Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Gary Johnson Either Needs to Take the Gloves Off or Drop Out

Former New Mexico Governor, and erstwhile GOP Presidential candidate, Gary Johnson has filed complaints with the FEC and FCC about his being ignored by the recent GOP Presidential Debates. But, with the current crop of eight candidates, some of whom (Rick Santorum and Jon Huntsman for instance) are barely at 1% in all recent national polls according to Gallup and Real Clear Politics, some already see too many players on the stage. Gary Johnson is, of course, claiming that his exclusion from the debates bears responsibility for his low visibility and low poll numbers (when they even exist).


But how credible is that in 2011? The voters he is appealing to are an Internet savvy lot who are currently giving Texas Congressman Ron Paul a very prominent national platform from which to speak. They are the most likely to be aware of Governor Johnson's candidacy and the most likely to be able to examine him closely on the Internet and at his campaign website specifically. Ever since 2004, and the unlikely rise of Internet candidate Howard Dean (a similarly little known governor from a small population state), the world wide web has been the means of catapulting relative unknowns with little money into the prime time. That, and book sales, were directly responsible for the meteoric rise of President--then candidate and Senator--Obama as well as Johnson's more obvious roadblock, Ron Paul.


Beyond that, Johnson's central claim--that he's being boxed out by the media--is simply untrue. For a candidate polling as marginally as Johnson he's been on television (free air time on a national level) numerous times. A quick search shows him on Fox News here, here, and here; CNN here; MSNBC here; and Comedy Central here. Obviously, this is just a sample, he's been on TV bemoaning the fact he's not on TV many additional times. He was even included in one major national debate despite polling in the Thaddeus McCotter basement. Keep in mind, it was this very same debate that sent Rick Perry into the wilderness and brought Herman Cain into the fore.


Governor Johnson's real problems are two-fold. The first is that his major competitor for libertarian leaning Republicans is Ron Paul, a man with whom he has no substantial policy disagreements (except, of course, on abortion rights; Paul is against choice, Johnson supports reproductive autonomy). Despite their being nearly simpatico on the major issues domestically and internationally, Ron Paul--as I have indicated elsewhere--is a severely flawed candidate. Anyone who actually took Paul seriously--and I think it's obvious the only person who has an interest in doing so at the moment is Gary Johnson--would have no trouble at all in gathering evidence for a compelling case for why Paul is unqualified for the position he currently holds, let alone the Presidency. And, yet, when given national platforms to appeal to Paul's supporters (most of whom are ignorant of their candidate's serious flaws), Governor Johnson routinely fails to do so--going so far as to compliment Paul with a hypothetical Vice-Presidential nomination at his debate appearance.


That is Johnson's second problem: he has been far too amiable and aloof from the realities of politics and Presidential campaigns. It is not always advisable to go negative in an election campaign--but when the man blocking you from being in the debates by monopolizing the voters most likely to support you and sucking up all the available air in the room is a moral Pygmy like Ron Paul, you have to go for the jugular. It is, literally, Governor Johnson's only hope for sparking his campaign and gaining the poll numbers he needs to get his foot in the door. You cannot win a disputed Presidential nomination by being a horrendous jerk (see Howard Dean) but you have no hope of doing so being Mr. Rogers. Either Johnson bites the bullet and takes on Ron Paul directly and splits his supporters, thereby getting himself into the debates where he can appeal to the rest of the GOP caucus and primary voters, or he gives up now and saves the time, money, and effort of continuing his current exercise in futility for another couple of months.

12 comments:

Orrin said...

I feel at this point that candidates who are still in the basement are actively doing harm to their supporters by remaining in the race. The money they take is largely wasted, and their presence on a campaign stage means the opportunity for meaningful debate is even MORE distant. And any other policy aside, I don't want a whiner as my CinC - and crying to the FCC makes you a whiner, and HARDLY a libertarian.

It's just too bad that this is coming from someone with such an incredibly awesome last name.

Bosch Fawstin said...

He has truly been the candidate who wasn't there. Now or Never for him.

Jim said...

An alternative strategy for Johnson would be to partner with friendly NM Representatives to introduce reform legislation in the Congress now. Instead of other candidates that promote faux plans beginning in 2013, Johnson could say, "We have a bill HR#### that could help reform our government today, so join me in pushing Congress to pass real reform now." A demonstration of real leadership, by moving actual legislation, would put him into the news if not contention.

However, I doubt that he personally has the leadership skills and experience to pull it off.

Alexander V. Marriott, ABD said...

Yeah, Jim, I don't see him even trying that because his domestic agenda assumes a ground swell of people electing him with enough coattails to bring in a Congress that can pass his alleged "fair tax." He claims, proudly, that he's pragmatic and looking to move the ball forward and then proposes a domestic tax platform that is entirely undoable in the current environment and of dubious worth even if it could be done.

Michael said...

he has no character I have to say. Comes off like a wilted plant.

Mike said...

BTW Alexander, I have decided on a broad topic in american history and that is American Indian history. Do you have any good resources on this area of history.

I found this recently: http://www.amazon.com/Resource-American-Indian-History-ebook/dp/B002AS9P42

Alexander V. Marriott, ABD said...

Well, Mike, that's a big field. Any particular period or are you still thinking that over?

Mike said...

Hi Alex, I was thinking about Christopher Columbus's Views of Native Americans.

Alexander V. Marriott, ABD said...

Sorry, Mike, got sidetracked and then forgot to get back to you. That is, of course, a fascinating topic. Make sure you read Columbus's accounts, De Las Casas's account of the destruction of the Indians (as a polemical contemporary critic who was there), and start with Samuel Eliot Morrison's and Felipe Fernandez Armesto's biographies of the Admiral of the Ocean Sea.

Mike said...

thanks for all of that Alexander. I admit I don't have much of a good opinion about him. The biographies looks very exciting and good to read.

Mike said...

I am just curious Alexander, what are your own thoughts on Christopher

Alexander V. Marriott, ABD said...

Columbus had many flaws of the late 15th century European--he was incredibly vain, extremely devout in his Catholicism, and imbibing the violent culture of his patron country quite prone to violence. However, Columbus was also a daring man with a vision--a faulty one as it turned out, since his calculation of the earth's size was disastrously wrong--who dared to do something few considered to be possible. In doing so he finally united the world into one large self-conscious unit of trade and exchange. The legacy of that is incredible, terrific, and fantastic is every possible way. It ultimately paved the way for Europeans of several cultural and intellectual traditions to experiment in the re-creation of society outside of Europe with some significant interference/resistance from the remaining indigenous population--such an opportunity was undoubtedly necessary for the possibility of a place like the United States coming into existence. Columbus doesn't deserve all or even a large share of the credit for that, but there's a reason the founders named the district of the capitol city "Columbia."