The American Civil Liberties Union launched a new campaign this year — ACLU Liberty Watch 2012 — to be a watchdog on the U.S. Presidential candidates of all parties so that the Constitution is defended throughout the election campaign. They announced the results of their Liberty Watch Campaign Report Card on Dec. 30, 2011 – and the results were not what you might expect.
Most of the Republican Presidential candidates scored very badly – the worst being Mitt Romney, Michelle Bachman and Rick Santorum (no surprise there). Ron Paul and Jon Huntsman scored rather well – and surprisingly so did President Barack Obama. But the clear winner was Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson, the former Governor of New Mexico.
The Liberty Watch candidate report card provided a critical assessment of the major candidates of all parties, grading them with four to zero constitutional “torches” on seven key issues, including national security, immigration, marriage equality and reproductive choice.
Paul and Huntsman were downgraded on marriage equality and on reproductive rights. Obama received just one torch and none for keeping Guantanamo Bay open and continuing unconstitutional surveillance under the PATRIOT act, respectively.
Johnson, who has been referred to as the ‘most fiscally conservative Governor’ in the country, was the Republican Governor of New Mexico from 1994-2003.
A successful businessman before running for office in 1994, Gov. Johnson started a door-to-door handyman business to help pay his way through college. Twenty years later, he had grown the firm into one of the largest construction companies in New Mexico with over 1,000 employees. Not surprisingly, Governor Johnson brings a distinctly business-like mentality to governing, believing that decisions should be made based on cost-benefit analysis rather than strict ideology.
Johnson is best known for his veto record, which includes over 750 vetoes during his time in office, more than all other governors combined and his use of the veto pen has since earned him the nickname “Governor Veto.” He cut taxes 14 times while never raising them when he left office, New Mexico was one of only four states in the country with a balanced budget.
Term-limited, Johnson retired from public office in 2003. An avid skier, adventurer, and bicyclist, he has currently reached four of the highest peaks on all seven continents, including Mt. Everest.
In 2009, after becoming increasingly concerned with the country’s out-of-control national debt and precarious financial situation, the Governor formed the OUR America Initiative, a 501c(4) non-profit that promotes fiscal responsibility, civil liberties, and rational public policy. He traveled to more than 30 states and spoke to over 150 conservative and libertarian groups during his time as Honorary Chairman.
He has two grown children–a daughter Seah and a son Erik–and currently resides in a house he built himself in Taos, New Mexico.
Click here to check out Johnson’s website.