Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Why Wasn't Johnson There?

Written by 

As I went walking up the stair

I met a man who wasn't there.

He wasn't there again today.

I wish, I wish he'd go away 

— "The Psychoed" by Hugh Mearns

If the Republicans had Babe Ruth, they'd probably make him the batboy. Bobby Orr would be a clubhouse attendant and Ted Williams would be farmed out to the nearest charm school (Lots of luck with that.) That's all I can think of when I think about a man who wasn't at the presidential candidates "debate" at Saint Anselm College in New Hampshire Monday night. I'm talking about former two-term governor of New Mexico Gary Johnson, who was not only absent among the seven candidates on the stage, but was not even among the 13 invited.

Actually, it might seem unfair to blame the Republicans instead of the debate organizers and sponsors, the Cable News Network, WMUR-TV in New Hampshire, and the statewide daily, the New Hampshire Union Leader. But if the Grand Old Party demanded Johnson's inclusion, you might expect he would be there.

Johnson declared his candidacy on April 21 and followed that with a speech at the New Hampshire State House in Concord. He served two four-year terms as governor of New Mexico, winning election by a margin of ten percent each time. He compiled an impressive conservative/libertarian record as a governor, with no flaws like a "RomneyCare" health care act to mess up his résumé. During his eight years as his state's chief executive, he vetoed more bills than the other 49 governors combined. If you believe in limited government, vetoing bad or questionable legislation is important. He is unknown to the country at large, but so are former Governor Tim Pawlenty of Minnesota and former Senator Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania, each registering at about one percent in the polls. So why not Johnson?

Herman Cain is a successful businessman, but has never run for any elective office. Michele Bachmann, for all her personal charm and Tea Party appeal, has never run beyond her one congressional district. Ron Paul has run twice for President before, but has never been elected to anything beyond his congressional district. None has any executive experience in government. Johnson has governed an entire state for eight years. Is there a quota on libertarians? Paul is there, so we don't need Johnson?

Well, the paranoid part of my mind is entertaining that possibility. It would be more difficult to isolate and marginalize Ron Paul if there is a former two-term governor espousing similar views. In fact the Bible says something about "the testimony of two witnesses."

Perhaps the Ron Paul supporters are glad Johnson was not there, since he would split the support for Paul. But neither Paul nor Johnson is likely to be the Republican nominee for President when the party convenes for its coronation in the summer of 2012. The more people we have espousing a limited constitutional government point of view, the better chance there will be that sound, sane policies will eventually be adopted.      

Perhaps there is a reason some people would rather not have sane, sound policies pursued by the United States government. If you want to break down the world's super power and destroy national sovereignty, you would want to bring every nation under the rule of the international institutions, like the International Monetary fund, the World Bank, the United Nations, NATO, etc. Ron Paul doesn't stand for that agenda. Neither does Gary Johnson. Both call for sound money and an end to America's many wars, including the war on drugs, recalling that the country got along without national drug laws for its 125 or so years.

For the next debate, let us hear the testimony of two witnesses for the old republic.

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