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Ama-gi Exclusive Interview: Johnson for America

In Interviews, Recent News on May 14, 2010 at 3:34 PM

I recently came into contact through email with Josiah Schmidt, the head of an organization known as Johnson for America ( http://www.johnsonforamerica.com ). The goal of the organization is to “draft” former New Mexico Gary Johnson to run for president. I recently asked Schmidt several questions about the governor and the organization trying to draft him:

1. Who is Gary Johnson and why do you think he should be our next president?

Gary Johnson is the former two term governor of New Mexico, who came
from outside of politics to beat a former Republican governor in the
Republican primaries, and to then unseat an incumbent Democratic
governor by a ten point margin, in a state where Democrats outnumber
Republicans 2 to 1.  Gary Johnson was a governor who vetoed more bills
than all his other contemporary governors combined, who cut taxes 14
times, and who balanced the New Mexico state budget.

We need to send Gary Johnson to the White House because our very
survival as a nation depends upon whether or not the government gets
out of the way and stops suffocating this society and this economy to
death.  We have a mountain of debt, regulations, and malinvestments,
thanks to the federal government, and this lethal cocktail will
devastate America for decades to come.  That is, unless we take our
medicine, stop trying to stimulate and bail our way out of this
recession, and let the free market work.  Gov. Johnson is the only one
who can be trusted to make the right decisions for our future.

2. What is your overall goal at Johnson for America?

I started the Johnson For America organization before Gov. Johnson
began his foray back into the national policy debate in 2009 as a way
to spread the word about Gov. Johnson’s record and philosophy, and as
a way to introduce Gov. Johnson to the Republicans of today.  Because
Gary’s 501(c)4 group (the Our America Initiative) is legally
prohibited from being used as a vehicle to promote Gary for the
presidency, it is Johnson For America’s goal, as an unaffiliated
grassroots support group, to drum up support for a 2012 run.

3. Do you think that Gary Johnson will agree and run for president in 2012?

Absolutely.  I have had the privilege of speaking to Governor Johnson
on multiple occasions, and one of the things that always strikes you
about him is his deep passion for and belief in the American dream.  I
think Gary sees how that dream is being threatened, and I don’t
believe Gary is the kind of leader to sit back and just let that dream
die.  I do not believe he will pass up this once in a lifetime
opportunity to elect a President who truly believes in things like
free markets, individual liberty, and limited government.

4. How would you you describe his place on the political spectrum
(libertarian, conservative, ect.)

Gary has embraced both the “conservative” and “libertarian” labels,
quite accurately in my opinion.  He wants to conserve what is good
about America, and he wants to do that via the philosophy of liberty.

5. Governor Johnson is well known as an advocate for the legalization
of Marijuana, what benefit would this have on  America and our crime
and justice system?

As Gary points out, half of what the government spends on the legal
and judicial system if for drug-related crimes–crimes which do not
involve one person doing harm to the body or physical property of
someone else (i.e. not really crimes at all).
If the police and the courts weren’t spending all that time locking
people up for committing these peaceful, non-violent acts, perhaps
they would be spending more of their time stopping real crimes or
returning stolen goods.  Right now, if you get your TV stolen and you
go to the police station, you’ll basically get told that you’re not
going to get your TV back.  But if you go to a police station and
inform them that your neighbor is growing tons of marijuana in their
back yard, you can bet the cops will be on that situation within a
matter of hours to days.  There’s something really backward about that
situation.

6. Obviously right now New Mexico’s border state of Arizona is having
quite some turmoil over the illegal immigration issue. What is
Governor Johnson’s stance on illegal immigration and immigration in
general?

Governor Johnson believes that immigration is a good thing, because it
expands the division of labor.  As immigrants come from Mexico, for
instance, and take low level jobs for inexpensive pay, employers can
afford to put those savings toward hiring Americans for better jobs.
Immigration is a good thing.  However, illegal immigration poses
financial and national security problems, and Gary believes we need to
look at ways to encourage people to come here legally.

However, something to keep in mind is that if we don’t get our fiscal
matters in order, our immigration problem will soon turn in to an
emigration problem, as people attempt to flee America’s high taxes and
regulations.  In fact, many Mexicans near the border are already
attempting to get back into Mexico, because the jobs have disappeared
from America.  Unfortunately, we may be nearing the day when Americans
are scrambling to get into Mexico to work.

7. What about his stance on other hot button social issues such as gay
marriage or abortion?

Gary is a federalist when it comes to social issues, or any issue that
the US Constitution doesn’t authorize the federal government to touch.
He believes, as the 10th amendment mandates, that these issues should
be handled at the state level.  Thus, he supports overturning Roe V
Wade and sending the abortion issue back to the 50 states, and he
would oppose either forcing the entire country to legalize gay
marriage or forcing the entire country to ban gay marriage at the
federal level.

8. Economically how would you describe the former governor’s positions?

Gary Johnson is an unabashed support of free market capitalism.  He
has said repeatedly that government does not create jobs or wealth.
Only the marketplace creates jobs and wealth.  All the government
ought to do is confine itself to as limited a role as possible, and
stay out of the way.  Gov. Johnson is a proponent of less spending,
fewer regulations, lower taxes, and a non-inflationary monetary
policy.

9. What is the governor’s view, to the best of you knowledge, on the
power of the federal government as well as executive powers?

One of Gary Johnson’s favorite sayings is that “every law passed is a
little bite out of freedom.”  When it comes to federal power, Gov.
Johnson is almost invariably of the opinion that less is better.  Gary
understands the fact that the US Constitution is a document of few and
enumerated powers, and that any power not explicitly authorized by the
Constitution is reserved to the States and the People.

10. Seemingly Governor Johnson has many ideals which clash with the
Republican Party and especially certain elements of the religious
right as well as neocons. Do you think there’s any chance he might
seek election from a third party nomination or even as an independent?

Gary has been asked about this many times, and he has always responded
that he will not run as an independent or third party candidate.  He
believes in working within the Republican Party to make it a vessel
for individual liberty and sound policy.


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  1. […] Interviews, LGBT rights, Taxes on May 16, 2010 by Josiah Schmidt I recently had the pleasure of being interviewed by the great new libertarian blog, Ama-Gi, regarding former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson and […]

    • Wonderful interview, Josiah. I can’t imagine anyone not wanting to vote for Gary if they are for the ideals of free markets, limited government and following the constitution.

  2. 10. Seemingly Governor Johnson has many ideals which clash with the
    Republican Party and especially certain elements of the religious
    right as well as neocons. Do you think there’s any chance he might
    seek election from a third party nomination or even as an independent?

    Interestingly, so many Republicans have many ideals that clash with conservatives and would probably fit in better with the Democrat Party. I would hope that you would ask of other candidates whether or not they will be running as Democrats if they don’t get the Republican nomination.

  3. I would ask that. That problem is that the majority of the Republican Party would not leave because the more left wing of the GOP is not in it for the country but for themselves. Few left wing republicans would ever have the courage to risk their political lives and go independent. However some more conservative/libertarians such as Ron Paul have had the courage to go independent. This is not to say that Gary Johnson doesn’t have the courage, I believe he’ll stay with the party as it allows him to better effect change and liberty, but the chance of many Republicans to think outside the party is almost 0.

  4. I would ask that. That problem is that the majority of the Republican Party would not leave because the more left wing of the GOP is not in it for the country but for themselves. Few left wing republicans would ever have the courage to risk their political lives and go independent. However some more conservative/libertarians such as Ron Paul have had the courage to go independent. This is not to say that Gary Johnson doesn’t have the courage, I believe he’ll stay with the party as it allows him to better effect change and liberty, but the chance of many Republicans to think outside the party is almost 0.
    +1

  5. I registered as Republican in 2008 as I got tired of simply voting for the lesser of two, or if lucky, three evils, and decided to vote against the worst evils twice instead.
    I have been advocating Colin Powell, and the response I get in my circles is, why not Gary Johnson? It is a good question.
    You avoided all mention of GJ’s position on the wars. Globalization?
    The environment?
    At the moment, I am going to write in Colin Powell, if I manage to get any momentum for the idea at all, but I open to persuasion.

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