Regular readers know I’m not political. I have no affiliation with either party, I don’t raise money for candidates and I don’t particularly think I have any great answers for how to fix America.
But like any sentient human being, I have opinions. For instance, I thought Mitt Romney would have made a really good president. I still do. Think about his “negatives” – the big, bad, private equity executive thing – versus the negatives we’re facing now with Trump and Clinton! It’s night and day. Oh well.
Here’s another opinion – Gary Johnson seems like a pretty reasonable candidate.
A handful of people in Washington are ruining America for 330 million of us. They have kept our nation in a state of perpetual war and increasing, unsustainable debt. This small group, which includes both major party leaders, has presided over the systematic dismantling of the freedoms guaranteed us under our Constitution. It is them we should be fighting, not each other. – johnsonweld.com
His biggest negative is that he’s running as a third-party Libertarian, which makes electing him a big challenge amid the duopoly establishment. His second biggest negative is that he’s got crazy people in his party. “But there are crazy people in every party,” you’ll say. True, but the public’s perception is that there’s a higher per capita ratio of crazies among Libertarians. I have no idea if that’s true (or if it can be measured), but that’s the popular rap. “Isn’t that the Mad Max party?”
But Gary Johnson seems to have what it takes to overcome that perception. The timing is auspicious. With Trump’s campaign one tweet away from complete destruction and the former First Lady facing down a possible FBI indictment, all of a sudden being a third option in a presidential race with four months to go is not such a ludicrous proposition.
I’ll admit, my circle of friends, colleagues and acquaintances probably isn’t that broad of a spectrum. But almost everyone I know and talk to repeatedly says things like “I wish there was a candidate who is fiscally conservative but socially liberal.” Like the Jacob Javitz Republicans of old. Well maybe this is the guy. He wants to cut the military budget – anathema for the GOP but fiscally responsible all the same – and he doesn’t seem to care about what you do with your penis or vagina.
That’s a good start. Go on, we’re listening…
Here are a few other pros about Mr. Johnson you should probably be aware of:
- He’s an actually successful business man, not a TV caricature of one. He didn’t get into politics until after he’d built a construction empire. His company didn’t sell steaks, trick innumerate people at slot machines or market predatory, get-rich-quick seminars to poor folks.
- He’s actually governed people. He self-funded his New Mexico gubernatorial campaign and won the office twice.
- His running mate also governed in real life, in Massachusetts. Bill Weld was the state’s US attorney and then ran for the governor’s office in 1990. He won reelection by the widest margin is Massachusetts history. John Kerry beat him out in 1996 when Weld challenged him for his senate seat. He almost became Bill Clinton’s ambassador to Mexico but deranged lunatic Jesse Helms managed to block the appointment by denying him a hearing.
- Johnson and Weld represent the reasonable wing of the Libertarian party. They’re not trying to abolish the IRS and they actually believe in things like drivers licenses. They’re pro-marijuana legalization, which is now a mainstream posture.
- He’s a tough guy. Gary Johnson doesn’t talk with the bluster of Trump, but he once finished a Mount Everest climb with a broken leg. He did the Bataan Memorial Death March – a grueling 26.2 miles – wearing combat boots.
- He actually has a chance to win. It’s a small chance, but it’s non-zero. Johnson is polling nationally at 12% despite very low name recognition in a cycle that includes larger-than-life Donald and Hillary. If he gets up to 15%, which is doable, they’ll be forced to include him in the televised debate. That brand recognition could shoot up very quickly if he performs.
- It’s worth noting that the Johnson and Weld ticket will be on the election day ballots in all 50 states. Meaning, he’s a real choice.
- New York Magazine sums his chances up best: Nearly 50 percent of voters are registered Independent, “which means they’re looking for another voice,” Johnson says. It is his position that he can do “real damage” should he manage to get on the same stage as Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. “There are 30 million Libertarian voters out there right now, except they don’t know it yet. It is my job to make them recognize that fact.”
- Last but not least, he’s not afraid to speak his mind, a big plus in the 2016 election. He called Donald Trump “a pussy” in a public forum. He calls Trump a racist without equivocating.
Once again, I am not endorsing anyone but just pointing out that it’s worth getting to know a bit about the candidate, his experience and his platform.
Start here with this wonderful interview conducted by Bill Maher on Real Time Friday night: