There’s good news for the liberty movement: Gary Johnson will participate in the Fox News-Google GOP debate tonight in Orlando, FL. This is the first debate for the former two-term Governor of New Mexico since the very first debate in South Carolina way back in May. The indispensible Dave Weigel had a brief Q&A with Johnson earlier today:
Slate: There was some confusion earlier over whether you had made it into the debate or not. What happened?
Johnson: There was a CNN poll three weeks ago that had me at 2 percent. A week ago, CNN put out a new national poll — and my name wasn’t included! So the Republican Party of Florida said I should not be in the debate; the criteria they came in with was that I had to be at 1 percent in five of the polls. Well, I’m wasn’t in 2 of the last national polls. Fox chose to interpret the rules differently, counting the five polls I was in, which I think was fair!
Slate: You’ve missed two months of debates. You’ve missed some practice. What are you doing to prep?
Johnson: Going back to when I was governor of New Mexico, I debated my opponent 28 times. I’d like to think I’m in eight kinds of debates every single day with every person I talk to. On that stage, I’ll be as nervous as a human being can be, and if I wasn’t, i wouldn’t be a human being.
Slate: Often in these debates, the more libertarian-minded candidates get hypotheticals to draw out their philosophy. Last time, we saw Ron Paul get drawn in on a question about whether, with government totally out of the picture on health care, he’d let a man in a coma die. How would you have answered the question?
Johnson: I would have answered that there are people in need, and I’m of the belief that government is the only entity able to provide in some cases. I think we can cut what we’re spending in Medicare and Medicaid 33%. There are tough cases like this, and they should be dealt with by the states. But as the governor of a state, no, I don’t want to see this guy die!
Slate: Sort of unrelated: The House just voted down a version of FEMA funding, because Republicans wanted to attach spending cuts to the bill, and they couldn’t get Democratic votes. Do you want Republicans to stick to their guns and demand the cuts?
Johnson: I’m not hung up on that. One of the things government should be around for is to deal with catastrophes. It should do that well. To me, that’s a government function, and we shouldn’t be playing political games with it.
Slate: Have you brainstormed any questions for your fellow candidates?
Johnson: I would ask Mitt Romney: “What is your position on anything?”
Good news brought to you by The Daily Beast:
Gary Johnson, the Republican presidential candidate who has labored in obscurity, is about to get his moment in the spotlight—for one night, at least.
Johnson will be included in Thursday’s Fox News debate in Orlando, the first time he will share a stage with his eight rivals.
The former New Mexico governor won the right to participate, according to Fox sources, by cracking 1 percent in the latest five national polls in which he was included—Fox News, CNN, McClatchy-Marist, ABC, and Quinnipiac—which was the criterion the network had set for inclusion.
It’s about time! This is the first debate Gary Johnson will participate in since the very first GOP debate in South Carolina.
(Hat tip: Radley Balko)
Here is a letter to the Sun-Sentinel:
Noelle Nikpour is absolutely right to point out to European nations and American liberals that big government is the root cause of crises brought on by unsustainable levels of debt. However, to maintain that conservatives are steadfast, stalwart enemies of big government and that Republicans adopt the policy prescriptions of cutting spending and privatization is pure partisan propaganda (Debt crisis: Big government remains big problem, July 24).
Was Ms. Nikpour paying attention to American politics during the eight years George W. Bush spent in the White House? During Bush’s presidency, when Republicans controlled both houses of Congress for the majority of the time, the size and scope of government grew to unprecedented levels. Under Republican controlled Washington we saw federal spending on education soar to its highest levels ever, a new prescription drug benefit program, stimulus packages, federal bailouts of private businesses, two wars, and the massive expansion of the national security state. Government spending and accumulation of debt was the modus operandi, and you call that limited government?
Big government policies as a bipartisan affair led to the debt problems we now face. Both parties are equally guilty and complicit, and to suggest otherwise is disingenuous.
Brad R. Schlesinger