Governor Gary

Speaking as a New Mexican, I think there were two things to say in support of Gary Johnson: he criticised the drug war, and he annoyed Manny Aragon to no end. That’s not entirely fair. He also was absolutely resolute when it came to trying to contain spending. His willingness to veto bills coming from the Roundhouse became a standing joke in the state. He was also absolutely doctrinaire about his project of promoting privatised prisons, which mostly worked to the advantage of the aforementioned Aragon in providing him nice kickbacks from the contractors hired to manage the prisons. Who will forget Wackenhut?

Johnson also presided over the the introduction of the lottery, legal gambling and the rise of the Indian casinos all over the state, which generally appalled the people who voted for him and mainly satisfied the legislature and the pueblos. If bringing tawdriness and exploitation of the poor to your home state are your idea of a good time, Gary Johnson’s governorship was a rollicking success. My impression is that the (very) small Draft Johnson boomlet made about as much sense as the attempt to recruit Chuck Hagel last year. It wasn’t his fault that the largest tax cuts came under his successor, but it is a reminder that there was actually very little that Governor Johnson changed in New Mexico, and most of the things he did change appear to conservatives in the state to be blights on our state.