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Wednesday, November 9, 2011

What I asked Gary Johnson today

On a telephone press conference for bloggers today I had the opportunity to talk with one of my favorite politicians in America, former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson. Every time I've interviewed or spoken with Gary I've found his entire approach and personality to be one of the few refreshing things one can experience in dealing with politics these days.

Here's what I asked him:

"Governor it is always refreshing to hear you speak; I only wish the media would let you speak a little more often! I know you and Congressman Ron Paul hold each other's principles and records in high esteem, so it's a shame that as the media mistreats you, perhaps even worse than they did to Ron Paul in 2008, many of his supporters who admire you have not come to your defense because they are focused on Ron Paul's campaign and it's sucking the oxygen out of your presidential bid.

My question is this: If Ron Paul's supporters came together and guaranteed a pledge of at least a $1 million money bomb for your U.S. Senate bid in New Mexico where Senator Bingaman will not be seeking reelection in 2012, would you consider withdrawing from the presidential election and running for the U.S. Senate in a state where you have strong name recognition and popularity, and with the guarantee of $1 million in campaign money just to begin with as well as continued financial support from the deep pockets of the Ron Paul / Barry Goldwater / Gary Johnson wing of the GOP, which won't feel as conflicted about donating to a presidential bid and a senate bid as they do now about splitting their support between your and Ron Paul's presidential bids?"

I won't try to paraphrase his answer from memory, though a transcript of the entire press conference will be made available to me later this week. Instead I'll summarize it as best I can. First off, Gary thanked me for my question and said he considered it a compliment. After his answer I assured him that it was certainly meant as a compliment. Then Gary told me he would not consider making a Senate bid because he considers the role of Senators to "shoulder up to the trough" and bring home money to their constituents. He says they're part of the problem, and that he doesn't think he can make a difference in that position like he could as president.

I agreed with Gary that I meant my question in the most complimentary way and that he should take it as one, then told him that I have been very impressed so far with the work Rand Paul has been able to do as a U.S. Senator and that I would like to see another like him in the U.S. Senate, and that I think Gary Johnson could easily join Rand in the Senate and that the media wouldn't be able to stop him from winning in New Mexico. In an upcoming post, I'm going to write a more extended answer to Gary Johnson's objection about the role of U.S. Senators and his ability to be effective in that role at limiting the size and influence of government.

Wes Messamore,
Editor in Chief, THL
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