Is there room for both Ron Paul and Gary Johnson in 2012?
Recently Former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson (Republican) announced that he was planning to visit a state that in two short years will play pivotal role in deciding the GOP nominee for President in 2012.
Johnson will be traveling to New Hampshire for the Republican Liberty Caucus on January 23rd. This will be one of his first public appearances as a politician with an eye on national office.
Gary Johnson much like Ron Paul is criticized by the left as simply existing as a politician that is against things and really stands for nothing. This however is a skewed and partisan view of his philosophy.
In reality Johnson has taken a firm stand against the ever expanding role of government because he is for more personal freedom and responsibility. The only way to do that is to first reduce the role of the Federal government.
Ron Paul and Gary Johnson agree on virtually all of the top issues that are relevant in a nationwide election. The differences come in the emphasis placed on the different issues. Johnson tends to focus more on civil liberties and a non interventionist foreign policy than sound monetary policy and the Federal Reserve.
In the past Johnson has been know for opposing what he calls the failed war on drugs. He has also pushed for legalization of marijuana and decriminalization of all now illegal drugs. He says he sees drug abuse as a health issue, not a criminal issue. Johnson also , like Paul, spoke out against the invasion of Iraq back in 2003 and opposes the current state of the war in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Johnson does however say that he would advocate a strong military defense at home and a strong presence around the world. This is one area where he differs sharply with Ron Paul. Although as a state governor, he has no record on this issue and the public will be able to listen to him clarify his position.
Mainline publications such as the New York Times and Politico have anointed him the potential leader and organizer of the Tea Party movement as a voting bloc in the 2012 presidential election.
If this is indeed the path that Johnson attempts to take, it may be the reason that he does not go as far as Ron Paul in saying that the US should bring home their troops from all bases around the world. Often in 2008 that is where many in the GOP base departed from Ron Paul’s platform.
What Ron Paul should inform Gary Johnson and the rest of the Tea Party movement is that in order to lower federal taxes, some of our bases around the world need to be shut down and the troops brought home. Big budget defects and debilitating income tax rates can be directly traced to the overwhelming presence of our military in countries around the world.
In the 2012 GOP Presidential primary it would be beneficial for the message of freedom to have both Johnson and Paul participate. Johnson would be educating the GOP base about the failed war on drugs and Ron Paul driving home his message of sound economic policy and the spelling out the damage done by the Federal Reserve. They would both be outlining the benefits of a non-interventionist foreign policy.
The problem comes when the actual votes are cast, as they would likely split the vote among the ever growing sub group of the GOP, the libertarian leaning Tea Party movement.
I think ideally Johnson would change his position on continuing to spend billions of tax payer dollars on US foreign bases. Then he could run as the new young and charismatic voice of the movement Ron Paul launched more than three years ago.
Ron Paul could transition into the role of the philosophical advisor and campaign hard on the airwaves, saving him the strain of vigorous travel. He would be 76 by the time of the general election, making him the oldest first term US President in history.
If they could form a partnership early on in the race they would have a much better chance at taking the nomination from the likes of Palin, Romney or perhaps Petraeus. And their messages both become more timely with each passing day and each job lost.