Gary Johnson is pursuing many of the same goals as Ron PaulMarch 19, 2012Posted in Blog, News
Libertarian candidate for president visits Salem
By Peter Wong
Gary Johnson is pursuing many of the same goals as Ron Paul in their quests for the presidency — less federal spending, a lower military presence around the world and more freedom at home.
The difference is that Johnson left the Republican Party, after winning two terms as governor of New Mexico, to seek the Libertarian Party nomination for president this year. Paul, a U.S. representative from Texas who was the Libertarian Party’s presidential nominee in 1988, is running behind three others for the Republican nomination.
Johnson, on a stop this morning in Salem, conceded it will be tough to win enough support to merit a place on the debate stage with Democratic President Barack Obama and Republican Mitt Romney.
“But I think these days are unique, and the problems are so daunting and not being addressed by either of the two major parties,” Johnson said.
“I believe we are going to experience a collapse unless we get our spending under control.”
Johnson said he has about 9 percent support in recent surveys, but that 80 percent of voters said they would consider a third-party alternative.
Johnson said he would submit a balanced federal budget by slashing military and related spending, and by giving states block grants to manage Medicare and Medicaid, the largest programs of health care for people over 65 and those with low incomes.
He said he would veto legislation whose costs exceeds projected income — this from a governor who vetoed 750 bills during his eight years as governor from 1995 to 2003. He vetoed 200 of those bills his first year.
Despite his fiscal conservatism as governor and as a presidential candidate, Johnson has embraced libertarian principles.
At the start of his second term in 1999, he endorsed legalization of marijuana. Johnson said his score on a recent report card by the American Civil Liberties Union was greater than those of Paul, Obama, or Romney.
The Libertarian Party, which has fielded presidential candidates since 1972, will hold its nominating convention May 5-6 in Las Vegas.
Johnson, 59, built his own construction business in New Mexico before he turned to politics in 1994 by unseating a Democratic governor. He won re-election by 55 percent in 1998.
Johnson said Paul’s campaign still has value even if it does not win Paul the Republican nomination.
“When people hear the same message from a couple of different sources, I think the message resonates — and there is a better understanding of what that message is,” Johnson said. “But it needs to be more than him — or me.”
Statesman Journal . com