Just fresh off of attending the pre-RNC event Ron Paul held in Tampa, which was his last official rally, I was treated to a couple of Gary Johnson events in my own backyard. Moving on from the Ron Paul Revolution, as his bid for the presidency is officially over in the next day or so, I had to once again visit in with the man who I feel is the next logical step in keeping the revolution alive – Gary Johnson.
I arrived early at the Alico Arena on the incredibly beautiful campus of Florida Gulf Coast University in Estero, FL. I was a bit hopped up on the two large cans of Starbucks Doubleshot that I drank but I didn’t want the bourbon, Pabst and pot brownie party from the previous night to keep me in a lethargic state while the former Republican and former New Mexico Governor spoke his mind to the crowd over a variety of issues.
Walking into the arena I passed by the FGCU girls basketball team who were practicing on the hardwood. I made my way into the venue’s hospitality suite and found myself to be the first person there apart from those helping with the setup. I quietly waited in the back of the room, anticipating the arrival of a few of my friends, who said they were showing up. After several minutes, my homie Ray from the Southwest Florida FairTax group appeared and we just stood around and shot the shit until the rest of our peeps and Gov. Johnson walked through the door.
The event started with introductions and a few words from a few of the different organizations that were sponsoring the event. After about fifteen-to-twenty minutes, Gov. Gary Johnson took the floor.
He ran down his policy points for those in the room not fully aware of his stance on the issues. He was pretty calm and his demeanor was solid and he hit all of his points well. He spoke about how there really isn’t a choice between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, as they are both essentially big government pimps out to perpetuate the same madness our elected leaders have been giving us for quite some time now. He talked about how he was an entrepreneur and started a small business that grew into a construction company that employed thousands. This led into how he ran for the governorship of New Mexico and was able to defy all the odds and win the election. He explained that he vetoed over 750 bills and had thousands of line item vetoes while Governor of New Mexico, which Johnson claims is more than all the other governors in the United States – at that time – combined.
Getting further into his speech, Gary Johnson describes how he was re-elected as governor for a second term with a much larger margin than his first term, which he attributes to going above and beyond the call of duty and eclipsing his campaign promises to the people of New Mexico. He also points out that he did this as a Republican in a state that is comprised of two-thirds Democrats. He then says that he is the only guy running for president that is still looked at favorably in his home state and unlike the other guys, when the people in his state wave to him, they do it with all five fingers and not just one.
Gary Johnson talks about how he is a Ron Paul guy and that Dr. Paul asked for his endorsement in 2008 and Johnson gladly gave it to him. He mentions that when he dropped out of the Republican race late last year, that he told his supporters to back Ron Paul. He points out that now that Ron Paul’s journey is essentially over, he is the next step in the revolution, as he is seriously in the hunt and mirrors the majority of Ron Paul’s ideas. Gary Johnson makes a great case for the fact that he is the next logical step in spreading the message of liberty.
He goes on to talk about how we’ve had enough of big government’s bullshit and it is time to stop the spending, end these costly wars and abide by the United States Constitution. Johnson calls for us to stand up and eliminate the growing police state from taking over our country and our lives.
Gary Johnson admits that there are other third party candidates out there who are also running against Mitt Romney and Barack Obama. He points out however, that he is the only third party candidate that will be on the ballot in all fifty states. He talks about the Green Party and says that they are only on roughly thirty state ballots and the Constitution Party is only on about five. Because of this, he and the Libertarian Party are the best and most effective alternative available to the Republican and Democratic Parties.
Comparing himself and the Libertarian Party to the two big parties, Johnson says that he is the only one that wants to end foreign aid that takes money from the poor in America and gives it to the rich in other countries. He tells the room that he is the only candidate that doesn’t want to bomb Iran. He adds to that point, that he is the only candidate that wants to get out of Afghanistan now. Continuing on with the military waste issue, Johnson says he is sick and tired of politicians beating their chest every time they get a bug up their ass about a potential threat to the point that they feel the need to unconstitutionally intervene at the cost of tens-of-thousands of American lives and trillions of dollars. Johnson says that he is the only candidate that wants to repeal the PATRIOT Act. He makes it known that he is the only candidate vehemently opposed to the NDAA bill, the Department of Homeland Security and the TSA. Gov. Johnson says he is the only candidate that will end the War on Drugs and that he will legalize marijuana. He adds that he is the only candidate that supports marriage equality from the standpoint that the Constitution makes it a guaranteed right on par with the rights given to minorities due to the hard work of the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960′s. He says that he is the only candidate that will balance the federal budget now and not decades down the road like the Paul Ryan Plan proposes. Johnson calls for the abolishment of the IRS and says that the other candidates wouldn’t even consider it. He wants to eliminate the income tax and corporate taxes and replace them with the FairTax. Moving on from the IRS and taxation, he says that he would be the only candidate that would sign legislation working towards abolishing the Federal Reserve. He says that he is the only candidate that would repeal legal tender laws and allow competing currencies.
After all that, he asks if this is the message that deserves to be in the presidential debates. He says that in order to make that happen, he has to poll at fifteen percent, otherwise he won’t be invited and this message won’t be heard by the hundreds-of-millions of Americans who need to hear it. He then opened the floor up for questions and there were many, which I will get to shortly. First, let me fast-forward to his second event.
In the evening, Gov. Johnson held a second speaking engagement at the River Park Community Center near downtown Naples, FL. This event was held in a fairly large hall and it also had tables from some of the groups sponsoring the event. There seemed to be more groups and people involved in this event compared to the one earlier in the day at FGCU. The crowd was a bit bigger and even though it was mostly new people, there were some others, like myself, that attended both.
Gov. Johnson gave just about the same speech that he gave at the FGCU event but this time he seemed a lot more passionate and really hit his mark much more effectively. It was later in the day and he had been giving interviews between the two events, so that is probably why he was solidly on his “A” game. He definitely knocked it out of the park in the evening though and if there were any people doubting his capability of leading America out of the dark abyss, I’m sure that they were probably converted by the end of his half hour speech. Upon finishing his talking points, he opened the floor up for discussion. Like the first event, there were some good questions asked and some good answers given. Here are some of the best from both events.
One good concern that was brought up questioned his allegiance to the Libertarian Party and asked that if he weren’t to win the presidential election, would he stick around and be an LP lifer or would he bolt like Bob Barr, the 2008 Libertarian Party nominee, and many others who have been in the same position. Johnson assured us all that if he wasn’t able to win this round, that he’d like to continue to work and build up the Libertarian Party in an effort to give it an even better go – down the road, as long as the people in the party would have him.
Someone asked Gov. Johnson to name the worst law that was presented to him that he vetoed while governing over New Mexico. Johnson talked about two. He said that the dumbest law was one that would require pet stores to exercise their animals two hours a day – three times a week. He said that maybe that behavior should be encouraged but that ultimately, the passage of that law would create a mess, as it would require the creation of a new expensive bureaucracy that would have to patrol the state and enforce that ridiculous law.
Expanding on the question of worst laws he’s vetoed, Gov. Johnson also talked about a law that called for high school pole vaulters to wear helmets. He said that the law was stupid, as it just goes to show how laws are typically created as a reaction to something that has already happened. He pointed out that he used to pole vault and that he never would’ve thought of wearing a helmet, as he knew what the sport entailed and was well aware of the risks, as are all the other pole vaulters out there who choose to pole vault.
Johnson was asked about what he says to Republicans and Tea Partiers who claim that a vote for him is a vote for Obama and essentially, will hurt Romney’s chances and get Obama re-elected. He basically asked us if any of us thought that one of them was better than the other. He said that he doesn’t see himself as the third choice, he sees himself as the only choice because there isn’t really a choice between Romney and Obama. He then explains that he takes votes away equally from both Republicans and Democrats and there have been several polls that have proved this. He then tells us to vote not for the lesser of two evils but to vote with our conscious.
One of the audience members asked Johnson how he stacks up against Ron Paul and if he truly is worthy enough to gain the mass amount of Ron Paul supporters. Gary Johnson cited a report card put out by the ACLU that ranks all the presidential candidates on civil liberties (see it here). He said that Mitt Romney got zero liberty torches, Rick Santorum also got zero, Newt Gingrich got two, Barack Obama got twenty-two, Ron Paul got twenty and he got twenty-five. Now the ACLU is often times questionable in their agenda but this is still a feat worth mentioning. How Obama got twenty-two is mind-boggling though.
At the end of the day, Gary Johnson put on some good events and did a great job answering most of the questions thrown at him. The only negative I walked away with is that there just weren’t enough people at either event and in a lot of ways, this is disheartening. I don’t understand why more Paul supporters aren’t out backing this guy but in my personal experience, I blame that on the fact that most of them, regardless of how vigilant they are, just don’t know about Gary Johnson.
When I was at the “We Are the Future” rally put on by Ron Paul just two days earlier, the majority of the people that I mentioned Gary Johnson to, didn’t know who he was. Another thing that I find, is that regardless of how pissed off Paul supporters are of the GOP’s bullshit shenanigans, they still believe that the Republican Party is the lesser of two evils and can be changed from the inside. I’d like to believe that this is possible but just look at how the Republican establishment treated Ron Paul and his delegates at the Republican National Convention. The truth is, the Republicans don’t want the Paul supporters, even though they really need them to win. This is going to be the downfall of the GOP. And honestly, even if the Republican Party can be changed for the better from the hard work of Ron Paul supporters and people like Rand Paul and Justin Amash, how fucking long will it take?
Why play the party game anymore? Why continue to try and work within a system that vehemently rejects you and spits in your face before tossing you out on your ass, as they did just last night to Ron Paul’s people at the RNC? Imagine what would happen if there was a mass exodus of Ron Paul supporters and real liberty warriors from the Republican Party. Now I am not saying that the Libertarian Party and Gary Johnson are the solution but shit, I challenge any of you still clinging on to the GOP to provide me with a better solution. Ron Paul’s run is over. The revolution must continue and not be smothered under the weight of the fat neocon elephant’s massive ass.
If you wan’t to vote for the lesser of two evils between Romney and Obama, that’s your business. I just can’t do that and respect myself in the morning. You see, the revolution didn’t end with Ron Paul; the revolution just evolved and now it’s pulled out its Johnson.