Read Time: 10 - 16 minutes
Gary Johnson is a frequent face on social media. Even in the political off-season the politician is constantly engaging supporters regularly and dynamically. Tuesday at 3pm PST he held his fourth ‘Ask Me Anything,’ question and answer session on Reddit. Any user is allowed to submit a question on any topic during an ‘AMA.’ The conversation varied from speculation on Tuesday’s State of the Union Address to criticism of how funds for his 2012 presidential campaign were spent.
In terms of social media, Gary Johnson is quite the accessible politician and seems to have an impeccable taste for punctuation. When asked about his 2016 plans, Johnson replied,
“… 2016 is far off, and we will see what it brings. Right now, I am determined to be a voice of sanity [for] spending, civil liberties, and putting an end to unnecessary and costly foreign interventions.”
Governor Johnson also mentioned he’d be touring college campuses at the beginning of April. Although long term plans are still up in the air, just over 300 questions were asked in one hour, many looking toward the future of Governor Johnson’s political career. Below are the more notable responses to Redditors’ questions by category, and the rest of his responses follow.
Johns2busy: Gov. Johnson, realistically, how long do you think it would take to undo all of the current, wasteful policies and programs that have spiraled our country into financial ruin?
GovGaryJohnson: Realistically, it can happen tomorrow if people are elected who will actually pursue making it happen. Good government is not difficult.
Strategyking: What are some practical ways to reduce the national debt?
GovGaryJohnson: We can’t reduce the deficit without balancing the budget, and that requires the resolve on the part of elected officials to do so. So far, they have been unwilling. But, it can certainly be done.
Elizabethbracy: Gov, How much longer can the unsustainable debt continue? Do you think we might see the collapse of the dollar?
Govgaryjohnson: At some point, unless we stop the borrowing and printing, we will see a collapse. I don’t know if that is tomorrow or years from now, but it is inevitable. However, it CAN be prevented.
ilovewiffleball: Hi, Governor Johnson. I voted for you and donated a small amount to your campaign this year. I spoke with as many people as I could about considering voting third party and had them take the quiz to see which candidate their views most aligned with. I would guess I converted about 40% to the Libertarian party.
My question is given that amount of time and effort I and other followers put into generating buzz about the party and your campaign, what is your justification for spending only ~$165,000 on media out of your ~$2.3 million budget? While I understand the importance and success of a grassroots movement, having only 7% of your budget devoted to spreading your ideals leaves a sour taste in the mouths of your supporters.
For what it’s worth, I would still fully support you if you ran again and I think you’ve done great work in New Mexico. I would just like to see more importance spent on spreading knowledge given the party’s current standing.
GovGaryJohnson: There are several questions along this line. Let me be clear. We raised and spend 1/1000th of the amount spent by Obama and Romney, and financed substantial travel, grassroots development, social media presence and an aggressive email campaign. We put as many resources as possible on the air in advertising, but appropriately spent much on developing the base that will be able to go forward.
Pouyong: Gov. Johnson, if you were to run again in 2016 and be elected president, what do you feel needs to be addressed first, as it stands now?
GovGaryJohnson: Hi there – sorry for the delay. Some tech issues. As it stands now, clearly the economy. Spending, the deficit, achieving a balanced budget.
Grundreport: What would you do about North Korea if you were president?
GovGaryJohnson: First, we must obviously be diligent re NK’s intentions. I do not believe an attack is imminent. We should be diplomatically encouraging China to weigh in on the side of reason with the North Koreans.
Seek75: What are your thoughts on Rand Paul giving the Tea Party response to President Obama’s State of the Union address?
GovGaryJohnson: I think it is great, and hope many Americans listen.
Ranchopalopos: Hello Governor, welcome to Reddit!
My question to you is how can we as citizens protect our rights? And how should we react when the government makes laws limiting our freedom?
GovGaryJohnson: These questions are exactly what our movement is about. We must be vigilant and vocal, because NO ONE else is looking out for us and our rights.
Jzguitarist: Governor, As someone who voted for you in November, I want to thank you for what you do for this country.
Now my question: As a former Republican, do you believe the GOP will experience a policy shift more towards Libertarianism after their landslide loss in the last election?
GovGaryJohnson: If they do NOT shift toward liberty, they will simply hasten their obsolesence.
Anthoney: How close do you think we are as a country to being able to finally see a third party in the debate? Will the next generation have the satisfaction?
GovGaryJohnson: A third party WILL be in the debates tomorrow if we have enough support and resources. It is essential that we break the duopoly.
Lastresort09: What would you have done about the gun violence issue if you were President?
GovGaryJohnson: I am open to a reasonable conversation about preventing those with serious mental challenges from getting guns. However, I am extremely concerned about the government coming up with criteria for your and my mental “competence”, with the result being a lot of people being declared incompetent! A universal background check means a universal database.
Kamerica: What is your interpretation of the 2nd amendment, and how much power do you think the federal government should have over gun control?
GovGaryJohnson: I don’t think the 2nd amendment could be any more clear, and the federal government’s obligation is to uphold, not undermine, the Constitution.
Integirl: Do you feel the media is responsible for keeping the (failed) two party system in place?
GovGaryJohnson: Yes. The media board rooms are vested in keeping the two-party duopoly in place. The debates being a perfect example.
Alwaysupstairs: Would you ever be interested in a television or radio hosting gig? I really think the country needs a voice like yours speaking on a regular basis.
GovGaryJohnson: Absolutely. It is definitely important to get our message out as broadly as possible.
All other answered questions:
Adamxftl: Governor Johnson, I am absolutely 100% proud to be able to say that my vote for you this past November was my first-ever vote for actual American freedom. I made the mistake of voting Democrat in the previous two elections I’ve been eligible to vote in. I saw the error of my ways, and now truly feel like freedom is something more Americans should strive for. I plan on voting for you again if you run in 2016 (which I beg of you to do! America needs a candidate that actually cares about its citizens and freedom!)
I have a few questions:
1.) Have you heard from Sen. Ron Paul regarding the fantastic results for a Libertarian candidate in the election?
2.) What is your version of Utopia?
3.) What are your views on Animal Rights?
4.) Do you view the new “gun regulations” as just an attempt to disarm Americans by this overloaded government?
5.) What is your opinion on the reported government budget surplus for the month of January? Is it a step in the right direction finally? Granted, $2.9 billion is just a tiny dent in the massive debt, but is it a sign of good things to come?
GovGaryJohnson: While any surplus is better than deficit, I fear that the January numbers were almost an accident. Until Congress and the President actually enact a balanced budget, any such bumps will be short-lived.
Whatmichelledoes: Hi Gov. Johnson! Thanks so much for doing this. What is your favorite place to ski? P.S. It was great meeting you!
GovGaryJohnson: Taos, NM, which is where I live and am skiing every chance I get! [sic]
Perspactiouspedant: Are you planning on doing more speaking tours? If so, where are you planning?
GovGaryJohnson: Yes, stay tuned. I will be touring college campuses across the country this Spring, beginning in April. Hope to see all of you.
Znew711: hello! The Liberty movement has a lot of goals, some of which may take a few years to see realized. What is a goal that can be accomplished relatively soon? (e.g. has widespread support and such) PS. You are my hero. I am 17 and want to go into politics because of you.
Govgaryjohnson: A goal we can achieve soon is simply awareness. Ron Paul has done much in that regard, and I think my campaign did the same. But we need to take off from where those efforts left off.
Lastresort09: What do you think about Judge Napolitano? Also, libertarians are growing in number and so what do you expect the future will hold for us?
GovGaryJohnson: Count me as Judge Nap’s #1 fan, and I think the future holds libertarians as office-holders and decision-makers.
Rancegt: Why do you think most Governors and Presidents are afraid of using the veto? I feel like it was one of your most powerful tools to affect change, and the people here in New Mexico seemed to like it too.
GovGaryJohnson: Officeholders, for the most part, are there to hold office, not to lead.
Token_Ese: Of your athletic accomplishments, which was the most challenging and which ones do you value most as personal achievements?
GovGaryJohnson: I am an athlete, and my athletics have resulted in a firm belief that life is a journey, not a destination. That realization is what I value most.
IdiosyncraticOwl: Obviously this is far off, but do you plan to run again in 2016?
GovGaryJohnson: Yes, 2016 is far off, and we will see what it brings. Right now, I am determined to be a voice of sanity re spending, civil liberties, and putting an end to unnecessary and costly foreign interventions.
Erikster1000: As a 14 year old the 3 things that concern me the most are:
- The internet – What do yo want to do to lower costs, increase availability and provide higher speeds?
- Education – what do you plan to do with education? Do you agree with a technological/ Scandinavian approach like Bill Gates?
- the national debt – I already know your opinion on that.
GovGaryJohnson: Make sure the government does not get involved in trying to manage or accomplish any of those objectives with regard to the Internet! Re education, I believe in choice and options, and a marketplace that allows innovation.
Reddiva3: Can you help the LP [Libertarian Party] look somewhat Professional?
GovGaryJohnson: I hope so.
Cut_Out_Witch: Hi Governor Johnson! Just curious as to what your thoughts were in regards to Dr. Benjamin Carson’s speech given at the National Prayer Breakfast.
GovGaryJohnson: Bravo! We need more truth.
Inventor226: Hello, Do you plan on adding universities to your planned tour this spring? Thanks
GovGaryJohnson: Absolutely, the focus will be on colleges and universities. Stay tuned for details.
Cronklovestheclubs: Hello Gary, I just wanted to say thank you for what you’re doing. I’m 18 years old and I voted for you in this past election. I was very proud to do so. Keep promoting liberty!
GovGaryJohnson: Thank you, and keep fighting.
Buckr: 1) Wouldn’t the large cut in federal govt spending that we need and you advocate trigger a recession? Maybe we should pass tax cuts simultaneously to stimulate the economy? 2) Should America declare neutrality in order to withdraw ourselves from foreign entanglements which Thomas Jefferson warned us about? We could follow the example of Sweden, Finland, and Switzerland – continue to be engaged internationally thru the UN and other organizations but withdraw from alliances.
GovGaryJohnson: The only way to ensure America remains viable for generations to come is to control spending. Continuing to print money at unsustainable rates will, at some point, result in horrible inflation and a collapse that we cannot endure.