In an interview with Jon Stewart, the first thing he mentions is that back in 2008, when Ron Paul asked for his endorsement, he readily gave it. This is because he wants to appeal to the Ron Paul supporters. He knows that his campaign will be way more effective if he gets the passionate and enthusiastic supporters of Ron Paul.
Gary Johnson on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart
When asked about not having a fighting chance with Obama or Romney, he even agreed and said that all he wants is 15% in the polls. And this part, in my very strong opinion, IS VERY important! If he gets at least 15% in the polls, he will be given a chance to be with Obama and Romney during the presidential debates. This is something that has happend before when Ross Perot joined in the debates against H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton as an independent candidate.
I understand the importance of the RNC in Tampa and even the whole delegate wars we've been having. I understand the the Republican establishment must see that their neocon days are over and people want liberty again. I've even been blogged about these issues several times.
But the only audience we'll ever have in the RNC would be those who already support Ron Paul and the misguided conservatives. In the US presidential debates, the audience will be the whole world. News about it will be reported all over the world in print, in newspapers, and online. We have to focus on getting a voice that will represent libertarianism in that kind of massive venue.
A friend of mine and fellow libertarian even sent me a link of Gary Johnson's interview in the Robert Wenzel show (see How Libertarian is Gary Johnson) where he was criticized for his economic and philosophical influences. The host of the show made it clear that it's actually hard for most libertarians to like Milton Friedman, someone Gary Johnson believes had influenced him a lot. I understand the point of the host. Even Jeffrey Sachs pointed out that Milton Friedman was pretty much statist (an issue I addressed here: Why Jeffrey Sachs is Mistaken About Libertarianism).
But all this reminds me of how cult-like the Objectivism movement is. When you don't believe in the same philosophy as them even when you're for the same policy or outcome, they will instantly shun you. And I can relate so much because there was a time when all I knew was Milton Friedman as well. There was a time when I didn't even know about the Austrian School of Economics. On a moral level though, I agreed with libertarian policy, you know, like that stuff in Ron Paul's platform.
So that bottom line is in the platform and in the talking points that will be discussed in the debates. Even during the Republican debates, it was already so hard to differentiate Johnson's positions from Ron Paul. He wants to bring home the troops, end the war on drugs, cut spending and balance the budget, audit the Federal Reserve and possibly even go back to commodity-based currency, free trade, and many more. Imagine giving the whole world an alternative on these issues during the presidential debates.
And even for those in the libertarian movement who are against political action, the point is that we've already established that he's not even going to win. He just wants to present alternative solutions to the left/right paradigm that the world's been exposed to. This is actually more of an educational action that a political one. Not to mention that the joining in the debates is one of the main reasons that Ron Paul became very popular thus education so many people all over the world about libertarianism and the Austrian School of economics.
Another real problem is that Ron Paul doesn't want to run as a third-party candidate and Gary Johnson is already running as one. I really don't understand that because he's already ran for the Libertarian Party back in 1988. And with his strong poll scores and hardcore supporters, 15% would be really easy to get. I remember as Rasmussen poll before that showed Ron Paul at 41% over Obama who got 42%. But again he's been clear about not running.
I just think it would be so interesting for Gary Johnson to be able to debate with Obama and Romney. It'll be so refreshing to have that alternative voice in such a mainstream and global venue.