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Gary Johnson – 2012


Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, Texas Rep. Ron Paul, businessman Herman Cain and former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson will face off in Greenville, S.C., in the Fox News-sponsored debate that begins at 9 p.m. EDT on Thursday, May 5, 2011. I believe the two former governors and businessman are the ones to pay attention to because they have not been tainted with Potomac fever like the ones who are or have been a part of the inside the beltway mindset. Since I have already written a piece on Governor Tim Pawlenty I decided to offer some information about Governor Gary Johnson. The information I received is from multiple sources, and in Gary’s own words as much as I was able to obtain them.

A fitness fanatic who has participated in five Ironman triathlons, he defied all odds to win the New Mexico governor’s race in 1994 as a 42-year-old political virgin having never run for office. Johnson has climbed Mt. Everest. He twice defeated his Democratic opponent by 10 points in a state that is two-to-one Democratic. He funded his first campaign from his own fortune acquired when he sold, for $38 million, his construction company, which he started with one person: himself. As a student, Johnson worked as a handyman, leading him to start his own business, Big J Enterprises, which he grew into a multimillion-dollar plumbing corporation.

Johnson was married for 28 years to Denise “Dee” Simms, before he divorced her in 2005. She died in 2006. He had two children with Simms, daughter Seah and son Erik. He was raised Lutheran.

During his two terms, Governor Gary Johnson cut the 10 percent annual growth his state budget had been experiencing in half. He vetoed 750 bills, a third of them Republican, privatized government services and trimmed public-sector employee rosters. He lowered taxes and still exited with a tidy budget surplus. He earned the nickname Governor No.

Gary Johnson is a strong supporter of school choice and wants to get the federal government out of education. He would repeal Obamacare and advocates the general Republican program of market-based health-care reforms. He opposed TARP and vigorously opposes corporate welfare, including farm subsidies. He is pro-choice, though he opposes Medicaid or other taxpayer funding of abortion and his gubernatorial campaigns were endorsed by pro-life groups. He is comfortable with gay marriage.

Unlike Ron Paul, he is pro-choice (except for late-term abortions), pro-immigration, pro-trade, and untainted by bizarre conspiracy theories that NAFTA, and a highway running through Mexico, America, and Canada, is a prelude to the dissolution of the North American borders. Nor does he have Ron Paul’s racist newsletter baggage. His signature issues are not abolishing the Fed or returning to the gold standard. Rather, it is avoiding the impending financial collapse by cutting government spending on everything by 43 percent – Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, and defense.

Gary Johnson defends his embrace of immigration and opposition to the war on drugs, not on first principles but on fiscal grounds. As governor, he tackled the illegal immigration issue by demonstrating that illegals pay more in state taxes than they consume in services. Likewise, he emphasizes how the drug war sucks up massive law enforcement dollars without reducing use. I have to wonder, had he been the governor of California, if the same conclusion about illegals paying more in state taxes than they consume in services would have been reached.

Gary Johnson has issues with Paul Ryan’s plan – because it doesn’t go far enough. He proposes repealing George W. Bush’s Medicare prescription-drug benefit and including current seniors in changes to Medicare. He would reduce future Social Security benefits by changing the payment formula, indexing it to prices rather than to wages, and he is open to personal accounts. Overall, he calls for cutting government spending by $1.6 trillion this year to bring the budget into balance.

Gary Johnson opposed the Iraq war and calls for pulling out of Afghanistan. Gary Johnson supports the right of Israel to exist as a sovereign country and believes that the United States should protect that right militarily if needed. He champions smaller government, lower taxes, looser business regulations, and marijuana legalization. He’s often said his highest priority is balancing America’s federal budget.

Johnson has a surprisingly broad appeal, pitching to a potential base of Independents, fiscal conservatives, Libertarians and libertarian-leaning Republicans, even crossover Democrats and those disillusioned with Obama. He is an admirer of the tea party, and could attract some of the fiscally-conservative tea party core. Gary Johnson remains a very long shot for the Republican nomination. He lacks money and organization. His name recognition is nearly nonexistent.

So this is what I have found to report about Gary Johnson. There are protectionists, nativists, and prohibitionists who are never going to be able to support him for his positions on trade, immigration, and marijuana. From what I know about the current occupant of the White House and this former Governor of New Mexico, if the choice came down to the two of them I would not even hesitate in voting for Gary Johnson.

pilgrim
I am retired after 36 years of being a state of Indiana employee. I enjoy writing and reading conservative blogs.

19 COMMENTS

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19 COMMENTS

  1. He had a lot of supporters at CPAC this year. Interesting bio, ‘Pil, thanks for bringing the information. Agree, if would be an easy choice to choose him over Obama, but think he has hurdles overall for the Republican nomination. Don’t they all? 🙂

    • I agree they all have hurdles. I personally prefer the hurdles for the ones with executive leadership experience to the hurdles for the former US Senator and current US House candidate. After Obama we can’t afford to elect someone again who has no executive leadership experience.

      • After Obama we can’t afford to elect another liberal Democrat and liberal Dem Congress. And despite his lack of exec leadership he has passed a huge portion of his agenda; tripled the deficit, run up more debt in 2.3 yrs that Bush did in 8 yrs etc. A more competent liberal Dem with more exec experience would have been worse! But Gary Johnson has executive leadership experience as Governor and I hope we look out side the usual GOP next-in-line box this time and serious consider those like Johnson.

  2. For myself personally, no thank you on Gary Johnson. From whatever I’ve read about him, he seems to me to be a younger version of Ron Paul, with the one exception that he rhetorically supports Israel. He seems to be walking on eggshells, especially with respect to Foreign Policy, so as not to be seen as a loony, as Ron Paul has been viewed. He said that he isn’t sure if our troops should have remained in Europe to confront the Soviets after WWII. He said “I don’t think I have the expertise to be able to say if it was good or bad, it just seems to me that today, it really doesn’t seem warranted.” To say he isn’t sure if we should have had troops in Europe, after WWII, is not wanting to put himself openly into a Ron Paul position of saying bring all the troops home from around the globe. That’s how I see it anyway.

    As to abortion his comments are- “I support a women’s right to choose abortion until viability of the fetus, (which seems to be a change in his original position). Why does viability endow human beings with the right to life? I don’t personally have a sense that life starts at conception.”

    In my personal opinion, we already have Ron Paul. We don’t need a younger version of him with a few tweeks for credibility.

    https://www.outsidethebeltway.com/gary-johnson-yea-i-inhaled-two-years-ago-actually/

    Outsidethebeltway is a Doug Mataconis site. He is a self identified Libertarian. His site before he redid it was what has been described as a shrine to Ron Paul.

    • Well SEC, here is another way to look at the situation. Gary Johnson can play an important role in splitting up the vote of supporters of Ron Paul so that he will not do as well as he did in the 2008 primary. Obviously Gary Johnson is not going out of his way to do any favors for Ron Paul in 2012 by running.

      • Isn’t that the problem pilgrim, with splitting the vote? If Paul gets some of them, and Johnson gets some of them, they split the conservative vote, and we get another John McCain. Isn’t that what happened in 2008? There surely were more that were far less moderate than McCain, yet the vote for them got split in so many ways that McCain survived. In VA 5th district for 2010, there were more than a few that came a whole lot closer to conservatism than the moderate that won the nomination. The vote was so split between the fight for the “best” conservative that the moderate won the nomination. In my opinion, so much goes for having a huge field. Thankfully Robert Hurt has been a whole lot better than I ever expected. IMO Ron Paul will ultimately not run, but will back out and support Johnson. Because most of the national Tea Party groups are one issue (fiscal) supporters, and have quietly supported a truce on social and national security issues, they can be enough to give Obama the next election. Look at the polling, even before the polling that showed a waning support for the Tea Party. The social conservative base has been a big part of that support. Remember the polls that said for the first time in a long time, the conservatives had overtaken the Libs? Look further into those polls and you will see that many Tea Party supporters are also social conservatives. Johnson can’t win those votes. They will never gain enough support to win, only to insure a second Obama term. Maybe in future years the libertarians may gain steam, and may actually get enough support to change from the current two party system, but for 2012 that is unlikely. To support those that are widely considered the far right will never help the Republicans to survive in 2012, and to widen the Republican margins in the House, and more importantly the Senate. I truly hope that the pendulim (sp) doesn’t swing equally both ways for this election. Neither extreme is good for the country. Believe me, I am not a moderate, but try to look at the steps that can get us back to a government that represents the people, not the ideology of some with an agenda. My opinion.

        • To add to my post above, I’ve literally read on some Ron Paul forums that they want to go back to the Articles of Confederation. They think the Constitution was a pox on this country, and did nothing but grow the federal government. Yup it did, but in ways that were very necessary. I personally don’t choose to start all over again. George Washington said that during the AOC, the country was near anarchy.

        • The problem in 2008 is that Jim Gilmore, Sam Brownback, and Fred Thompson split up the conservative votes so that the moderate McCain was the last one left standing. No one in 2008 was competing for the votes of Ron Paul, and so with no division of his voters he could keep running while Gilmore, Brownback, and Thompson had to drop out.

          • In 2008 Gilmore and Brownback dropped out of the race before the first primary. Not sure why you are bringing them up as part of the conservative block that gave McCain the nom in 2008. Thompson dropped even before Fla. From what I understand, the only ones left after Fla. was Romney, McCain, Paul and Huckabee. You say that no one went after the Paul votes in 2008. What exactly were the Ron Paul votes that any candidate should have been going for? Paul still only got a very small fraction of the votes. What was it about the Paul votes that any 2008 candidate should have been trying to attract?

            In 2012, what is it that you think any candidate should be trying to attract to gain those votes away from Paul or Johnson?

            • I am not shilling for anybody that is running in 2012. I am not going to make any suggestion about what any candidate should do, except I hope all of the GOP candidates are honest. The primary system we have is not helpful for conservatives running because conservative states do not vote as early as the more liberal states do. I should have said Tancredo instead of Jim Gilmore. Huckabee won Iowa which knocked Brownback out, and McCain won New Hampshire. The conservatives all fared badly in the early primaries and could not continue. Ron Paul got about 8 or 9 % in each of those early states. If another candidate had been attracting voters who wanted to make cuts in defense, then Ron Paul would have got less votes and dropped out as well. Let me be clear that I am not shilling for anybody, but I prefer former governors to Senators or congressmen.

        • I can’t bring myself to call Ron Paul as splitting “conservative” votes and I admit that at this point, I am a shill for Paws (not Tiger paws, being a gamecock) that governed a thousand lakes…

          • I agree with you GC that Ron Paul is not splitting “conservative” votes in 2008 or in 2012. He attracts a lot of the “blame America first” crowd every time he speaks. If Gary Johnson or any other candidate has a chance of taking some of those who are not die-hard Paul supporters away from him, then I will appreciate it. For me it is Tim Pawlenty, Herman Cain, and Gary Johnson in that order. The debate tonight should give me some more insight.

  1. He had a lot of supporters at CPAC this year. Interesting bio, ‘Pil, thanks for bringing the information. Agree, if would be an easy choice to choose him over Obama, but think he has hurdles overall for the Republican nomination. Don’t they all? 🙂

    • I agree they all have hurdles. I personally prefer the hurdles for the ones with executive leadership experience to the hurdles for the former US Senator and current US House candidate. After Obama we can’t afford to elect someone again who has no executive leadership experience.

      • After Obama we can’t afford to elect another liberal Democrat and liberal Dem Congress. And despite his lack of exec leadership he has passed a huge portion of his agenda; tripled the deficit, run up more debt in 2.3 yrs that Bush did in 8 yrs etc. A more competent liberal Dem with more exec experience would have been worse! But Gary Johnson has executive leadership experience as Governor and I hope we look out side the usual GOP next-in-line box this time and serious consider those like Johnson.

  2. For myself personally, no thank you on Gary Johnson. From whatever I’ve read about him, he seems to me to be a younger version of Ron Paul, with the one exception that he rhetorically supports Israel. He seems to be walking on eggshells, especially with respect to Foreign Policy, so as not to be seen as a loony, as Ron Paul has been viewed. He said that he isn’t sure if our troops should have remained in Europe to confront the Soviets after WWII. He said “I don’t think I have the expertise to be able to say if it was good or bad, it just seems to me that today, it really doesn’t seem warranted.” To say he isn’t sure if we should have had troops in Europe, after WWII, is not wanting to put himself openly into a Ron Paul position of saying bring all the troops home from around the globe. That’s how I see it anyway.

    As to abortion his comments are- “I support a women’s right to choose abortion until viability of the fetus, (which seems to be a change in his original position). Why does viability endow human beings with the right to life? I don’t personally have a sense that life starts at conception.”

    In my personal opinion, we already have Ron Paul. We don’t need a younger version of him with a few tweeks for credibility.

    https://www.outsidethebeltway.com/gary-johnson-yea-i-inhaled-two-years-ago-actually/

    Outsidethebeltway is a Doug Mataconis site. He is a self identified Libertarian. His site before he redid it was what has been described as a shrine to Ron Paul.

    • Well SEC, here is another way to look at the situation. Gary Johnson can play an important role in splitting up the vote of supporters of Ron Paul so that he will not do as well as he did in the 2008 primary. Obviously Gary Johnson is not going out of his way to do any favors for Ron Paul in 2012 by running.

      • Isn’t that the problem pilgrim, with splitting the vote? If Paul gets some of them, and Johnson gets some of them, they split the conservative vote, and we get another John McCain. Isn’t that what happened in 2008? There surely were more that were far less moderate than McCain, yet the vote for them got split in so many ways that McCain survived. In VA 5th district for 2010, there were more than a few that came a whole lot closer to conservatism than the moderate that won the nomination. The vote was so split between the fight for the “best” conservative that the moderate won the nomination. In my opinion, so much goes for having a huge field. Thankfully Robert Hurt has been a whole lot better than I ever expected. IMO Ron Paul will ultimately not run, but will back out and support Johnson. Because most of the national Tea Party groups are one issue (fiscal) supporters, and have quietly supported a truce on social and national security issues, they can be enough to give Obama the next election. Look at the polling, even before the polling that showed a waning support for the Tea Party. The social conservative base has been a big part of that support. Remember the polls that said for the first time in a long time, the conservatives had overtaken the Libs? Look further into those polls and you will see that many Tea Party supporters are also social conservatives. Johnson can’t win those votes. They will never gain enough support to win, only to insure a second Obama term. Maybe in future years the libertarians may gain steam, and may actually get enough support to change from the current two party system, but for 2012 that is unlikely. To support those that are widely considered the far right will never help the Republicans to survive in 2012, and to widen the Republican margins in the House, and more importantly the Senate. I truly hope that the pendulim (sp) doesn’t swing equally both ways for this election. Neither extreme is good for the country. Believe me, I am not a moderate, but try to look at the steps that can get us back to a government that represents the people, not the ideology of some with an agenda. My opinion.

        • To add to my post above, I’ve literally read on some Ron Paul forums that they want to go back to the Articles of Confederation. They think the Constitution was a pox on this country, and did nothing but grow the federal government. Yup it did, but in ways that were very necessary. I personally don’t choose to start all over again. George Washington said that during the AOC, the country was near anarchy.

        • The problem in 2008 is that Jim Gilmore, Sam Brownback, and Fred Thompson split up the conservative votes so that the moderate McCain was the last one left standing. No one in 2008 was competing for the votes of Ron Paul, and so with no division of his voters he could keep running while Gilmore, Brownback, and Thompson had to drop out.

          • In 2008 Gilmore and Brownback dropped out of the race before the first primary. Not sure why you are bringing them up as part of the conservative block that gave McCain the nom in 2008. Thompson dropped even before Fla. From what I understand, the only ones left after Fla. was Romney, McCain, Paul and Huckabee. You say that no one went after the Paul votes in 2008. What exactly were the Ron Paul votes that any candidate should have been going for? Paul still only got a very small fraction of the votes. What was it about the Paul votes that any 2008 candidate should have been trying to attract?

            In 2012, what is it that you think any candidate should be trying to attract to gain those votes away from Paul or Johnson?

            • I am not shilling for anybody that is running in 2012. I am not going to make any suggestion about what any candidate should do, except I hope all of the GOP candidates are honest. The primary system we have is not helpful for conservatives running because conservative states do not vote as early as the more liberal states do. I should have said Tancredo instead of Jim Gilmore. Huckabee won Iowa which knocked Brownback out, and McCain won New Hampshire. The conservatives all fared badly in the early primaries and could not continue. Ron Paul got about 8 or 9 % in each of those early states. If another candidate had been attracting voters who wanted to make cuts in defense, then Ron Paul would have got less votes and dropped out as well. Let me be clear that I am not shilling for anybody, but I prefer former governors to Senators or congressmen.

        • I can’t bring myself to call Ron Paul as splitting “conservative” votes and I admit that at this point, I am a shill for Paws (not Tiger paws, being a gamecock) that governed a thousand lakes…

          • I agree with you GC that Ron Paul is not splitting “conservative” votes in 2008 or in 2012. He attracts a lot of the “blame America first” crowd every time he speaks. If Gary Johnson or any other candidate has a chance of taking some of those who are not die-hard Paul supporters away from him, then I will appreciate it. For me it is Tim Pawlenty, Herman Cain, and Gary Johnson in that order. The debate tonight should give me some more insight.

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