12 thoughts on “Salon on Gary Johnson

  1. Hopefully Paul will transition to more of a mensch to other liberty-centric pols than the focus of an indivdiual-driven movement since there is no chance of Paul winning and the movement he inspired needs to move beyond the man to have any staying power/influence. Could Paul be the Goldwater to some Reagan?

  2. I’m no insider, but my gut tells me Paul will be recalcitrant (unfortunately). He refused to endorse Barr in the 2008 general, and I don’t think he & Johnson have much of a personal connection. Johnson is willing to say things about religion and drug use that I think Paul would recoil from. It’s also hard to imagine some of the more “eccentric” corners of American conservatism like the John Birch Society coming out full bore for Johnson the way they did for Paul.

    1. Right, but to pick up on Grover’s Goldwater analogy, if Johnson were Paul’s Reagan, though some might drop out over some of his policies, it’s hard to see that there would be differences at the core, and perhaps there might be a wash on some of the religious and drug use issues (where Paul himself is hardly a centrist). I’m no politics-watcher at all, but it’s interesting to speculate. (And cheap!)

  3. Worth noting that Johnson’s abortion views are likely to turn off even some libertarians and would make him a very unlikely Republican primary winner even if the 2012 elections are fought over fiscal issues.

    Given the issues at play right now and where we are as a nation, the optimal Republican nominee (in terms of electoral success) would be someone who stresses economic issues and is pro-life enough to satisfy the base Republican voters, but who doesn’t want to fight the election on cultural/values issues (but will wink enough on soft issues like drugs to win over moderates but without stirring up the rapid anti-drug SoCons).

    1. Rand Paul seems to be threading that needle very well right now in KY. His problem is that he’s been almost too successful in distancing himself from libertarianism, and there are real doubts as to whether he’ll be much different from a standard-issue Republican. I think he will be on our side as much as he dares, but he’s constrained by the political environment in KY, which is somewhere near the opposite of libertarian.

  4. Romney would have been well-positioned given his background in business except for his disastrous health care policy history. Suicide for the Republicans since Obama could have a field day with any Romney critique of health care or fiscal policy. And let’s face it, he doesn’t inspire. McCain was a weak Republican primary candidate and yet won anyway over Romney.

    The Republicans just do not have any obvious strong candidates at this point, but it is early.

  5. In maybe 2006, Ron Paul came to Charleston and spoke to The Citadel libertarian club. One of the first questions was whether he would run for President again. He said no. Well, if not you, who? He mentioned Mark Sanford (our governor.) And Gary Johnson.

    Johnson endorsed Paul for President in 2008. Johnson opposed invading Iraq.

    Paul, of course, agrees with Johnson on the drug war.

    As for abortion, both Johnson and Paul believe it is an issue that should be decided state by state. It is true, of course, that Paul would favor prohibition at the state level and Johnson would be pro-choice.

    My understanding is the Ron Paul is not running for President. And I expect he will endorse Johnson. But we will see.

  6. Oh..

    Gary Johnson came to Charleston _last night_ and spoke to the Bastiat Society.

    I would say his biggest problem with some people in that crowd was immigration.

  7. I hope you’re right about the endorsement, Bill! The Campaign for Liberty has been bussing people into the informal Republican caucuses this year to vote for Ron Paul. Those could have been good opportunities to start getting Johnson some name recognition. It’s still pretty early, though.

  8. We should also not underestimate the problem Johnson will have with his atheism. That would be a very tough sell, even if his politics aligned otherwise. Americans like politicians who are, or who pretend to be, Christian, which is why every president since Reagan has invoked God and his faith regularly.

  9. Do you know that Gary Johnson is an atheist? Or is that what you take from the Salon interview?

    I suppose there is a statement in his bio that points that way:

    “Johnson was raised Lutheran and throughout his life has lived according to those Christian principles”

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