From the Archives: At the 9/12 March on Washington: Former NM Gov. Gary Johnson aims 'to put a voice to the outrage'
Publisher's note: This article was originally published on Examiner.com on September 14, 2010. The Examiner.com publishing platform was discontinued July 1, 2016, and its web site went dark on or about July 10, 2016. I am republishing this piece in an effort to preserve it and all my other contributions to Examiner.com since April 6, 2010. It is reposted here without most of the internal links that were in the original.
At the 9/12 March on Washington: Former NM Gov. Gary Johnson aims 'to put a voice to the outrage'
Gary Johnson, the former two-term Republican governor of New Mexico and current chairman of the non-profit Our America Initiative, was the only 2012 presidential contender to speak at the 9/12 Taxpayer March on Washington last Sunday.
In the past few months, Johnson has visited 27 states and spoken before at least 100 groups. He has appeared on radio talk shows and TV talking heads programs.
Just prior to Sunday’s march, the Charlottesville Libertarian Examiner took Governor Johnson aside to ask him privately about pressing issues of the day and the mood of voters in 2010.
‘A voice to the outrage’
“When I started this out,” he said, “I was trying to put a voice to the outrage that people are feeling when it comes to spending being out of control and the fact that taxes are going up across the board, the fact that America is broke, that we’re bankrupt. What I’ve found is that, yes, this really is a concern. There’s an awareness today that’s never existed before.”
Despite the foul mood of the country, Johnson identified what he called an “optimistic side.”
He said that “there’s an opportunity here to right the financial ship in this country and return to what we’ve always been about, which is liberty and freedom and personal responsibility that goes along with that.”
Johnson called the Tea Party movement “terrific” and noted that at a South Carolina Tea Party rally he had attended, “they were handing out circulars [saying] ‘here are the ten things the Tea Partiers stand for,’ [and] all ten had to do with spending and taxes and real pocketbook issues. On that basis,” he concluded, “I think that’s reflective of what all America’s feeling right now.”
De-emphasize social issues
The former New Mexico governor said he agreed with the assessment of the current governors of Indiana and Mississippi (Mitch Daniels and Haley Barbour, respectively), who have suggested that Republicans should de-emphasize divisive social issues and focus on economic matters.
“If Republicans don’t return to the religion of the checkbook, I don’t see Republicans hanging around,” Johnson said.
He explained that he sees “sentiment right now that anybody who’s in office belongs out of office. As a result of that sentiment, I see Republicans picking up seats, simply because they’re the minority.”
In the 2010 election, he said, “Republicans are going to gain in a big way simply on the basis [that] incumbents belong out of office. That’s the sentiment right now.”
Cause of our ills
It’s not the case, he said, that voters see “Republicans being the saviors, but” rather that the “status quo [is] the cause of all our ills.”
Anticipating the remarks he was going to make on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol, Johnson said he would “talk about my experience as governor of New Mexico and the fact that everything I did was a cost-benefit analysis. Everything that we look at today needs to be from a cost-benefit analysis.”
He said the question that must be asked is, “What are we spending and what are we getting?”
If action to “right this financial ship” is not taken immediately, Johnson said, “I think we could be on the verge of economic collapse.”
These issues, he said, “need to be addressed now. Now. Today.”
After the march on Washington, Governor Johnson was scheduled to travel to Cleveland, San Francisco, Texas, and New Hampshire. He conceded that he would not have a chance to be home in New Mexico for at least three weeks.
Update: Governor Gary Johnson will appear in Charlottesville on Friday, September 17. He will be speaking in Jefferson Hall on the West Range at the University of Virginia at the invitation of the Jefferson Literary and Debating Society. His speech begins promptly at 7:29 p.m.