Gary Johnson’s philosophy is easily summarized. He thinks the state is far too big. He wants to balance the federal budget – not 20 years from now, but immediately – and has identified the requisite spending cuts. He understands that an adventurist foreign policy, as well as being expensive, diminishes domestic liberty: that there is a contradiction, in Russell Kirk’s phrase, between an American Republic and an American Empire. Accordingly, he was against the attacks on Iraq and Libya and, though he supported the overthrow of the Taliban, he opposed the elaboration and prolongation of the US mission in Afghanistan.
Gary Johnson is a libertarian on social issues, grasping that the American constitution rests tacitly on tolerance, privacy and equality before the law (see above clip). He was unusual among Republicans in strenuously resisting the various erosions of civil liberties carried out under the guise of anti-terrorism legislation. He sees the “war on drugs” as a misapplication of state power. In short, he believes in personal freedom, states’ rights and the US Constitution.
... Gary Johnson was elected on precisely such a manifesto in the swing state of New Mexico, and promptly set about putting his beliefs into practice. He took the view that there should be as few laws as possible, and vetoed more legislation during his term than the other 49 state governors put together. He cut taxes 14 times and never raised them once. Result? A budget surplus and an economic boom. During Gary Johnson’s gubernatorial term, 1,200 state jobs were axed, but 20,000 private sector jobs were created. And here’s the best bit: he was handsomely re-elected, despite a two-to-one Democrat majority.