George Phillies confirms Lew Rockwell story about Gary Johnson campaign inquiry into switching to Libertarian Party

George Phillies at Gold Mass Group confirms a story IPR previously reported, which quoted a claim previously posted by Lew Rockwell (embedded links added by Paulie):

Your Editor can confirm from the first-hand source that a senior staff member from the Gary Johnson (Republican) for President campaign has contacted a member of the Libertarian National Committee about determining the response if Johnson were to switch parties and run for President as a Libertarian. Johnson, who is a former two-term Republican Governor, has been shut out of Republican Presidential debates in favor of candidates who he out-polls. Older members of our Party will remember Johnson directly; he appeared at one of our State Conventions and gave the keynote address.

Phillies sought, but did not receive, the Libertarian Party Presidential nomination in 2008, and the Libertarian National Committee Chair position several times, including 2010. He has served in a number of local and state positions in the Massachusetts LP, including Chair and Congressional candidate.

Johnson’s statement about the latest debate exclusion:

“If Republicans and Independents were looking for new ideas and decisive plans in the debate, they were disappointed. That’s what happens when the media decides, six months before the first ballots are cast, who should be allowed on the stage. Much of the debate was about the records of the governors running for president. Where was the governor who vetoed 750 bills to control the size of government? Much was said about job creation — or lack thereof — in those governors’ states. Where was the governor whose state had more job creation than any of them? And where was the governor who polls show to be the most highly regarded in the state he governed? I suspect voters would like to hear from the one governor among them all who actually did the things that need to be done today to right America’s ship.

“There is much to debate in this country today, and within the Republican party. But we didn’t see or hear a debate tonight. We saw business-as-usual wrapped in a bunch of different packages.”

Johnson was previously a dues paying member of the Libertarian Party in 1993-1994.

According to Seth McLaughlin at the Washington Times,

Former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson is the Rodney Dangerfield of this year’s GOP presidential field — he gets no respect, despite a strong conservative record, a stint as governor of a key state, and a colorful background in the public and private sectors.

In a year when voters seem tired of what is seen as wasteful spending and regulatory overreach in Washington, Mr. Johnson said he is surprised he is not getting the attention of other governors who have served fewer years, or whose campaigns are sputtering, or who aren’t even in the race.

A similar line is echoed by Tim Dickinson at Rolling Stone, in an article titled “Meet Gary Johnson, the GOP’s Invisible Candidate”:

Gary Johnson is the Rodney Dangerfield of the GOP’s 2012 field. He gets no respect. Despite being a successful former two-term governor of New Mexico who shrank state government by wielding his veto pen with fervor, an entrepreneur who sold the 1,000 person construction business he built from scratch, and an accomplished athlete (who else in the field has summited Everest?) Johnson has struggled to break through – with voters or the press.

The latest insult? CNN – which saw fit to invite Herman Cain, the former CEO of a third-rate pizza chain who has never held elected office, to its debate in New Hampshire the other night – told Johnson to take a hike because he’s polling below 2 percent.

That’s a shame, because in an interview with Rolling Stone, Johnson proved himself to be one of the more honest – and certainly more unorthodox – politicians in the running.

Johnson calls himself a “classical liberal,” though others might prefer “libertarian.” He favors legalizing marijuana (he says he toked up as recently as 2008) and prostitution and supports a woman’s right to choose, liberal immigration reform and an anti-war foreign policy – even as he’s called for draconian spending cuts and for dropping the corporate tax rate to zero as a means to jumpstart jobs creation.

Johnson’s biggest problem in the Republican Presidential primaries may be the campaign of Ron Paul, a Republican Congressman and 2008/2012 GOP presidential nomination candidate who is also a life member of the Libertarian Party, 1988 Libertarian Presidential nominee, and 2008 general election supporter of Constitution Party presidential candidate Chuck Baldwin.

Ron Paul has also received relatively little media attention given his poll numbers and fundraising, but unlike Johnson he is being invited to this year’s debates, and has much better poll numbers, media coverage and fundraising totals relative to Johnson. If Paul is a top tier candidate being treated as a second tier candidate, Johnson may be a second tier candidate being treated as if he does not exist.

A good deal of Johnson’s support comes from libertarians associated with the Reason/CATO wing of the movement, which dominated the Libertarian Party from the mid-1970s to 1983, when they lost the presidential nomination. Ron Paul’s core supporters also left the Libertarian Party in 1989, when they lost a battle for national committee chair; they are centered around Lew Rockwell and the Mises Institute. The Rothbard/Rockwell/Mises vs. CATO/Reason split in the libertarian movement goes back to about 1980. The Rothbard/Rockwell/Mises side accuses the CATO/Reason crowd of being too moderate on foreign policy and economic issues, while the CATO/Reasonites consider the Rockwellians to be too socially conservative. For many years during the 1990s and 2000s, both sides had little to do with the Libertarian Party. If the rumors about Johnson switching to the LP prove to be true, it is possible that this may change.

81 thoughts on “George Phillies confirms Lew Rockwell story about Gary Johnson campaign inquiry into switching to Libertarian Party

  1. Chuck Moulton

    I don’t see anything added by this story.

    Phillies claims an unnamed source too. Saying who from the campaign asked who from the LNC might warrant an actual followup, but repeating the same amorphous anonymous exchange isn’t news. IPR could post hundreds of additional people claiming they confirm it without adding any details and it would be just as irrelevant.

    This entry did not mention the multiple people within the Johnson campaign who responded to the earlier LewRockwell.com/IPR piece claiming it was incorrect.

  2. paulie Post author

    Phillies claims an unnamed source too.

    Phillies claim was more specific than Rockwell’s.

    Rockwell just said that an LP insider told him Johnson reached out….that could have been second, third or fourth hand for all we know. We also know that Rockwell has a vested interest in getting Johnson out of Paul’s way. Phillies, on the other hand, is not a big fan of either Johnson or Paul, and as far as I know is not very enthusiastic about the idea of Johnson as an LP candidate.

    Phillies said a first hand source told him that a senior Johnson aide had spoken to an LNC member – all details that were missing from Rockwell’s original statement.

    Also, since it was disputed, I would think having a separate source would help prove that it was not just a figment of Lew Rockwell’s imagination, for those inclined to think that my be the case.

    This entry did not mention the multiple people within the Johnson campaign who responded to the earlier LewRockwell.com/IPR piece claiming it was incorrect.

    Hadn’t seen them, but I would be glad to see you put up a story about that.

    The closest thing to that I noticed was Dave Nalle saying that Rockwell made up a lie.

  3. Stewart Flood

    Those who know, won’t say. Those who say, may not actually know — or may not say everything that they know.

    That said, it is no secret which LNC member has talked to Gov Johnson’s campaign. IPR is about the only place where the LNC member’s name is not mentioned directly.

    I have talked to this LNC member. I believe him (yes, that eliminates the women on the LNC from the list of “suspects”.) He has announced on several email lists (non-LNC lists) that he has been in contact with Gov Johnson’s campaign.

    South Carolina has its state convention scheduled for early November. Several of our current candidates for the LP Presidential nomination were asked at the LSLA if they would like to attend. Other candidates who were not present will also receive invitations.

    Gov Johnson is, of course, welcome to attend our state convention if he is seeking our party’s nomination. He is also welcome to attend if he just wants to come and watch his potential competition speak.

    Stewart

  4. Steven Wilson

    I have some contact with the volunteer director for the campaign. He stated to me through an email that the main focus of Johnson’s efforts would be on New Hampshire to make people take him seriously as a Republican candidate for President.

    If New Hampshire doesn’t work out, I don’t feel he has enough money nor foot soldiers to go forward with a campaign wherein most agree that Johnson and Paul are identical in comparison to the other Republican candidates.

    I do not know of any specific criteria he would use to answer the call or move to the LP convention.

    I believe he is wanting a 2016 presence in the Republican camp to replace Ron Paul. That is my impression.

    A move to the LP would make a return to the elephant a serious problem.

  5. Stewart Flood

    Rule one of politics: never admit you’re even talking about switching parties until you’re ready to make the jump.

    The volunteer director probably told you the truth, as he knows it. And your theory about 2016 is accurate — again assuming that the campaign doesn’t have a really good poker face on right now.

    It will be interesting. Of course we won’t know what Gov Johnson is going to do until he does something.

    That’s rule two of politics. 🙂

    Stewart

  6. AroundtheblockAFT

    If Gary Johnson wants “in” then announce it now and start building a campaign team. One of Barr’s greatest failings was a late entry, a squeaker of a win at the convention, and little to no campaign organization in various states.
    With a convention in May 2012, the LP needs a presumptive winner for the nomination asap as trying to build a national campaign takes a long time. A Johnson entry would dry up funding(and maybe egos) of all the relative non-entities
    who have announced they want to be considered for our nomination.

  7. Steve

    One key question no one seems to be asking is whether this unnamed Johnson staffer was asking on behalf of his boss or simply out of his own wishful thinking that Johnson could continue his efforts beyond the New Hampshire primary.

    @9 – Barr’s entry coincided with Ron Paul’s decline, with both timed around CPAC 2007 at which Barr gave the introduction for Dr. Paul but by which time all reasonable people knew that Paul’s slim chance at the R nomination had evaporated. It seems that Barr’s team had a realistic expectation that they could, formally or informally, inherit Paul’s volunteer base and build from there.

    Post-nomination the party itself is the organization for the Presidential campaign and we should all be pulling on the rope.

  8. paulie Post author

    One key question no one seems to be asking is whether this unnamed Johnson staffer was asking on behalf of his boss or simply out of his own wishful thinking that Johnson could continue his efforts beyond the New Hampshire primary.

    I did ask that question on the previous thread, I believe.

  9. Robert Capozzi

    Assuming there’s real interest, I agree that GJ should make the move ASAP, but not hastily. This is a feeler, and my sense the idea is being positively received.

    Boy, if RP ran CP and GJ ran LP, THAT would be profoundly dysfunctional, is my guess. Admittedly, I still have a LP Paul/Johnson ticket in mind as being interesting, outside chance of being a realigning moment. If GJ crossed over first, RP later, I would hope the GJ would be gracious enough to assume the #2 slot.

    If the wider world continues to spin out of control, and Paul can artfully say This is what I’ve been warning against for 30 years, I hear a resonating message emerging.

  10. paulie Post author

    In the unlikely event that Paul would run as anything other than a Republican, I think it would be Libertarian. Much better ballot access – and yes, it still matters, even with all the money and supporters he has. Johnson may or may not want to be #2 in that scenario, but he would have no chance of being #1. My guess is that he would be astute enough to take #2 and assume the heir apparent mantle.

    However, I do not believe Paul will jump. Johnson is not a sure thing yet either, but at this stage I see it as a lot more plausible.

  11. Steven Wilson

    Happy lunch you bunch of…

    In playing games like this, the residual indicates movement prior.

    Constitution Party members can float back and forth with the Republican Party due to the RLC bridge. With the individuals in the LNC right now, I don’t find the same movement possible with Libertarians.

    I don’t think Bob Barr could run as a republican again with any success. I find that once you are Libertarian, you operate on an island now.

    I don’t believe Ron Paul would make the move because he is all in this time. No more congress, so he knows what he does now, will impact his son. If Rand Paul smells like old GOP in his last two years, the tea party will get rid of him.

    Johnson has been an executive and he knows dysfunction when he sees it. The LNC is not credible and causes logistical problems like ballot access, funding, and organizational skills.

    These moves are just a way of threatening the RNC to go back to being conservative, whatever that word means now.

    …Americanos locos.

    Smile.

  12. Wrights Implodes

    Is that the sound I just heard of Lee “philanderer” Wrighs being eliminated on first balot! Why yes I believe it was! LOL As I told you before … you reap what you sew and when you sow nothing well..

    Next stop for Wrights, Ruwart and Co. Securities and Exchange Commission, you heard it here first, have a nice day?

  13. James Winningham

    Sarah Palin can beat Johnson for the Libertarian nomination and lead the Libertarian/Tea Party movement to victory…beating the Mormon and the Islamocommunistfascist to win the White House and restore America in the name of Jesus, amen.

  14. Jill Pyeatt

    JW @ 18: Sarah Palin??? I hope you’re kidding.
    She may have a few libertarian leanings, but for the most part she is a warmongering neocon.

  15. JT

    Paulie: “However, I do not believe Paul will jump. Johnson is not a sure thing yet either, but at this stage I see it as a lot more plausible.”

    I agree, though I wouldn’t put money at this time on Johnson jumping. On the other hand, Johnson does have practically no support in the national Republican polls. Meanwhile, Paul is registering at about 8-9%. That puts him way behind Perry and Romney–where it’s likely he’ll stay–but ahead of every other candidate for the GOP nomination. I’m somewhat surprised about that, but pleasantly so.

  16. Thomas L. Knapp

    I don’t know how serious things are from the Johnson campaign side, but from the LP side, I got snail mail today from a “Committee to Recruit Gary Johnson” as the 2012 LP nominee.

    This committee appears to be composed of — or at least publicly represented by — Guy McClendon and Hardy Macia.

  17. Nicholas Sarwark

    It will be funny when Ron Paul runs as the Constitution Party candidate and the Libertarians are left with Gary Johnson.

    Why would Paul, if he runs third party, pick a party with very little national infrastructure that he’s never been a member of over a party where’s he’s already been a Presidential candidate and is still a life member?

  18. Pingback: George Phillies confirms Lew Rockwell story about Gary Johnson campaign inquiry into switching to Libertarian Party | ThirdPartyPolitics.us

  19. Daniel Wiener

    With Ron Paul pulling 8 or 9 percent in some polls, it makes sense for him to continue running as a Republican deep into the primaries. He can raise plenty of money to fuel his campaign, and he’ll get lots of air time to voice his views. Plus he paves the way for Rand Paul at some point in the future.

    Gary Johnson, on the other hand, is getting 1 or 2 percent in the polls, and is being ignored by the media which heaps attention on other candidates who aren’t even doing that well. Being frozen out by the media also greatly depresses his fundraising. Unless the situation changes drastically, there’s no advantage for Johnson to remain in the race for the Republican nomination even until the early primaries.

    However, Johnson would have a ready-made platform if he decided to seek the LP Presidential nomination. He’d be on the ballot in 45 to 50 states, and he’d be in position to attack Perry or Romney when the Republican nominee ran to the political center for the general election. The mainstream media might also choose to play up Johnson in the general election as a way of helping Obama by siphoning off Tea Party voters from the Republican.

    So there are plausible reasons why Johnson may decide to switch to the LP. And if he does come to that conclusion, I think he’d be far more likely to win the LP nomination than any of the other announced candidates.

  20. George Phillies

    The interesting question — I do not know where Rockwell got his information, not me — is whether there was an authorized totally deniable feeler out there, or whether a senior campaign official went off on a tangent without support.

    For reasons related to other information I am finding it somewhat more likely that the latter was the case.

    @22 Because on the issues that divide the Constitution and Libertarian Parties, Paul is on the side of the Constitution Party. In my opinion, Paul is much more likely to stay with the Republican Party all the way to the Republican convention. Perry may have had a fast launch, but he has many issues that will not satisfy the Main Street or Staunch conservatives in his party, at least for very long.

  21. Robert Capozzi

    25 gp: Perry may have had a fast launch, but he has many issues that will not satisfy the Main Street or Staunch conservatives in his party, at least for very long.

    me: True, but neither does Romney, or the other also rans. They’ll do as always and all of us: choice the best option they can.

  22. George Phillies

    @28 I agree. However, Johnson may have worked out that his opponents already have so much money for opposition research that he is better off spending his funds elsewhere.

    On the other hand, note Santorum finishing fourth in Ames. Divine intervention? I propose he went out of his way to score Republican conservative (authoritarian, neofascist) points against Ron Paul. Attack works.

  23. Thomas L. Knapp

    @29,

    Just to be clear here, I’m not saying that Johnson would necessarily be way up in the GOP nomination polls if he had gone on the attack.

    But make no mistake about it, elections are fights, not polite exchanges of opinion and presentations of resumes.

    The public, when polled outside the booth, decries “negative campaigning.”

    That same public then goes into the booth and rewards the candidates who kick their opponents in the nuts, not the candidates who complain about being kicked in the nuts or who spend their face time bragging that they don’t kick people in the nuts.

    For a longer and more entertaining explanation of this phenomenon, try Smashmouth: Two Years in the Gutter with Al Gore and George W. Bush, by Dana Milbank.

  24. Steven Wilson

    I like Johnson and he has good people around him, but I don’t believe he has the ability to function at the national. He is an executive who does produce results. But this implies that the citizen just wants results. Americans as a whole like to be entertained. They NEED to see the means to the end as to appreciate it.

    Johnson isn’t a thriller. Ron Paul is extremely weak in voice and at the microphone.

    From what I was told, New hampshire is all that matters to Johnson.

  25. paulie Post author

    With Ron Paul pulling 8 or 9 percent in some polls, it makes sense for him to continue running as a Republican deep into the primaries. He can raise plenty of money to fuel his campaign, and he’ll get lots of air time to voice his views. Plus he paves the way for Rand Paul at some point in the future.

    Gary Johnson, on the other hand, is getting 1 or 2 percent in the polls, and is being ignored by the media which heaps attention on other candidates who aren’t even doing that well. Being frozen out by the media also greatly depresses his fundraising. Unless the situation changes drastically, there’s no advantage for Johnson to remain in the race for the Republican nomination even until the early primaries.

    However, Johnson would have a ready-made platform if he decided to seek the LP Presidential nomination. He’d be on the ballot in 45 to 50 states

    That is all true. On the other hand, if the media can ignore him in Republican primaries, they can ignore him in the general election as well, and he would be killing any chances for a stronger Republican race in 2016.

    The mainstream media might also choose to play up Johnson in the general election as a way of helping Obama by siphoning off Tea Party voters from the Republican.

    I would not count on that. For one thing, he would also get some votes based on peace and civil liberties issues where progressives have been disappointed with Obama (especially if Green Party ballot access is weak again). Legalizing marijuana, for example, is one of Johnson’s best known positions.

    For another, Bloomberg or some other well-financed candidate will be on the ballot all over the country – and possibly in the debates – to take most of the generic disaffected vote that will go outside the duopoly (Americans Elect). Think Perot for comparison. Granted, the AE candidate will probably be a centrist rather than a Tea Partier, but he’ll also get some anti-status quo votes.

    Finally, the Constitution Party may (or may not) get a more prominent candidate this time – possibly Roy Moore or Virgil Goode. If the media needs a red meat conservative to carve votes from (for example) Romney’s right flank, Moore/Goode would be a better tool for the job than Johnson.

  26. paulie Post author

    The interesting question — I do not know where Rockwell got his information, not me — is whether there was an authorized totally deniable feeler out there, or whether a senior campaign official went off on a tangent without support.

    For reasons related to other information I am finding it somewhat more likely that the latter was the case.

    I’m interested in any and all information on this. Still haven’t seen the denials from other Johnson staffers that Chuck Moulton alluded to.

    In my opinion, Paul is much more likely to stay with the Republican Party all the way to the Republican convention.

    Agreed.

    Perry may have had a fast launch, but he has many issues that will not satisfy the Main Street or Staunch conservatives in his party, at least for very long.

    This is true. On the other hand – John McCain? The guy had an F minus from Gun Owners of America and had serious meetings with Democratic leaders in the early 2000s to discuss a possible party switch. In the end, Republicans go with candidates who have sought their nomination previously and did not get it and past VP candidates time and time again. This time, that could be Romney
    or perhaps Palin if she drops in. In theory, it could also be Ron Paul, but somehow I don’t see the GOP establishment allowing that to happen.

    Because on the issues that divide the Constitution and Libertarian Parties, Paul is on the side of the Constitution Party.

    He’s for free trade, while the CP is protectionist. On abortion, immigration and gay rights his positions are somewhere in between LP and CP. For some concrete details, see http://punkpatriot.blogspot.com/2011/08/yellow-journalism-at-its-worst.html and http://www.vdare.com/articles/worse-than-a-crime-a-blunder-ron-pauls-tragic-turnaround-on-immigration

    Additionally, the difference between CP and LP ballot access would play a major role in any such decision – which I agree is not likely to ever be made.

  27. paulie Post author

    And if he does come to that conclusion, I think he’d be far more likely to win the LP nomination than any of the other announced candidates.

    Agreed. 1988 and 2008 prove that LP delegates have a hard time turning down a more prominent candidate coming in from outside. In this case, Johnson also happens to have signed the LP membership pledge way back in 1993, so it can be spun that he is in fact a long time LP member – he just hasn’t renewed his dues for a spell 🙂

  28. Andy

    George Phillies said: “Because on the issues that divide the Constitution and Libertarian Parties, Paul is on the side of the Constitution Party.”

    Paulie said: “He’s for free trade, while the CP is protectionist. On abortion, immigration and gay rights his positions are somewhere in between LP and CP.”

    Ron Paul is more radically pro-liberty than most of the Constitution Party. For instance, Ron has stated that he opposes victimless “crimes” such as laws against gambling and prostitution, and of Ron’s opposition to the drug war is well known. I’ve only heard a few members of the Constitution Party come out against the drug war (and some of these people are only partially against it), I’ve never heard anyone in the Constitution Party make the case that gambling and prostitution should be legal.

    While it is possible that Ron Paul could run under the Constitution Party banner, I can see a couple of big reasons why it is not likely to happen.

    1) Ballot access: The Constitution Party is on the ballot in a lot less states than the Libertarian Party. These include a lot of big states where the Libertarian Party does not have to petition its way on the ballot and where the Constitution Party would have to petition its way on the ballot. I’m talking about states like Texas, North Carolina, Georgia, Indiana, Arizona, and California (where the Constitution Party affiliate the American Independent Party had their ballot access hijacked by a pro-Alan Keyes faction). The Libertarian Party should go into 2012 with at least 30 states where they will have ballot access while the Constitution Party will likely go into 2012 with only 11 states where they will have ballot access. This means that in order to get ballot access in all 50 states plus DC in 2012 the LP will only have to conduct petition drives in 20 states plus DC while the Constitution Party would have to conduct petition drives in 39 states plus DC. The amount of work and money that it would cost for the Constitution Party to catch up with the Libertarian Party in terms of ballot access would be so great that it makes seeking the Libertarian Party’s Presidential nomination a more attractive choice than seeking the Constitution Party’s Presidential nomination.

    2) I think that the Libertarian Party is better suited to drawing votes from across the political spectrum than the Constitution Party is. That is that the Libertarian Party is more likely to draw in voters from the left, right, and center, as compared to the Constitution Party which mainly draws in voters from the right. Remember that while Ron Paul certainly does draw support from the right, he also gets a lot of support from the left and center. A lot of Ron Paul supporters are former Democrats or Greens and many were also independents and non-voters.

    Ron could also run as an independent, but then his ballot access situation would be even more difficult because he would have to conduct ballot access drives in all 50 states plus DC. This would be a tremendous amount of work and would cost way more money than if he were to run under a party banner that already had ballot access in over half of the states. So if Ron Paul were to run for President as anything other than a Republican, his best bet would be to run as a candidate for the Libertarian party again.

  29. Aaron

    If Johnson runs with the LP, y’all will get me back as a member/advocate.

    Aaron
    former RLC Vice Chair

  30. paulie Post author

    The mainstream media might also choose to play up Johnson in the general election as a way of helping Obama by siphoning off Tea Party voters from the Republican.

    If they did, it wouldn’t work.

    Firstly, the Tea Parties have been extremely focused on demonizing Obama. Even if they are very unhappy with the Republican nominee, they will do everything they can to make sure everyone in their orbit votes for the Republican so as to get Obama out of office.

    Second, if Johnson were to start making some headway in the Tea Party crowd, they would slam him on abortion, immigration, gay rights, marijuana and foreign policy. Despite their libertarian roots, today’s tea parties are solidly red meat conservative on those issues. As I said previously, the presence of a Moore or Goode in the race would make sure that any stray Tea Partiers that go off the GOP reservation would have an alternative that lines up more with them.

    Finally, Johnson just does not have that Tea Party “vibe.”

    His best bet, if he runs LP: Do as Ed Clark did and speak at every college he can cram into his schedule. Emphasize those liberal parts of his agenda that would work against him among Tea Party circles. Go to every Ron Paul meetup he can make and sell himself as a “plan B” if Ron Paul does not get the Republican nomination. Make youtube videos designed to appeal to young voters.

    “Low tax liberal” may have sent Rothbard into apopleptics, but it worked better than what every other LP candidate for president tried before or since.

    Young people are far less wedded to major parties than older people. The biggest cluster on Nolan Chart testing in that age cohort is along the left-center-libertarian borderline. Ron Paul has already proven that a libertarian candidate can do well with that crowd.

    Johnson’s mission, should he choose to accept it, should be to make the LP a viable choice for 18-30 year olds. It won’t make him president in 2013, but it would pay off in the long run.

  31. Chuck Moulton

    Paulie wrote (@33):

    I’m interested in any and all information on this. Still haven’t seen the denials from other Johnson staffers that Chuck Moulton alluded to.

    Sorry, can’t find the link.

    There was a thread on Facebook in some Gary Johnson page/group where someone posted a link to this IPR story. A bunch of people commented including several people who work for Johnson. For one Johnson’s social media director (I forget his name) was adamant that the story was false and Johnson has no intention of ever running with another party.

  32. Daniel Wiener

    Paulie @ 37:

    I’m not saying that if the mainstream media played up Johnson as the LP candidate, in an attempt to help Obama and hurt the Republican by siphoning off Tea Party voters, that it would necessarily “work”. I’m saying that it could provide Johnson and the LP with a lot of media coverage.

    The reality is that the 2012 election is likely to be a “throw Obama out” election, and nothing else is going to matter most non-Democrat voters (and even some Democrats). However, if it looks like Obama is going to lose in a landslide anyway, that might make some voters more comfortable with voting for the Libertarian.

  33. Nicholas Sarwark

    For another, Bloomberg or some other well-financed candidate will be on the ballot all over the country – and possibly in the debates – to take most of the generic disaffected vote that will go outside the duopoly (Americans Elect). Think Perot for comparison. Granted, the AE candidate will probably be a centrist rather than a Tea Partier, but he’ll also get some anti-status quo votes.

    You want to bet money on Americans Elect actually getting a candidate on the ballot? If so, let me know, I could use the cash.

  34. paulie Post author

    I’m saying that it could provide Johnson and the LP with a lot of media coverage.

    I addressed that as well. Should some in the media choose to go that route, they would probably pick Moore, Goode or whoever the Constitution Party candidate ends up being as their vehicle.

    Additionally, I don’t think the media can plausibly play that strategy for long unless Johnson gains traction with a large segment of Tea Party supporters. For reasons I laid out above, I don’t think he can get any traction there.

    To do more than a couple of obligatory stories about Johnson and Tea Parties, they’ll need evidence for substantial support for Johnson among Tea Partiers – otherwise, the story just doesn’t sell.

    And, anyone in the media tempted to play that game may well be astute enough to know that the LP pulls just as many (and sometimes more) votes from the left as we do from the right; see for example http://www.lpo.org/news/press-releases/233-libertarian-voters-come-from-democratic-and-republican-parties-nearly-equally.html and http://www.lp.org/blogs/staff/nc-poll-8-of-liberals-6-of-moderates-4-of-conservatives-support-libertarian-beitler

    However, if it looks like Obama is going to lose in a landslide anyway, that might make some voters more comfortable with voting for the Libertarian.

    In my experience, that does not work very well. Voters who are concerned with “wasting their vote” because they see one of the big two as a substantially lesser or greater evil than the other also tend to either be ignorant of the polls or to distrust the polls. Our best audience, therefore, are those who see both the Democrats and Republicans as equally evil and corrupt.

    I think it is actually more likely that Obama will win in a landslide than that he will lose in a landslide, but it’s possible that it could be close. I also think it is actually possible for Bloomberg to win, rather than merely swing the race. Remember, Perot actually led in the polls before he dropped out and dropped back in 1992. If you are polling ahead or neck and neck with the Ds and Rs, the “spoiler” argument dynamic does not work against you.

  35. paulie Post author

    You want to bet money on Americans Elect actually getting a candidate on the ballot? If so, let me know, I could use the cash.

    They’ve already gathered over 1.7 million signatures. Still want to bet?

  36. paulie Post author

    And that’s not on internet petitions, in case you were wondering. Actual signatures from voters on paper with a pen.

  37. Nicholas Sarwark

    They have ballot access in 4 states and think they will get it in CA. So I guess they’re farther along than Unity ’08 (their predecessor group), but I’m still skeptical that they actively run a candidate in the general or that that candidate will be on enough ballots to be viable.

  38. Andy

    Nicholas Sarwark said: “You want to bet money on Americans Elect actually getting a candidate on the ballot? If so, let me know, I could use the cash.”

    LOL! This is a bet you would probably lose. Americans Elect is backed by some very wealthy individuals. They have already completed ballot access petition drives in Arizona, Nevada, Alaska, Kansas, and Michigan. They have also completed or are about to complete ballot access petition drives in Hawaii, Utah, and Arkansas. They recently turned in signatures to qualify for ballot status in California (and they are likely to have made it). They just started a petition drive in Alabama and have either started or are about to start a petition drive in Georgia. They also have achieved ballot status in Florida, although they were not required to do a petition drive there, all they had to do was file some paper work and pay a fee.

    This group definitely has the money to get on the ballot in all 50 states plus DC for 2012. The only ways I can see them not making it are:

    1) If for some reason they decide to pull the plug on the project (although since they’ve already come this far I doubt that is going to happen).

    or

    2) A monumental screw up (although with their ability to “throw money at a problem and make it go away” this is not likely to happen either).

  39. paulie Post author

    I’m still skeptical that they actively run a candidate in the general or that that candidate will be on enough ballots to be viable.

    They are not spending millions of dollars so as to not run a candidate. They easily have enough money to get on every ballot there is. They have a petition contractor and plenty of others who want the job if they have a falling out.

    Unity ’08 was not able to raise large amounts of money from corporate sources. Americans Elect can, due to court decisions since then.

    They will be on the ballot.

    If you still want to bet, let me know the exact terms and it’s on.

  40. Robert Capozzi

    28 tk: Why indeed? There’s really no point in it — unless you’re interested in stuff like winning elections.

    me: Possibly. But, then, GJ isn’t going to “win.” Not with the GOP, not with the LP. OTOH, he did “win” with that Zen approach in NM, so there’s that!

    Mudslinging is QUITE expensive. I say the price is too high. Others may well disagree.

  41. Gene Berkman

    Paulie @ #43 -I don’t think the media will give alot of attention to The Constitution Party, no matter who they pick (unless they run Ron Paul)

    The Constitution Party is very obscure, and few reporters have heard of it. Indeed, few politicians have heard of it.

    Ron Paul was able to endorse Chuck Baldwin in 2008, and not be punished by the Republicans, because so few people even knew about Chuck Baldwin or The Constitution Party.

    Many people have heard of The Libertarian Party, and for some reporters, the LP stands in as the generic for “third party.” In the 1980s it meant we had to periodically correct reporters who would identify Lyndon LaRouche as a member of The Libertarian Party – they thought of LaRouche as a “third party” candidate, even as he ran in Democrat primaries, and The Libertarian Party was the only third party they could remember.

  42. George Phillies

    Paulie,

    What is your impression as to whom America Elects actually is? Is it a front for some wealthy American who will be magically chosen? Is it an actual moderate coalition?

    George

  43. paulie Post author

    The Constitution Party is very obscure, and few reporters have heard of it. Indeed, few politicians have heard of it.

    Somewhat more people have heard about it now, after Tancredo’s run for Governor. Roy Moore and to some extent Virgil Goode are better known than previous CP candidates.

    If Daniel Wiener is correct that some in the media will be seeking a candidate to try to break off votes from the Republican from the right, someone like Roy Moore would be a lot better suited to that task than Gary Johnson.

  44. paulie Post author

    What is your impression as to whom America Elects actually is? Is it a front for some wealthy American who will be magically chosen? Is it an actual moderate coalition?

    Most likely a front. Unity ’08 shared office space and staff with the Draft Michael Bloomberg for President committee, and Americans Elect is a direct descendant of Unity ’08. You can get much more details on AE at http://irregulartimes.com/index.php/archives/category/americanselect/

    It’s also possible that Bloomberg could be the VP candidate and someone else could take the top spot – some of the speculation has swirled around General Patraeus.

    Their propaganda says that the delegates can pick whoever they want, but my impression based on what I have gleaned from reading all the articles posted on this to date at Irregular Times is that the process will actually be tightly controlled to achieve a pre-determined result while making it appear on the surface that it is an open process.

  45. Andy

    Paulie said: “Their propaganda says that the delegates can pick whoever they want, but my impression based on what I have gleaned from reading all the articles posted on this to date at Irregular Times is that the process will actually be tightly controlled to achieve a pre-determined result while making it appear on the surface that it is an open process.”

    This sounds a lot like the election process that we have in this country in general.

  46. Nicholas Sarwark

    Thanks for bringing me up to speed on the specifics of how far along they are. I was speculating mostly based on the success (or lack thereof) of Unity ’08.

    I’ll withdraw my offer to bet on this. I’m sure the election cycle will produce more gambling opportunities though.

  47. Pingback: Lee Wrights comments on possible entry of Gary Johnson into LP Presidential race | Independent Political Report

  48. Robert Capozzi

    53 p, AE sounds potentially formidable. And they won’t have vestigial issues like who is “their” party in, say, OR.

    Patreus/Bloomberg likely crowds out Paul/Johnson, or possibly opens things up for a 4th. Hard to know. Patreus/Bloomberg in makes a no-name LP candidate even more marginalized, most likely.

  49. Robert Capozzi

    A line-up of Obama, Perry, Patreus/Bloomberg, Paul/Johnson would be nice in the sense that it tracks more closely to the actual ideologies of the country. It starts to feel more like a real choice than a least-bad bargain….

  50. Jose C

    Gary Johnson, on the other hand, is getting 1 or 2 percent in the polls, and is being ignored by the media which heaps attention on other candidates who aren’t even doing that well. Being frozen out by the media also greatly depresses his fundraising. Unless the situation changes drastically,

    So why should the media all of a sudden pay attention to Gary Jonson if he joins the Libertarian Party and becomes our nominee for president? The media is ignoring him now but for some reason the media will tell themselves, “He is a Libertarian. Let’s stop ignoring him.” They are going to pay more attention to Gary Jonson than the attention they gave Ed Clark in 1980. I doubt it.

  51. Jose C

    His best bet, if he runs LP: Do as Ed Clark did and speak at every college he can cram into his schedule. Emphasize those liberal parts of his agenda that would work against him among Tea Party circles. Go to every Ron Paul meetup he can make and sell himself as a “plan B” if Ron Paul does not get the Republican nomination. Make youtube videos designed to appeal to young voters.

    This will not work . . . because the anarchist wing of the Libertarian Party will not allow it. They will demonize him as they demonized Ed Clark in 1980. They had ads in Reason magazine urging Libertarians not to support or vote for Ed Clark. They demonized and attacked Communications Director Ed Crane and National Coordinator Chris Hocker.

    They vowed to prevent the nomination of an Ed Clark type candidate for President resulting in the nomination of David Bergland at the 1983 convention in New York. They also proceeded to “purge” and kick out Ed Crane, Chris Hocker, and others from the Libertarian Party at the 1983 convention. The result: ballot access in about 35 states compared to ballot access in 50 states, DC, and Guam in 1980. And a vote total nowhere near Ed Clark’s vote totals in 1980.

    Unless the anarchist wing of the Party has changed their spots they will never support a Gary Johnson (Ed Clark type) candidacy. Low tax liberal . . . As Robin would say, “Holy heart failure, Batman!”

  52. Brian Holtz

    Can anyone confirm this claim about “ads in Reason magazine urging Libertarians not to support or vote for Ed Clark”?

    Radicals certainly demonized and hounded the Crane/Cato faction, but “purge and kick out” is not technically accurate.

  53. paulie Post author

    So why should the media all of a sudden pay attention to Gary Jonson if he joins the Libertarian Party and becomes our nominee for president? The media is ignoring him now but for some reason the media will tell themselves, “He is a Libertarian. Let’s stop ignoring him.” They are going to pay more attention to Gary Jonson than the attention they gave Ed Clark in 1980. I doubt it.

    I tend to agree with Jose here.

  54. paulie Post author

    His best bet, if he runs LP: Do as Ed Clark did and speak at every college he can cram into his schedule. Emphasize those liberal parts of his agenda that would work against him among Tea Party circles. Go to every Ron Paul meetup he can make and sell himself as a “plan B” if Ron Paul does not get the Republican nomination. Make youtube videos designed to appeal to young voters.

    This will not work . . . because the anarchist wing of the Libertarian Party will not allow it. They will demonize him as they demonized Ed Clark in 1980. They had ads in Reason magazine urging Libertarians not to support or vote for Ed Clark. They demonized and attacked Communications Director Ed Crane and National Coordinator Chris Hocker.

    They vowed to prevent the nomination of an Ed Clark type candidate for President resulting in the nomination of David Bergland at the 1983 convention in New York. They also proceeded to “purge” and kick out Ed Crane, Chris Hocker, and others from the Libertarian Party at the 1983 convention. The result: ballot access in about 35 states compared to ballot access in 50 states, DC, and Guam in 1980. And a vote total nowhere near Ed Clark’s vote totals in 1980.

    Unless the anarchist wing of the Party has changed their spots they will never support a Gary Johnson (Ed Clark type) candidacy. Low tax liberal . . . As Robin would say, “Holy heart failure, Batman!”

    What you call the “anarchist wing” is less prominent and powerful in the LP now than back in the 1980s.

    If you want to be completely accurate, anarchist is not exactly the correct term.

    I’m an anarchist, and I read Ed Clark’s campaign book and liked it. Some of us anarchists nowadays prefer “low tax liberal” to “True Conservative” or “Reagan Libertarian.”

    On an unrelated subject, Andy (who also comments here) and I have been trying to get a hold of you to talk about a voter registration drive. Please give me a call at 415-690-6352 when you get a few minutes.

  55. paulie Post author

    Can anyone confirm this claim about “ads in Reason magazine urging Libertarians not to support or vote for Ed Clark”?

    Radicals certainly demonized and hounded the Crane/Cato faction, but “purge and kick out” is not technically accurate.

    I don’t recall ever reading about ads in Reason before.

    From what I have read, Crane/Cato folks walked out of their own free will.

  56. Austin Battenberg

    Paulie, you mentioned earlier that you don’t think Ron Paul will switch parties, and normally I would be inclined to agree with you. However, he is NOT running for reelection for his congressional seat. If he didn’t secure the Republican nomination, I don’t see why he wouldn’t consider running as a Libertarian or as an Independent if he could effect the debate. Unlike Johnson, he has much better name recognition and better fund raising…hell, he might even be able to be like Ross Perot and get into the debates…but that could be wishful thinking.

    Thoughts?

  57. Austin Battenberg

    And as for the anarchists I find it funny that they would put out an ad saying not to vote for the Libertarian candidate. I mean…do they want an anarchist to run for President? Anarchists don’t even want a government at all…so isn’t that kind of weird that they would even WANT someone to run for President for a government they want to abolish?

  58. paulie Post author

    Paulie, you mentioned earlier that you don’t think Ron Paul will switch parties, and normally I would be inclined to agree with you. However, he is NOT running for reelection for his congressional seat. If he didn’t secure the Republican nomination, I don’t see why he wouldn’t consider running as a Libertarian or as an Independent if he could effect the debate. Unlike Johnson, he has much better name recognition and better fund raising…hell, he might even be able to be like Ross Perot and get into the debates…but that could be wishful thinking.

    He would put Rand Paul in an awkward position if he runs against the Republicans. Rand will probably want to run for Senate again in 2016 and perhaps president in 2020 or 2024. A defection by his father will be used against him, and any other Paul family members who may want to enter politics, even if they have nothing to do with it. Other Paul supporters who may want to have a future in the Republican Party after next year could likewise be put in a bind.

    The timing would also work against it. At the time of the LP convention, it is conceivable that Paul would still be actively running in Republican primaries. With his level of support this year, it will be a lot harder for the Republicans to deny him a convention speaking slot, and his delegates could perhaps hold the balance of power at the convention. To get on as an independent that late in the game would be extremely difficult due to the large number of states that would have to do ballot access at the same time. Screwing that up in some of them would be virtually guaranteed, especially when you consider that petitioner resources will be in great demand by numerous campaigns at the same time and the petition management may be being done by people with relatively little experience.

    And, while it is possible that Ron Paul may be considered too old to run in 2016, it is not guaranteed that he wouldn’t. People are living longer and staying active longer these days. 80-something presidential candidates who are not automatically ruled out due to their age? It may well happen soon.

  59. paulie Post author

    Anarchists don’t even want a government at all…so isn’t that kind of weird that they would even WANT someone to run for President for a government they want to abolish?

    Not necessarily. If I choose to ignore the government, it does not mean government will choose to ignore me. To get rid of the ring of power in Lord of the Rings, someone has to climb Mount Doom and get in a position to cast it into the lake of fire. If we never climb Mt Doom, we never get in that position.

    Of course, many of the people Jose was calling anarchists were in fact not anarchists. Some people use anarchist as a pejorative for radical libertarians, using it in a way that includes minarchists.

  60. Austin Battenberg

    Ah, I guess that makes sense. I understand your Lord of the Rings metaphor…but if for me if your a true anarchist, then becoming President would be the same as putting on the ring so you can control it rather than the bad guy, and doing some good with it. You may very well do some good things…but eventually, you won’t have the ring anymore, and someone else will, and you would have screwed up your chance to eliminate the power that others seek. I’m not sure if you are familiar with Stefan Moleneux, but he is a anarchist and doesn’t believe in political activity at all, because then it means you accept the system as it currently exists. Thus, while he admires Ron Paul, he refuses to vote, support, or suggest to other people that they vote or support him because he is still a part of the system that is corrupt.

  61. paulie Post author

    Yes, I’m familiar with Molyneux and others who make similar arguments. Certainly, as in the parable/fable, the temptations of the ring are great, and the journey to Mt. Doom is fraught with peril.

  62. Michael H. Wilson

    Austin @ 67 speaking of Ron Paul wrote; ” If he didn’t secure the Republican nomination, I don’t see why he wouldn’t consider running as a Libertarian or as an Independent if he could effect the debate.”

    I may be wrong but I understand that the Republican Party is now using a proportional system of delegate selection. Thus if a candidate gets ten percent in New Hampshire they’ll have those same delegates all the way to the convention. I’ll bet Ron Paul will be in all the way to the convention and his delegates will not fold until they get a commitment from the party on an issue. The California primary is in June and it will have a bunch of delegates. Gonna be interesting.

  63. Brian Holtz

    @74 I wrote in May 2008: “If Ruwart were running to be ONLY the chief spokesperson and salesman for consensus libertarianism, and would explicitly disavow her apparent claim to represent the best and most authentic form of libertarianism, then she would be my #3 choice behind some ordering of Phillies and Root. Her skill at presenting watered-down feel-good gauzy libertarianism are SO good that I’m willing to not make her alleged purity be an issue if she is.”

  64. Kleptocracy and You

    Ron Paul and/or Gary Johnson are not going to seek the LP (or CP in Paul’s case) nomination. This is ALL wishful thinking on the part of Mr. McClendon and a few others about Johnson. Frankly all this talk is wasting time and little gray cells. I will wager anyone real life BENJAMINS that neither will seek the LP nomination. (There is a catch, when I win you WILL pay your bet or angry men with weapons will be coming to see you !!! ) It is explained very clearly in the posts above WHY they won’t be seeking the nom. (Rand Paul-RP, 2016-GJ)

    The LP needs to try to BUILD with the candidates they have who SINCERELY want the LP nomination. The CP should do the same. The POTUS campaign must be used as a building partner to all state, local and even national levels. Without tens of millions of dollars the breakthrough at the POTUS level will never happen SO use it to build at the local levels.

    Read Harry Browne’s Report to understand the big picture of a Third Party run for POTUS ! – http://www.harrybrowne.org/2000/toc.htm

    Stop wishing ! As an old, now deceased friend use to say to me whenever wishing was brought up. “Wish in one hand and crap in the other and see which one fills up first” ! Crude I know (he used the s word), but a good point was made. Work WORKS ! Wishes don’t materialize ! Work with what you have now. They can reach millions upon millions with the LP message between now and the Vegas convention. Especially with help from all LP activists helping them receive local media coverage.

    http://www.harrybrowne.org/2000/media.htm

  65. Pingback: Wayne Root would welcome Gary Johnson to Libertarian Presidential race | Independent Political Report

  66. Pingback: Gary Johnson has “zero interest in running as an independent or third party candidate,” according to official campaign source | ThirdPartyPolitics.us

  67. Steve Meier

    I am for Gary Johnson making the switch to the Libertarian Party. As such, I pledge to make significant donations to help him get the nomination and additional significant donations to help in his run as the Libertarian candidate.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *