Gary Johnson – Who Is He And Why Should I Care?

It’s a good question. He’s the former governor of New Mexico, but given that I can count the number of times I’ve visited that fine state (and their excellent green chiles) on one hand, that means little to me. So why would I care about Gary Johnson?

Well, the sad answer is that we live in a never-ending campaign where the groundwork for a presidential run begins to be laid days after the election of the last guy. As much as I hate politics and categorically distrust politicians — I believe that no single elected official can stop the US train from barreling off the cliffs in the [relatively near] future — I do think that the right politician might at least delay that inevitable outcome.

Is Gary Johnson that politician? I’m not sure. I know very little about him. What I do know is that many people who I’ve long respected in the pro-liberty movement are excited about him. An even cursory reading of his history suggests that he’s about as libertarian-leaning as one can expect from a major-party politician, and he’s been described as a “Ron Paul Republican”. He may be running for President in 2012, and given some of the prominent alternatives (Palin, Tax Hike Mike, Romney) might be the best hope for liberty.

So that’s all well and good, but like me, you’re probably wondering “How can I learn more about Gary Johnson?” Well, our good friends over at United Liberty just interviewed Gary for their podcast on many prominent political issues of the day. Head over for a listen. After all, 2012 is only three years away!

  • Gary Johnson 2012

    According to, Gary Johnson was known for:

    * Vetoing 750 bills (more than all the vetoes of the other 49 Governors combined).
    * Reducing taxes $123 million annually.
    * Cutting the rate of government growth in half.
    * Eliminating the state’s budget deficit.
    * Leaving the state government with 1200 fewer employees (without firing anyone).
    * Leaving the state government with all-time high bond ratings.
    * Enacting major welfare reform, which cut government welfare spending by 30%.
    * Shifting state Medicaid to managed care.
    * Bringing the New Mexico state government and the Navajo nation leadership together to finally resolve century-old disputes over water, gaming, and other issues.
    * Privatizing half of the prisons in the state.
    * Shooting down campaign finance legislation.
    * Increasing the percentage of the budget devoted to improving the state’s education system.
    * Repealing the Little Davis-Bacon Act, thereby allowing non-unionized labor the ability to be employed in construction of new schools and other public works.
    * Overseeing the construction of 500 miles of new, four-lane highway (designed, financed, built, and guaranteed by the private sector).
    * Running 100% positive campaigns, never mentioning his opponents once in print or ads.
    * Coming from outside of politics with no political machine behind him to beat a former Republican Governor in the Republican primaries and then unseat an incumbent Democrat Governor in the general election by a 10 point victory margin, even at a time when Democrats outnumbered Republicans 2-1 in the state.

  • Brett Bittner

    Thanks for the post and link to the interview that Jason and I did with Gov. Johnson!

  • john mcmenimon

    Brad- Gary Johnson seems to be the real deal. As you wrote, many of the other choices seem to be re-treads. Johnson seems to truly want more freedom, limited govt., and could attract people from both sides of the aisle. I worry that he could be portrayed only as “the drug candidate”. He has a lot of good views- but I don’t want to hear about drugs 24/7. Good Luck, Gary !