Johnson Announces Presidential Run


It s official. Former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson (R) is now in the running for the GOP presidential nomination in 2012. His announcement on Thursday, coming from the steps of the New Hampshire State House, is hardly a surprise, at least for those who have heard of him. The enigmatic libertarian has long been mulling a presidential run he even stopped at Dartmouth back in January but few have given him much thought as a real contender.

As it stands, of course, Johnson is actually the only real Republican candidate. While others like Mitt Romney and Donald Trump are testing the waters, raising funds through exploratory committees, Johnson has simply gone ahead and declared his intent.

And it comes as a breath of fresh air, adding some much-needed credibility to the GOP s lineup. Among the potential candidates, Johnson is perhaps the only certified fiscal conservative. As governor of New Mexico, Johnson ran the state like an accountant (in a good way) and became famous for his veto, which he used to trim the state budget by 10% in his first six months.

He opposed the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, supported a balanced budget and school vouchers, and now favors turning Medicaid into a block grant program. For better or worse, however, Johnson is best known for his views on one particular issue: he would like to legalize marijuana (and maybe prostitution). This puts him at odds with most of the Republican Party, and a good chunk of Americans as well. According to recent polls, about 50% of Americans oppose legalization.

Add the fact that he doesn t go to church, and it s unlikely that the GOP will be ready for Johnson within the next year. Like Ron Paul before him, though, Johnson will hopefully bring a lens to sensible fiscal policies and real conservatism in this coming election.

–Thomas L. Hauch