I used to be a fan of Gary Johnson. But it now appears he will seek the Libertarian Party nomination for President, and I’m opposed.
Johnson is the former Governor of New Mexico, and a long-time critic of the drug war. Because of the latter, I featured him on my drug policy reform website, Repeal.NET.
Early in the current presidential campaign, I saw Johnson as possibly next in line for the Ron Paul movement. As Paul’s support grew and Johnson floundered, I was hopeful that Johnson would endorse Paul and start working on his campaign. Even if Paul doesn’t win, this would have set the stage for Johnson to be the movement’s candidate in 2016. Johnson’s 1-2% could make a minor difference for the Paul campaign in the early states, especially New Hampshire.
Instead Johnson chose a different path. While he has said positive things about the Paul candidacy, he has not made an overt endorsement. To the contrary the small amount of support Johnson has is drawn away from Paul. His campaign is not even secretive about it, invoking Ron Paul’s name in its request for contributions on the campaign home page:
Giving money to Gary Johnson’s campaign does not “support Ron Paul.”
So far these are minor grievances. The larger problem with Gary Johnson is his decision to embrace evil, in the person of Roger Stone. In September Stone endorsed Johnson, and Johnson posted the endorsement on his campaign website. A couple weeks ago Johnson told Daily Caller that he is working with Stone. And about a week ago Stone posted an interview with Johnson, a puff piece with softball questions.
So what? Roger Stone is known for dirty tactics in politics. This was thoroughly covered in a piece in the New Yorker about Stone. He brags about it himself, even posting covers of these portrayals on his website.
He includes such quotes on his About page:
Professional lord of mischief - Weekly Standard
Legendary conservative political hit man - TheHill.com
A dashing, colorful artist of the underhanded - David Brooks, New York Times
Skilled in the dark arts of politics - The Atlantic
Master of right-wing political hit jobs - Politico.com
Is this who you’d want on your team? If you embrace dirty politics, Stone is your man.
In case it’s not obvious or you don’t already know, I’m one of Stone’s victims. I’m certainly not the only one, as the quotes above were all written before my encounter with him. About one year ago, Stone participated in a horrendous and false mailer calling me a “sexual predator”. This was sent to thousands of homes, including to my neighbors and my mother. As Stone surely intended, it got a lot of media attention, including this article in The Daily News. Stone bragged about his role in damaging both me and the Libertarian Party on his blog post, Libertarian Payback.
Gary Johnson’s political problem will not be solved by attacking others. His problem is that he did not do well enough in getting media attention, fundraising, and other things to build up his own name.
His choice of Roger Stone is disturbing because he should know Stone’s reputation. Embracing such a negative figure with such a high profile shows that Johnson does not care about doing what’s right. Evil men like Stone should be shunned by any candidate with decency.
I personally reached out to a number of people involved with the Johnson campaign, to make sure they know who Stone is and why they should disavow him. This has not happened.
Despite my past support of Johnson and my general agreement with him on many issues, I cannot accept a candidate who works with Stone, or others like him. I will work to oppose Johnson’s effort to become the LP candidate. Libertarians should recognize that Stone tried to subvert the LP nomination process in New York in 2010, and then attacked the party when he failed.
–Update– Adding emphasis to the Stone-Johnson connection, Stone wrote an article today supporting Johnson in the Daily Caller.