For libertarians, it’s the dream ticket that will probably never be.
Former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson, who’s been carefully teasing clues about a possible 2012 run for president, told reporters Saturday that there’s no way he could ever run with Texas Rep. Ron Paul, also a possible presidential contender. It’s nothing against Ron Paul — they agree on most issues — it’s because the ticket wouldn’t have the diversity needed to pull in enough votes to win, Johnson said.
“I don’t see it as a political reality at all,” Johnson said when asked if America would ever see a Paul-Johnson ticket on their presidential ballot. “In my opinion, the reality has to be a bigger Republican Party, a bigger Republican base that includes everybody.”
For the second year in a row, Paul won the annual Conservative Political Action Conference straw poll, with the largely unknown Johnson coming in third behind former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney.
Among Republicans, the duo represents the libertarian-leaning faction in the party: They both oppose the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, support free trade and don’t even get them started about American marijuana laws. But having two candidates with such similar views on a ballot against President Obama would never be a combination for victory, Johnson said.
“It’s gotta be bigger,” he said of the scope of the Republican ticket. “It has to be Republicans of all stripes and colors and then beyond the primary, it’s got to have a broad base among independents and Democrats also.”
Often described as a “three-legged stool,” the Republican Party is generally comprised of a coalition of social conservatives, defense hawks and libertarians. A presidential ticket that represented just one of those simply wouldn’t cut it.
“It’s got to go beyond just the liberty wing,” Johnson said.