May 20, 2011
Gary Johnson's Tea Party Résumé Going Up in Smoke?
As noted at The Daily Caller, world-famous country star and notorious pot-smoker Willie Nelson recently endorsed former New Mexico governor and now-presidential candidate Gary Johnson via Nelson's marijuana advocacy site TeaPotparty.com:
On Tuesday, the Teapot Party announced our biggest endorsement yet - former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson for the Republican presidential nomination. This was done with great thought. Johnson has been courting the marijuana-reform establishment ever since he was governor from 1995 to 2003.
Information in politics in our electronic age moves faster than a New York minute. As reported at The Daily Caller, yesterday Willie Nelson retracted his endorsement through an e-mail exchange with fellow Teapot-Partier Steve Bloom:
Yesterday, both the Teapot Party and Gary Johnson 2012 sent out press releases announcing the endorsement. The media immediately jumped on it, with Politico, Fox and Raw Story leading the coverage. We were on a roll.
But not so fast. I sent the press release and coverage links to Nelson. His response took me by surprise: "My position is it too early for me to endorse anyone. And I think every one should vote their own conscience."
Based on the erratic endorsement and subsequent non-endorsement -- not to mention the shady character involved -- Gary Johnson has nothing to lose in losing Willie Nelson's endorsement. However, we must not allow Governor Johnson's run to be swallowed up by a media-led version of a Cheech and Chong sequel, in which all anyone cares about vis-à-vis Johnson is his stance on marijuana. Instead, we should be highlighting the former governor's untarnished fiscal-conservative bona fides.
In 1999, clearly ahead of his time and the conservative curve, Johnson vetoed a collective bargaining bill that crossed his desk. Johnson's sterling achievements as Governor of New Mexico from 1995 to late 2002 are listed at his campaign site:
- Left office with New Mexico as one of the only four states in the country with a balanced budget
- Left New Mexico with a budget surplus
- Used Line Item Veto thousands of times to trim the budget
- Vetoed 750 bills during his time in office; more than all other governors combined
- Cut over 1,200 government jobs without firing anyone
- Created more than 20,000 new jobs
- First New Mexico Governor to challenge education status quo and propose statewide voucher program
- Restored State General Fund reserves to more than $222 million from a low of $28.1 million
- Limited annual state budget growth to 5.0% during eight years in office
- Cut taxes 14 times while never raising them-a first for New Mexico
- Vetoed 32% of the total number of bills submitted for his signature
These achievements are examples of Gary Johnson's focused, effective two terms as governor of the state of New Mexico. A President Gary Johnson would bring to the White House the same focus, seriousness, and provable results. Nevertheless, proven fiscal-conservative accomplishments may be cast aside by the 24-hour-news-cycle, "the-more-salacious-the-better" mainstream media.
We shouldn't let this happen.
Untold numbers of Tea Party activists are clamoring for a presidential candidate who can right this nation's financial ship and who comes to the national table with a consistent track record of doing so. At this perilous moment in our nation's history -- as we teeter on the brink of economic collapse -- most Americans likely agree that disciplined fiscal governance is the highest priority for our country. Marijuana legalization -- and the ensuing controversy surrounding it -- is at the bottom of the totem pole of priorities.
As the smoke clears amid recent controversy, we find a man standing in the middle of the crowded field of candidates.
He may be soften-spoken, wonkish, and unassuming, but his financial vision is what this nation and future generations desperately need. We should not allow Gary Johnson's impressive Tea Party résumé to go up in smoke.
A resident of California and small business owner, Tim Daniel blogs daily at leftcoastrebel.com. He can be reached at email@example.com.