Sunday, November 27, 2011

Gary who?

Remember Gary Johnson? He was that extra guy on stage at two debates, filling a slightly different libertarian niche than Ron Paul. Another politician who decided it was OK to come out for legalizing weed AFTER his last re-election race, in his case as governor of New Mexico.

Well Johnson, despite credentials that on paper outrank Mitt Romney's (a two term, not a one-term, ex-governor) is getting fed up with being left out, and is now openly making noise about a big-L Libertarian run.

The small-l libertarians are in love with Ron Paul, with Rand as heir apparent. (who the hell names their kid "Rand"? That's almost as goofy as a Palin kid name. Who's his other kid, John Galt Paul?) But my expectation is that the `88 Big L nominee does like he did last time: refuses to endorse the GOP nominee and instead pick one of the third parties. Maybe Johnson would make the cut.

If the rEVOLution is transferable, that could pull a fair number of votes off the top. It would take some from Obama, true, but my bet is Libertarians cost the Republicans two votes for every one they take from the Dems.

In other presidential news, the Manchester Union Leader endorses the Newt, in what can best be seen as a Screw Romney nod. But does it help?
Looking back, the Union Leader has only supported two Republican candidates who went on to actually cement the GOP nomination: Reagan in 1980 and McCain in 2008. The Granite State publication endorsed Ronald Reagan in 1976 and 1980, Pete du Pont in 1988, Pat Buchanan in 1992 and 1996, Steve Forbes in 2000 and John McCain 2008.
And only one general election winner.

But Rick Perry is trying to capitalize on Gingrich's immigration comments in the last debate by campaigning with none other than Sheriff Joe Arpaio. However, Perry's not pure himself. I can't find the cite at the moment, but I read a post-debate poll showing the GOP primary electorate split on immigration roughly 40-30-20-10 as mass deportation-guest worker program-path to citizenship-don't know. Was there a niche in the field for a Tancredo-like Kick Them Out candidate?

And there's always room for the political journalist's fantasy: the brokered convention story.

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