Johnson touts Libertarian message at Winthrop

Published: September 5, 2012

By Don Worthington of Rock Hill Herald — dworthington@heraldonline.com

America is in “deep do-do” and Gary Johnson says he is the only presidential candidate with resolve and common sense to save the country from economic collapse.

Speaking to about 100 people at Winthrop University – mostly students – Johnson, the Libertarian Party candidate, explained the contrasts between himself and candidacies of President Barrack Obama, the Democratic incumbent, and Mitt Romney, the Republican challenger.

“I am the only candidate that doesn’t want to bomb Iran,” Johnson said, receiving a smattering of applause and laughter. Johnson said he wants to end all foreign wars, including the one in Afghanistan immediately, as well as slash the defense budget by 43 percent, but protect veterans’ benefits.

He also wants to end the war on drugs, legalizing marijuana. If marijuana was legalized he predicted police would have more time to do police work and end the “expanding” police state.

He also promised to submit a balanced budget which would include the 43 percent cuts for defense as well as 43 percent reduction in Medicare.

“The alternative is no care. It’s got to be cut, it’s unsustainable,” Johnson said. Without a balanced budget America is headed for financial collapse, he said.

Johnson also wants to eliminate personal income tax, corporate income tax, the Internal Revenue Service and the Federal Reserve. Revenue would be raised through a “fair” national consumption tax. The changes would mean “there are no loopholes for sale” in Washington, D.C., which would mean “pink slips for the Washington lobbyists, Johnson said.

He also proposed ending the guaranteed student loan programs which, he said, result in students ending up with a “mortgage level debt without a home.” He said the program drives up the cost of tuition. Without the guaranteed loans universities would be scrambling to find ways to fill classrooms, lowering tuition costs.

Johnson’s style, speech and promises impressed Jeremy Walters, Libertarian candidate for the 26th House district which encompasses Fort Mill. “He could turn us around,” Walters said.

Trey Stokes of Winthrop also celebrated Johnson’s appearance. Stokes is the leader of Winthrop’s Libertarian group, an organization that didn’t exist several months ago. Stokes, a sophomore political science and language major from Charleston, formed the group because the values of the Democrats nor Republicans appealed to him. He was attracted to the Libertarians because “you can do what you want as long as you don’t infringe on the rights of others.”

Stokes said Johnson’s views are so diverse he can appeal both liberal Democrats and conservative Republicans seeking an alternative.

Johnson is counting on such support, as well as people blogging about him, to get the exposure that would to compel his appearance at the presidential debates.

“The only scenario I win is if I get into the national debates,” he said.

He also assured the Ron Paul supporters that there is no difference between he and Paul. Johnson, the former two-term governor of New Mexico, endorsed Paul in 2008 and when he pulled out of this year’s Republican primary encouraged his supporters to support Paul. Making the switch in candidates, Johnson said, “is not a compromise. It’s a reload.”