Gary Johnson Leaving GOP for Libertarian Party

Wednesday, 14 Dec 2011 09:40 PM

By Martin Gould and Kathleen Walter

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Republican presidential candidate Gary Johnson has been “hung out to dry” by the GOP establishment and that is the reason he is likely to leave the party and run for the presidency as a libertarian, he says.

The former New Mexico governor tells Newsmax.TV he has faced a Catch-22 situation because his name has not appeared in the opinion polls that decide whether he has enough support to get him a place in the party’s debates, which means he has not been able to gain the exposure that could have lifted him in the polls.



“I have been hung out to dry by the Republican Party,” Johnson said in the exclusive interview. “I have asked them to stand up against the fact that I am not in the polls that determine whether or not I am in the debates.

“I keep hoping that I’ll be in the final debates that are left in this contest and I continue to be excluded. So in am at a point where I am going to have to make a decision.”

Johnson, who describes himself as fiscally conservative but socially liberal, is due in New York on Thursday and he is expected to announce formally that he is joining the Libertarian Party.

He has never managed to gain traction in the run-up to the Republican primary season. He says time is running out because of “sore loser laws” in some states that say a candidate cannot run in primaries and then stand on a different ticket in the general election.

When asked why he thinks the GOP establishment has not taken up his case, he replied, “I cannot tell you why, I can only guess.”

He says if he decides on a third party run, he intends to get his name on the ballot in all 50 states.

Johnson says he believes most Republicans are not socially conservative, it is only the activists that are. “I didn’t win over social conservatives running as governor of New Mexico in the primary. I didn’t get their votes, there were others to choose from.

“But when it came time for the general election, those social conservative Republicans then deferred to their second-most important issue, which was dollars and cents. And I excelled in the dollars and cents area.

“New Mexico is a state that is 2-1 Democrat,” Johnson, who was governor in Santa Fe for eight years from 1995-2002, pointed out. “I won election and I won reelection by a bigger margin.”

During his Newsmax interview Johnson said many of his views coincide with Republican candidate Ron Paul, who is now running high in the polls. He agrees with Paul that most drugs should be decriminalized and that troops should be brought home from overseas fighting.

He said the ban on drugs is responsible for the violence that has engulfed the Mexican border area. “We need to get rid of prohibition like we needed to get rid of prohibition of alcohol, to move disputes from the streets and machine guns to the courts.

“I’m one of 100 million Americans who have smoked marijuana in this country,” he admitted. “I am not behind bars because I guess I got lucky, but then most Americans have been lucky when it comes to this.”

But, he said one of the favorites for the presidency looks at it in a different way. “Newt Gingrich, in 1997, proposed the death penalty for possession of marijuana in excess of 2oz. with intent to distribute from outside of the country. Newt Gingrich has smoked marijuana. Gosh, to me this is hypocritical.

“When it comes to Newt Gingrich, we have a real fundamental difference when it comes to marijuana and other drugs, and that fundamental difference is, you know what? Maybe it’s a bad choice, but should you be subject to the death penalty because of your bad choice? I don’t think so.”

He also took issue with the other leader in the Republican race. “I don’t know where Mitt Romney stands on the issues. I’m in the contest and I really don’t know where he stands.

“This process should be about explaining what your positions are, what the problems are and, of course, what your resume is.

He said it was only American intervention in Iraq that turned Iran into a threat. “What is Iran but an unintended consequence of our Middle Eastern policy?” he asked.

“We took out Iraq and Saddam Hussein, and until that happened, Iran had but one concern, and that was Saddam Hussein and Iraq. We take him out and now they raise their head.”

Johnson said that another four years of Barack Obama would lead to monetary collapse and a balanced budget is his priority. “I am not saying that balancing the budget may get us out of experiencing a monetary collapse, but it is the one thing that we can do, it’s the one thing that we are in control of that we need to accomplish,” he said.

But he said it is wrong to place all the blame on Obama’s head. “Recently Republicans controlled both houses of Congress and the presidency and at that time they ran up record deficits, they gave us a prescription healthcare benefit which at that time was the largest entitlement ever passed. That was Republicans.”

He wants to abolish most taxes and replace them with a 23 percent federal sales tax that he describes as the “Fair Tax.”

“It does away with the federal income tax, it does away with business and corporate tax, it does away with the IRS, it does away with withholdings. It makes American goods and services 23 percent more competitive and in a zero-corporate tax rate environment.

“If the private sector does not create tens of millions of jobs with a zero corporate tax rate then there is nothing we can do for the private sector to make that happen.”

He said the Fair Tax would be “cost-neutral,” adding, “A can of Coke that currently sells for $1, arguably has 23 percent tax built in. Now you are going to do away with all federal tax, the 23 percent built into the Coca Cola goes away. Coca Cola doesn’t have to sell that can of Coke for $1 anymore and because cola is so competitive, they are going to sell their Coke at 80 cents and they are going to make the same amount of profit.

“American goods and services end up being very competitive if they cost 23 percent less to have to export. Imports, on the other hand, are going to be subject to 23 percent Fair Tax.”

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