Home > Uncategorized > Pipe Dreamer – Molly Ball – The Atlantic

Pipe Dreamer – Molly Ball – The Atlantic

October 27, 2012 Leave a comment Go to comments

Gary Johnson was standing a couple of blocks from Dupont Circle, on a corner festooned with rainbow-flag bunting—a location strategically selected to highlight his support of gay marriage. It was one of those claustrophobically swampy Washington, D.C., days, and a rotten smell wafted from the subway grate atop which Johnson, the Libertarian nominee for president, was holding court. A tall man whose tight curls and potbelly gave him a Seussian air was trying to convert Johnson to Milton Friedman’s theory of negative income tax. A law student wanted to change Johnson’s mind about single-payer health care, which Johnson opposes. A Malian woman in an embroidered purple gown and headdress talked to Johnson about her country’s troubles, then asked to take a picture with him. Johnson, who is a better listener than the average politician, heard them all out, while his volunteers circulated petitions and distributed packets of rolling papers bearing his likeness. A stout blond blogger-activist in a bright-blue dress and pearls said Johnson could raise his profile through civil dis­obedience. “Get arrested,” she told him firmly. “Ralph’s mistake”—she was referring to Ralph Nader’s 2000 and 2004 campaigns for president—“was he didn’t get arrested.”

Johnson chuckled, putting one hand on his hip and scratching his head with the other. “I’ll bet if I took off my clothes right now and ran around the circle, I could get arrested,” he said, “but I don’t think it would do me much good.”

Attracting attention may be the chief challenge facing Johnson, a popular 1990s-era governor of New Mexico who now finds himself a political after­thought. He ran for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination, but was excluded from almost all the debates, and dropped out before the Iowa caucuses. You may remember his big moment, during one debate he did attend, a September 2011 Fox News forum in which he deadpanned: “My next-door neighbor’s two dogs have created more shovel-ready projects than this president.” It was not the sort of line that convinces anyone you are a Serious Candidate, but Johnson maintains that he scored a victory. “I couldn’t have done better!” he told me over lunch the day after his Dupont Circle rally. “I was the most Googled name on the planet for two days afterward!”

via Pipe Dreamer – Molly Ball – The Atlantic.

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