Gary Johnson, the Libertarian candidate for president, and his running mate, William Weld, are in an odd situation: People who know about them say they will vote for them, but not enough people fall into that category. Except for a generous CNN interview a few weeks ago, Johnson and Weld have experienced hardly any national air time. And they need that air time if they are to get enough recognition — 15 percent nationally — to make them eligible to appear in the fall televised presidential debates.
Gary Johnson started out as a Republican, and served as governor of New Mexico for two terms as a Republican, but he behaved very much as a Libertarian. He became a Libertarian for good when he failed to make any headway as a GOP presidential candidate in the election of 2012.
What is a Libertarian? Many people ask that question; it is one which even Libertarians themselves don’t always find it easy to answer.
Generally, they believe in limited government. When Johnson was governor of New Mexico, he set state and national records in his first term for his use of veto and line-item veto powers. His nickname was “Veto Johnson.” And he was re-elected handily to a second term.
Libertarians also generally believe the war on drugs should immediately end because of its apparent ineffectiveness. They don’t believe drugs are good — just that it should be peoples’ own business whether to use them.
Libertarians generally believe in high-quality schools, but also in school vouchers and school choice, free enterprise, staying out of foreign disputes, and staying free of public debt as much as possible.
But Libertarians also believe the government should stay out of peoples’ private lives. They frown on any kind of enforced discrimination, but also back the right of people to freely associate with whomever they choose.
Libertarians are absolutely opposed to crime, and believe in a strong law-enforcement stance to insure public safety.
They believe the national defense posture should be to maintain great strength at home, and if the country is attacked it should fight until its enemy is annihilated.
The Libertarian party is continuing to evolve, but it has given rise to candidates such as Johnson who believe in it. He is a man of accomplishment. He has summited Mount Everest, founded and sold a multimillion-dollar corporation and written a book, “Seven Principles of Good Government.” He has founded nonprofit organizations to help students and lobby for more freedom for more people.
Let’s see now. Does he deserve to be on stage with the likes of Hillary and the Donald. Perhaps the question should be: Do they deserve to be on stage with the likes of him?