"I feel abandoned by the Republican Party," Johnson said in a phone interview. "The Republican Party has left me by the wayside."If he ran as a Libertarian, he'd potentially be the party's strongest candidate ever. Unlike Paul, he openly advocates for more in the way of drug decriminalization and legalization. Unlike Paul, he's pro-choice. Unlike Paul, he doesn't demonize gays. And, as a triathlete and mountain climber, he'd appeal to a younger set than Paul.
He's been left out of all but two of the seemingly endless Republican presidential debates. His fundraising is low and his poll numbers are below radar level.
"If I'd have been included in 16 of the last debates we wouldn't even be having this conversation," Johnson said.
And, was this a deliberate GOP decision? Here's Johnson again:
As for the National Republican Party, he said, "They certainly don't want anything to do with ideas. Only protecting the status quo." Excluding him, Johnson said, "was a boardroom decision somewhere."I think the GOP realized Paul had nuanced his style enough, and had enough credibility with tea party types as well as libertarians, that the party simply couldn't exclude him. That said, that's no excuse for picking a Santorum over Johnson, or over Buddy Roemer, for that matter.
Slate online magazine reporter Dave Weigel on Wednesday expressed sympathy for Johnson's plight.
"The rules that allowed no-hopers like Tommy Thompson, Jim Gilmore and Tom Tancredo into the 2007 debates would have let Johnson and [former Louisiana Gov.] Buddy Roemer in," Weigel wrote Wednesday. "So we're spared the presence of governors who last won elections in 1989 and 1998, and gifted with a senator who last won election in 2000 and a businessman who has never won anything."
I hope that Johnson does run. I don't agree with most of his economic ideas, but, he's a straight shooter. (Again, even more than Paul is.)