Monday, September 26, 2016

From the Archives: LP presidential hopeful Gary Johnson calls two-party debates a 'waste of time'

Publisher's note: This article was originally published on on October 21, 2012. The 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 since April 6, 2010. It is reposted here without most of the internal links that were in the original.

LP presidential hopeful Gary Johnson calls two-party debates a 'waste of time'

With the third and final Democrat-Republican presidential debate approaching, Gary Johnson, the Libertarian Party's presidential nominee, said in an interview that such debates are “a waste of time,” also offering his thoughts about U.S. policy in the Middle East and North Africa. He also indicated that he may win a large percentage of votes in his native New Mexico.

Johnson, author of the new book, Seven Principles of Good Government, spoke to the Charlottesville Libertarian Examiner during a recent campaign stop in Washington, D.C.

Although a social gathering at The Board Room on Connecticut Avenue was meant for Johnson to engage with his supporters and campaign volunteers, he spent the greater part of the evening answering journalists' questions on a wide range of policy issues.

Asked about the value to voters of the debates between President Barack Obama and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, Johnson said they are “just a big waste of time” and that the two participants are like the Lewis Carroll characters “Tweedledee, Tweedledum.”

'State of war'

The former New Mexico governor offered this prediction: If “either one of them get elected, we're going to have a heightened police state. We're going to find ourselves in a continued state of war. Military interventions are not going to stop, and spending and debt [are] going to continue to be unsustainable. At some point,” he concluded, if Obama or Romney is elected, the economy “will collapse.”

In response to a question about radio and television advertising for his campaign, Johnson said he will soon be airing TV commercials “in areas we might actually win, or potentially taking second place” although “probably not” in Washington, D.C., despite that city's small number of Republican voters.

Johnson also predicted his vote totals will be relatively high in some Western states and one Midwestern swing state.

“I think there's opportunity in Nevada,” he said, noting that “something that really has gone unpublicized is in Ohio last week, I was polling at 11 percent.”

That is “probably an aberration,” Johnson conceded, “but nonetheless, all these polling numbers are going up. They're not going down.”

The first-time presidential candidate said he believes it is possible he could win more than 10 percent of the vote in New Mexico, where he served two terms as a Republican governor in a majority-Democrat state.

“I really believe that, I really do,” he said, “and we're not focusing anything on New Mexico. The notion is that we're trying to treat everything equally and see how that pans out but I would have to think that, [given] my experience in New Mexico, I'm really looked at favorably. I really am.”

Libya question

In the foreign policy debate at Lynn University in Boca Raton, Florida, on October 22, the question of U.S. policy in Libya and reactions to the September 11 murder of Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans will be in the forefront of the discussion, just as it was in the town hall debate at Hofstra University on October 16. Johnson has some strong views on what U.S. policy in that region should be.

“I would pull all of our diplomats out of our embassies” there, he said. “I would not set us up as being targets.”

In the “long term,” the United States and other countries should “take part in what I would hope would be mutual benefit but when I hear that” American diplomats in the region are supposed to be “protecting vital American interests, I just ask rhetorically, out loud, What are vital American interests? Are they propping up the new dictatorship that we deem better than the old dictatorship?”

In response to a question about whether American influence is better projected using soft power than military power, Johnson explained, “that's right. It's walk softly and carry a big stick. That's what [George W.] Bush said but none of that none of that was reality. None of it.”

Suggested Links

Libertarian presidential nominee Gary Johnson assesses Romney, Stein, and Goode
Presidential hopeful Gary Johnson on health care, marriage, and Colbert
Libertarian author Brian Doherty compares Ron Paul and Gary Johnson
Constitution Party presidential nominee Virgil Goode talks politics on Labor Day
Libertarian VP nominee Jim Gray reflects on electing judges, Gary Johnson

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