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Update: 2012 Republicans

As an advocate for secular republicanism, none of the 2012 presidential candidates are acceptable. Each candidate, including the President, who has indicated that he intends to run for re-election, fails to grasp, ignores, or explicitly opposes individual rights, capitalism and a rational foreign and domestic policy. But, unless we suffer a catastrophic attack or descend into anarchy or civil war before November of 2012, someone will be elected president of the United States. So, after watching tonight’s Republican presidential debate in Las Vegas, Nevada, sponsored by the generic Cable News Network (CNN), with its snickering media celebrity moderator, Anderson Cooper, I’ve decided to update my take on the 2012 Republicans. My criteria for serious candidates: who will be the least opposed to individual rights?

My first summary was posted in August, before businessman Herman Cain was a factor in the campaign. Whatever the merits of Mr. Cain’s candidacy, and I have reached out to his campaign and requested an interview with the talk radio host, he is defined by his 9-9-9 tax reform plan and I must say those three digits represent a more honest effort at solving the nation’s urgent and severe economic problems than all three years of the Obama administration’s schemes combined. From my perspective, he is certainly flawed and he makes mistakes. I’m reading his new book, This is Herman Cain! but I already know that he opposes a woman’s right to an abortion, even in cases of rape and incest, and he supported government controls of economics such as the Bush administration’s so-called Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) and other interventions. He has praised former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich and Federal Reserve Board Chairman Alan Greenspan, serious errors in judgment, and in tonight’s debate he made a Main Street vs. Wall Street distinction which evokes class warfare, pitches a false dichotomy (which an opponent exploited in reply) and alienates potential donors. The populist line diminishes the record of achievements in Mr. Cain’s business and government experience when he ought to be demonstrating an understanding of finance and economics and proving that he’s capable of defending Wall Street (and capitalism) against New Leftists. Herman Cain should ditch the Main Street vs. Wall Street differentiation and proudly wear the pro-capitalist badge, which fits his ‘happy warrior’ persona. Mr. Cain is generally pro-capitalist, as far as he understands capitalism, and he’s apparently decent on foreign policy. He is also gaining experience in campaigning. When he told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer earlier today that he would consider trading so-called hostages for Islamic combatants, he took it back in a post-debate interview on the same network. This candor is what propels Herman Cain, whom polls show is within striking distance of presumed frontrunner Mitt Romney and capable of winning victory over Barack Obama. Despite his drawbacks, and because he seems sincerely committed to fighting jihadist Islam and repealing ObamaCare, I might vote for Herman Cain.

Former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum, a conservative religionist first elected in the wake of the defeat of the Clinton health care plan in the 1990s, serves a constructive function in the debates as foil to major candidates. He has some good lines, especially on Iran and jihadism, and he once advocated Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) but otherwise his record is abysmal on rights and capitalism and he insists that the nation is based on faith, family and tradition, so he is an advocate of theocracy and deserves no further consideration. Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann, who adopts a kind of robotic approach to public speaking, has the same problem. She’s good on certain issues, such as her steadfast opposition to socialized medicine (ObamaCare), but she does not follow reason. Like Santorum, and all the major candidates (including Obama), she has no consistent, coherent political philosophy and she take facts on faith. Bachmann’s thinking is seriously impaired. Ditto for Newt Gingrich, a true has-been legislator with a bankrupt philosophy whose time came and went with not a single major accomplishment; as Speaker of the House following an historic House victory after Americans roundly rejected the Clinton health care plan in 1994, Gingrich, heavily hyped by conservatives and talk radio host Rush Limbaugh, fully squandered the opportunity to slay Big Government. Mitt Romney was right to point out in the debate Gingrich’s hypocrisy on health care reform, as Gingrich has consistently supported and advanced government intervention in medicine. The narcissistic Baby Boomer, another conservative religionist who proposed faith and prayer as the primary presidential prerequisite in tonight’s debate, is not to be trusted to do anything positive.

Texas Governor Rick Perry, who prays and deprives himself of food as a means of governing, is a bully and it showed in the debate. He was shockingly condescending to Mr. Cain, belligerent to others, and I don’t have much to add to what I said about him in August. He is the most anti-intellectual candidate. His sparring partner, Mitt Romney, is a slick, pompous fraud who enacted the earliest incarnation of ObamaCare with the conservative Heritage Foundation, as I have pointed out on my blog (and as early as 2007 in a response to health policy analyst John Goodman of the National Center for Policy Analysis (NCPA). It’s obvious that President Obama is destroying America. But Mitt Romney is not an advocate of capitalism. Speaking of going from bad to worse, there’s Texas Congressman Ron Paul, a rambling, anti-war, Christian libertarian who could win the election and ruin the country. Paul (and his son Rand) seeks to appease the nation’s jihadist enemy and combine the worst elements of various philosophies including the New Left, libertarianism and conservatism. He’s an anti-war hippie, an anti-American appeaser, an anti-abortion rights, anti-Israel, anti-capitalism mongrel mixture of nearly every rotten idea in the last century. His protege, former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson, whom I interviewed earlier this year, might be better, because he’s apparently a secular candidate for more capitalism, but he, too, goes batty on the issue of the war.

With maneuvering by states for early primaries, and widespread dissatisfaction among Republicans with the media, the establishment and the pre-ordained candidates, I think the campaign is active and wide open and, while I am not a political scientist, I see that it is possible under certain scenarios that the Grand Old Party’s nomination may go to the floor of the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Florida. These are ominous times and anything can happen: economic collapse, foreign invasion, catastrophic attack, assassination, dropouts, third party candidacies, backroom deals and more. The outcome of the 2012 presidential election will affect the nation at a crucial point in our history and the current field of Republican candidates offers more of the same failed policies and ideals. They are all contaminated and stained with the residue of a bankrupt philosophy, a stew of contradictory ideas, based on bad premises such as altruism and collectivism. Individually, most of the candidates do not think clearly, and whatever decent positions they hold are meaningless because they may be misapplied, tossed aside at the first test of reality, or abandoned in the name of faith, feelings or the spur of the moment. The GOP candidates do not offer what we desperately need: a consistent, bold and realistic vision for achieving a secular republic based on individual rights.

From Woodstock to Wall Street

The hippies squatting on Wall Street have reportedly violated numerous laws, including property rights and traffic laws, and they’ve been committing various illegal and unsanitary acts, including defecation, in public. Besides disrupting traffic on the Brooklyn Bridge, here’s a rundown of the hippies’ acts of anarchy, mayhem and depravity and what I think it means.

At the private Zuccotti Park, which, in a zoning deal between New York City’s government and property owner Brookfield Office Properties, must be accessible to the public, the crowd numbers in the thousands. They are squatting in violation of the property’s terms, consuming illegal drugs, and, according to one report, robbing people. But, with Mayor Michael Bloomberg and President Barack Obama publicly sanctioning the hippie squatting and occupation, police have refused to enforce the law. This week, the property owner finally wrote to the New York Police Department (NYPD) asserting that the trespassing has created “a health and public safety issue that must be addressed immediately.” Police are supposed to clear the occupants tomorrow to have the park cleaned. [10/14/2011 update: the city retreated from its position, backed down, and refused to clear the park and Brookfield yielded to the Bloomberg administration, so the hippies scored a major victory.]

The mob is on the move. Shouting “Tax the rich!” some of the herd descended upon city sidewalks, moving en masse toward their goal to harass private citizens at their properties, marching uptown to target individuals they deemed “rich” and demanding a government-controlled economy. One protester told the Associated Press: “It’s time for a new New Deal.” The press, unsurprisingly, is practically part of the movement (including Fox News Channel, which aired an all-female panel of  pundits that giddily endorsed the occupation). Yahoo! News’ The Cutline published businessman Rupert Murdoch’s physical address. Millionaires and billionaires are being targeted for what organizers call a “willingness to hoard wealth at the expense of [others].”

In Washington, DC, six hippies were arrested for storming the United States Senate’s office building and the National Air and Space Museum had to be evacuated. Over a hundred hippies were arrested in Boston when they stormed a recently planted greenway named for President Kennedy’s mother.

In Atlanta, the hippies invoked rule by consensus and, in a collective chant captured in a video clip and posted on YouTube, refused to allow civil rights leader John Lewis to speak to the crowd. The premise of the refusal is that the individual must submit to the group; no one person may appear better than others. As observed:

“So when the group’s leader, a bespectacled man with a bullhorn, said anything, he spoke in clipped fragments so the rest of the crowd could repeat what he was saying back to him. Another rule — no clapping, because “clapping can prevent someone else who is addressing the assembly from being heard.” Instead, the leader urged everyone to use effusive hand signals to show approval. With these fundamentals in place, the assembly spent 10 minutes debating whether Lewis should be allowed to speak before the crowd, which had gathered as one of many offshoots of the Occupy Wall Street protests in New York.”

At the end of the disgusting display, with John Lewis, rejected by consensus, exiting the mob’s presence, someone shouted: “John Lewis is not better than anyone! Democracy won!” It was like watching a cult chant before drinking cyanide-laced beverages in Jonestown. Or before jumping someone and beating him to a pulp.

In Los Angeles, where hippie leader Charles Manson had led his “family” to target and stalk the rich for mass murder in the late 1960s, a hippie apparently known as Ringo blurted out: “French Revolution made fundamental transformation. But it was bloody.” He wrapped things up by calling for armed revolution: “So, ultimately, the bourgeoisie won’t go without violent means. Revolution! Yes, revolution that is led by the working class. Long live revolution! Long live socialism!”

Here is a hippie that understands what the movement means: not just anti-capitalism, though certainly they seek to destroy whatever is left of capitalism in America and they have shown, with the tacit approval of the United States government, that they will violate the law, disregard individual rights, and target the individual with threats, intimidation and the initiation of force. They ultimately seek to overthrow the government of the U.S. to the extent it still stands for protection of liberty and the rights of the individual. These drug-induced hippies, who started in earnest at New York’s wretched 1969 festival known as Woodstock in the year one of their own led the Manson Family murders, spawned new drug-induced hippies, a filthy bunch less civilized than the previous batch. They have been ignored and evaded as harmless airheads with vacant eyes, love beads and Volkswagen minibusses for decades. But the hippies were festering while America slept, with Americans refusing to think and oppose the New Left on principle with arguments based on reason, egoism and capitalism.

So, here come the hippies. They never wanted peace and love. I suspect that we’re about to find out what they do want, what Ayn Rand and Leonard Peikoff warned they wanted long ago in The New Left: The Anti-Industrial Revolution and The Ominous Parallels, respectively: regression toward a primitive lifestyle and submission to total government control.

It has been said by some (and they’re probably propagandists) that the Wall Street occupants, whom I suspect are organized and coordinated by an unseen, as yet unidentified force, were triggered by an image created by an anti-capitalist Canadian group called Adbusters, which Reuters has linked to self-hating, rich anti-capitalist George Soros. The image shows the iconic bronzed Wall Street bull, with a ballerina posed in motion atop the charging beast, a powerful symbol of America, New York City and capitalism. Both bull and ballerina appear clearly in the black and white image. But behind them, emerging in a gray fog, comes a charging mob of masked, faceless brutes, crouching like zombies with fists clenched around clubs in contrast to the unsuspecting dancer. The implication is an intent to destroy beauty and the beast. Whatever the source of the image and the origin of the claim that it led to the lawlessness in our streets, it’s an appropriate previsualization of what we’re seeing and what we may all yet live to see: the end of a land where one is essentially free to charge forth in enterprise, make money and pursue one’s happiness, and the beginning of tyranny. Anyone who knows what it means to be free can sense that the bull is about to be gored.

Malcolm Wallop Dies

Associated Press reports from Cheyenne, Wyoming, that Western pioneer descendant and former Wyoming U.S. Sen. Malcolm Wallop has died at age 78. The anti-Communist Republican, who served in the Senate for 18 years, is the first elected official to propose space-based missile defense, which became part of the Strategic Defense Initiative.

But I remember Sen. Wallop, an advocate for property rights, as one of only two U.S. senators during the historic Clinton health care plan debate of 1993-1994 to proclaim – correctly – that health care is not a right. During this crucial national debate, which preceded America’s current system, ObamaCare, Sen. Wallop named the flawed premise of government-dictated medicine by standing on the Senate floor and declaring that health care is not a right (Texas Sen. Phil Gramm was the only other senator to say it). Despite Republican attempts to compromise and pass the Clinton health care plan, socialized medicine was defeated; the Clinton administration’s widely unpopular scheme never became a piece of legislation.

According to his official bio, Wallop was also the first non-lawyer in U.S. Senate history to serve on the Judiciary Committee and, as ranking Republican member of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee from 1990 to 1994, Sen. Wallop was an outspoken advocate for development of domestic energy supplies of coal, oil and natural gas. Wallop pushed for an amendment to the 1980 Clean Water Act, barring federal usurpation of state control of water, authored the Sunset of the Carter Era Windfall Profits Tax, the first sunsetted tax in history, and he sponsored the 1977 Wallop Amendment to the Surface Mining Control Act, which directed the federal government to compensate, through purchase or exchange, owners of mineral rights whose right to mine had been denied by government regulation. In 1981, Congress enacted his legislation to cut inheritance and gift taxes. He later founded his own grass-roots organization, Frontiers of Freedom, whose agenda includes “preservation of property rights and reform of the Endangered Species Act, the privatization of Social Security, protection of civil liberties and the defeat of such big government initiatives as the antiterrorism bill and the national ID card legislation, and reform of the Food and Drug Administration.”

In 1996, Steve Forbes asked Wallop to be general chairman and executive director of his presidential bid, leading to changes which led to primary victories in both Delaware and Arizona. The Yale University graduate served in the U.S. Army as a First Lieutenant from 1955 to 1957 and was a member of the Wyoming Legislature from 1969 to 1976. His extensive business career includes management of the Wyoming ranch holdings he owned and the self-described rancher, businessman, real estate developer and investor jointly ventured oil and gas development projects in Nebraska, Montana and Wyoming. Mr. Wallop died Wednesday afternoon at his home near Big Horn, Wyoming.

Interview with Gary Johnson

American businessman Gary Johnson, a candidate for the Republican nomination for president in 2012, served two terms as governor of New Mexico, from 1995 to 2003. The 58-year-old North Dakota native, whose mother worked for the Bureau of Indian Affairs and whose father was a public school teacher, is best known for having vetoed over 750 bills during his tenure as governor, more than all other 49 governors combined, earning him the nickname “Governor Veto.”

In a state with 2 to 1 Democrat voter registration, he cut the rate of government growth in half and oversaw the elimination of the state’s budget deficit without once raising taxes. In fact, Johnson cut taxes 14 times as governor, and by the time he left after term limits forced him out of office, New Mexico was one of only four states with a balanced budget. Additionally, he pushed school choice reform, which the New York Times described as “the most ambitious voucher program in the country.” In 1999, Gov. Johnson became the highest-ranking public official to speak out against America’s so-called war on drugs, arguing that prohibition of marijuana in particular is the chief cause of violence along the U.S.’s southern border. He favors a reassessment of the nation’s drug laws, and he recently endorsed Proposition 19, California’s campaign to legalize marijuana in the state.

Working his way through college as a handyman, Gary Johnson later founded one of the largest construction companies in New Mexico, with over 1,000 employees. The athlete and outdoorsman is an avid skier, cyclist, and mountain climber and he has reached the top of Mt. Everest, which he climbed with a partially broken leg. The divorced father, who announced his candidacy for president in Concord, New Hampshire, earlier this year, spoke with me during a nine-day swing through the Granite State.

Scott Holleran: You told the Wall Street Journal last year that you support means testing for Medicare and Social Security, for which you said you would raise the eligibility age. In what specific ways would you cut entitlement programs to balance the budget?

Gary Johnson: Specifically, and this is waving the magic wand, because I recognize that there are three branches of government, I would have the federal government cut Medicare and Medicaid by 43 percent and block grant the programs [to the states] with no strings. Instead of giving the states one dollar—and it’s not really giving because there are strings attached—the federal government needs to give the states 57 cents, take away the strings and give the states carte blanche for how to give health care to the poor. I reformed Medicaid as governor of New Mexico and, in that context, even with strings attached, I believe I could have delivered health care to the poor. I believe I could have done the same thing with Medicare. Also, I would cut military spending by 43 percent believing that we can provide a strong national defense as opposed to what I would call an offense and nation building. I would cut Social Security by raising the retirement age and have common sense means testing that’s fair. I would scrap the entire federal tax system and replace it with the fair tax—a one time consumption tax, with no more Medicare and unemployment payroll deductions—so we’d have one national consumption tax to replace all federal taxes, abolishing the IRS.

Scott Holleran: Which programs will you terminate?

Gary Johnson: There are currently two that I advocate abolishing: the Departments of Education and Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

Scott Holleran: Do you favor a balanced budget amendment?

Gary Johnson: I do—but the problem is that passing balanced budgets for future years is what we do and it takes away the immediate problem and kicks it down the road.

Scott Holleran: Is it your position that we should audit, not end, the Federal Reserve—that ending the Fed may be desirable but not immediately realistic?

Gary Johnson: I think ending the Federal Reserve would be positive but if we end the Fed it’s important to point out that that’s not the end of the solution. A lot of the central banking function would have to be taken up by regional banks.

Scott Holleran: Will you issue an executive order to repeal ObamaCare as unconstitutional?

Gary Johnson: Yes, if it’s possible. I would do the same for [President Bush’s Medicare] prescription [drug subsidies]. Two parties can take responsibility for where we’re at right now.

Scott Holleran: You’ve said that you would not have raised the debt ceiling and that it would have still been possible to avoid default. How?

Gary Johnson: I believe that we would have still brought in $200 billion a month and [control] how we make payments and whether we default on any bills. But obviously going forward, we have to put the brakes on spending. I just argue that it will never be easier than now. In the bond market, if no one was buying our debt, that would mean the Federal Reserve printing money as opposed to individuals or countries loaning us money; that’s the bond market collapsing—so when that happens, that is a whole lot of money and it has to result in inflation. Russia is the most recent example. As frightening as that scenario is, that’s what going to happen. But we can fix this—there’s going to be a lot of hardship and pain, but that’s better than killing the patient and, the way we’re going, we’re going to kill the patient in a monetary collapse. But I am an optimist because I think it can be fixed.

Scott Holleran: You write that “[m]aintaining a strong national defense is the most basic of the federal government’s responsibilities. However, building schools, roads, and hospitals in other countries are not among those basic obligations. Yet that is exactly what we have been doing for much of the past 10 years.” Do you oppose current U.S. military intervention in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Libya and, if so, on what moral grounds?

Gary Johnson: I do. In all three cases, I don’t see a military threat. I initially thought the intervention in Afghanistan was warranted—we were attacked and we attacked back—but we’ve wiped out Al Qaeda and here we are; we’re still there.

Scott Holleran: Isn’t there evidence that we merely drove Al Qaeda from Afghanistan into Pakistan?

Gary Johnson: Sure.

Scott Holleran: Each of those interventions was partially and eventually justified by the morality of altruism—with helping others as the primary purpose—not on the principle that our nation’s self-interest comes first. Which one is your criteria for foreign policy?

Gary Johnson: I think we should act in our self-interest. As I understand it, I think Eisenhower was a pretty good role model for that. Morally, you can justify almost anything we do by saying that we’re doing it for the sake of others. I would point to past realities that have unintended consequences. For example, by taking out [the secular regime in] Iraq, we removed a threat to [religious totalitarian regime] Iran—by the way, I don’t think Iran’s a military threat, though it might prove to be, but we [have the military capacity to] deal with that threat.

Scott Holleran: It’s a fact that Iran in several instances has stated its intention to destroy the United States, which Iran calls “the Great Satan.” If, as president, you had information that Iran was preparing an attack—either through sponsorship of terrorism or by nuclear strike against one of our military bases or cities—how would you respond?

Gary Johnson: I’d meet with the military experts and ask a lot of questions. We have airborne lasers that can knock out incoming missiles in the launch phase.

Scott Holleran: You state that “[n]o criminal or terrorist suspect captured by the U.S. should be subject to physical or psychological torture.” On what moral grounds should our government be precluded from using torture to protect our nation from foreign enemies that seek to destroy the United States through subversive terrorist activity?

Gary Johnson: I just think that there’s no end to that. Let’s say we know there’s a bomb ticking, so we have to torture this guy—that’s the argument for the death penalty—but the law that gets written also is public policy which allows us to put someone who’s innocent to death. The basis of our country is that we protect the innocent. Are we going to torture people to prevent nuclear briefcase bombs? It amounts to the ends justify the means.

Scott Holleran: You oppose the death penalty. Why?

Gary Johnson: As governor of New Mexico, I was a bit naïve and I did not think the government made mistakes with regard to the death penalty. I came to realize that they do. I don’t want to put one innocent person to death to punish 99 who are guilty.

Scott Holleran: You propose to let the so-called Patriot Act—which arguably violates individual rights—expire, yet you have not said you would abolish the invasive TSA, which arguably violates the Constitutional right to travel. Why not abolish the TSA?

Gary Johnson: I would abolish the TSA.

Scott Holleran: Do you support separation of religion and state?

Gary Johnson: Yes.

Scott Holleran: You oppose gay marriage, though you favor civil unions. Why?

Gary Johnson: I wouldn’t say I oppose gay marriage as a matter of public policy. The government shouldn’t be in the marriage business. I would not be opposed to belonging to a church that supports gay marriage.

Scott Holleran: You claim to advocate capitalism. So, who in America is your favorite businessman?

Gary Johnson: [Pauses, thinking] My favorite businessman. [Apple founder] Steve Jobs comes to mind—he represents incredible innovation. Maybe Bill Gates. I didn’t have any business heroes growing up. One of the realities of my life is that those I thought were heroes were not.

Scott Holleran: Who is your favorite political philosopher?

Gary Johnson: [Chicago economist and Free to Choose author] Milton Friedman.

Scott Holleran: Do you favor nuclear power?

Gary Johnson: Yes.

Scott Holleran: If Ron Paul ran as an independent or third party candidate for the presidency, would you support the Republican nominee?

Gary Johnson: Not necessarily.

Scott Holleran: You refused the Libertarian Party nomination in 2000. Why?

Gary Johnson: I refused to run as a Libertarian. I don’t see myself getting elected as a Libertarian Party or independent candidate.

Scott Holleran: You endorsed Ron Paul in 2008 for president. Why?

Gary Johnson: I thought he was saying the things I was.

Scott Holleran: You told a libertarian publication that you disagree with Ron Paul on aid to Israel; that you think “it’s important to distinguish between foreign aid and foreign alliances” and support an alliance with Israel. But you agree with Ron Paul that Iran—a religious totalitarian regime that sponsors Islamic terrorism and has threatened to wipe out the United States—is not a threat. Do you share Ron Paul’s view on foreign policy?

Gary Johnson: I’m not sure I can say whether I support or oppose Ron Paul’s positions because I am not completely versed in them. I think Israel is an important military ally and I support that alliance. I think Iran gets dealt with by Israel, which is likely to stop Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. I think it’s wrong for our government to presume to tell Israel what to do.

Scott Holleran: Are you aware that Ron Paul is anti-abortion?

Gary Johnson: Yes.

Scott Holleran: With Congressman Paul denouncing a woman’s right to an abortion, and Mitt Romney emphasizing his newly proclaimed support for capitalism, are you more likely to gain support from Romney supporters than from Ron Paul supporters?

Gary Johnson: I don’t know. I support a woman’s right to choose to have an abortion.

Scott Holleran: On April 21, 2011, you announced via Twitter that you were running for president. You followed the announcement with a speech at the New Hampshire state house in Concord, New Hampshire. Why is New Hampshire at the forefront of your campaign?

Gary Johnson: I am being outspent over 300 to one in this race—I’m not complaining about it—so New Hampshire is a place where I can come out as a top tier candidate.

Scott Holleran: Do you support mandated government nutrition labels, such as calorie counts, on all foods?

Gary Johnson: Yes—I think that’s a good idea. It’s just labeling food we consume so we can make intelligent choices.

Scott Holleran: Do you support First Lady Michelle Obama’s anti-obesity campaign?

Gary Johnson: Yes, I think it’s terrific.

Scott Holleran: Wearing combat boots and a 35-pound backpack, you completed the Bataan Memorial Death March, commemorating Japan’s historic death march during World War 2. Why was that important to you?

Gary Johnson: For one thing, I’m an athlete and I love doing athletic competitions and it was a commemorative event, so the Bataan Memorial Death March accomplished two important things at once.

Scott Holleran: You’ve been injured with frostbite, bone fractures and a broken knee while mountain climbing, skiing, and paragliding. Are you a thrillseeker and will you continue these extreme sports during your presidency?

Gary Johnson: I like to think I live a full life. I wouldn’t say I’m a thrillseeker, I would say I like to have fun. Yes, I’m going to continue my adventures as president.

Scott Holleran: What criteria do you seek in a vice-presidential running mate?

Gary Johnson: Compatibility first. Also, support, and the notion that he could be president and best carry on my vision.

Scott Holleran: Why is The Fountainhead your favorite novel?

Gary Johnson: I think Ayn Rand put into words that the best thing I can do for my fellow citizen is to be the best I can be. I think that’s how I can impact other people’s lives—not by having government give to them but by being my best and leading by example.

Scott Holleran: Have you read all of her novels?

Gary Johnson: No. I’ve read Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead.

Scott Holleran: Do you agree with Rand’s philosophy?

Gary Johnson: Yes, I do.

Scott Holleran: Let’s talk about movies. According to your Facebook fan page, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button is one of your favorite movies. Why?

Gary Johnson: I enjoyed it very much when I saw it. I also like Groundhog Day with Bill Murray. Doctor Zhivago is my all-time favorite film. The scene where Dr. Zhivago [played by Omar Sharif] comes back to his house in Moscow after the [Communist] revolution to find all these strangers living in his home—and the whole love story—is powerful. I think it’s because my great-grandparents emigrated from Russia at the time of the Communist Revolution.

Scott Holleran: Is it true that you built your own home in Taos, New Mexico?

Gary Johnson: Yes—for two and a half years. It’s my dream home in northern New Mexico. Skiing is my biggest passion and it’s as good there as anywhere else on the planet.

Scott Holleran: Why did you sell your construction company?

Gary Johnson: We weren’t getting the work we should have gotten while I was governor. When I sold the company, no one lost their jobs.

Scott Holleran: According to a recent report, most of your donors live in California, which means you could conceivably beat expectations in New Hampshire and gain momentum coming into the California primary. Is that your campaign strategy?

Gary Johnson: It’s a possibility. We could have a breakout.

Scott Holleran: In a sentence, what is the proper role for government?

Gary Johnson: To protect you and I as individuals from harm whether to one’s property or from a foreign government. Government has a role to provide.

The 2012 Republicans

With the 2012 presidential campaign well underway, I thought I’d size up each major contender from my perspective as an Objectivist. As for the President, Democrat Barack Obama, I think Leonard Peikoff is right that he’s an anti-American nihilist. Obama’s been a disaster for America. I took an early interest in his 2008 candidacy, long before his campaign took root, writing in my online column in February 2007 that he was worth watching, and I considered voting for him in this long post, which I amended a few weeks later (see postscript) when I gave my comments a second thought and totally rejected his candidacy.

I think it’s pretty clear, and I’ve stated many times, that religious fundamentalist President George W. Bush and his fellow Republicans for selfless war (Iraq, Afghanistan) and the welfare state (socialized medicine, TARP, bailouts) all but made Barack Obama inevitable and, with conservatives contaminating the Tea Party, the Obama administration’s nonstop assault on capitalism is making the spread of religious totalitarianism more likely, too. In his final public course last year in Las Vegas, which I wrote about here, Dr. Peikoff warned about some of these developments while addressing a cultural hypothesis which is the subject of his forthcoming book.

Here’s my take on the pathetic GOP field, including undeclared but often discussed possible candidates:

Obamney is a term that suits Mitt Romney. The former Massachusetts governor and son of pragmatist Michigan Governor George Romney enacted socialized medicine, a mandatory scheme created by the conservative Heritage Foundation, which was the blueprint for ObamaCare. Dubbed ObamneyCare by an early 2012 opponent, Mormon faith-based Romney’s insistence on defending government-run medicine fits with his agenda for government-controlled private lives, making Mitt Romney unacceptable for advocates for individual rights.

The folksy Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann is the worst of everything. Apparently, Rep. Bachmann believes that America was founded as a Christian theocracy and should become one again, and her views on everything from banning a woman’s right to an abortion to her work as an attorney for the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) show that she seeks total government control of people’s lives. As a devout Christian, Bachmann, who campaigned for “born-again” Christian Democrat Jimmy Carter for president in 1976, stalked patients at abortion clinics. Whatever good positions she takes are taken as matters of faith and her entire approach is based on faith, not reason. Her campaign has been accused by CNN anchor Don Lemon of initiation of the use of force during the Iowa campaign, a charge which should be taken seriously, and Rep. Bachmann is the second most dangerous major candidate currently in the race.

Self-described Christian “champion of conservative principles” Rick Perry prays and fasts in the face of the worst economy since the 1930s depression. The Texas governor, a former Democrat who once worked for Al Gore, announced his candidacy for president with a wild-eyed look that suggests a lust for power. He opposes a woman’s right to an abortion, supports a Texas law, later struck down by the state’s Supreme Court, that criminalizes sex between consenting adults, and his first major foray into presidential politics, an utterly improper prayer event that mixed religion and state, is telling. Anti-capitalist former New York City mayor Rudolph Giuliani (non-candidate) is known chiefly for doing his job during the jihadist attack on September 11, 2001, and saying good things about America, and tough things about our enemies, in its aftermath. Before that, Mayor Giuliani was known for dabbling in fascism as he violated free speech rights and, previously, for crusading against capitalism in New York. He’s also anti-abortion. Sarah Palin (non-candidate) is, politically, a loser, quitter, and opportunist. The Christian conservative once reportedly sought to ban books and imposed a gag order on town departments as a village mayor. She was governor of Alaska for about a year and a half before she quit to be a full-time celebrity after losing by a wide margin in her campaign for the vice-presidency. Sarah Palin, who supported Bush’s bailouts, has since exploited her children and family repeatedly in public, in social media, and on her so-called reality television program, which was cancelled.

Ron Paul, an obstetrician who once ran for president as the nominee of the anarchist Libertarian Party, would stand by while the United States is attacked by jihadist Iran. The Texas congressman, whose son, Rand Paul, is a senator from Kentucky, is an anti-abortion Christian libertarian whom the media repeatedly, erroneously, and maliciously tries to link to Ayn Rand’s philosophy, Objectivism, often through his son (see post here). Rep. Paul opposes any military action by the United States of America under any circumstances, unless the U.S. is physically attacked first. So, for example, Ron Paul would not pre-emptively attack Iran if he had knowledge that Iran was preparing to strike the United States with a nuclear missile. An American city would have to be nuked first before he would even consider striking back. In fact, Rep. Paul stated in a recent Iowa debate that Iran should be free to develop nuclear weapons; he is, practically speaking, pro-Iran. For this reason alone, and because he fraudulently claims to advocate man’s rights and capitalism, he is the most dangerous candidate for president.

Unfortunately, former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson, also a libertarian Republican, comes to the same conclusion as Ron Paul toward Iran; that the jihadist state is not a threat. The rest, including Newt Gingrich, one of the worst and most ineffective speakers of the House of Representatives, because he fraudulently claimed to advance capitalism and instead set it back years, possibly decades, seek more religion in government and/or more government in economics. Gingrich single-handedly sabotaged the 1994 Republican revolution, squandering the biggest electoral repudiation of the welfare state of the 20th century. New Jersey Governor Chris Christie is not a candidate, as he proclaims loudly and often, which is good because he supports building a mosque in Manhattan near Ground Zero where jihadists attacked America.

This raises an interesting point; the influence of Islamism or jihadism in American politics and government. Amid various rumors or reports of jihadist or jihadist-allied connections to, or sponsorship of, certain candidates, such as Gov. Christie and Gov. Perry, it is important to remember that we are a nation at war with Islamic totalitarianism and its state sponsors. As an advocate for capitalism and individual rights, I support no one candidate at this stage of the campaign, for the above reasons, though, lacking a secular candidate to run against President Obama, who is destroying the United States of America, I am open to rational arguments. But our crippled country is especially vulnerable to jihadist Moslem infiltration and, just as Communist Soviets infiltrated our highest levels of government in the 20th century, it can happen again. Americans in the press, writing blogs, using social media and in the public should be vigilant about enemies within and this includes the GOP candidates and President Obama, his campaign and his administration. Religious soldiers of God blended into American culture ten years ago next month to launch the worst assault in U.S. history, still unavenged, and, because Bush and Obama failed to crush the enemy, jihadist Islam will almost certainly try to strike from within again. Because every major candidate opposes capitalism and individual rights, and seeks government control of our lives, and because Americans have allowed politicians to bring our nation closer to the brink of dictatorship, we should reject the ways of the past, demand a secular candidate who will roll back Obama’s fascist laws and respect separation of religion and state. And we should treat every candidate with suspicion.