Saturday, July 9, 2011

Gary Johnson Tries to Pick A Fight

He's attacking the Marriage Vow that Michele Bachmann signed on to this week.

Question 1: will she respond? At least in the release, Johnson doesn't mention her by name, for what it's worth.

Question 2: Johnson specifically defended "women who choose to have abortions" in his release. If he manages to get publicity on this (which is by no means certain; I saw it because Conor Friedersdorf retweeted something from the Johnson campaign, and certainly the very small anti-Paul or lukewarm on Paul libertarian wing of the GOP is paying attention to Johnson, but that's an awful small group), will it push the mainstream conservative candidates toward taking the "Vow"?

Question 3: Speaking of Ron Paul -- I don't really recall him doing something like this during the 2008 cycle, but I could be wrong. Anyone remember?


  1. I'm pretty sure Ron Paul is anti-abortion. And he's always been the sort of "paleo-libertarian" who's quite conservative on social issues (with the big exception of drug legalization). Johnson seems to be playing to the Reason magazine crowd, which is well-represented on-line, but not so much IRL.

  2. Yes, Paul is pro-life, but is drugs really the only social issue on which he would differ from mainstream GOPers?

    Anyway, for whatever reason I don't think Paul tries to pick fights on this stuff, which makes Johnson's campaign potentially interesting.

  3. Well, Ron Paul is a hardliner on immigration, and isn't particularly friendly to gays, so those are two social issues where he agrees with the GOP mainstream rather than Johnson-style libertarianism.

    Yes, a Gary Johnson campaign could get interesting, but I'm skeptical that he's going to get many votes.

  4. Oh, I don't think he's going to get many votes.

    On Paul -- I guess my sense of what happened in 2007-2008 is that on issues on which he disagreed with the mainstream, it was really easy for them to treat him like a crazy uncle, and he didn't really do much to force confrontations. I mean, on the foreign policy stuff or torture (where he was pretty far from the mainstream) he would give his views in debates or speeches, but he didn't try to pick fights, exactly. Or so I remember, but I could be wrong.

  5. Wow. This is breathtakingly refreshing coming from a modern-day Repub and very well put:

    While the Family Leader pledge covers just about every other so-called virtue they can think of, the one that is conspicuously missing is tolerance. In one concise document, they manage to condemn gays, single parents, single individuals, divorcees, Muslims, gays in the military, unmarried couples, women who choose to have abortions, and everyone else who doesn’t fit in a Norman Rockwell painting.

    I'm starting to like this guy (except for some of his deficit hawkishness and a few other things). Too bad the recent ex-gov of NM couldn't catch a break enough to be included in the last televised GOP debate. Imagine hearing some of that quoted robust rhetoric tossed out against his opponents on national teevee.

  6. I would just say to that. See you in Iowa. ;)

  7. It's said that you either run for president to raise attention on an issue, or to make a name for yourself, or to actually run for president.

    I don't see where Gary Johnson fits any of those categories. It's like some people put him up to make this 'run' to split some Libertarians away from Ron Paul, and lessen any impact if Paul is again ignored to the point he feels the need to hold a competing GOP convention.

  8. I agree with you about Paul in 2007-08. Giuliani used to especially bait him, but I don't recall Paul baiting back.

    One limit on Ron Paul's influence was that his support never seemed to overlap with anyone else. His backers were for him, period. (They probably wouldn't have voted without him in the race). And Paul had no ability to break through into anyone else's following. Another way of putting it is that there were no lukewarm Ron Paul supporters. So why bother engaging with him?

  9. I am not a libertarian (although there's a lot that I can feel comfortable with). But this defense of the right of an individual to choose how to life her/his life is heartening to see. I rather wish a candidate for president on the Democrat's side would say something similar.

  10. On a tangentially related note, I just saw a car in Madison, WI with the following bumper stickers: Obama '08, Ron Paul, Live Free Or Die, and then the kicker, Recall Scott Walker.

    A potential Johnson supporter? Someone who's just plain confused about
    politics? Now I've seen lots of liberals who like Paul's approach to foreign policy and are rather ignorant of his other positions. But I don't think I've ever seen a pro-labor libertarian before (if that's indeed what he was).

  11. Aren't these people ripe for a third party candidacy? Of course they have spoiler effect to consider, but would Ron Paul actually take more votes away from the Republicans than the Democrats? All the Paul sympathizers I know voted for Obama last time around.

  12. Brodie: Gary Johnson is supposed to be in the next debate in Nevada (should be interesting, since he's been courting poker players). I'd also like to see him do well. The one thing he would do to immediately cut the deficit is bring home the troops.

    Richard: Why do you think Ron Paul is anti-gay? In the last debate, he said he would not bring back Don't Ask Don't Tell.

    JS: Johnson is trying to appeal to a large part of the party that is broadly libertarian -- they're tired of the spending and the wars and they want *real* change. Johnson began his campaign when everyone assumed Ron Paul wasn't running again. Well, Paul decided to run again when his followers begged him to. And he's completely ok with Johnson being in the race, because Paul is not primarily trying to win but to spread his message of liberty. If either of them caught fire, the other would most likely drop out.

  13. wkdewey -- Paul or Johnson may go third party if they're not allowed in the debates (Mike Gravel tried this). But unless the candidate is very very wealthy, that's the path to political irrelevancy.


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