By Jon Ward, Yahoo.com, June 11th, 2016:
The idea of Gary Johnson for president is a lot less crazy than it used to be.
Johnson, the Libertarian Party’s nominee for president, was an intriguing candidate in the 2012 GOP primary who didn’t catch on. A successful two-term governor of New Mexico, he was never really taken seriously, thanks in part to the cable TV networks that refused to let him debate.
His attempt to enter the national conversation from the right — after governing as a Republican and running in the GOP primary — did not work. Democrats never got a close look at him, and Republicans looked at his wide-eyed, goofy demeanor and dismissed him simply as a pot-smoking kooky Libertarian.
But in 2016, the 63-year-old Johnson is a far more colorful candidate than presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, and his lighthearted, sneakers-with-a-suit zaniness now appears rather tame in comparison to presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump’s boasts about the size of his genitals and public threats against political opponents.
“All it is, is name-calling between Clinton and Trump. How about an adult in the room talking about issues and the importance of these issues and how this country can move forward?” said Johnson when we sat down Wednesday.
He’s entertaining without being offensive. He’s accomplished but doesn’t have a whiff of corruption. He’s younger than both Clinton, who turns 69 in October, and Trump, who turns 70 next week. Johnson’s social liberalism and economic conservatism are well suited for the current political climate.
All of this partly explains why Johnson is already polling near 10 percent after only recently beginning to campaign in earnest. If he gets to 15 percent or higher in most polls, he’ll be guaranteed a spot in the three presidential debates this fall, at least according to the rules set by the Presidential Commission on Debates.