Friday, April 22, 2011

Forgot Gary Johnson!

I left out Gary Johnson in my review of the Republican field and he has now announced his candidacy for the presidential nomination. And the funny thing about that is, he is the only one of the candidates I have actually met. I sat down and had dinner with him at a Boy Scout Eagle Court of Honor some years ago when he was Governor of New Mexico.

We had a young man in our ward who was one of those Eagles just before his eighteenth birthday. He was dating the Governor's daughter and doing some recreational climbing with ropes furnished by the Governor. Being a resourceful kid, he invited his girlfriend's dad to be a speaker at the Eagle Court. And the Governor accepted. During the dinner, I managed to sit down next to the Governor and we had a lively talk. The sad part is I don't remember much on the specifics, only that in general we talked about the federal public lands as I was doing BLM legal work in those days. While I don't remember the issues, I do recall that the Governor was very friendly and engaging. He was not at all pretentious or even political in his views but quite genuine and interested in the conversation as well as I was. He was very "mellow."

The mellowness could be explained by his Libertarian views on marijuana and drug policy. Except, that's a little unfair because the good Governor claimed at the time that he had given up any illegal drugs. But as a candidate for Governor, he had clearly admitted his use of marijuana in the past, inhaling and everything. And, according to his Wikipedia article, he used "medicinal" marijuana from 2005-2008 while recovering from a para-glider crash.

As Governor, he was famous for use of his veto pen. He ran a tight budget and lived up to his philosophy of small government and low taxes. Personally, he was a successful business man and quite an athlete, competing in triathalons during his two terms.

The one thing that concerned me most about his Governorship was when he met with New Mexico anti-government militia groups in 1995 the wake of the Oklahoma City Bombing. They had offered themselves up to the Governor as his "state militia" and I was concerned that the Governor would even meet with them. He did. But it seemed clear in the news reports that Johnson was a little uncomfortable with them not being "well-regulated" in their 2nd Amendment practices. (Also, somebody in state government probably explained to the Governor eventually that his state militia was actually the National Guard.)

That lack of judgment seems rather serious to me, particularly as I felt a little personally vulnerable after Oklahoma City. And while he's a really nice guy, and his beliefs are very genuine without being dogmatic, he is very conservative in a Libertarian strain. And maybe a little naive. I could maybe even support legalization of marijuana and an end to the drug war as I'm rather Libertarian on social issues, but I don't support much else in Libertarian philosophy. But, if he does make it by some miracle, I knew him when.

1 comment:

Comments are welcome. Feel free to disagree as many do. You can even be passionate (in moderation). Comments that contain offensive language, too many caps, conspiracy theories, gratuitous Mormon bashing, personal attacks on others who comment, or commercial solicitations- I send to spam. This is a troll-free zone. Charity always!