Posted under Election 2012
When I saw Gary Johnson speak for the first time at the Rally for the Republic in Minneapolis back in 2008. Here was my reaction:
“As for other would-be Paul successors, Gary Johnson was a disappointment. This was the first time I had ever seen him in public and watching his speech he looked and acted the way (humor columnist) Dave Barry would if he were running for President. At times he barely looked up at the crowd….This goes back to what Lew said the other day about Sarah Palin. Johnson has a style that works for New Mexicans but may not sell on a national stage to the American people unable to understand it.
I see no reason to change this assessment of Johnson and Justin Raimondo’s column in today’s Antiwar.com sums up very well what his candidacy is about, an effort by the libertarians “cosmo” wing to try and reassert control and influence away from Ron Paul. Well, Johnson may have CATO’s support and Reason’s support, but he doesn’t have mass support because he’s going to have to spend much of his time just introducing himself to voters (an we’re already in May and the Iowa Straw poll is just four months away). At least this time Paul doesn’t have to do this. But if Paul doesn’t want to be the 1972 Eugene McCarthy of 2012 (while Johnson become George McGovern stealing his support away from him), he must run a vigorous campaign, not an “educational” effort.
There’s a lot to like about Gary Johnson in his background but he comes across as “too libertarian”, not just in policy but also in mannerism to take his campaign out of narrow niche into a broader market. Ron Paul could do this, otherwise his campaign in 2008 wouldn’t have gotten off the ground. Pundits and journalists lazily call him a libertarian, but his support and the things he talks about are much broader than that and it’s why he has a chance whereas Johnson doesn’t.