cannot be free.
Immediately after Barack Obama won the election last November I published an article revealing my own rather cursory investigation of former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson. I wanted to know more about him because I thought he had the potential to be a viable liberty-loving Presidential candidate in 2012. While I did discover some potential chinks in his armor, I concluded with the following:
It would be very difficult for me to not support Johnson if he were to run for President in 2012. As of right now, In my view he is the best positioned candidate to carry forward the message of liberty within the Republican Party. He may not be perfect on specific issues here or there, but Ron Paulians would be hard pressed to find another Republican candidate with his record and political viability. He served as a Governor for eight years. He didn’t raise taxes as Governor once. He promoted private business and free markets over government corporatism and regulation. Finally, and perhaps most pertinent, he enthusiastically endorsed Ron Paul for President.
There has been very minimal evidence for a Johnson 2012 bid until now. Jason Pye at UnitedLiberty.org reports that Johnson has formed a PAC and is set to release a book in December entitled “Seven Principles For Good Government”.
A few web sites have been set up by supporters in an effort to coax Johnson into running for President such as JohnsonForAmerica.com.
With this latest news it appears that Johnson is warming up to jump in the fray. I can see it now at the first GOP primary debate sometime in 2011:
Fox News Debate Moderator: Governor Johnson, you’ve been an outspoken critic of the drug war and support the decriminalization of marijuana. These positions don’t seem like Republican positions. This raises questions about your electability. Do you have any sir?
Gary Johnson: Who am I, Ron Paul?
Let us hope so, but this time, let us hope he wins.
The Republican Party is more or less in shambles. It is the political equivalent of New Orleans post-Katrina. All of the tired old neo-conservatives are scrambling around trying to make sense of the disaster but “making sense” has never been a ubiquitous neo-conservative trait. Finding the next GOP “leader” is quite easy. It’s hard to step anywhere in DC without having to wipe Red state leadership off the bottom of your shoe. Just about every Republican you bump into these days is trying to use political muscle to be the next Barry Goldwater or Ronald Reagan. All these attempts will likely fail.
The real problem with the GOP is the lack of activist and faithful followers. When everyone is trying to be a leader, who is left to do the following? The GOP is a city where every building is a comedy club holding an open mic night all on the same evening. The only people in the audience are Democrats laughing out of pity. Well, they are bleeding hearts after all.
The Republican Party doesn’t need new leadership. It needs old-style leadership, very old-style leadership. Newt Gingrich with a makeover is still neo-con Newt. A kinder gentler Rush Limbaugh? I thought the GOP was against drugs? And please don’t let me go down the lipstick on a pig avenue again regarding Sarah Palin. What a giant heaping pile of leadership!
Witnessing the Tea Parties last week left me a bit queasy. Perhaps the “tea” was too sweet or perhaps it was the effort to appropriate an idea just because the “other” team is now in power. During Glenn Beck’s broadcast of the Tea Party held at the Alamo you could clearly see a Ron Paul 2012 sign in the background. Since Ron Paul continues to claim that he doesn’t intend to run in 2012…
My thoughts veered once again to Gary Johnson, New Mexico’s former libertarian-in-Republican-clothing Governor. I wondered if he’s still considering a 2012 run, then I read a beautiful article by Bill Kauffman yesterday exploring the potential for a Johnson run by comparing him to Mark Sanford.
Yes, as a congressman Sanford opposed the U.S. intervention in Kosovo under a Democratic president; Gary Johnson opposed a Republican president’s war upon Iraq. Sanford reluctantly endorsed McCain in 2008; Johnson emphatically endorsed Ron Paul. Sanford has potential on civil liberties; Johnson, like Paul, has the guts to call for the legalization of marijuana and an end to the drug war.
As this issue went to press, Governor Johnson told me that he was keeping his options open for 2012. Keep an eye out for him, will you?
Ron Paul started something. Or, rather, he revealed something: liberty has a constituency. I was heartened mightily by the crowd in Minneapolis, which was overwhelmingly young. What a rousing sight: bright and enthusiastic kids afire with the spirit of liberty, of resistance to regimentation and the tyranny of standardization. Homeschoolers, homebrewers, punk rockers, evangelical Christians, radical Kansans, and reactionary New Englanders. These were American girls and boys, beautifully stained in the American grain, hip to Republican lies and numbing Democratic statism. Hell no, they won’t go. They’ll not be cannon fodder for the wars of Bush-Cheney or Obama-Biden. They demand honesty and liberty and respect for all things small and smaller; they have nothing but scorn for the liars and whores who run the empire.
I’d love for Gary Johnson to start getting his name out there as a potential candidate like Sanford is doing. I like Johnson more than Sanford at this point, but both are arguably more marketable than Ron Paul would be in 2012 mainly due to his age, certainly not his ideas.
I have worries and concerns for both potential candidates though. Ron Paul is unique and no candidate not named Ron Paul can claim 38 years of consistency fighting for free market and limited government principles. It appears more and more likely that the fight for the Ron Paul Republican voting block in 2012 will come down to Mark Sanford, Gary Johnson, or both.
Last week, Campaign for Liberty press guy and Ron Paul grandson-in-law Jesse Benton was driving to a constituent event with his boss and the subject of 2012 came up.
“He hasn’t closed out the idea of another run,” said Benton today. “We have some time to decide whether he runs again, or whether he gets behind somebody else. But we don’t have tons of time. By the middle of 2009, the decision needs to be made.”
Interesting. The article also shows Benton’s opinion on a potential Gary Johnson 2012 bid. His argument uses Bob Barr as an example.
I asked about the rumor that former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson might jump into the race (unclear in which party yet). “If he were to decide that he wanted to do that, he’d be a great guy to take the reins. But I don’t think that what Dr. Paul captured was 100 percent transferable to anyone else. I think the Bob Barr campaign assumed that and it didn’t pan out.”
So it looks like we may know within the next six months or so if Ron Paul will be running in 2012.
Those of us in Ron Paul withdrawal and excited at the prospect of former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson running for President in 2012, received some good news today. According to Charles Frohman writing on the Gary Johnson 2012 Facebook group, Johnson is interested in running. Frohman writes:
I met with Gary for a couple hours at his new mansion in Taos, New Mexico, and got confirmation of his interest in running for the 2012 presidency. Like Dr. Paul, the former Governor is a big believer in vetoing unconstitutional laws, and doing everything to allow individuals to pursue their happiness in most any way. Progressives should like his tolerance for alternative lifestyles, and conservatives should like his high standards for govt efficiency and support for local innovative govt solutions.
I suppose it is a bit early to start planning the first Johnson Money Bomb, but this is great news for us Ron Paul liberty lovers looking for a candidate in 2012. There is a lot of time between now and 2012, but this certainly provides hope for the future. In the meantime there is much work to be done with the upcoming 2010 election year. As Wendell Phillips reminds us, “Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty”.