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Tuesday, September 11, 2012

"I am more liberal than Obama, and more conservative than Romney."

Posted by on Tue, Sep 11, 2012 at 2:52 PM

Libertarian presidential candidate and former New Mexico governor Gary Johnson is probably the nicest, most approachable guy running for president this year, so I'm enjoying his Reddit AMA a good deal. It's obviously in his voice, and he's charming the pants off those lovable internet-happy nerds. It didn't crash the site or anything the way President Obama's did, but it's an interesting read that you should definitely forward to the Ron Paul-lover in your life.

Johnson is a fascinating figure, because he has some innovative ideas (he's socially progressive) and some batshit ideas (his tax plan would be disastrous). The headline to this post is a quote from his AMA; I think it's the best, most accurate language he's used to describe himself in this race so far. This whole thread alternates between interesting and frustrating, with almost even distribution between those two poles and no middle ground. Some noteworthy exchanges:

Q: I’m gay. What specifically would you do to fight for my rights? Do you differ from President Obama on this subject in anyway? How so?

A: I believe marriage equality is a constitutionally guaranteed right. Leave it to the states and nothing changes.

Q: I'm a college student and I'm wondering what, should you win the presidency, will you do regarding the exorbitant amounts of debt being accrued by us college kids. And also, how do you feel about the space program and what, if any, plans do you have for it?

A: I cry over your graduating from college with a home mortgage, and no home. I think the reason for high college costs is guaranteed government student loans. Long term, we need to populate another planet, because the Earth is going to encompass the sun. Long term, but short term, we have to balance the budget, or find ourselves with no programs whatsoever.

Q: While I understand regulations may prove to be impediments to business, which regulations would you maintain? For example, banking regulations removed by Regan and Clinton are now viewed as the major stepping stones that have led to today’s financial crisis.
What does common sense tell you about environmental issues?

A: Government exists to protect us against individuals, groups, and corporations that would do us harm. Rules and regulations should exist to accommodate this. The EPA protects us against those that would pollute, and without them a lot more polluters would be allowed to pollute.

One thing's for sure: If Johnson were the Republican candidate instead of Mitt Romney, we'd all be having a hell of a lot more fun right now. Go read the whole thread, and let's all start licking our chops over the prospect of a Mitt Romney AMA.


Comments (22) RSS

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Unregistered User 1
Long term, we need to populate another planet, because the Earth is going to encompass the sun.

we need to populate another planet, because the Earth is going to encompass the sun.

Earth is going to encompass the sun.
Posted by Unregistered User on September 11, 2012 at 2:59 PM · Report this
Cato the Younger Younger 2
How does he propose to populate another planet? Has the Federation Council approved a new earth colony?

Oh wait..he's not running for THAT Presidency....
Posted by Cato the Younger Younger on September 11, 2012 at 3:02 PM · Report this
A Romney AMA. Oh, hahahahahahahahahahahahhahaha.
Posted by originalcinner on September 11, 2012 at 3:04 PM · Report this
@1: Congratulations, you noticed he accidentally interposed two words.
Posted by digitalwitch on September 11, 2012 at 3:14 PM · Report this
Urgutha Forka 5
So, the number of years between his "short term" and his "long term" is about 9 or 10 thousand, right?
Posted by Urgutha Forka on September 11, 2012 at 3:15 PM · Report this
What the fuck is an AMA?
Posted by el ganador on September 11, 2012 at 3:21 PM · Report this
I think you've hit the nail on the head with libertarians: I don't like them myself, but I'd much, much rather have them as the other guys than Republicans.
Posted by redemma on September 11, 2012 at 3:27 PM · Report this
Pope Peabrain 8
Populate another planet? Well, at least we've got another billion years before we need to hurry.
Posted by Pope Peabrain on September 11, 2012 at 3:31 PM · Report this
Pick1 9
@6 Ask me Anything
Posted by Pick1 on September 11, 2012 at 3:53 PM · Report this
Woah, a libertarian who thinks we should keep the EPA? I am shocked.

I saw him talk at a drug policy conference in Albuquerque in 2001 (yes I went to a drug policy conference in Albuquerque in 2001; there's a lot you don't know about me) and I remember him being pretty good. Not "hey, this guy should be president" good, but "wow, this dude seems cool for the Republican governor of New Mexico."
Posted by Levislade on September 11, 2012 at 4:41 PM · Report this
What is really so interesting about someone who gets it half right? I mean great libertarians are socially liberal. Congrats on not being totally dickish! Now how about you get the rest of it right then I'll take you seriously.
Posted by giffy on September 11, 2012 at 5:10 PM · Report this
Ipso Facto 12
Constant, you really have no fucking excuse for covering Gary Johnson's AMA and not Rocky Anderson's AMA from January, which appears to be THE FIRST TIME A CANDIDATE FOR PRESIDENT HAS DONE A REDDIT AMA.


Are really you that much of a Democratic Party hack that you would refuse equal and fair coverage to alternative progressive candidates?

Open minded progressives would do well to read Rocky's AMA and check out his website

Jill Stein of the Green Party is scheduled to do an AMA tomorrow.

Here is Rocky's AMA intro (scan to the bottom for his own TL;DR):

I’m Rocky Anderson, a co-founder of the new Justice Party and its nominee for President of the United States. As a lawyer who represented those who suffered harm from abuses of corporate and government power, as a Democratic nominee for Congress in 1996, as a two-term Mayor of Salt Lake City, as founder and Executive Director of High Road for Human Rights, and as a candidate for President, I have been driven by a passion for social, legal, economic, and environmental justice. I urge people to look past what people running for office say during their campaigns and to examine what they have actually done with their lives. Where are their passions? Have they acted with integrity? Have they been effective? What can we count on them to do?

If you examine my record (see…), you will find that I have been a fiscal conservative, recognizing that our outrageous accumulated debt and interest burden, brought to us by the recklessness of both dominant political parties, is undermining our nation, hurting those who are most vulnerable, and harming the future prospects for our children and later generations. I have been an outspoken opponent of U.S. wars of aggression. (See…) I have fought for equal rights and equal dignity for all, regardless of race, ethnic origin, faith (or not faith), and sexual orientation. As a volunteer for Common Cause, I have advocated for bans on gifts to legislators and understand that our federal government is now controlled largely by the corrupting influence of money. For that reason, I support a constitutional amendment that would overrule the bizarre holding of the Citizens United case. I have long opposed the so-called “war on drugs” and worked successfully to obtain a presidential pardon for a non-violent drug offender who was sentenced to 15 ½ years in a federal penitentiary on his first drug conviction. Job creation, short-term and long-term, should be a top priority – one that has for too long been ignored by the President and Congress. I have worked, for several years, to restore the rule of law in our nation. (See the multi-media presentation that I researched, wrote, and narrated, at…)

Support for a “third-party” candidate is an affirmative choice for real change, while support for the Democratic or Republican candidate is simply a re-confirmation of the diseased, corrupt system of government in which the interests of campaign contributors and lobbyists’ clients are served, while the public interest is betrayed. This campaign is not about simply moving around the players in corrupt system that continuously betrays the public interest. It is a people’s movement – a classic grassroots campaign – that depends entirely on people like you. (To contribute or participate as a volunteer, see .) (Contributions are not tax-deductible.)

If the people in Egypt, Tunisia, and Libya can organize together, utilizing the democratizing tools of social media, to overthrow their nation’s dictators, so too can the people of the United States organize together and overthrow the dictatorship of corrupt money that continues to deprive us of leadership on climate change, energy independence, universal health care, marriage equality, compassionate and rational immigration reform, and integrity in our political system.

TL; DR A presidential candidate with credentials that match rhetoric who has heard enough about false "hope" and recognizes now we must act. Ask me anything.

Twitter: @PresidentRocky

UPDATE, JAN. 11, 2012:
Thank you all who've contributed to this rich discussion. I've enjoyed sharing my solutions with everyone here. I will be checking back periodically to answer questions that have been voted up. I invite you to donate (up to $100/person) to my campaign. A president for the people, depends on the people getting involved. Thanks.
Donate here:

Rocky clarified his use of the term "fiscal conservative" in one of his responses:

johoso 1 point 8 months ago

I really find a large similarity in your stances on most issues on my own, but I find your use of the term "fiscal conservative" to be misleading. Would you be willing to use the term "fiscally responsible" to describe yourself, as "conservative" lends itself to the idea that you are behind privatization of government programs and deregulation of big business?

[–]RockyAnderson2012[S] 1 point 8 months ago

Excellent point. Thanks. Words are so important -- and "fiscally responsible" captures what I'm conveying better. I've never thought the words "conservative" and "liberal," at least as they are used in the U.S., are very helpful.
Posted by Ipso Facto on September 11, 2012 at 5:14 PM · Report this
The rising cost of college is because the government is helping them with the rising cost of college?

Oh, right, he's retarded. Couldn't be that lower revenue from lower taxes are taking away funding for state universities because, well, taxes take away err firrrdom!
Posted by Bloated Jesus is Bloated on September 11, 2012 at 6:29 PM · Report this
johnnie 14
I'm sorry, is Gary Johnson the nicest, most approachable idiot, or does he just think we are? How does the statement that "I believe marriage equality is a constitutionally guaranteed right. Leve it to the states and nothing changes," make ANY sense? If something is a right guaranteed to by the Constitution, it is not a question for individual states to determine. That's essentially like saying "Segregation violates the Equal Protection Clause, but we should really let each state make up its own mind."
Posted by johnnie on September 11, 2012 at 8:27 PM · Report this
sperifera 15
@14 - I think what he was saying "Leave it to the states and nothing changes", as in keep it federal. I believe he is arguing that states shouldn't be deciding upon federally mandated, constitutional rights. But I could be wrong, that's just how I read it. He has been a decent supporter of LGBT issues in the past, fwiw.
Posted by sperifera on September 11, 2012 at 8:56 PM · Report this
@14, I think he's saying "if you leave it to the states like Obama wants, then nothing changes," in contrast to his position that it's a constitutional right.

But I know nothing about Johnson so who knows.
Posted by triangle man on September 11, 2012 at 9:08 PM · Report this
Unregistered User 17
@4 Even IF he had gotten it right, it's either insane or a stupid joke.

Congratulations you win at trolling I HOPE YOU CAME
Posted by Unregistered User on September 12, 2012 at 1:45 AM · Report this
Romney did kinda do an AMA along with Obama. For the science debate. It's really only making its way around science nerds, but it's a great read. One candidate comes off as vaguely understanding the science and one comes off as ignorant to the question, especially on climate change.
Posted by AndyInChicago on September 12, 2012 at 7:17 AM · Report this
@14 It's worth noting that President Obama wants to leave marriage equality to the states; Gary Johnson doesn't.
Posted by Podvodnimoz on September 12, 2012 at 7:31 AM · Report this
@13, I think the argument is along the lines that Private Institutions have been getting away continually raising their tuition rates since the 70s far higher than inflation would dictate because the structure of the student loan system guarantees they'll get their money, no matter how much they ask for. So in the libertarian mind, the government guaranteeing loans made to banks that have made it impossible to default on student loans is the problem, interfering with the natural forces that would require Universities to adjust their prices to their incoming students, and operate within their means.
Posted by joes on September 12, 2012 at 7:32 AM · Report this
@14, one reason to hold off on calling relatively smart people "idiots," is that you might, in the same post, misunderstand a simple point.
Posted by LJM on September 12, 2012 at 1:12 PM · Report this
Before reflexively labeling Johnson's tax plan as "disastrous," it might be interesting to hear the opinions of a range of economists, from the left and right, who seem to agree with him.…
Posted by LJM on September 12, 2012 at 1:16 PM · Report this

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