Gary Johnson Carries Ron Paul’s Message into November

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Congressman Ron Paul (R-TX) is considered, even by his critics, one of the most consistent and outspoken advocates for personal liberty in the United States. Paul himself seems to acknowledge that his third and final presidential run will come to an end in August at the Republican National Convention in Tampa, FL. However, Ron Paul’s delegates and supporters can still impact the RNC in a significant way, especially if their weathered determination and energy are any indication.

But Ron Paul’s “liberty movement” as well as independent voters fed up with the partisan duopoly now face a serious question heading into November. Who will represent Ron Paul’s platform and supporters in the general election? As it turns out, there is another credible, outspoken advocate for Ron Paul’s brand of politics in this year’s presidential election running with the opportunity to continue the political movement Ron Paul started.

His name is Gary Johnson, he is a former two-term Governor of New Mexico (1995-2003), and will be on the ballot in all 50 states as the Libertarian Party’s candidate for President of the United States.

Even though Ron Paul’s supporters remain a minority, they arguably constitute the most vocal, enthusiastic grassroots movement in politics today. They’ve even demonstrated the ability to effectively dig deep into their own pockets and revolutionize the art of Internet fundraising with their notoriously successful Ron Paul “money bombs.” Capturing the support and activism of the Ron Paul movement going into November is exactly what Gov. Gary Johnson aims to do and needs in order to achieve success this fall. In fact, the odds are already strong that Paul’s base will be supporting Gov. Johnson over Gov. Romney and President Obama because Gary Johnson’s message so closely echos that of Ron Paul.

Their similarities are striking in that Gov. Johnson follows the same limited government approach as Congressman Paul. Speeches delivered by both Johnson and Paul attract similar crowds and appeal to a similar scene with a shared sentiment– a diverse assortment of voters of all political stripes representing various demographics, all excited to pursue their separate interests without interference from what they argue is an intrusive federal government. Clearly, Gary Johnson strives to carry on in Ron Paul’s footsteps, and when Paul retires from public service at the end of this year, Johnson’s profile as a spokesperson for the liberty movement will carry increased weight and significance.

While still at college in 1974, Gov. Johnson started a one-man handyman business and grew it to employ one thousand people– becoming the largest construction employer in New Mexico. He came from absolute political obscurity, ran for governor, won the Republican primary, and beat the Democratic incumbent in a state that favors Democrats 2-1 on a platform of bringing the citizens of New Mexico “a common sense business approach to public policy, issues first politics last.”

Gov. Johnson made a name for himself vetoing legislation– more than all other governors combined during his administration– and saying no to more government. Then, an even larger majority in a heavily Democratic state reelected him to a second term. It might fly in the face of logic, but I caught up with Gov. Johnson at a recent campaign event, and he has a hunch about his success and popularity in New Mexico:

“I really think it speaks volumes to the fact that people appreciate good stewardship of tax dollars . . . [and] less government taking time and money from our lives. People in New Mexico wave at me with all five fingers, not just one.”

Just like Ron Paul, monetary policy and the Federal Reserve are a central part of Gary Johnson’s platform and understanding of what’s wrong with the status quo. The New Mexico governor made it clear that, as President, if Congress sends a bill to his desk abolishing the Federal Reserve, then there’s at least one bill he won’t veto. Although he is skeptical of the willingness of Congress to do so, Gov. Johnson also favors an audit, transparency, and ending the perpetual cycle of accumulating debt through “borrowing and printing money to the tune of forty-three cents out of every dollar that we’re spending.” He’d also like to see sound, competing currencies, real market-based prices and interest rates, an end to bailouts and crony-capitalism, and a return to an actual free market economy.

But despite their resounding similarities, in the tradition of libertarians being staunch individualists, Johnson and Paul aren’t quite mirror images of each other. They do have a few differences. Unlike Paul, Johnson has executive experience vetoing legislation and easing cumbersome regulations, bringing New Mexico back from the brink of economic crisis and leaving office with a $1B surplus, though Paul’s legislative experience in the House does consist of countless, principled “No” votes when it comes to government waste or intrusion. Gov. Johnson speaks like a practical entrepreneur with sound leadership skills, and maintains that cost-benefit analyses of public policy prove limited government to be more effective. By contrast, Dr. Paul is a very committed educator, ideologue, economist, and intellectual with a robust, nuanced philosophy of government.

While some of Paul’s hard-line supporters are suspicious of Johnson as less ideologically pure than the Texas congressman, most of the debate is over mere semantics and syntax. Johnson, for instance, is more pragmatic in his approach, comes from the public choice school of economic thought, and employs a classical liberal consequentialist approach to policy, with Paul coming from the Austrian school of economics and utilizing libertarian “first-principle” arguments as a means of spreading liberty.

Johnson and Paul supporters can wax philosophical as to their various influences and approaches, but when you boil it down to the results, both candidates are aiming in the same direction. A Johnson Administration would focus on similar issues as a Paul Administration, and apply similar solutions: a more restrained and diplomatic foreign policy, a drive to reform the financial sector with more transparency and accountability, an emphasis on protecting civil liberties, and an urgent bid to contain the exploding costs of the regime in Washington.

With Gov. Gary Johnson accepting an invitation for a prime speaking slot at Paul Fest in Tampa this August, we may very well see an enthusiastic crowd ready for “the next Ron Paul” to stand up and the seize this libertarian moment.

The Independent Voter Network is dedicated to providing political analysis, unfiltered news, and rational commentary in an effort to elevate the level of our public discourse.


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  1. James R. Herman 33% of Americans are not homeowners. Many lost homes to foreclusure. Many recent college grads have moved back in with parents. After I was applowed to place my singlewide mobile home outside a mobile home park on a residential lot I went from paying $3,720/yr in lot rent to the mobile home park to now paying $662/yr in property taxes. Don't you think this libertarian reaffirmation of your right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness is appealing? All politics is local. This issue would resonate with many who don't even bother to vote because both Obama and Romney are hopeless. Ask either of them if they would support and end to exclusionary zoning. I have and they don't. Now ask Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson and maybe he will.
  2. Jason Whittington @John Vasilakis, I suggest you educate yourself. From the above article: 'Johnson told TheDC that he supports Americas efforts to aid African troops in tracking down Lord’s Resistance Army leader Joseph Kony and that he wouldn’t rule out leaving behind American bases in Afghanistan. Johnson said that while he wants to end the war in Afghanistan, that doesn’t mean he would necessarily stop drone attacks against terrorists in Pakistan or Yemen, even though he believes they create more enemies than they kill. “I would want leave all options on the table,” Johnson said....
  3. Jason Whittington @Justin Buell, 'It started with a Daily Caller interview defining Johnson's foreign policy vision as "strange" in a headline. Why strange? Largely because in a macro vision of severe (in D.C. standards) cuts in military and defense spending (of 43 percent), Johnson leaves a lot of room for the sort of interventions the Ron Paul brand of libertarian foreign policy avoids.' http://reason.com/blog/2012/04/11/gary-johnsons-foreign-policy-libertarian
  4. Aaron LaFollette I see Solomon's on the "voting for lesser evil hogwash".
  5. Solomon Kleinsmith If he pulls in a significant portion of Ron Paul's people, it could all but ensure that Obama wins. That's all that Johnson could accomplish.
  6. EJB That presumes that Ron Paul people are Romney's votes...a very dubious presumption. Voting for Gary Johnson in the general election is one of the best ways of demonstrating to the broader public (and the media) that the liberty movement is committed to principles, not partisan Republican propaganda using lesser of two evils arguments. Gary Johnson is a committed libertarian and has the resume to back up his claims that he doesn't merely use limited government principles as rhetoric (as many of the Republicans do). Furthermore, the polls suggest that Gary Johnson pulls about evenly from President Obama and Romney (really depends on the state). Gary wins votes from Republicans who understand that Mitt Romney won't protect liberty. Gary wins votes from Democrats who are attracted to Gary's strong commitment to ending the national security state with an adherence to protecting constitutionally guaranteed individual rights and who are upset by President Obama's failure to be similarly protective. For example of the later, the ACLU rated Gary the highest of the presidential candidates, above Obama who would normally be thought to get the easy win on that scale.
  7. John Vasilakis Anyone who feels Johnson will continue the American Empire knows nothing about him. Try educating yourself before spouting off that nonsense.
  8. Justin Buell Jason, I don't know where you're getting your information, but Johnson wants to bring the troops home.
  9. Aaron MacGuffie Ask Paul. To take the veep
  10. Nathan Snoke Ron Paul will carry his own message.
18 comments
James R. Herman
James R. Herman

33% of Americans are not homeowners. Many lost homes to foreclusure. Many recent college grads have moved back in with parents. After I was applowed to place my singlewide mobile home outside a mobile home park on a residential lot I went from paying $3,720/yr in lot rent to the mobile home park to now paying $662/yr in property taxes. Don't you think this libertarian reaffirmation of your right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness is appealing? All politics is local. This issue would resonate with many who don't even bother to vote because both Obama and Romney are hopeless. Ask either of them if they would support and end to exclusionary zoning. I have and they don't. Now ask Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson and maybe he will.

Jason Whittington
Jason Whittington

@John Vasilakis, I suggest you educate yourself. From the above article: 'Johnson told TheDC that he supports Americas efforts to aid African troops in tracking down Lord’s Resistance Army leader Joseph Kony and that he wouldn’t rule out leaving behind American bases in Afghanistan.

Johnson said that while he wants to end the war in Afghanistan, that doesn’t mean he would necessarily stop drone attacks against terrorists in Pakistan or Yemen, even though he believes they create more enemies than they kill.

“I would want leave all options on the table,” Johnson said....

Jason Whittington
Jason Whittington

@Justin Buell, 'It started with a Daily Caller interview defining Johnson's foreign policy vision as "strange" in a headline. Why strange? Largely because in a macro vision of severe (in D.C. standards) cuts in military and defense spending (of 43 percent), Johnson leaves a lot of room for the sort of interventions the Ron Paul brand of libertarian foreign policy avoids.'

http://reason.com/blog/2012/04/11/gary-johnsons-foreign-policy-libertarian

Aaron LaFollette
Aaron LaFollette

I see Solomon's on the "voting for lesser evil hogwash".

Solomon Kleinsmith
Solomon Kleinsmith

If he pulls in a significant portion of Ron Paul's people, it could all but ensure that Obama wins. That's all that Johnson could accomplish.

John Vasilakis
John Vasilakis

Anyone who feels Johnson will continue the American Empire knows nothing about him. Try educating yourself before spouting off that nonsense.

Justin Buell
Justin Buell

Jason, I don't know where you're getting your information, but Johnson wants to bring the troops home.

Tom Terrell
Tom Terrell

I'll still be voting for Jill Stein of the Green Party. She backs up her rhetoric with action. I can get behind a candidate that is willing to be arrested for her ideals.

Jason Whittington
Jason Whittington

No he isn't. Ron Paul's message is "End the Empire". Johnson seems to be just fine with the empire. I'M STILL VOTING FOR RON PAUL. Flip-floppers.

Charlie Peters
Charlie Peters

Bill Clinton, Al Gore & Senator Obama supported the California 2006 Prop. 87, a GMO corn ethanol welfare program.

Bill, Al, have changed opinion on the ethanol mandate, I wonder if California will make this the time for CHANGE?

I support a waiver of the ethanol mandate, voluntary use of ethanol in my gas.

Federal ethanol policy increases Government motors oil use and Big oil profit.

It is reported that today California is using Brazil sugar cane ethanol at $0.16 per gal increase over using GMO corn fuel ethanol. In this game the cars and trucks get to pay and Big oil profits are the result that may be ready for change.

We do NOT support AB 523 or SB 1396 unless the ethanol mandate is changed to voluntary ethanol in our gas.

Folks that pay more at the pump for less from Cars, trucks, food, water & air need better, it is time.

The car tax of AB 118 Nunez is just a simple Big oil welfare program, AAA questioned the policy and some folks still agree.

AB 523 & SB 1326 are just a short put (waiver) from better results.

GOOGLE: Prop 87 (510) 537-1796

Chet Swanson
Chet Swanson

If Romney shuts out Ron Paul, many will vote for Gary Johnson.

John Balzer
John Balzer

Author Schlesinger performs a great public service here for those who believe in libertry and who feel how it is being eroded. Gary Johnson is besides being very energetic is the best candidate the Libertarian Party has ever had. More people need to get to know about him. Depending on which poll you read, his popularity ranges from 2% to 12% nationally. If he can achieve a 15% rating, he will be permitted on the debate stage with Obama. Americans are ready to take back their country. When they hear Gary Johnson's message about abolishing the IRS, stopping the failed war on drugs, balancing the Federal budget, and many more, the Ron Paul philosophy will stay in public view right up to the November 6th election.

shirley
shirley

I've Been a Ron Paul supporter sincew 1988. I knew e would not win, so I didn't vote. Wen e ran as a republician in 2008 I was a very active member of is campaign. T is time I am paralised from te waist down and can't walk so I can't ask my care taker (my sister w o is a J.W. to take me to rallies. I do ave my Ron Paul sticker on my w eel c air and I tell everyone to please write im in if e's not on te ballot. I've c anged my mind t oug I may vote for Mr. Jo nson