Thursday, April 21, 2011

(with an update about Johnson and George W. Bush)

Gary Johnson, the libertarian ex-governor of New Mexico, announced today that he's running for the GOP presidential nomination. Chris Good writes:

...He stands for school vouchers, a balanced budget, the block-granting of Medicaid, and against the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

But Johnson will sound to many like a one-issue candidate, because there's one issue that sticks out, above all else, in his platform: Johnson wants to legalize marijuana. And he's eager to tell you about it.

I've seen Johnson's stump speech in person, and it works like this. He introduces himself as an entrepreneur who has applied business experience to government. He talks about his record of vetoing 750 bills from New Mexico's Democratic legislature, during his two terms, to keep spending in check. Then he jumps right into marijuana.

... "We're arresting 1.8 million people per year," Johnson told the crowd at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Washington, D.C. in February. "We now have 2.3 million people behind bars in this country, we now have the highest incarceration rate in the world." The crowd was receptive....

My only question: Why did he announce today? Why didn't he announce yesterday? Y'know -- 4/20?

(If you don't know what I'm talking about, read this.)

An opportunity missed....


UPDATE: My favorite Gary Johnson anecdote, recounted in a Gail Collins column from July 2000:

Boosting his friend George W. Bush to reporters, Gov. Gary Johnson of New Mexico recalls a conversation they had at a conference on state government. "George turns to me and says, 'What are they talking about?' I said, 'I don't know.' He said, 'You don't know a thing, do you?' And I said, 'Not one thing.' He said, 'Neither do I.' And we kind of high-fived."

Were they high?

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