BLOG: Pot -- legalize it! Afghanistan -- Get out! Gary Johnson speaks

Tom Jackson
Feb 24, 2012

Former New Mexico governor Gary Johnson, 59, didn't get much traction in his race for the Republican nomination for president. He was excluded from most of the debates.

So instead, Johnson dropped out and is seeking the Libertarian Party's nomination. Other reporters for the Sandusky Register have been asked to seek interviews with Barack Obama and Republican candidates Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum; I decided to try to snag an interview with Johnson.

Johnson served two terms as a Republcan governor, from 1995 to the beginning of 2003, winning 55 percent of the vote when he won his second term. In his current campaign, he is promising to submit a balanced budget in his first year. 

I asked Johnson's campaign  for an interview Wednesday morning and Johnson phoned me a few hours later. (I played the libertarian card, telling his press secretary that I'm the "token Libertarian" in the newsroom and that I'd interviewed past Libertarian candidates for president.) The appointment was for 2:30 p.m., and my cell phone shows that Johnson called at exactly 2:30. (This will not seem remarkable unless you have dealt with other politicians.) 

Highlights from my interview:

Q. Do you expect to be the Libertarian Party’s nominee? How’s that looking at this point?                     
A. I’m the guy that would never say that anything is a done deal. But it is looking really well at this point. I do take this very seriously. And I think it’s a great process, the whole inclusion process, the whole debate.
I’m heading to Georgia for my third debate among all the Libertarian nominees.

Q. As you pointed out to Reason magazine recently, Gov. Johnson, no Libertarian candidate for president has ever gotten more than about 1 percent [of the popular vote]. How do you think you’re going to be able to reach your goal of getting 5 percent of the vote?

A. Right now, and maybe it’s not so significant that it’s my name on the ballot, but right now I am polling at 9 percent against Obama and Romney, believing that Romney is going to be the nominee.

Q. Let me ask you about some issues. President Obama has clamped down really hard on medical marijuana, in states that have legalized medical marijuana. What do you think about his clampdown, and what would be your policy as president on marijuana sales?

A. I am advocating legalizing marijuana. I have since 1999. Legalize it, control it, regulate it, tax it.
I think what’s most disturbing about Obama’s position on cracking down on these medical marijuana facilities is his explicit promise to not do that.That’s what’s so disturbing. He said he wasn’t going to do this. He said he wasn’t going to spend federal resources going in and getting way of states that either, legislators or citizens, having voted to implement the program.

Q. Governor, one of the things I did to prepare for this interview was look up the number of U.S. combat deaths in Afghanistan. It’s actually gone up in the Obama administration. Obama campaigned as kind of an anti-war candidate and bragged about the fact that he opposed the Iraq war.
What would you do about Afghanistan if you were president, and what would do you about the wars we seem to be in, in places like Yemen and Pakistan?

A. I would get out. I would get out of Afghanistan immediately.
I think that initially, that it was totally warranted. We were attacked, we attacked back. But I think that having been in Afghanistan for six months, we wiped out Al Qaida. And that was 11 years ago. I’m thinking we should extricate ourselves from the conflicts we’re currently engaged in.
I was opposed to Iraq also before we went in.
When Obama announced the very highly publicized, “Hey, I’m going to take a look at Afghanistan for the next four weeks,” or whatever it was, I thought, “Man, we’re out of Afghanistan,” and he ended up doubling down.
Just a number of fronts -- marriage equality, don’t ask don’t tell, the wars -- I think he’s been a disappointment to a lot of Democrats. [Editor's note: Johnson is alluding to his stance on gay marriage. He favors legalizing it, unlike Barack Obama or any of the Republican candidates.]

Q. Governor, one of the current controversies is over the Obama administration’s decision to require insurance companies at institutions that are owned by churches to provide contraception to all employees. What is your position on that controversy, and can you kind of give me a general statement on what your policy would be toward national health care?

A. I’m opposed to national health care. I think very simply that it’s unaffordable and that it just violates what I can or can’t purchase. I should be able to make those choices.
When talking about contraceptives and requiring businesses to provide certain coverages, I’m not the guy to mandate what businesses should or shouldn’t provide.

Q. Governor, what would you do with the Medicare program if you became president?

A. I reformed Medicaid in New Mexico, and took it from a fee for service model to a managed care model. We saved hundreds of millions of dollars and we also set up better health care networks.
I believed at that time that if the federal government were to have block granted the state of New Mexico 43 percenet less money, done away with all of the strings and the mandates, that I could have effectively overseen the reform of Medicaid, that I could have effectively delivered health care to the poor.
I think as governor of New Mexico, I could have overseen the delivery of Medicare, health care to those over 65, if the federal government would had done the same thing -- 43 percent less money, and take away all of the strings and the mandates, that I could have overseen the delivery of health care to those over 65.
I think that’s the model when it comes to reforming Medicaid and Medicare nationally, the only way that we’re going to balance the federal budget.
I’ve promising to submit a balanced budget to Congress in the year 2013, and that’s the way that you do it, when it comes to reducing those expenditures by 43 percent.
I am using the 43 percent number, because that’s basically that’s what we’re printing and borrowing beyond the revenues that we’re collectiing.

Q. In other words, for every dollar we spend, 43 percent is borrowed, is that correct?
A. Borrowed and printed, with the majority of the 43 percent literally being printed. In the last year I think statistically, up to 70 percent of that 43 percent was printed money as opposed to borrowed money.

Q. Governor, let me ask you a question about space exploration. Here in Ohio, we’re marking the 50th anniversary of John Glenn’s space flight. Here in Sandusky, we have a NASA installation, NASA Plum Brook Station. What is your attitude toward space exploration and would you apply the same keenly-honed budget ax to NASA that you plan to apply to many other federal government agencies?

A. I think that long term, space exploration is really important. We have to go to other planets. It’s one of the things as mankind that we need to do.
But over the next several years, I think if we don’t balance the budget, I think we find ourselves in a position of not being able to do any of that at all. I would be advocating a 43 percent reduction in NASA spending. That is to get is in a state of balanced budget.
I’m in the camp, Tom, that believes we’re going to find ourselves in the midst of a monetary collapse, because the mathematics of continuing to do what we’re is unavoidable.
Greece, as you’re probably aware right now, is at 160 percent of GDP. We’re at 100 percent.
I think we’re probably only about eight years away from being at that same number that Greece is at today. This is here, this is now. That’s the bad news.
The good news is, I think we can actually fix it. But it’s going to have to be a mutual sacrifice on all fronts. The alternative to that mutual sacrifice is just a complete meltdown. 

Comments

6079 Smith W

Alright Mr. Johnson!

If ya get the Libertarian nomination ya probably got my vote.

 

OMG.LOL.WT_

Sound very sensible.  No wonder Repubs didn't want him.

6079 Smith W

@ OMG.LOL.WT_ :

Not to worry, the Commiecrats wouldn't want him within 100 ft. of them either.

 --------------

@ Mr. Jackson:

Is your spouse still a diehard Obamacrat or did she mellow with time?

 

FruGalSpender

Q. Let me ask you about some issues. President Obama has clamped down really hard on medical marijuana, in states that have legalized medical marijuana. What do you think about his clampdown, and what would be your policy as president on marijuana sales?     OBAMA LIED!   throw obama to the curb!   thank you tom jackson for all of the web pages. http://www.garyjohnson2012.com/record    gary johnson would make a good president. new mexico was one of four states with a balanced budget. gary johnson and ron paul think alike in many ways and hard to believe that they are both republicans. everybody should read tom jackson's web pages that he posted.  

FruGalSpender

obama makes promises and then lies and back tracks. obama allowed all those weapons to go into the mexican drug cartel but goes after those hillbilles in michigan. obama is beginning to act more like stalin. obama made a promise to the medical marihuana community and once elected, he went against them. boot obama to the curb. he is dealing the country a death blow.

FruGalSpender

it is time for a revolution in a peaceful way. everybody needs to vote out all of the liars and  crooks by casting ballots against obama and lame stream news media's darling republicans.

FruGalSpender

"In only a few short months, the Obama administration has presided over a vicious series of political assaults on medical marijuana patients and providers across the nation, carried out by numerous federal agencies. The situation just continues to get more ugly and insane from one week to the next:"  look where obama is headed. he went after those hillbillies in michigan yet arms the mexican drug cartels. who will obama go after next? impeach obama.

wiredmama222

while it REALLY pains me to agree with Frugalspending on anything, I must admit that Obama has gone back on much of what he promised during his campaigning days. 

He has had three years in which to begin implementing some changes he had in mind.  I have yet to see those impementations. 

However, he HAS been busy trying to quell the mistakes of the past administrations 8 years of one mistake after another which put us in this mess by the Bush administration is no easy task either. So for that, I have to cut him SOME slack. 

He did inherit a great many of these problems and is hampered by the awful senate and house he presently has which cannot make an informed decision at all. That is proven fact as we have all seen so many times within the recent few months.  It is shameful. 

I have not seen anything worth looking at in the proposed "crop" of new Repbulicans" on display either. 

After reading the answers to the questions of this man, no wonder the Republicans said NO.  He actually must think instead of doing as he is told.  What a shame for him.  Obviously he is not a "PARTY MAN" and is not swayed by them telling him what to think, do and say as are the others.  That is a good thing.

I find his comments refreshing, enlightening and better than the average man so far.  He is worth listening to some more. 

I sincerely hope the Libertariian nomination goes to him.  I would LIKE to hear more of what he has to say. Perhaps the time has come to move away from either Democrrat or Republican and get free thinker into office.  He has experience and obvioulsy can think for himself.  I am definetly willing to listen. 

origen
Obama has overhauled the food safety system Advanced women's rights in the work place Ended Don't Ask, Don't Tell (DADT) in our military Stopped defending DOMA in court. Passed the Hate Crimes bill. Appointed two pro-choice women to the Supreme Court. Expanded access to medical care and provided subsidies for people who can't afford it. Expanded the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) Fixed the preexisting conditions travesty [and rescissions] in health insurance. Invested in clean energy. Overhauled the credit card industry, making it much more consumer-friendly. While Dodd-Frank bill was weak in many respects, it was still an extremely worthwhile start at re-regulating the financial sector. He created a Elizabeth Warren's dream agency: The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. He's done a lot for veterans He got help for people whose health was injured during the clean-up after the 9/11 attacks  In otherwords much to do about nothing, Seems there isnt anything in here about the patriot act or the healthcare bill, Now i wonder why?  Seems the people who vote for this fool are idiots that do not know when to stop with thier stupidity. Oh my bad he doesnt call it the healthcare bill, he only picks out the parts that are constructive, Not the other 9/10ths of it which is draconian in nature.
origen

Why doesnt he brag about the debt, the wars,the laws passed saying he can assasinate citizens or the grand scheme of selling guns to drug runners? Figured you would be proud of those acheivements, That and suckering the basement swellers to vote for him. (OK That last ones just for BD who doesnt have the brains of a ant but its good for a laugh)

KnuckleDragger

@origen, BAWAHAHA, I love the one that says he's done alot for veterans.  Anyone who believes that hasn't seen the budget he just gave to Congress. Just take a look at what he is doing to military retirees earned health care benefits.  How about a 500% increase in premiums, 200% increase in Physician and Hospital copays, and nearly a 200% increase in pharmacy copays.  In addition he is adding a premium for the over 65 retirees for Tricare for Life, above and beyond the premiums they already must pay for medicare, something that was never supposed to happen.  Yeah, I would say he supports veterans...supports putting them in the poorhouse. LOL. So much for that free healthcare for life that recruiters were promising for a 20 yr career.  Seems the only segment of the population that Mr. Obama cares to keep faith with is the welfare crowd, an area that will not see a single cut.

FruGalSpender

" I love the one that says he's done alot for veterans. Anyone who believes that hasn't seen the budget he just gave to Congress. Just take a look at what he is doing to military retirees earned health care benefits. How about a 500% increase in premiums, 200% increase in Physician and Hospital copays, and nearly a 200% increase in pharmacy copays."      people are finally getting it. they are bypassing lame stream news and using the internet for the truthful news. the only reason why obama didn't cut welfare to the poor is because he needs their votes. anybody remember what LBJ said about a certain group of people voting democrat for the next 200 years?  i went to goodwill the other day and saw a poster that had information on getting a free phone for those on welfare. anybody know how much this cell phone program costs per year?  when did this cell phone program start?  why not get rid of this cell phone program and save some tax dollars?  obama doesn't deserve another term. he lied to the medical marihuana users and businesses for their votes and then turn on them. read tom jackson's blog and read the web pages that he posted. bush seemed lazy and let the states enact their own medical marihuana laws. bush didn't give the mexican drug lords weapons either. obama wants to bypass the states rights, all 57 of them as he said. obama will go down as the worst president ever in history. obama is nothing more than a puppet of those who are really in charge of the country. that is why he has so much free time for vacations and campaigning. i will vote for anybody but obama and the three lame stream news republican candidates come november.

Tom Jackson

 @6079 Smith W -- My wife is a Democrat, yes. I know she has been disappointed with some of the Dems on the peace issue.

6079 Smith W

@ Mr. Jackson:

Thanks for the reply. Good to see that you did not end up in a re-education camp.

I saw that Anita Bryant's ex died and that she's back in Okie City.

Also, I was sad to see that Cross Canadian Ragweed broke up. I'm not too impressed as yet with Cody's new group, Cody Canada & The Departed.

I was in southern OK early last yr.; looks like the state's doin' good from all the oil revenue.

Have a good day. :)

 

Factitious

Scratch the surface of a Libertarian and likely you'll find someone who wants his drug habit legalized.

 

 

OMG.LOL.WT_

Bring back Ross Perot!

origen

http://www.militarytimes.com/news/2012/02/military-vfw-benefits-cuts-could-force-return-of-draft-022312w/ Guess the veterans dont like whats been done.

(Instead of apologizing to those who shoot servicemen over burning a book, He can give those who serve a break?)

6079 Smith W

@ Factitious:

Reads like a good potential reason for the druggies to vote Libertarian.

Unfortunately, Libertarians would also cut off many of the social health and welfare perks funded through taxpayer theft and the generosity of the Commiecrats.

Because of the "freebies," druggies tend to be a loyal Dem constituency.