Gary Johnson responds to Rand Paul announcement: “He’s definitely running as a Republican”

 

via Newsmax.com:

Former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson, who ran for president as a Libertarian in 2012, tells Newsmax TV there is no question Sen. Rand Paul is retiring his libertarian roots in his quest for the White House.

“If he was a libertarian, he’d run as a Libertarian. He’s a Republican and he said that in his speech,” Johnson said Tuesday on “The Steve Malzberg Show” after Paul announced he was seeking the 2016 Republican nomination.

“He said today, ‘make no bones about it, I’m a Republican, I’m not Democrat Lite in any way whatsoever,’ which really infers that ‘I’m a social conservative.'”

Asked by Malzberg for the definition of Democrat Lite, Johnson said:

“I’ve always said that most people in this country are classic liberals [with] the notion of ‘I don’t care what you or how you live your life as long as it doesn’t adversely affect mine.’

“And most people are fiscally conservative, [with] the notion that we can’t continue to spend more money than what we’re taking in or it’s going to have catastrophic results. In that regard, Rand Paul is just right on.”

Johnson also praised Paul for bringing “a tension to what it is to be a libertarian.”

Meanwhile, Johnson says he continues to mull his own return to politics — as the Libertarian presidential candidate next year.

“I hope to do that again,” he said.

UPDATE:  Gary Johnson also appeared on MSNBC today to discuss the same topic:

 

74 thoughts on “Gary Johnson responds to Rand Paul announcement: “He’s definitely running as a Republican”

  1. Andy

    This is a hypocritical statement from Johnson given that he ran as a Republican himself.

  2. paulie

    He saw the error of his ways. Rand Paul hasn’t. Also, it’s a statement about issues, not only party, if you read the whole thing.

  3. Robert Capozzi

    OMG, while GJ makes some great points here, he comes very close to being unhinged for the last third or so of this clip. Dial that way back!

    The host is correct about the term “classic[al] liberal.” Lose it in a NY minute.

    The untucked shirt is a good look, but not in this venue.

    C+

  4. Bondurant

    I don’t see Johnson as a guy that looks back on his time as a Republican as an error. He’s much more someone who was soundly rejected by the GOP once his aspirations went past New Mexico and viewed the LP as a viable alternative. That’s not all bad but I can see where people would view him as a hypocrite.

  5. Thomas L. Knapp

    Does it bug anyone else that the expression on Rand Paul’s face always seems to be along the lines of “I’m putting myself to sleep … must resist sleep …?”

  6. Robert Capozzi

    tk, yes, Rand’s style is pretty chill. I think that’s generally to his benefit, since he has a pretty edgy message.

  7. Thomas L. Knapp

    “while GJ makes some great points here, he comes very close to being unhinged for the last third or so of this clip. Dial that way back!”

    Different strokes for different folks, I guess. That’s the first time I’ve seen Gary Johnson in action and said to myself “damn … I could vote for that guy.”

    He didn’t bring the drug issue up, but when the other guy did he pivoted right to a libertarian — and implicitly populist — attack in which he leveraged his position as the majority position. Good stuff.

  8. Thomas L. Knapp

    RC,

    Well, the problem with Rand’s “edgy” message is that the instant someone points it out as edgy, he runs like hell for the center (of his party’s line, not in general).

    He’s a man of iron. Waffle iron.

  9. Robert Capozzi

    tk, on GJ, I think the substance of his rant was pretty darned good. Personally, I think his delivery was too Manson.

    On RP2, yes, RP2 calibrates. He’s a pol who is in the mix and who is not a plumbline theorist.

  10. Robert Capozzi

    Weathervanes can be useful. Plumbline theorists? Dunno. I’ve not seen the value added, though YMMV.

  11. Shave the Whales!

    You don’t have to be a weatherman to know Randal Paul blows*.

    *With apologies to my female and gay friends.

  12. Andy Craig Post author

    I think “classical liberal” is a good term to use. The host didn’t like it because he’s a partisan conservative Republican, but so what? He’s not the target audience. Of course he’s going to want to stick to disparagingly calling Pelosi and Obama “liberals.” Gary’s speaking to the supermajority of Americans who *don’t* automatically start hissing and booing whenever the word “liberal” is mentioned. and who don’t reflexively hate Democratic pols as only a partisan Republican can.

    That’s the main difference between Rand and Gary. It’s not radical/purist vs. moderate/pragmatic, which isn’t really relevant in comparing them (Johnson is a little more radical, but still pretty firmly in the moderate camp overall). Rather it’s Johnson’s vision of libertarianism as “classical liberalism” positioning itself in the center with outreach to left and right alike, vs. Paul’s new spin on a very old and mostly failed idea: paleoconservative fusionism. The idea that libertarians are a subset of the right and that long-term victory will come through blending libertarianism with pre-existing American conservatism, particularly the “disgruntled” anti-establishment elements thereof.

    Which is, of course, entirely getting the cause and effect backwards. America hasn’t become relatively more libertarian because the GOP has lead the way. America has become relatively more libertarian in public opinion, and the GOP is being dragged along a couple of decades behind, just like the Democrats.

  13. Shave the Whales!

    “I don’t see Johnson as a guy that looks back on his time as a Republican as an error. He’s much more someone who was soundly rejected by the GOP once his aspirations went past New Mexico and viewed the LP as a viable alternative. ”

    Some of both. He tried as hard as he could to fit in with the GOP, and finally realized it would never work. He’s been a libertarian all along, finally came out of the closet, and for the most part hasn’t looked back.

  14. Joseph Buchman

    Rand Paul is DEFINITELY running for the Republican Party nomination which, one could infer, he “hopes” to receive. He’s also running for POTUS which one could also likewise infer he “hopes” to win.

    So what does ““I hope to do that again,” he said” mean? Does he “hope” to run for the LP nomination? If so, what is out of his control in regards to doing that/stating that?

    Or is he saying he “hopes” to receive the LP nomination? And if that is what he is “hoping” how is that different from Rand Paul who is “definitely” running . . .

    I’m so easily confused.

    🙂

    I gotta also wonder how different it is to have purist Libertarians criticizing Fair Tax Governor Johnson as “not really a libertarian” while having Gary criticize Rand in (what seems to me to be) exactly the same vein. The order of magnitude may be different (Governor Johnson is, I believe, more libertarian than Senator Paul — but is the magnitude of that difference actually bigger than say between Governor Johnson and the actual LP Platform/a “purist” candidate or even the candidate Ron Paul was when he ran in 1988?

    (I don’t know those answers, figure there are folks here who do/or who would have interesting insights along those lines.)

    Joe

  15. Thomas L. Knapp

    The “hope to” line bugs me as well, but I’m assuming it relates to what he said about what happens after you formally announce. I’m guessing that he actually “plans to,” but that he’s hedging for as long as possible because once he does say “I’m in,” a number of things change including time commitments, etc. that mean he has to pay less attention to his non-political business affairs and so forth.

    There’s no reason that Johson 2016 would have to be the same as Johnson 2012. Now that he’s talking “classic[al] liberal,” he might be able to focus more intensely on issues that he has the capacity to be better on than, say, the “Fair” Tax.

    One big one he could hit Republicans — including Rand Paul, who’s flip-flopped on it — with is “increase our already incredibly bloated military budget … really?” It’s likely that even the Democrat won’t call for real military spending cuts. If he’s the big third party candidate, he could get that issue pretty much to himself. And I think we’re at a point where that idea is beginning to resonate with voters across the spectrum.

  16. Robert Capozzi

    ac: I think “classical liberal” is a good term to use.

    me: I’d suggest that 95% of the pop don’t know what the term means.

    If there was a poll, who is a “classical liberal,” and the choices were:

    1 Nancy Pelosi
    2 John Kennedy
    3 Thomas Jefferson

    2 would win in a cake walk. Fewer would know who FA Hayek was.

    A “classic liberal” is an even weirder term.

    You have not convinced me.

  17. Andy Craig Post author

    The latest word was that a Johnson announcement is planned for 3Q 2015. He hasn’t said or done anything yet to indicate any change in that plan.

  18. Thomas L. Knapp

    RC,

    Ed Clark got a larger percentage of the vote in 1980 than Johnson did in 2012, and to the extent anyone remembers anything he said during that campaign, what they remember is the phrase “low-tax liberal.” Of course, that may or may not have been a factor in his vote percentage (the $10 million in 2008 dollars that his VP candidate spent was probably more important).

    If the public interprets “classical liberal” or “classic liberal” in the way you think they do, well, there are a lot worse things than being conflated with JFK. The details of his presidency aside, he’s well thought of across a large swath of the American electorate.

  19. Andy Craig Post author

    “If there was a poll, who is a “classical liberal,” and the choices were:

    1 Nancy Pelosi
    2 John Kennedy
    3 Thomas Jefferson

    2 would win in a cake walk.”

    This is not an argument against using the label, if you’re talking popular appeal. 😉

    cf. Reagan’s famous line about “I didn’t leave the Democratic Party, the Democratic Party left me.” – which was a totally bogus assertion if you actually look at the time periods in question, but had excellent popular appeal.

    Classic[al] liberal has the benefit of being obviously correct to those who do know the term and who are more informed, as well as invoking the same sort of nostalgic-alienation sensibility that views the current establishment in both parties as having watering down what those parties are “supposed” to stand for. Same thing with talk of being a “true conservative” paired with [fill-in-the-blank-libertarian-position]. It’s challenging the consistency and integrity of our opponents in sticking to their ostensible stated principles, by explaining how those principles reach a libertarian result even on their own terms.

    Compared with the other phrases that can be used in that rhetorical dichotomy- “social liberal”, “socially tolerant”, “socially accepting”- classical liberal is both the most correct and has the most positive connotations and thus works the best.

    This is of course assuming you don’t object, like Harry Browne did, to Libertarians engaging in any sort of “fiscal-con/social-lib” talk at all. But I think that’s misguided, given that at some point we have to translate “libertarian” into words and phrases that are in recognizable use by the general public. We can’t just spout arcane-sounding intra-libertarian theoretical jargon and expect the average voter to be attracted to that or even understand it. So you have to have some sort of answer for the inevitable question of how we compare and contrast with the left and right, liberals and conservatives, Republicans and Democrats, etc.

  20. William Saturn

    I like that Gary Johnson tries to show some emotion in this interview. It often comes off as contrived though. He should watch the Phil Davison video a few more times to hone his craft.

  21. Andy Craig Post author

    If/when that MSNBC clip is uploaded to YouTube, i’ll add it to the end of this post as an update, rather than having a new post every time Gary gets brought on to criticize Rand, which is apparently going to be fairly often (which is great!).

  22. Jill Pyeatt

    It’s going to be a brutal campaign season, that’s for sure.

    One article I read said that Rand was being sexist here. Puh-leez.

  23. Thomas L. Knapp

    I wouldn’t say that Rand was being sexist, necessarily. He was just being a complete goddamn dumbass who apparently has no idea how to handle an interview.

  24. Andy Craig Post author

    Whining about the interviewer’s bias to eat up time and dodge the question always makes you look like an overly-defensive insecure idiot, and it’s Rand’s go-to response when he gets any sort of question that isn’t a total softball. I’ve seen some Libertarian candidates do that too, and it always makes me cringe.

    It’s my case in point that Rand’s much-touted superior-to-his-father political skills, are just so much hype. Ron had the same problem to a degree, responding to hostile questions by dismissing and attacking the interviewer, but at least he pulled off “indignant” a lot better than Rand can. Of course, Ron never really had to deal with too many questions about being a flip-flopper, and never had to complain that a quote from “eight years ago” was way too long ago for him to possibly still think the same thing.

    The way Rand disclaims anything he might have said “while campaigning for somebody else” is pretty rich, too. He can’t even bring himself to say which campaign he would have been working on in 2007 that isn’t representative of his current views. Just “somebody else.”

  25. David Terry

    Andy Craig; ”

    “If there was a poll, who is a “classical liberal,” and the choices were:

    1 Nancy Pelosi
    2 John Kennedy
    3 Thomas Jefferson

    2 would win in a cake walk.”

    You CLEARLY have a different definition of “classical liberal” than I do.
    JFK was a statist, war monger; just like his successor.

  26. ATBAFT

    If GJ is going to seek the LP nomination, he needs to get out there right now and start building his campaign team in all the states. Barr, GJ and others were hurt in the past by not having fully functioning teams in place (and headed by Libertarians respected in their states) before the conventions that nominated them. LP is far too weak for a nominee to expect top results from a team hastily assembled after the nominating convention.

  27. George Phillies

    Rand Paul’s statement that he is not a libertarian is automatically true. Either it is simply true, or he is a libertarian and dissimulating, in which case he is using fraud for political purposes and really isn’t a libertarian after all.

    ATBAFT: We have had libertarians with assembled teams. The one who I recall had one, sort of, and was the nominee, did not due very well, and the convention has rejected others who had such support groups. However, in principle you are right.

  28. George Whitfield

    Glad to see that Gary Johnson was interviewed and that he did pretty well at it.

  29. Andy Craig Post author

    @ATBAFT

    He could announce as late as October and still have eight months to go until the convention. I don’t think that’s going to be a problem.

    He’s getting pretty much as much coverage as a likely/presumed candidate, in line with his consistent statements to that effect, as he would get as a formally declared candidate at this point. The question is more one of which the campaign launches.

  30. Andy

    The only reason that Gary Johnson is not running as a Republican for President is because he knows that he’d get slaughtered in the Republican primaries.

    Gary Johnson started his run for President for the 2012 election by running in the Republican primaries. He only switched to Libertarian after it was clearly apparent that he had no chance of winning the Republican nomination.

  31. paulie

    He saw there was no place for his ideas in the Republican Party at the national level. What’s so hard to understand?

  32. Andy

    “paulie

    April 8, 2015 at 10:51 pm

    He saw there was no place for his ideas in the Republican Party at the national level. What’s so hard to understand?”

    There was a place for his ideas, it was just that most of that support was going to Ron Paul instead of him, and this time it will go to Rand Paul instead of him.

    I think that it is pretty apparent that Gary Johnson would run for office as a Republican if he thought that he could get elected as such, or at least win the nomination, and from statements that he made not too long ago, he’d run as an independent if he thought that he could get on the ballot on all 50 states plus DC as an independent.

  33. paulie

    There was a place for his ideas, it was just that most of that support was going to Ron Paul instead of him, and this time it will go to Rand Paul instead of him.

    Nope. Not the same ideas. Gary was considered too liberal on abortion, immigration and gay rights by too many Republicans. Yes, I know, there are nuances to his positions on those issues as well as to the Ron and Rand Paul positions on them, but nevertheless the Pauls are acceptable in the NSGOP (Rand especially) and Gary is beyond the pale. They’re close to the same fence but on different sides of it.

  34. Joshua Katz

    DT – views on JFK aside, I think that was AC’s point. JFK is not what we’d call a classical liberal, but most of the public would call him one – making it a poor label if you wish to be understood by most of the public.

  35. Green_w_o_Adjectives

    Wow some righteous anger from GJ there venting on the partisan Rep host.

  36. David Cox

    I’m pretty confident that if Gary Johnson had been allowed into the Republican debates he would have gained some traction. CNN took him out of their polling when he was polling even with or higher than other candidates, and further debates barred him because he hadn’t been in the prior debates (Dave Weigel’s “The Gary Johnson Rule”). Every few weeks it seemed like another Republican candidate shot up in the polls and then plummeted back down to Earth, so it’s likely Gary would have received that kind of bump sooner or later if he’d been allowed to participate in all of the debates. But they didn’t want him there.

  37. Have You Talked to Your Kids About VD?

    Andy Craig makes some good points, a preacher who now has the loudest singers in the choir just a little bit more on his side.

    Of course, some of the choir are thinking about sexual fantasies, others are thinking about getting to a bathroom, others are daydreaming about food, others are trying not to fall asleep. Still, good showing libertarians! I’m really glad that you’re serving O’Brien and the “Thought Police” by continuing to (sometimes) access the ballot. F- for strategy, A+ for theoretical bullshit!

    Call me when you decide to crawl, …it’s long past time to run.

  38. Andy

    “paulie

    April 8, 2015 at 11:03 pm

    There was a place for his ideas, it was just that most of that support was going to Ron Paul instead of him, and this time it will go to Rand Paul instead of him.

    Nope. Not the same ideas. Gary was considered too liberal on abortion, immigration and gay rights by too many Republicans. Yes, I know, there are nuances to his positions on those issues as well as to the Ron and Rand Paul positions on them, but nevertheless the Pauls are acceptable in the NSGOP (Rand especially) and Gary is beyond the pale.”

    Ron Paul was never considered to be acceptable in the Republican Party. The mainstream Republicans always hated him. Most of Ron Paul’s support did not come out of traditional Republican ranks. The only reason that Ron Paul got a lot of notoriety in the Republican primaries is because he was able to galvanize a lot of support, and raise a lot of money, and this was in large part because 1) Ron Paul was a sitting US Congressman, and 2) Ron Paul had been building up a large cult following since the 1970’s.

    Rand Paul is more accepted by mainstream Republicans than his father ever was, but even with Rand a lot of mainstream Republicans do not like him either.

    Gary Johnson was accepted by Republicans enough to get elected Governor of New Mexico for two terms. If Gary Johnson had not dropped out of politics for around 10 years he would have stood a much better chance in the Republican Presidential primaries. He also would have stood a better chance if he did not have to split the pro-liberty, or pro-liberty leaning, votes and donor dollars with the Pauls.

  39. paulie

    Ron Paul is still more acceptable to them on the social issues, and the presidency is different from governor, as Johnson learned.

  40. Andy

    “David Cox

    April 8, 2015 at 11:48 pm

    I’m pretty confident that if Gary Johnson had been allowed into the Republican debates he would have gained some traction.”

    Gary Johnson was in at least one or two of the Republican Presidential primary debates. He dropped out of the Republican primaries because he knew that he was way behind in the polls, and he was also way behind in the fundraising.

    There are a few states where even the Democrat and Republican candidates have to gather petition signatures for ballot access. I know somebody who was in negotiations with the Gary Johnson campaign to work on his ballot access drives for the Republican primaries, and this person told me that the Johnson campaign was having trouble raising enough money to pay petitioners, and that they were getting little in the way of volunteer signatures.

    If Ron Paul had not been in the race, Gary Johnson would have gotten a lot more support in the Republican primaries.

  41. paulie

    He was excluded from many more others, even early on. And as previously explained, Johnson’s views on several social issues would have made him a non-starter in Republican primaries with or without Ron Paul in the race.

  42. Andy

    I disagree. If Gary Johnson had not dropped out of politics for so long before running for President, and if Ron Paul had not been in the race, Gary Johnson would have had a much bigger impact in the Republican primaries.

  43. paulie

    You can disagree all you want, but it remains true. Just ask Gary in person, he’ll tell you himself. He had extensive experience with Republican donors, power brokers and mavens explain to him that his social views were too liberal for the Republican presidential primaries, period.

  44. Andy

    “paulie

    April 9, 2015 at 12:09 am

    You can disagree all you want, but it remains true. Just ask Gary in person, he’ll tell you himself. He had extensive experience with Republican donors, power brokers and mavens explain to him that his social views were too liberal for the Republican presidential primaries, period.”

    People said the same thing to Ron Paul. This obviously did not stop Gary Johnson from getting elected Governor of New Mexico twice. Being Governor of a state is a pretty big deal. I don’t think that it really matters so much what the views of the candidate are as it does how much money they can spend on their campaign. Gary Johnson could not raise enough money to be relevant in the Republican primaries because he dropped off the political radar for about 10 years and because a lot of the people who would have donated to him donated to Ron Paul, who by this time, had built a bigger name for himself than Gary Johnson had.

  45. langa

    I thought Johnson was very good in the Newsmax interview, and not so good in the MSNBC interview, where he barely mentioned foreign policy at all, choosing instead to go on and on about divisive social issues like abortion. If the LP is going to attack Rand, and/or try to win over his supporters, the focus should be on foreign policy, which is the area where Rand differs from Ron most sharply.

    As for Rand, he came off as a total douchebag (although the idea that his temper tantrum was somehow evidence of sexism is laughable, and makes me wonder if some people on the left are capable of watching the sun rise without seeing some evidence of covert bigotry).

    Finally, I agree with RC (there’s a first time for everything, right?) about the term “classical liberal” serving primarily to mislead and confuse people about libertarian views.

  46. Andy Craig Post author

    http://dailycaller.com/2015/04/08/gary-johnson-preparing-to-run-for-president-in-2016/

    Gary Johnson, the Libertarian Party’s nominee for president in 2012, tells The Daily Caller he is gearing up to run for the White House again.

    “Unless something catastrophic happens in my life, I hope to do that,” Johnson said in an interview at The Daily Caller’s newsroom in Washington on Wednesday.

    Johnson — the former governor of New Mexico who ran for president as a Republican in 2011 before dropping out to run on the Libertarian Party ticket — said “there’s no real rush” to announce though he is actively preparing for a campaign.

    Asked about the libertarian-leaning Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul’s entrance into the race this week, Johnson said: “I like the fact that he’s running. I mean of all the Republicans, he’s the closest to my ideology. The things that we differ are immigration, marriage equality, women’s right to choose, drug policy and military intervention.”

    But Johnson said of Paul: “He has to pander to the right to get the nomination. And it’s a process where Republicans right now are putting out candidates I think are unelectable in a general election.”

    Johnson also disputed the characterization that Rand Paul is a libertarian. “Out of his own mouth, he in no way would describe himself as a libertarian,” Johnson said. “Because that is something he is running from right now to get the Republican nomination.”

    Johnson, who is now CEO of Cannabis Sativa Inc., which sells medical marijuana, said he’d welcome Jesse Ventura, the former Minnesota governor into the race for the Libertarian Party’s nomination for president. Ventura has expressed interest in a campaign.

    “If that happened, that would be terrific because that potentially could be a televised-kind-of-a-debate situation,” Johnson said of a matchup with Ventura.

    For now, Johnson’s political group is working on a lawsuit to help third-party candidates get into the presidential debates.

    “Our America Initiative is going to sue the presidential debate commission on anti-trust grounds, on the notion that although it sounds very official and it sounds very fair and it sounds very governmental, it’s nothing but,” Johnson said. “It’s the two parties.”

  47. Andy

    “‘Unless something catastrophic happens in my life, I hope to do that,’ Johnson said in an interview at The Daily Caller’s newsroom in Washington on Wednesday.”

    I am still hoping that a better candidate emerges for the LP nomination.

  48. George Phillies

    I continue to be annoyed by forgetting Trussed Knot Thigh Spiel Chequers.

    ATBAFT: We have had libertarians with assembled teams. The one who I recall had one, sort of, and was the nominee, did not do very well, and the convention has rejected others who had such support groups. However, in principle you are right.

  49. Robert Capozzi

    ac: Gary’s speaking to the supermajority of Americans who *don’t* automatically start hissing and booing whenever the word “liberal” is mentioned. and who don’t reflexively hate Democratic pols as only a partisan Republican can.

    me: Frankly, other than the 5% who know what classical liberal means, I’m not sure who that term appeals to. (It does appeal to ME, btw.)

    I’m guessing it appeals mostly to old liberals who are not progressives in the contemporary sense of the word.

    If he’s on a TV show watched almost exclusively by conservatives, as I suspect NewsMax is, using the term classical liberal is vinegar, not honey.

    Low-tax liberal that TK referred to was probably a good term to reach more people, and at least connotes “in many ways NOT liberal.”

    He still needs a lot of media coaching, IMO.

  50. Robert Capozzi

    I do like the idea of GJ/JV debating. Like professional wrestling, it might be a great way for JV to make GJ look good and reasonable. It also might focus GJ, as he needs a lot of it. He’s got to get crisp in his presentation, and he’s still not there yet.

  51. Mike Kane

    Gary Johnson missed on the drug issue. No sense in getting worked up and screaming tyranny.

    He could have used that opportunity to discuss self ownership… and how government has no role interfering with people’s choices whether some people may consider them bad, provided they aren’t harming others.

  52. Thomas L. Knapp

    Mike,

    Yes, he could have done that.

    But he’s in the electoral politics game, and he took exactly the right approach where that game is concerned. He pointed out that he’s on the side of the majority, and that the other side is tyrannizing that majority.

    That’s how you get votes — by telling voters “I’m on your side, the other guys aren’t.”

  53. paulie

    So what does ““I hope to do that again,” he said” mean? Does he “hope” to run for the LP nomination? If so, what is out of his control in regards to doing that/stating that?

    Various ducks being lined up, etc.

    Or is he saying he “hopes” to receive the LP nomination?

    No, not yet. Hints are being dropped but no declaration is being made.

    I gotta also wonder how different it is to have purist Libertarians criticizing Fair Tax Governor Johnson as “not really a libertarian” while having Gary criticize Rand in (what seems to me to be) exactly the same vein.

    Johnson believes in a simplified tax system, compared to the overly complex tax code we have now. He thinks a sales tax would be better than income, wage, and other current taxes. He does not necessarily agree with the “prebate” welfare scheme, revenue neutral tax rate, or other aspects of the “fair” tax. He thinks it’s a “good starting point” for a conversation about how to radically simplify the tax code. I don’t agree that it is, but I understand why he believes the complexity of the tax code is a big problem. I agree that it is. While there are issues of libertarian purity I disagree with Gary on, my disagreement on issues with Rand Paul is much more profound. There are whole major areas of policy I don’t agree with Rand Paul on, and others where I only agree with what he says some days of the week and not others.

    The order of magnitude may be different (Governor Johnson is, I believe, more libertarian than Senator Paul

    I think so too.

    but is the magnitude of that difference actually bigger than say between Governor Johnson and the actual LP Platform/a “purist” candidate or even the candidate Ron Paul was when he ran in 1988?

    My answer would be yes.

  54. David Terry

    TK> “That’s how you get votes — by telling voters “I’m on your side, the other guys aren’t.”

    That sounds VERY much like the cynical process the D’s & R’s currently use. If a candidate tells the “truth” as HE sees it, there are only two possible results; (a) he wins and his views
    are validated or, (b) he loses, but he has not perjured himself and can return and fight again.

  55. Thomas L. Knapp

    Johnson DID tell the truth as he saw it (at least he seems to believe the war on drugs is wrong and evil).

    And he pointed out that the majority of Americans agree with him on that.

    Obviously the first part is important.

    But in electoral politics, so is the second part.

  56. Andy

    The majority of Americans may support legalizing marijuana, but a majority does not support legalizing hard drugs.

  57. paulie

    Gotta start somewhere. A majority did not agree on marijuana until a couple of years ago, and while progress is being made, marijuana laws still need a lot of work. Other substances will take longer, but ultimately all substance prohibitions will fail and get repealed sooner or later, as always happens with any substance in any country and any era of history that regimes try to legislate out of existence…it always fails, and sooner or later they are forced to acknowledge that.

  58. Thomas L. Knapp

    Wow. I’m definitely not a big Johnson fan and most people, myself included, consider me a “purist.” But any “purist” criticisms of Johnson on that segment seem to me to fall into the category of sore winner/refusing to take yes for an answer.

  59. Mark Axinn

    >makes me wonder if some people on the left are capable of watching the sun rise without seeing some evidence of covert bigotry.

    langa, you’re such a bigot. Why do you keep calling it the sun and not the daughter?

    And sun rising must have some macho-male dominance theme behind it too.

  60. langa

    LOL, Mark, I think you might be right. Or maybe eliminating darkness is evidence of the sun’s racism!

  61. Matt Cholko

    Yeah, its just anti-Johnson whining and contrarian BS here, as near as I can tell. That was a solid interview, especially when he got excited about marijuana.

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