Saturday, May 21, 2011

Governor Gary Johnson Plays 'Not My Job' on NPR

Gary Johnson in Charlottesville
"Wait, Wait ... Don't Tell Me!" is a weekly quiz show on NPR stations, usually broadcast on Saturdays or Sundays.  The show is recorded on Thursdays.  It's normal home is in Chicago, but sometimes it goes on the road.  A few years ago, I attended a taping at Lisner Auditorium at George Washington University in Washington, D.C.

Each week features a segment called "Not My Job," in which a celebrity -- actor, singer, author, race-car driver, computer guru -- has to answer three questions on an obscure topic.  The point is that the questions are about things the contestant knows nothing about.

This week's "Not My Job" contestant was former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson, a candidate for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination.  In the introduction, "Wait, Wait" host Peter Sagal (author of The Book of Vice:  Very Naughty Things [and How to Do Them]) reviewed Governor Johnson's qualifications for high office:
Gary Johnson built a construction business from nothing; then became a two-term Republican governor of a Democratic-leaning state, New Mexico. He cut taxes and put the budget in surplus. He has competed in triathlons and climbed Everest. He lives in a house he built himself. And he once put our a forest fire with his feet.
During the pre-quiz interview, Sagal noted:
We looked you up and we were amazed. You are like - if we had like a campaign consultant draw up the ideal candidate, it would be you. You are fiscally conservative, which is absolutely essential these days. You cut taxes in New Mexico. You vetoed all these budget - I mean you actually held the record for vetoes nationally, right, during your two terms?
When Johnson replied that he had vetoed more bills than the other 49 governors combined, Sagal quipped:
Right. And Republicans love that. They love people who hate laws.
Later, the host recounted some of Johnson's additional accomplishments, and how they might prepare him for the presidency:
I just want to say, I mean one of the things you hear a lot about in presidential primaries is toughness, how tough is he. And you've got this locked. You've done four or fire Hawaii Ironman Triathlons. That's the two mile swim, the hundred mile bike ride, the marathon....

You've climbed Mount Everest, plus three other of the tallest mountains on the various continents. Don't you think after all that the Oval Office would be dull?
Johnson's response says a lot about his character:
From a personal standpoint, I think this is really one of life's great adventures, and I'm really thrilled to be a part of it. I wouldn't be doing this if I didn't think I could do the job. I wouldn't be doing this is I didn't think I could do a good job at doing the job. But thirdly, that personal notion of this really, I think, is right up there with regard to adventure and maybe one of the great adventures of humankind.
Sagal went on to point out that while a lot of Republicans "pick and choose" when it comes to small government, Johnson is a libertarian through and through. That leads to a discussion of traffic signals and speed limits.

At the end of the interview -- just before the three quiz questions about sex tapes and viral videos involving Paris Hilton, Rebecca Black, and Sandra Bullock's ex, Jesse James -- Sagal asked Johnson a general question about the other GOP presidential candidates. Johnson's off-the-cuff response is priceless. Here's the partial transcript:
SAGAL: Do you ever look around at the other candidates on the dais with you or on the trail with you and say "oh I wish I had that"? Is there any characteristic of any other Republican candidate that you wish you had?

(Soundbite of laughter)

Gov.JOHNSON: Or, do I look around and go, you know I got the best of all of that stuff?

(Soundbite of laughter)

(Soundbite of applause)
I have to say, it's nice to hear my favorite presidential candidate on my favorite public radio program.

If you like this blog post, you might also like:
Sagal and Ferguson on the 'Real America'
Gary Johnson on WINA's 'The Schilling Show'
RLC Videos: Peter Schiff and Gary Johnson
"Wait, Wait ... Don't Tell Me"
Is There a Litmus Test for Conservative Republicans?
And on, you'll find:
At the 9/12 March on Washington: Former NM Gov. Gary Johnson aims 'to put a voice to the outrage'
Gary Johnson wins RLC straw poll, places third in CPAC poll
Gary Johnson reflects on his first visit to Jefferson's Monticello
You can hear Gary Johnson's interview and find out how well he did on the "Not My Job Quiz" by listening here. To listen to the complete program, click here.

Update:  The Johnson for President campaign has put the full interview and "Not My Job" quiz on YouTube.
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