Governor Not Interested In Libertarian Run 

Governor Not Interested In Libertarian Run 
Posted by FoM on October 06, 1999 at 08:32:06 PT
By Patrick Armijo and Michael Coleman
Source: ABQ Journal
Gov. Gary Johnson stumped for drug legalization Tuesday on a visit to Washington. Back home in New Mexico, a group launched an effort to keep him there -- as the United States' first Libertarian president. 
The Draft Gary Johnson for President Committee, a 25-member group of mostly Libertarians, with some Democrats, Republicans and independents, wants Johnson to seek the Libertarian Party nomination for president in 2000. Committee members said Johnson's pro-legalization stance on drugs -- as well as his support of smaller government, reduced taxes and school choice -- would connect with voters. The group announced its intention to draft Johnson for president at a news conference Tuesday in Downtown Albuquerque. "We think Gov. Johnson would make a fine presidential candidate," said Ashley Gauthier, an Albuquerque attorney and spokeswoman for the committee. "He listens, and he pays attention to what voters want." Johnson, who repeatedly has said he will not seek another elective office, declined. "I'm very flattered, but I'm a Republican governor, and I kind of dismiss it," Johnson said of a presidential bid. Johnson has said he wants to pursue business interests -- and even climb Mount Everest -- after his term expires in 2002. Gauthier, a former Republican who switched to the Libertarian Party recently, said the committee will register this week with the Federal Election Commission. She said the committee is not speaking on behalf of the state Libertarian Party. The group is unfazed by Johnson's recent refusals to run. "We are hoping he will change his mind," Gauthier said. Before the committee announced its effort to draft Johnson for president, the governor gave the keynote address Tuesday at a drug policy conference held by the Cato Institute, a libertarian-leaning think tank based in Washington. The speech was broadcast live on the Internet. Johnson also appeared on ABC's "Good Morning America." During his Cato speech, Johnson conceded that legalizing drugs would create a "whole new set of problems." But he said those problems would add up to half the ones that exist now. Johnson said drug demand will always exist, but legalizing drugs would allow for control through regulation, taxation and better education. He has repeatedly said drug use is a "bad choice" but that the choice should not carry criminal sanctions. "It's all about giving people freedom, and making them responsible for their actions," he said. Johnson said as he envisions legalization, drugs would remain illegal for minors, and crimes committed under their influence would carry stiffer penalties. "I think that a legalization model is going to be a dynamic process," he said. "We're going to make mistakes in legislation on how we legalize it. We're going to fine-tune it as we go along." The black-tar heroin overdoses that plague Rio Arriba County could be avoided if heroin were legal, he said. "Theoretically, you wouldn't have the overdoses anymore because they would be legal, controlled, regulated substances that would be doled out," Johnson said. "Again, I'm just posing this as a hypothetical -- that you'd have to go into a hospital or to a clinic to receive a prescribed dose. And you would receive a prescribed dose that wasn't going to kill you, and the needles would be clean." But Johnson said employers should retain the right to screen job applicants and employees for drug use. "In the end, it ends up being that person's choice: Do you want to be employed, or do you want to do drugs?" Johnson said. In September, Barry McCaffrey, a retired U.S. Army general who heads the Office of National Drug Control Policy, asked Johnson to reconsider his views. The notoriety the letter caused, Johnson said, helped pro-legalization forces. McCaffrey will be in Albuquerque on Thursday to speak about national drug policy. "It just creates more attention to the issue. It just advances the issue, which is wonderful," Johnson said. Johnson also said he doubted the accuracy of polls McCaffrey has cited that contend national drug use has dropped 50 percent since the late 1970s. Johnson said illegal drug use was more socially acceptable in the late '70s and that people today are more likely to lie to pollsters about illicit drug use. Johnson said in the late 1970s the country was spending about $1 billion on the drug war and a few hundred thousand people were arrested on drug charges. Today, the figure is about $19 billion and in 1997 1.6 million people were arrested on drug charges, Johnson said. "Does that mean," he said, "if drug use declines by half again, according to McCaffrey, that we're going to be spending $36 billion federally and that we're going to be locking up 3.2 million people?" He said the nation must consider the costs. "I mean, played out to its end scenario, when we're left with a few hundred users nationwide, we're going to be spending the entire gross national product on drug enforcement," Johnson said. Johnson, who says he last used illegal drugs in his early 20s, said he doesn't want to be regarded as "pro-drug." He said he has examined the problem realistically and concluded the drug war is an "absolute failure." Members of Delta 9, a pro-marijuana decriminalization group based in Albuquerque, agreed. The group praised Johnson at an Albuquerque news conference Thursday. "We're becoming a land of shiny new prisons and crumbling schools, and it's time it's stopped," said Ed McWilliams, the group's associate executive director. Wednesday, October 6, 1999 Copyright  1997, 1998, 1999 Albuquerque JournalThe Libertarian Party Gary Johnson's Home Page Institute Chief Hits a Governor's Call for Legalization-10/06/99 Johnson Movement Charges Ahead-10/05/99
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Comment #3 posted by jdd on October 06, 1999 at 20:50:00 PT
Governor Not Interested...
I happen to be glad that Gov. Johnson is not interested in a presidential run as a Libertarian. As a member of the Libertarian Party, I don't think that he would be a good example of Libertarian thought. He wants to legalize, but only to the extent that the government controls the amounts available to the user. He also sees drug legalization as a new method of taxation. This is NOT Libertarian philosophy! Libertarians believe in the complete responsibility of each and every citizen. We don't want the government choosing what is good or bad for us. What would be the difference between that and what we have now? If some bureaucrat determines that one joint a day is sufficient for the 'average' smoker, what happens if we want two? What happens if we possess more that what the government thinks is best for us? Who makes that determination?? No, Libertarians think that the individual is the best one to make his/her own decisions, for better or for worse. True liberty is the ability to make right or wrong decisions. If there is no choice, then liberty does not exist. While I appreciate Gov. Johnson's bold stand, he is still a Republican. He represents the Republican's desire to control the citizenry, not the Libertarian's desire for true freedom.
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Comment #2 posted by FoM on October 06, 1999 at 14:46:06 PT:
Thanks Jean,I hope your article gets published. You are a very good writer. Let me know and if it doesn't I'll post it. I hope it does! Send it onto Map like your other good article. They could very well use it.I think this next year is going to be something else! What a time to have the Internet at our disposal whenever we want it!Peace, FoM!
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Comment #1 posted by Jeaneous on October 06, 1999 at 11:59:45 PT:
Ventura for Pres??
I found this story about how Jesse Ventura would win the run for president .... it's an interesting approach...and makes you wonder if he is considering it.
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