UPDATED: Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson visits BG
Written by By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN/Sentinel County Editor
Friday, 02 November 2012 15:34
(Updated at 8:39am, 11-03-12)
|Presidential candidate Gary Johnson speaking to the media behind the Cla-Zel. (Photos: J.D. Pooley/Sentinel-Tribune)
Presidential candidate Gary Johnson's goal for the election is different than his opponents'. After the votes are counted, the Libertarian candidate hopes to be considered "relevant."
"That would be a cool thing," Johnson said during a campaign stop in Bowling Green Friday afternoon.
The former New Mexico governor balked, however, at the suggestion that a ballot cast for him is a wasted vote.
"Wasting your vote is voting for somebody you don't believe in," Johnson said as he spoke with reporters outside the Cla-Zel before going inside to rally about 200 supporters.
"I want to rain on the party," or better yet, both parties, he said of the Democrats and Republicans.
No Libertarian presidential candidate has ever gotten more than 1 percent of the national vote, Johnson said. So winning 5 percent of the vote would be a "game changer," and allow his political party matching funds and ballot access.
Johnson is on the ballot in 48 states, and a write-in candidate in Michigan. Oklahoma would not allow him on the ballot.
Like many Libertarians, Johnson has strong views about the need for smaller government. He described himself as being more liberal on civil rights issues than Barack Obama and more conservative on fiscal issues than Mitt Romney.
Johnson believes the IRS should be abolished. Corporate taxes and income taxes should be eliminated, and replaced by one national "consumption tax."
Ending corporate taxes would send jobs "flocking back" to the U.S., he said.
Military spending should be reduced by 43 percent, pushing it back to 2003 levels. America's military intervention in other nations has only created many enemies and makes the U.S. look like the "world bully," he said.
Johnson, who served as governor of New Mexico from 1995 to 2003, first announced his candidacy for president last year as a Republican. However, after being excluded from the majority of the Republican presidential debates, he switched to the Libertarian party.
Prior to entering politics, Johnson founded a construction company, which grew to employ more than 1,000. He prides himself in his physical fitness, participating in several Ironman competitions and climbing Mount Everest.
|Johnson addressing supporters inside the Cla-Zel.
As governor, Johnson earned the nickname "Gov. Veto" after using his veto power more than 750 times. "I took line item vetoes to a new art form."
While in office, Johnson said his state saw healthy job growth - not from the government but because of the environment of certainty created by the state.
Some of the other views expressed by Johnson include:
• The U.S. military should leave Afghanistan now, and should end its policy of "shooting first." "I'm the only candidate that does not want to bomb Iran," he said.
• Marriage equality is a Constitutional right, not a state issue.
• Guaranteed government student loans are one of the reasons college education is so expensive, since colleges are immune to competitive pricing.
• Airport security should be the responsibility of the airlines, states or cities - not the federal government.
• Homeland Security is redundant and should be abolished.
• The Patriot Act should have been vetoed.
• Marijuana should be legalized. Ninety percent of the problems with marijuana are prohibition related, not use related.
• Medicare spending must be cut. "It is absolutely unsustainable."
• Romney's proposal for a fence along the entire U.S. border with Mexico makes no sense. The U.S. should be making it easier for immigrants to get into the country if they want to work.
• The Federal Reserve should be abolished, since it is an "inside game."
• Speed limits are unnecessary.
As for his opponents, Johnson said Obama "says everything right," but the reality doesn't match his words. And Romney's plans to balance the budget, preserved Medicare and increase military spending are not realistic. "He's supposed to be a smart guy, but that just doesn't add up."
"I think people are hungry to vote for somebody, as opposed to the lesser of two evils," Johnson said.
One of the people at the Bowling Green rally, Tricia Parento, of Toledo, witnessed Johnson's governance when she lived in New Mexico. She is ready to cast her support for his presidency.
"I thought the state ran well," Parento said. "I like his respect of civil liberties." And since she has two sons in the military, she appreciates Johnson's reluctance to use military force.
"I just can't vote for either of the other candidates," she said. "They don't have my interests at heart."
Last Updated on Saturday, 03 November 2012 08:39