Ron Paul Should Stand Aside for Gary Johnson

Republican voters had an opportunity to examine Ron Paul in detail during the 2008 primary season.  The result?  Paul averaged only 5.58% in the Republican primaries he contested, and that figure actually exaggerates his appeal because it includes late season primaries where he was the only alternative on the ballot to presumptive nominee John McCain. 

It wasn’t a lack of money that sank his campaign, Congressman Paul actually outraised and outspent Mike Huckabee and Fred Thompson, both of whom were considered very viable candidates.  The Paul campaign got their message out there, the problem was that Republican voters weren’t interested.  

Was it the message or the quirky 72-year-old political gadfly they rejected?  Does it really matter? 

A second bid for the White House by Ron Paul would tie up money and grassroots resources that could be far more effectively used by another candidate with a similar message.  I’m speaking, of course, about former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson.  If both men run, they will split an already small slice of votes and neither will be able to make a significant dent in the discussion. 

Johnson is already taking some steps to seperate himself from Paul’s shadow.  In February, the ex-governor spoke to POLITICO about his nickname – “Governor No” – and the similarity it has to the nickname “Dr. No” that some have labeled Paul with.  (Paul is a physician)

“There was a big difference between Ron Paul and me when it came to the ‘no,’” Johnson told POLITICO. “His ‘no’ was philosophical. It was reasoned. It was right. My ‘no’ actually put a stop to legislation. It cut spending. Mine carried further than just no. I had to follow through with the debate, discussion and dialogue on why my ‘no’ wouldn’t result in people starving, schools being shut down and the delivery of services to the poor wasn’t going to be curtailed.”

It seems like candidates who run for President and enjoy some success just can’t help themselves from giving it another shot.  We’ve seen how well that worked for John Edwards in 2008, Steve Forbes in 2000 and Ross Perot in 1996.  What Ron Paul accomplished in 2008 was laying the groundwork for a more credible candidate from the libertarian wing of the party to make a real go at it. 

Paul should step aside, support Johnson in 2012 and cast an eye toward the future and a potential run by his son, Kentucky Senator Rand Paul, in 2016 or 2020. 


  1. What a ridiculous notion!

    Ron and Gary were both on the SRLC straw poll last year. Ron lost to Romney by one vote. Gary Johnson GOT one vote.

    THAT is the impact Gary may have on the race.

  2. Your right – I was one of the people that brushed Ron Paul aside in 2008. I thought he was crazy. It turns out he was right about everything! If only we had listened to Ron Paul.

    Ron Paul will not get over looked this time around.

    Ron Paul 2012!

  3. I couldn’t disagree with this proposition more.

    Gary Johnson came to the University of Michigan on March 31st. Less than 100 people showed up to hear him speak and answer questions.

    Mr. Johnson came off as someone who doesn’t understand Republican politics. In reference to his trade policies, he said, “Outsourcing is a good thing.” Fat chance that he will go anywhere with a position like that.

    When I asked him how he would describe his foreign policy, he told us that he didn’t like labels, but supported strategic military alliances (anachronistic and unnecessary organizations like NATO), humanitarian interventionism (but not in Libya…how convenient), etc.

    With foreign policy positions like that, he WON’T get the VAST majority of Ron Paul supporters. Combine this with his drug policies, which will lose him the social conservatives, he won’t raise enough money to get a solid campaign off the ground.

    I am willing to bet that Gov. Johnson will drop out before any primary or caucus is even held. The best he will do is shape the debate, and possibly bring in more voters for Ron Paul once he drops out.

  4. Austin Cassidy should stand aside for Sanity.

  5. I like Gary Johnson a lot, but I feel like Ron Paul has so much campaign infrastructure and such a big personal following that to throw it away would be a huge waste of an opportunity. I think Gary Johnson and Ron Paul should agree to talk about similar issues and ideas, and they shouldn’t attack each other, but the more people talking about freedom, the better.

  6. Your Comments

    Austin F Cassidy just explained his inability to understand why Ron Paul has a following— and how that following cannot just be transferred across by merely casting his support behind some other candidate-

    Paul earns his following based off of a track record of principled decisions, Gary Johnson is not the go-to person of congress for the media on the economic difficulties of this country-

    Every other candidate has had to be given time on Fox to keep their face fresh in the minds of the public- Ron Paul has not had to alliance himself with any media organization and has OUTPERFORMED all candidates in that respect-

    Austin— opinions are like “colons”– everybody has one-
    Simply publishing yours on a site doesn’t increase your intelligence , your visibility or respect amongst colleagues, nor does it make you right!

    Take a psychology course – then unplug from the computer you mushroom– and interact with real people to better understand what you would like to consider yourself a pundit on.

  7. Gary Johnson’s prospects for 2012 are not even in the same ballpark as Ron Paul’s.

  8. AHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA…worst..idea….everrrrrrrrrr

  9. Sorry, but the Ron Paul grassroots energy is non-transferable. Take a survey of Ron Paul activists, and see how far they would be willing to go for Johnson. Their energy won’t even be fully captured in a Rand Paul presidential bid. Ask if the Ron Paul activists over at would put their time and money into Johnson’s campaign.

  10. A pro-abortion candidate like Gary Johnson will never win the GOP nomination.

    While Johnson has supported the murder of babies through out his life, Dr. Paul has delivered them.

    RON PAUL 2012!

  11. Your Comments
    Ron Paul has been a consistent opponent of big government interventionism at home and abroad for forty years. He has been particularly adamant in condemning our disastrous wars abroad and the Federal Reserve. I don’t recall Johnson making much noise on either of these crucial issues. Step aside, Johnson, and let the better man run.

  12. If Ron was to run again, he would be given more respect this time around and therefore more likely that his message of limited government would have more credibility. It is his message that needs to be promoted to the American people. Gary Johnson would simply be regulated to the likes of the marginal candidates like Duncan Hunter and Fred Thompson. He may raise some money, be given some air-time, get invited to all the events and debates, get some votes but he would not really stand out. He is likely to just fade away. Ron on the only hand will either mount a sizable challenge to Romney and deal him a blow or if the media is just sucking up to him, will then repeat their treatment of him during his 2008 run by remaining the whipping post for the media appointed front-runners who will snicker at his foreign policy views once again…

  13. Paul/Johnson 2012 Bring Our Troops Home, either paul works for me! As a delegate i will support this ticket!! If Ron or Rand do not run then i will consider supporting Gary! If gary doesn’t get the vp slot. I would suggest he runs for senate where he can win! I would love to see gary in the debates etc etc. I just think he will endorse a Paul and hopefully we can run a Paul/Johnson 2012 Ticket! I could never see myself supporting a ticket with a neo-con on it so that leaves Paul/Johnson 2012 Bring Our Troops Home. If the gop cannot nominate Paul/Johnson ticket then it is obama vs obama republicans and no one wins!! Ron Paul vs obama republicans!! Paul/Johnson 2012

  14. “A second bid for the White House by Ron Paul would tie up money and grassroots resources that could be far more effectively used by another candidate with a similar message.”

    Contrary to what you think, you do not own my money. I will donate money to the candidate that I believe should be running this country, and no one else.

  15. I take umbrage with a few of your premises. First off, let’s be honest shall we?
    Republican voters did not have the opportunity to examine Dr. Paul in detail during the 2008 primary season. The Paul campaign did not get its message out there.

    You seem to forget or overlook the fact that Dr. Paul was shut out of debates, marginalized at best and vilified at worst by the media. If he got 30 seconds on CNN he was lucky, if he got any time on MSNBC it was a hit piece and he barely had any air time on Fox where he and his supporters were maligned as a poser and his spambots. He was the last major candidate that Tim Russert interviewed probably hoping that he would have dropped out before then. Larry King interviewed him the night before the New Hampshire primary except it was not aired! And that was just cable. He rarely if ever was on the major networks. He had to talk so fast whenever he was on as he had to cram in an inordinate amount of info that only the true believers understood at the time.

    So I would beg to differ with you about the exposure voters had to Dr. Paul. Now that everything he talked about has proven true, he gets 5-15 minutes sometimes even more to speak because he makes total sense, tells the truth and has more integrity in his little toe than any of those other pretenders.

    The difference between the Dr. Nos is that Gary was in an executive role, he was in the veto chair while Ron has a legislative role, is one of many congressman. I have every confidence in Dr. Paul’s executive ability as he is a physician and has run a business, met a payroll, etc.

    Gary is not prolife, and Dr. Paul is. That is a huge difference though when it comes down to it abortion is a states right issue not a federal issue.

    Gary was here in Seattle earlier this year and we could only scrape up perhaps 20 people, though I do not think there were even that many. Gary is no match for Dr. Paul, he does not have the depth or breadth of knowledge in history, economics, health care, etc. that Dr. Paul does. Their message may be similar but Dr. Paul is the man!

    Ron Paul the Rx for what ails America! Dr. Paul 2012

  16. Ron Paul should not stand aside. The voters did not get their chance to examine him in 2008 because he was snubbed and characterized by the media and even the jackasses that run the debates.

    Remember the idiot from fox who was moderating the primary debate “so you’d have us take our marching orders from al queada?”. Completely uncalled for.

    The thing is Ron Paul has been proven correct on so many issues. He has also become much more prominent and accepted by the media. He has a much better chance of getting his message across this time around.

    Gary Johnson on the other hand will be treated like Ron Paul was in 2008. I like both of these men and either would be a good president but I can guarantee you that Gary Johnson will not go anywhere. Ron Paul calls for federal decriminalization of drugs while still allowing states to decide what they want to do. He personally and professionally denounces the use of any drugs, including marijuana. He was attacked by conservatives for this position. Hannity was scaring his idiot followers into thinking Paul wants to legalize heroin. Now consider Gary Johnson who admits to smoking weed…you think conservatives will let him through?

    The fact is most people don’t understand the concept of federalism. Ron Paul has stated his position as a matter of principle but its not his shtick, his schtick is monetary policy and foreign policy. Gary Johnson’s entire campaign will be forced by the media to be about drug policy which is not an important issue in this cycle.

    I hope after the first few debates that Gary Johnson will gracefully bow out and ask his supporters to get behind Ron Paul. If by some chance he starts polling high and Ron Paul doesn’t I’d hope Paul will do the same thing.

    We are on the same side but Ron Paul is the best liberty horse going into this race.

  17. Splitting the vote only counts at or near the end so is irrelevant now. splitting the resources is no argument because without Ron Paul everyone knows most of the resources would just disappear (sad but true like it or not). The obvious solution is for both to Run, avoid any attacks on each other, but instead stay focused on supporting the positions of liberty during the debates (Ron always does this as far as I can tell anyway). Then near the end (and only then) if the combined votes of both of them look to have any chance of securing a win, the least likely to succeed should drop out.

    In my opinion this solution favors no candidate, but provides maximum air time and chance of success for the position of freedom. If someone disagrees with this position but does not address the issues I have mentioned I will assume there support for an individual candidate over another is because they weigh the importance of one issue over the cause of liberty in general.

  18. More is better. Let the two Pauls, Ron and Rand, stir the pot everywhere from Iowa to SC – and add Johnson to the mix just to confound the establishment. The establishment will get whiplash turning from one candidate to the other worrying about “is he the one” .. “is this the issue that’ll catch-on” … “do we have to write off Nevada or NM or wherever because the grass roots are coalescing around X or Y or Z?”
    I think the single candidate theory is predicated on the fact that one guy can win – the presidential campaign will be about issues: if the major candidates fall by the wayside or pick up key ideas because of the pressure from the margin, that’s a win for us.
    George Wallace used to say, “We’re going to shake the eye- teeth of the liberals all over the country.”
    Impact is where the action is.
    Socialist Norman Thomas never won an election, but he was one of the most profoundly successful politicians of the 20th century.

  19. Last year I didn’t even know Ron Paul ran, but this year I know everything about Ron Paul and have his bumper sticker on my Jeep. The people have awoken to Ron Paul and love what they see.

  20. Jared Ragsdale says:

    Wait a second, who is Gary Johnson? LOL

  21. By the support in this comment board of RP and GJ supporters, GJ should be dropping out.

    However I say have them both run.

  22. I disagree. The more libertarians fielded in the primary the better. At this point we need to get out the message of peace, liberty and free markets. This will have a better chance if 2 or 3 of the 10 or so candidates are in fact libertarians.

    When Ron Paul was alone on the debate stage he was all but ridiculed. We need Ron, Gary and Rand on stage so that their message is validated by each other. This will bolster their credibility.

    There will come a time for one or the other to drop out of the race and push their support towards the other, but that time is not now.

  23. the author will come to realize as many other americans will also, that it will become popular to agree with ron paul because it will be shown that he was correct about so many things that were beyond the scope of most pundits etc….get on board now-consider yourself a front runner
    ron paul 2012
    common sense dictates it

  24. I like Gary Johnson, but Ron Paul is the standard bearer for the Liberty Movement. It is still unlikely that the average American will vote for a libertarian approach for government; most still want big brother to watch over them from cradle to grave. Ron Paul is our best chance to convert yet more Americans over to our way of thinking so that when the SHTF under Obama’s second term, we will be ready with the answer.

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  25. It is not about Ron Paul vs. Gary Johnson … It is about Liberty vs. Facism. It is not about an election … it is about a movement. It is about changing people minds, especially our young people.

    Paul/Johnson 2012

  26. Haw Haw Haw…

    Ron Paul is the ONLY Republican candidate that can take the wind right out of the sails of Obama. Polls that show Obama leading haven’t taken into account the huge shift from predominantly liberal constituencies that Dr. Paul can achieve.
    Liberals are supposed to like personal liberties, RP is all about them. Most of the people who oppose the Drug War are liberals. A great many anti-war people are liberals, and guess what? ONLY Dr. Paul has a DEMONSTRATED 20+ year record of supporting the things these single-issue voters care about.

  27. A technical note: if Ron Paul runs in 2012, it’ll be his third run for the Presidency, not his second. 1988 as a Libertarian, 2008 against the GOP (I say against, because the Republican leadership hates him), and perhaps in 2012, sadly as a Republican.

    FYI………………..Mark Hinkle, LNC Chair

  28. “Sorry, but the Ron Paul grassroots energy is non-transferable. Take a survey of Ron Paul activists, and see how far they would be willing to go for Johnson.”

    If what you say is true, then there really is no “liberty movement” and this whole thing is a big waste of time.

    Ross Perot couldn’t allow the Reform Party to exist without him, and so he killed the thing he created. It was all about Perot.

  29. Mark,

    Very good point… I was aware of that and it simply slipped my mind.


  30. It doesn’t matter who we like, it matters who big business likes. Whoever will turn over for big business will get the most airtime from news channels who are supported by those businesses.
    But for me, even if my vote doesn’t count, I would go for Paul/Johnson 2012.

  31. LMFAO!!!!! This writer has obviously smoked, snorted, or shot up some bath salts… What a tool

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