People keep saying that the Tea Party is doing nothing. The last time I tried to do something it involved marching around in the freezing cold to stop a local (Saline, MI) school millage initiative which would have cost taxpayers $29 million. The conventional wisdom was that because the schools (meaning “The Children”) need the money, the initiative’s passage was a foregone conclusion. Well guess what? Thanks to the grim determination of local Tea Partiers, the initiative was defeated by 500 votes. Saving taxpayers $29 million (the article got the total wrong) might not be doing much, but it’s not “nothing.”

Anyway, there is a national election coming up, and as my favorite candidate so far is Gary Johnson, I have decided to help out. He’s best known for being libertarianish (and he is called redundant because of Ron Paul), but I can’t think of any other candidate who while actually being a governor, did more to live up to the Tea Party principles of Fiscal Responsibility, Constitutionally Limited Government, and Free Markets.

From his Wiki entry:

According to a profile of Johnson in the National Review, “During his tenure, he vetoed more bills than the other 49 governors combined — 750 in total, one third of which had been introduced by Republican legislators. Johnson also used his line-item-veto power thousands of times. He credits his heavy veto pen for eliminating New Mexico’s budget deficit and cutting the growth rate of New Mexico’s government in half.”[29] Johnson has “said his numerous vetoes, only two of which were overridden, stemmed from his philosophy of looking at all things for their cost-benefit ratio and his axe fell on Republicans as well as Democrats.”[11] “[W]hen he was governor of New Mexico: [Johnson] never raised taxes in eight years; cut over 1,200 government jobs without firing anyone; cut taxes 14 times; vetoed over 750 bills; was the biggest advocate in the country for school vouchers; started his own small business and became a multimillionaire.”[30]

And get this:

In a January 3, 2011 profile of Johnson in the National Review, Brian Bolduc wrote that “Johnson seems most comfortable when not exercising government power, an endearing quality for a potential president.”[29]

Hey, he’s a living example of what Glenn Reynolds warned us about:

“Those dangerous libertarians — they want to take over the government, and then leave you alone!

His biggest problem is that he’s an unknown (leaving people alone is not always the best way to get headlines, I’m afraid), but once conservatives hear him, they seem to like him:

In February 2011, Johnson was a featured speaker at both the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) and the Republican Liberty Caucus.[73] At CPAC, “the crowd liked him — even as he pushed some of his more controversial points.”[74] Johnson handily won the RLC straw poll[75] and tied with New Jersey Governor Chris Christie for third in the CPAC Straw Poll, trailing only Ron Paul and Mitt Romney (and ahead of such notables as former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty, Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels and former Alaska Governor and 2008 Vice Presidential nominee Sarah Palin, who “finished a distant 9th place, garnering only 3 percent of the vote.”).[76]

Anyway, on the eve of his official campaign launch, Governor Johnson is coming to Ann Arbor to speak.

Tonight!

It’s a safe bet that many college students are tired of the standard left-versus-right political battles that somehow never seem to lead to any substantive change. Even more disappointing is the sad reality that politicians we support, whether Democrat or Republican, all too often fail to live up to the principled promises made on the campaign trail.

Though it’s a sales pitch you’ve likely heard before, former New Mexico governor and 2012 presidential candidate Gary Johnson really is a different type of politician — and he just might represent the new, bold face of the nation’s political discourse. The University’s chapter of College Libertarians and Students for a Sensible Drug Policy are teaming up to bring Johnson to campus Thursday evening, and if you haven’t heard of him yet, you’re going to like what you learn.

Even a cursory glace at Johnson’s life reveals that, despite his successes in public office, he simply isn’t cut out for the role of suit-wearing bureaucratic windbag. An independently successful businessman, Johnson seems more comfortable out of the office. His interests include relaxing, soothing outdoor activities like competing in Ironman Triathlons and scaling Mount Everest (as he did successfully in 2003). Clearly, something sets Johnson apart from your run-of-the mill politico.

Yet a compelling personal life is not enough to mark an individual as a skilled and effective leader. Fortunately, Johnson’s record speaks for itself. Elected governor of New Mexico in 1994 as a Republican, Johnson led without regard for party orthodoxy. His aggressive, reform-oriented platform proved popular with New Mexico residents, and Johnson left his state with a large budget surplus after his term-limited tenure as governor ended in 2003.

Read it all. And remember, you don’t have to be a student (much less a libertarian student) to attend this event. It’s free to the public, at 8 p.m. in the Michigan League Ballroom (located at 911 N. University Ave. Ann Arbor, MI).

So I gotta get out of here, as I have offered to help publicize the event, and the student promoters are worried they’ll run out of flyers.

(There is something I like about supporting a presidential candidate with poor name recognition on a shoestring budget.)