What a time we had at the Conference!
I could write a book on the full experience. Being present with many of my peers and superiors (and a few lessers in a certain crowd) has been something that I will never forget. I felt that I was completely in my element, and frankly, I was comfortable. I’ll be spitting out several articles in the next day or so concerning a few specific people (including a Presidential endorsement). Gary Johnson doesn’t get my Presidential pick, but it should not reflect on my personal opinion of the man; and indeed, his exclusion from the CNN Debate is an outrage when a Neo-Nazi like Ron Paul gets included.
I have a philosophy that, simply, presentation is half of everything. I think that it alone is Gary Johnson’s real shortcoming in lacking the support to become a ‘Tier-1′ candidate in the polls. After spending a little time with him, I see that Gary is really a decent and polite gentleman. His speech in the Grand Ballroom was favorable in its content and shows Gary as a true reformer – and the catch is, he has a winning approval rating in New Mexico (from whence he came) where he’s implemented so many of his reforms. I think that, when on the bully pulpit, if Governor Johnson could time his emphasis and articulate his message in a bit more charismatic manner, the silent majority of moderate’s across the country would line up to support him.
After his speech, he was respectful enough to We the Press to attend a small press conference – something that Newt Gingrich obviously didn’t feel compelled enough to do the day before. Personally, I think that Gary has a little ways to go in addressing the media; though he can generally defend his points well, I think that he may need a little personal detachment from the affair. I think that in the questioning that there was a moment or two where Governor Johnson may have felt attacked and defended himself in a manner that one would best use in a formal debate, not a small press conference with the media. A shortcoming I found in the Governor was his inability to fully explain his support of the Fair Tax, even though he spoke in favor of the plan in the Ballroom; however, he was also wise enough to not speak on it at all, ‘lest he be perceived as misinformed and stupid.
I have not selected him as my Presidential Candidate because of my personal disagreements with his interpretations of our nation’s problems; for instance, he feels that in legalizing Marijuana and making the path to legal residence easier, we’ll have defeated Illegal Immigration. Personally, though I support the legalization of Marijuana and reforming the process of legal residence, I don’t think it will make too large of a dent in the problem in this late hour. Illegal Immigrant’s aren’t any more stupid than we are, and I think that in general they enjoy the no-tax lifestyle of an illegal immigrant. However, I do not want my lack of endorsement to reflect poorly on Gary Johnson as a person; he was highly cordial and even took the time to get in a picture with me and some others on his way out, I find a rare level of sincerity in his intentions, and once again, his home-base state of New Mexico misses him enough to show that his previous policies have been both popular and effective.