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Gary Johnson Would Liberalize Immigration and Drug Laws; But Not Eliminate FEMA

Posted by Garrett Quinn, Less is More October 30, 2012 11:44 AM

GaryJohnsonColorado.jpgBOULDER – With less than eight days to go in the 2012 campaign, Libertarian Party nominee Gary Johnson made his final swing through the libertarian-leaning Mountain West with stops at college campuses in Idaho and Colorado. At his final rally of the day at the University of Colorado in Boulder, Johnson tied together the drug war and immigration policy, two highly charged issues here, before a crowd composed mostly of college students.

“So much of the attitude on the border has to do with border violence and border violence is a prohibition phenomenon. Ninety percent of the drug problem is prohibition-related not use-related, that’s not to discount the problems with use and abuse, but that should be the focus. We have 40,000 deaths south of the border over the last four years and these are disputes that are being played out with guns rather with the courts. Didn’t we learn anything when it came to the prohibition of alcohol?”

Earlier this year Johnson endorsed the Colorado ballot question that would legalize marijuana, Amendment 64. “Colorado has the opportunity to change worldwide drug policy by voting yes for (Amendment) 64,” Johnson said.

“I go around the country telling people, ‘Coloradans get it,’” he said.

Recent polls show the initiative has a chance of passing.

“How’s this going to work when it comes to the other states? Colorado being the first domino that falls, Colorado being the first domino that 49 other states follow and bring about rational drug policy? When everybody goes on an airplane to go to Denver for the weekend to chill out, that’s how it’s going to work,” he said.

Johnson also spoke about immigration while in Denver, a topic he's seldom addressed on the trail.

“Building a fence across the border would be an incredible waste of time and money. We should make it as easy as possible for somebody that wants to come into this country and work to get a work visa. Not a green card, not citizenship, but a work visa. I maintain that immigrants would stand in line if the line was moving to get a work visa,” Johnson said, prompting rousing applause from the over 500 people in attendance.

Johnson, a former two-term governor of a border state, has not made immigration policy a major part of his campaign and has instead focused on foreign policy, ending the drug war, and fiscal issues.

"The reason we have 11 million illegal immigrants in this country is you can’t get a work visa and come into this country and work and yet everyone who wants to come in this country and work recognizes that if they can get across the border, even illegal, there will be a job there waiting for them and that’s the reason we have 11 million illegal immigrants in this country right now," Johnson said. "We don’t want to be breaking up families."

Johnson did not touch on Hurricane Sandy during his speech, but it did impact his day as he was late for his event in Boise that afternoon. In a scrum with reporters after the event Johnson said that he thinks the Federal Emergency Management Agency is an appropriate function for the federal government.

“I do see a role. The whole notion that we do have difficulties. I just want to do all of this in the context of not spending more money than we’re taking in,” he said.

“I think (disaster relief) may come under the basic notion of the government protecting us. There are these natural catastrophies that without the federal government, states aren’t as well equipped,” Johnson said, pointing to government assistance New Mexico received in response to the Cerro Grande Fire in 2000. Johnson did note, however, that the National Park Service started that same fire as a controlled burn.

“It was federally caused, it was federally lit,” he said.

Crossposted at Reason's Hit & Run

For now, final Senate debate still on

Posted by Garrett Quinn, Less is More October 29, 2012 11:30 AM

Tuesday’s debate at WGBH studios in Brighton between Senator Scott Brown and Elizabeth Warren is still on according to the station.

The debate is scheduled to run from 7-8 and will be moderated by CNN’s John King, a Dorchester native.

It will be the fourth and final debate of the Massachusetts Senate campaign.

A new Globe poll shows Brown ahead 45-43 over Warren.

Final Senate debate still happening, for now

Posted by Garrett Quinn, Less is More October 29, 2012 11:30 AM

Tuesday’s debate at WGBH studios in Brighton between Senator Scott Brown and Elizabeth Warren is still on according to the station.

The debate is scheduled to run from 7-8 and will be moderated by CNN’s John King, a Dorchester native.

It will be the fourth and final debate of the Massachusetts Senate campaign.

A new Globe poll shows Brown ahead 45-43 over Warren.

Why I Am Voting Third Party In Massachusetts

Posted by Garrett Quinn, Less is More October 27, 2012 10:56 AM

Thumbnail image for LibertarianPorcupine.jpgAs I explained in my submission to Reason's Show Us Your Vote posting, I am voting for Gary Johnson on Election Day.

1. Which presidential candidate are you voting for and why? Gary Johnson because my vote for president in Massachusetts is irrelevant.

Making Election Day predictions is a tough business but I think it's safe to say that Mitt Romney has no chance of winning the Commonwealth's 11 electoral votes. All polls point to a huge victory for President Obama here.

So if you're not that thrilled about holding your nose and voting for Team Red or Team Blue you should "waste your vote" on somebody you actually like. Here in Massachusetts we have four options for president: Obama, Romney, Johnson, and the Green Party's Jill Stein. If you're to the left of the president you should consider voting for Stein as she is probably more in line with what you actually believe. If you're like me, a libertarian, and you're resigned to the government adoration that is so prevalent in both major parties you should consider voting for Johnson.

Your vote in Massachusetts really doesn't count for that much anyway and it's very unlikely that it will actually change anything. So, go ahead, vote how you really feel.

Courting the Ron Paul Vote: Libertarian Gary Johnson and Constitution Party Nominee Virgil Goode Make Their Case

Posted by Garrett Quinn, Less is More October 25, 2012 11:54 AM

IMG_1209.JPGCHICAGO — Libertarian Party presidential nominee Gary Johnson of New Mexico and Constitution Party nominee Virgil Goode of Virginia are both looking to scoop up as many disaffected Ron Paul voters as they possibly can on Election Day. During the third party debate here they both made their own unique pitches that would appeal to Paul backers. Goode emphasized his paleoconservative positions on things like trade and immigration while Johnson pushed his libertarian credentials on things like ending the war on drugs and a non-interventionist foreign policy.

Both, though, were reluctant to tell Paul voters in detail why they should for them. Goode declared that Paul voters should look at all the candidates but not vote for Mitt Romney or President Obama. Johnson said he thinks Paul voters should favor him because he doesn’t really want to tell them what do, but, he adds, his positions are the same as Ron Paul on nearly everything. Here in their own words are Goode and Johnson.

Scott Brown Wants Libertarians To Vote For Him, Too!

Posted by Garrett Quinn, Less is More October 23, 2012 11:50 AM

ScottBrownDiner428321.jpgHAVERHILL, Mass. – Inside Mark’s Deli, Senator Scott Brown works the handful of patrons present during his unpublicized visit.

“Hi, how are you? Good to see you.”

While watching Brown shake hands and chat with the staff it’s easy to see how Brown climbed from the board of assessors in Wrentham to the U.S. Senate. He’s a natural at retail politics.

Outside the diner, though, Brown is in the electoral fight of his life with Harvard professor Elizabeth Warren. In order to win, he needs a quarter of the state's Democrats, and the majority of Massachusetts' independents. Among those registered independents (“unenrolled,” in Massachusetts-ese) are a smattering of libertarians.

So, how is Brown going to win over them?

"I am going after every vote," Brown told me. "Going after people from the Republican Party, Democratic Party, Independent Party, Libertarian Party, and, quite frankly, people that just like to party,” said Brown before getting called over by his wife Gail Huff to pay the tab for lunch, which included his daughter Adrianna and Sen. Kelly Ayotte.

“[Elizabeth Warren] is going to raise taxes $3.4 trillion, she’s going to increase regulations, and I have been trying to work very hard—never voted for tax increase in 15 years of elected office, and I respect the individuality and value of all Americans,” he said.

“I’ve been down there trying to solve problems. I’ve been working in a bipartisan manner to try to move our country forward. There’s a vanishing breed of moderate independents like me. Democrats and Republicans, you got Kent Conrad, Olympia Snowe, Joe Lieberman, and Richard Lugar, they’re leaving. That vanishing breed in the middle, they’re trying to get us to go away and not be players within the extremism down there. There’s extremes on the left and the right and why would you send another person who has an extreme agenda?" Brown asks before elaborating the differences between him and Warren.

“You want a big government person, you send down her. You want somebody that recognizes there is a role for government and that government sometimes needs to get out of the way and be a junior partner, then you vote for me. Pretty simple,” he said.

Brown has had a busy morning in the Merrimack Valley. He led a rally with supporters in Lowell with Ayotte and congressional candidate Jon Golnik before stopping here for lunch. After closing paying tab he’s heading south to Foxborough for the Patriots game.

He adds one more thing before departing.

“What you see is what you get with me. We may not agree on everything, the libertarians, they may look at me and say, 'I didn’t like this vote and I didn’t like that vote,' but they’re gonna have a very really choice and I can’t win it without you guys. You want me to be your 75-80 percent friend, versus your 100 percent enemy, which is what she’s gonna do. There’s no libertarian that has anything in common with any of her policies. Name one? Name one. There’s none.”

I asked Warren a similar question on Saturday.

Crossposted at Reason's Hit & Run

John Farrell Needs A Nickname

Posted by Garrett Quinn, Less is More October 21, 2012 10:39 AM

As the news of John Farrell's signing as the new Red Sox manager continues to roll the Boston Phoenix's David Bernstein tweets that Farrell needs a nickname. We called Terry Francona "Tito" and Bobby Valentine "Bobby V." so what do we call Farrell?

My guess is J-Farr but that sounds a bit lame. Readers what do you think? Post in the comments below. I started the #hashtag #JohnFarrellNicknames if you're a Twitter user, too.

Elizabeth Warren On Libertarians And Contract Law

Posted by Garrett Quinn, Less is More October 21, 2012 10:31 AM

WARREN428321.jpgBEVERLY, Mass. — With her us-against-them rhetoric and calls for a stricter regulatory climate, Elizabeth Warren does not appear to be a Senate candidate for libertarians. But after a packed rally in this seaside Massachusetts town the Harvard Law Professor talked briefly about why libertarians should vote for her over Senator Scott Brown.

Warren’s response was unlike anything this journalist has heard when asking candidates of both parties across the country the simple question, “Why should libertarians vote for you?”

“I believe in contract law probably more than most people,” Warren said in a small classroom in the basement of a Baptist Church.

“I’ve taught contract law for 25 years and contracts are about private ordering, about parties and voluntary exchanges who engage in transactions that make all of us better off. I love contracts and I think it’s a core part of the libertarian principles,” said Warren.

“It is an important part. Libertarians believe in social ordering, right? That the social ordering is by private arrangement, so, that they ought to believe in contracts and in fact I think they do.

Warren had just finished speaking to a crowd of supporters about primarily veteran’s issues with former Senator Max Cleland and Congressman John Tierney. Warren left after speaking with reporters for approximately five minutes for an event in Hopkington with Cleland.

Brown campaigned with Senator John McCain and Tierney's challenger, Richard Tisei, in Melrose earlier in the day.

Crossposted at Reason's Hit & Run

Little for libertarians in second debate

Posted by Garrett Quinn, Less is More October 17, 2012 08:11 AM

RomneyObama.jpgJust like the first encounter between President Obama and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney there was very little for libertarians, an often forgotten chunk of swing voters, to get excited about.

With both candidates embracing the same old executive branch love of foreign intervention, avoiding specifics on how they would actually balance the budget and offering little in the way of serious immigration reforms, what's a libertarian to do? Current polls show an overwhelming majority of libertarians going with Romney but that would be in line with the traditional swing voting habits of libertarians gravitating to the part out of power. Sure, some will go with the Libertarian Party nominee, former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson but the bulk will choose Romney or Obama.

Here's some ideas for how Republicans and Democrats can attract the libertarian vote:

Warren Shines On Women's Issues

Posted by Garrett Quinn, Less is More October 11, 2012 10:09 AM

BrownWarrenDebate.jpgSPRINGFIELD - When women’s issues were raised during last night’s debate Democratic challenger Elizabeth Warren shined and Senator Scott Brown stumbled. It was the only real high point of the debate for Warren as she had an otherwise slightly above average performance compared to Brown who was at his best and appears to have finally hit his stride on the debate stage. Still, their exchange on the issues of the day for women stole the show in Springfield.

“He has gone to Washington and he has had some good votes but he has had exactly one chance to vote for equal pay for equal work, and he voted no. He had exactly one chance to vote for insurance coverage for birth control and other contraceptive services for women, he voted no. And he had exactly one chance to vote for a prochoice woman, from Massachusetts, to the United States Supreme Court, and he voted no,” Warren said.

“Those are bad votes for women. The women of Massachusetts need a senator they can count on, not some of the time, but all of the time,” Warren continued.

Brown, who desperately needs independent female voters on Election Day, has worked hard to cement his image as a supporter of abortion rights and defender of women but last night in Springfield he gave a clunky defense of his positions that relied heavily on personal anecdotes.

"We’re both pro-choice, we both support Roe v. Wade, there’s no secret about that. I believe, obviously, very much in women getting the same pay and benefits,” he said

Brown, never one to miss a chance to play up his strong “one of us” credentials, did note that he didn’t want to create conflicts for Catholics when it came to issues of contraception and abortion.

"I am not going to be pitting Catholics against their faith," he said.

Overall, his disorganized response to moderator Jim Madigan's question took away from what was otherwise a great debate for him. Brown's a moderate and it's something he should have been better prepared to answer.

It’s too soon to tell if this crucial exchange will be a major factor in the race but it did highlight one of the few areas where Warren really outshines Brown and, particularly, with a demographic he really needs to win over.

Things To Watch For In Brown-Warren III

Posted by Garrett Quinn, Less is More October 10, 2012 03:14 PM

Warren-Brown.jpgTonight’s debate is the third out of four televised meetings between Republican Senator Scott Brown and his Democratic challenger, Harvard professor and consumer advocate Elizabeth Warren. The Springfield debate is the only one that will take place outside the media saturated eastern half of the state. Here are five things to watch for in tonight’s debate:

  1. Will the American Indian heritage issue come up again?

  2. Warren’s self-described American Indian heritage was a major part of the first two debates leading to some, including this observer, to think Brown has overplayed his hand on this issue. Polls have shown repeatedly that an overwhelming majority of voters know about this issue but it does not appear to have moved undecided voters. Warren has handled the issue in the debates better than she has throughout the entire campaign by giving calm, disarming responses to the charges.

  3. Questions for Warren on Travelers and LTV as well as practicing law
  4. In the second debate Warren faced scrutiny from Brown for working for Travelers Insurance and LTV on lawsuits that shielded them from paying workers, some injured, for a variety of reasons. Warren’s response on the issue was not very convincing. The newer and vague issue of her having practiced law in Massachusetts without a license has risen to the forefront but it’s unclear if she actually violated the law.

  5. Will Brown dodge the Mitt Romney question again?
  6. When asked if he would be an ally for Romney in Washington Brown did everything he could to avoid answering. “I don’t work for anybody. I don’t work for President Obama or Mitt Romney or Mitch McConnell or Harry Reid. I work for the people of Massachusetts.” Brown has done his absolute best to maintain his image as an independent, non-ideological senator and showing even a hint of alignment with Romney will hurt that.

  7. Brown and the Supreme Court
  8. In the first debate Brown appeared too aggressive but managed to avoid any gaffes that would be instant fodder for TV ads. In the second debate he dialed down the hostility but stepped in when answering a question about the Supreme Court. Brown spoke favorably about Justice Antonin Scalia, not exactly a moderate. Watch for the dreaded “litmus test” question to come up during the debate in addition to Warren hitting Brown for talking up a conservative jurist like Scalia.

  9. Moderators!
  10. With the Jim Lehrer and David Gregory disasters still fresh in everybody’s minds it’s safe to say that the pressure is on Jim Madigan of WGBY. Jon Keller of WBZ set the bar very high for debate moderation with his get the heck out of the way but don’t lose control of this thing approach. Hopefully, Madigan can match Keller and avoid a repeat of Gregory’s performance.

My Mass Group Challenge

Posted by Garrett Quinn, Less is More October 8, 2012 10:58 AM

LibertarianPorcupine.jpgThis morning I issued a challenge to the diarists of Red Mass Group and Blue Mass Group: Give me your best pitch to libertarians on why they should vote for Team Red or Team Blue on Election Day.

As you probably know libertarians are estimated to make up somewhere around 10% of likely voters, not enough to win a majority but enough to sway an election. When it comes to actually showing up and voting libertarians have a recent history of going with the party that wins. In 2000 and 2004 the majority of the libertarian vote went with George W. Bush while in 2008 the bulk went with Barack Obama. Libertarians threw Republicans out of Congress in 2006 and tossed the Democrats on the street in 2010.

As we stare down another “most important election ever”, it’s a big question as to where libertarians will go. Most libertarians I know are planning on voting for the Libertarian Party’s presidential nominee, former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson, a guy I’ve spent much of the year covering on the trail for Reason. The consensus in Galt’s Gulch seems to be that he is the most competent person the LP has ever put at the top of their ticket, which is saying something for a party that nominated a guy opposed to drivers licenses as recently as 2004.

I am more interested in their response on Brown vs Warren because there is no third option on the ballot unless you count write-ins. I'll post the best responses.

About the author

Garrett Quinn began writing for newspapers at age 17 with CNC in his native South Shore. He has been published in BlueMassGroup, RedMassGroup, Pioneer Investigates, and Wonkette. He is a More »

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