Gary Johnson, dubbed "the most fiscally conservative governor" in the country, was the Republican Governor of New Mexico from 1995-2003. A successful entrepreneur before running for public office, Johnson is known for his distinctly business-like approach to governing. He's currently running for president and making the Republican establishment nervous.
Gov. Johnson initially ran on the Republican ticket for the presidential nomination, but was unable to participate in the debates, even though his poll numbers were stronger than some of the candidates. Michele Bachmann was permitted to participate in the debates before she even declared her candidacy, while Johnson, who had been campaigning and gaining recognition, was ignored. He is now running on the Libertarian ticket, offering fiscal conservatism and staying away from religious right, social conservative causes embraced by the Republican party.
A strong supporter of the separation of church and state, Johnson was the first to condemn the Iowa Family Leader's "Marriage Vow – A Declaration of Dependence Upon Marriage and Family" that implied that black children were better off born into slavery because they'd be in a one man-one woman married household. While the Iowa Family Leader deleted the slavery reference, apologizing for a misunderstanding, the declaration — signed by Republican presidential candidates Michele Bachmann and Rick Santorum in the summer of 2011 — retained numerous anti-gay, anti-choice, anti-Muslim and similar religious right clauses in its document. The "vow" declared that "robust childbearing and reproduction is beneficial to U.S. demographic, economic, strategic and actuarial health and security." In a statement published on his campaign website, Johnson stated:
While the Family Leader pledge covers just about every other so-called virtue they can think of, the one that is conspicuously missing is tolerance. In one concise document, they manage to condemn gays, single parents, single individuals, divorcees, Muslims, gays in the military, unmarried couples, women who choose to have abortions, and everyone else who doesn’t fit in a Norman Rockwell painting.
Johnson's platform on civil liberties states that the government must remain neutral on personal beliefs:
Civil liberties are so foundational to America that the first eight amendments to the Constitution address them directly. These amendments enshrine government’s duty to protect individual liberties, including the rights to free speech and free association.
But today, government has created for itself sweeping powers to monitor the private lives of individuals and otherwise intrude upon our daily activities, our households and our businesses. The extent of the government’s reach today would be unrecognizable to the Founders.
WE ARE A NATION OF MANY PEOPLES and beliefs. The only way to respect all citizens is to allow each to make personal decisions themselves.[...]
- Life is precious and must be protected. A woman should be allowed to make her own decisions during pregnancy until the point of viability of a fetus.
- Stem cell research should only be completed by private laboratories that operate without federal funding.
- Government should not impose its values upon marriage. It should allow marriage equality, including gay marriage. It should also protect the rights of religious organizations to follow their beliefs.
Johnson appears on the presidential ballot in 47 states and plans to be on the ballot in all 50 states. MSNBC's Martin Bashir spoke with him about the Republican efforts to remove him from the ballots in battleground states and prevent him from running in all states. He's polling at 4 percent nationally and higher in some states like Colorado and New Hampshire.
Bashir pointed out that Republicans are constantly talking about freedom — except when it comes to ballot access.
Johnson says that his fiscally responsible and socially accepting stance is reflective of most Americans' attitudes, and he would love to have an opportunity to participate in the presidential debates. He says, however, that the debate commission is made up of Republicans and Democrats who have no interest whatsoever in allowing a third party candidate to participate.