Mandeville, LA - Exclusive Interview - Governor Gary Johnson on the Dude Maker Hotline with us. Governor, does it concern you that it seems both of the major parties seem not to care about how our wars are waged, how they are declared, and how we continue fighting them? Even up to this moment right now, there are people that don’t have a decision to make when it comes to sending troops to Syria or Iran, but they sure as heck are out there advocating for that proposition. Does that bother you? What would you do as president to stop that? Check out today's transcript for Mr. Johnson's answer...
Begin Mike Church Show Transcript
Mike: Governor Johnson, former governor of the great State of New Mexico, now a candidate for the Libertarian Party for the Office of the Presidency of the United States. Governor, it’s been way too long. How are you, my friend?
Gary Johnson: I’m fine. Headed off to Las Vegas this morning for Freedom Fest.
Mike: Oh, you’re at Freedom Fest? Tom Woods will be there, a bunch of dignitaries.
Gary Johnson: I’m about to head off to Las Vegas.
Mike: Governor Johnson, it’s been a while, so let’s catch up really quick. You’re making some press here lately. I wanted to ask you if you’ve read your press on Politico, Washington Post, Fox News, Wall Street Journal saying that Johnson could be Buchanan and Nader in 2000, that you could play the role of spoiler. You’re not running for president to play the role of spoiler, are you, my friend?
Gary Johnson: No, I’m not. The idea here is to win. The only way that happens, Mike, is if I poll 15 percent and get to be on the national debate stage with Romney and Obama. I am going to be one of three candidates on the ballot in all 50 states, which I think also gives some impetus to getting on stage, when people realize that. I am the only candidate that’s talking about slashing spending. I’m the only candidate that’s really talking about maintaining civil liberties. I’m the only candidate that wants to get out of Afghanistan tomorrow, bring the troops home, so end our military conflicts.
Mike: Last time I spoke with you, you had just articulated a plan, I believe, and maybe I got my numbers reversed, it was either cut 34 percent or 43 percent of next year’s budget. Are you still with that and what is the number?
Gary Johnson: Yeah, good job. It’s 43 percent. That would be the amount of money that we’re printing and borrowing to maintain this deficit, so $1.4 trillion reduction in federal spending, believing that unless we slash spending, we’re going to find ourselves in the midst of a monetary collapse where the money that we have doesn’t buy anything because of the accompanying inflation that goes along with what it is we’re doing. I don’t think we’re immune from the mathematics of continuing to borrow and print 43 cents out of every dollar we’re spending.
Mike: Governor Gary Johnson on the Dude Maker Hotline with us. Governor, does it concern you that it seems both of the major parties seem not to care about how our wars are waged, how they are declared, and how we continue fighting them? Even up to this moment right now, there are people that don’t have a decision to make when it comes to sending troops to Syria or Iran, but they sure as heck are out there advocating for that proposition. Does that bother you? What would you do as president to stop that?
Gary Johnson: It infuriates me. For starters, as president, if you were going to engage the U.S. military in a conflict, Congress would have to buy off on that. It infuriates me that politicians beat on their chest and they’re going to save you and I from terrorism at a cost of what? Men and servicewomen losing their lives, men and servicewomen coming back to the country with their limbs blown off. That infuriates me and it’s politicians with a basis in really reelecting as opposed to national security, as opposed to genuine defense of this country.
Mike: So you would be the -- George Bush, Sr. was called the education president. You would be the common defense president.
Gary Johnson: I would be the peace candidate. Elected president, I would declare peace and bring our troops home from the conflicts that we are involved in. These conflicts come at a gigantic cost: men and servicewomen losing their lives, and the treasure that we are spending building roads, schools, bridges, highways and hospitals in other countries as opposed to here. Don’t we have those same needs here?
Mike: Yes. Governor Gary Johnson, candidate for the presidency on the Libertarian Party ticket. Stereotypically, Libertarians are thought of as a young voting bloc. Have you found this to be true on the campaign trail? If so, can you tell the audience what issues are they expressing as most important to them to you?
Gary Johnson: Young people are unbelievably upset over what has happened. What has happened is that we are saying to the young people: we’re retiring. We’re going to get retirement. We’re going to get healthcare. By the way, you’re going to work the rest of your lives. You’re never going to be able to retire because somebody is going to have to pay for all of us. Then we have President Obama’s healthcare plan, which relies on a healthy segment of the population getting insurance to pay for those that aren’t so healthy. Which group does that fall on? That falls on young people also. Young people are getting it both barrels, young people understand this, and they want an end to this. They want to fix this. They’re not stupid. They see the hopelessness in all of this and they’re infuriated.
Mike: Let me ask you, Governor Johnson, you have twice the political executive experience that Governor Romney has. You have all the executive experience that the President did not have at this point in his campaign. Do you make that a part of your pitch to people that may be undecided and see the Libertarian designation next to your name and say, [mocking] “Oh, wait, Libertarian”? Do you make the pitch: hang on, hang on, I’ve actually run things? I ran a state. Do you make that pitch?
Gary Johnson: I do. I have more executive experience than Obama and Romney combined. My executive experience is saying no to spending. I may have vetoed more bills as Governor of New Mexico than the other 49 governors in the country combined. I vetoed 750 bills. I had thousands of line items. Only a couple were overturned so it made a difference when it came to billions of dollars’ worth of spending. So my executive experience tells me that when people say, “Look, we need to have everybody get along,” well get along is code for racking up a $1.4 trillion deficit. Getting along is code for how do we spend money? That’s the last thing we need to do.
I would really be excited with the notion of a Libertarian president that challenges Democrats on the left from the standpoint of civil liberties. Let’s get out of the war. Let’s bring about marriage equality. Let’s bring an end to the drug wars. Then a Libertarian president that’s going to challenge the Republican Party from the right. You all spend too much money. You spend as much money as Democrats. Why don’t you balance the federal budget? I, Gary Johnson, Libertarian President of the United States, I’m vetoing this Republican spending measure because it spends too much.
Mike: Governor Gary Johnson, former Governor of New Mexico, Libertarian candidate for president on the Dude Maker Hotline with us. Let’s stay on that issue for just a moment here. What would you say to listeners out there do you think the role of the president should be in those social issues like gay marriage, war on drugs, etc.? Talk about that for just a moment, if you would.
Gary Johnson: Well, the president offers up leadership in all those categories. When President Obama was running for office, he said some very favorable things when it came to the drug war. He said some very favorable things when it came to gay rights. He said some very favorable things when it came to ending the wars. When he took that highly publicized look at Afghanistan and said, “Look, everything is on the table. Who knows what’s going to happen?” Then he ends up doubling down. I thought that was his cue for bringing an end to these conflicts.
I just think that something happens to politicians that they find themselves in a position to want to get reelected as opposed to offering up real leadership on all these issues. There’s going to be a debate and discussion that goes along with all these issues that I think we want to elect a president that’s going to hang with the debate, that’s going to hang with the discussion, because it isn’t going to be lukewarm water. George Bush, he starts talking about privatizing social security accounts. Good idea, George, but the water gets a little warm. It doesn’t even start to get to the boiling point, which I think it would have, but he just gives up. He gives up because it gets a little warm. I would think the heat of the kitchen, when it comes to being President of the United States, would be pretty intense. That’s why I’m in this. I really think I can do this job and do a really good job at it. We are facing some gigantic, gigantic issues, which start with our spending. We cannot continue to spend more money than what we take in.
Mike: Governor Johnson, is the Constitution of the United States a blueprint for how to run a federal government or is it a charter of rights? After you answer that question, how will Governor Johnson view legislation that lands on his desk, through the lens and prism of the Constitution or through the lens and prism of a Libertarian?
Gary Johnson: Well, I think it starts and ends with the Constitution. That’s where it needs to start and end. The federal government does have a role, and that role is to maintain the Constitution of the United States. The civil rights legislation of the ‘60s, if the federal government would not have stepped in and said, “Look, this is a federally-mandated right per the Constitution,” would there still be segregated bathrooms in the South today? Talking about marriage equality, I really believe that marriage equality is a constitutionally-guaranteed right and that the federal government needs to establish that. Without that, if you leave marriage equality to the states, 41 states have said that marriage is between a man and a woman, effectively saying there will be no change when it comes to marriage equality.
I’m also advocating the fair tax, throwing out the entire federal tax system, replacing it with one federal consumption tax, in this case the fair tax, so no more income tax, no more corporate tax. It’s amazing how many issues go away with regard to, if you want to just look at marriage equality, how many issues go away just because of the tax code and it no longer existing. Again, doing away with the IRS, the time that we have to spend with that. Part of the fair tax is repealing the 16th Amendment of the Constitution, allowing for income tax in the first place. A strict adherence to the United States Constitution.
Mike: Governor Gary Johnson of New Mexico, former Governor of New Mexico, candidate for president on the Libertarian ticket. Governor, let’s just switch gears for a moment. Let’s talk about money for a second. What is your view on Congress’ role or the general government’s role in the creation and regulating the value of the currency? Is that a current problem with the Federal Reserve? If so, how would President Johnson address it?
Gary Johnson: It’s a big problem. Our currency is getting weaker; it’s not getting stronger. First of all, abolishing the Federal Reserve, I think, would be an exciting notion. Congress would have to pass that. If Congress passed that, I would sign off on it. I think it’s an inside job. You’re a member of the Federal Reserve today; tomorrow you’re not a member of the Federal Reserve, but you still get lunch privileges and tennis on their courts. More importantly than that, you can understand where monetary policy is headed short term and long term. It ends up being an inside job. We have zero interest rate at the moment, because if we didn’t, we would, I think, find ourselves in the midst of this collapse. Short of abolishing the Federal Reserve, auditing the Federal Reserve, returning the Federal Reserve to its original mandate, which was price stability as opposed to price stability and co-employment, which in my opinion is weak dollar versus strong dollar. You can’t have both.
We continue to erode the purchasing power of the U.S. dollar and back to a monetary collapse. What’s a monetary collapse? A monetary collapse is when the money that we have doesn’t buy anything. It’s not something that the government is going to announce. The government is not going to announce that two weeks from tomorrow there’s going to be a monetary collapse, so go spend all the money that you have because two weeks from tomorrow your money won’t buy anything. That doesn’t happen. It just happens, if the bond market collapsed, and that’s what’s going to happen given our monetary policy of trying to print money to get ourselves out of it.
Mike: Governor John, let me just go back to something we talked about a moment ago and put you in the position of Governor Romney yesterday. You have been invited to speak to the NAACP crowd. Your subject matter for the day is the black family and the war on drugs. Is there a relation between the two? If there is, what does President Johnson say about it?
Gary Johnson: I did not receive an invitation -- I know you’re talking hypothetical. I did not receive an invitation to speak before the NAACP, of which I wrote a letter asking for an invitation. One of the things I would have talked about is the war on drugs. If you are of color in this country, and please, everybody, listen, there is four times more likelihood that if you are arrested on some drug-related crime, there’s a four times more likelihood that you will go to prison if you are black as opposed to white. This is a war of color on top of a failed war on drugs.
Let’s legalize marijuana. When it comes to all the other drugs, let’s look at the drug issue first as a health issue rather than a criminal justice issue, and understand that 2.3 million people behind bars in this country, the highest incarceration rate of any country in the world, is for the most part made up of individuals that are not white. They are of color. These laws are terribly discriminatory. When it comes to black families, this issue perhaps tears black families worse than any other single issue ever.
Mike: Governor Gary Johnson of New Mexico, Libertarian Party candidate for president. My final question, because I know you’ve got a plane to catch. I think this will give you a chance to do something that you weren’t able to do in the debates that you participated in, so let’s do this. Gary Johnson is a candidate for the presidency and has a pitch to make to you, America. He has about two and a half minutes to make this pitch. He’s going to tell you why he is a better candidate for the office of presidency than either for the two major parties. Governor Johnson, this is your life.
Gary Johnson: I am stronger than President Obama on civil liberties. Let’s repeal the Patriot Act. Let’s bring about marriage equality. Let’s end the drug wars. Let’s get out of Afghanistan, bring the troops home tomorrow. I’m going to challenge Democrats on what they’re supposed to be good at, which is civil liberties. For those listening, check it out, GaryJohnson2012.com. See if what I’m saying isn’t true. When it comes to dollars and cents and the Democrat Party, I think they’re horrible on dollars and cents. When it comes to Mitt Romney and the right, when it comes to civil liberties, I don’t know if they would recognize a civil liberty if it came up and bit them on the rear end. Then when it comes to dollars and cents, I’m going to argue that I’m stronger than Mitt Romney when it comes to dollars and cents, and I base that on my time as Governor of New Mexico where, for the most part, I just said no to government spending.
I think there are really three important pillars here. There is civil liberties. Let’s repeal the Patriot Act. Let’s not allow for detention of U.S. citizens without being charged. Let’s balance the federal budget. Let’s slash spending and let’s get out of Afghanistan tomorrow, bring the troops home. Let’s end the military engagements that we are currently involved in. To what end are we involved in these military conflicts? It comes at a cost and that cost isn’t the politicians that are beating their chest. That cost is men and servicewomen losing their lives, men and servicewomen coming back to this country with their legs blown off, all in the name of what? Keeping the world safe from some politician’s view. Balance the federal budget, slash spending. I promise that I will submit a balanced budget to Congress in the year 2013. I promise that I will veto any legislation where expenses exceed revenue, believing that spending will be lower in that scenario than any other possible scenario you could come up with.
Lastly, I’m promising to advocate on the part of the fair tax. Let’s kick out half of Washington lobbyists by doing away with the IRS, by doing away with the loopholes that lobbyists are there to try and garner. No more IRS. No more income tax. No more corporate tax. No more withholdings from your paycheck. Make it a one federal consumption tax. In this case, I am advocating the fair tax. I think that re-boosts the American economy for the next 100 years. If you want to create tens of millions of jobs in this country, it would be in a system where there was zero corporate tax, what I am advocating. Tens of millions of jobs will be created. Manufacturing will fly back to the United States with a zero corporate tax rate environment as opposed to what we’re seeing now, which are individuals fleeing this country to avoid the taxation that we have.
End Mike Church Show Transcript