Alex Massie Alex Massie

The Man Who Should Be President

It’s not at all fair to call Gary Johnson the pot-candidate but that’s how the former governor of New Mexico is going to be known, to the extent he is known at all, in this depressing, currently-witless, Republican primary. From a personal point of view I give not even half a hoot about marijuana or other currently-prohibited drugs. I don’t favour ’em. But so what? The Drug War must end sometime and sooner seems a better notion than later.

If President Johnson were to end the Drug War* and that were his sole achievement in office he’d have done more good than any President in 40 years. Not since Milton Friedman helped end the draft has there been a better cause. That alone demands one welcome Johnson’s decision, announced at some point today, to enter the race for the Republican party’s 2012 presidential nomination.

Johnson’s candidacy is an obvious test of the soi-disant Tea Party and their so-called seriousness. Here, after all, is a candidate who never raised taxes in New Mexico, shrank the size of the state government, balanced the budget, promoted the idea of school choice and left his little state with a billion dollar surplus when he left office. He vetoed more than 700 bills sent to him from the state legislature. That seems promising! Oh, and he thinks the Federal budget should be cut by 40%.

Madness! Obviously! Or not. If the budget-warriors don’t back Johnson then they’re, you know, frauds. Few ways about it and no nonsense either. But perhaps his freedom-loving approach on immigration and social issues- gay marriage, drugs etc – will put them off.

The other problem, apart from name-recognition and money, as Dave Weigel explains, is Ron Paul. By “other problem” I naturally mean “among the many problems afflicting a Johnson candidacy”.

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