A number of conservative blogs such as Breitbart, Gay Patriot Blog and Michael Barone are speculating that the reason why Obama is running ads heavily in Portland, Oregon is that Gary Johnson may be putting Oregon in play, in large part due to marijuana policy issues. And, indeed, polls in several states, including New Mexico and Colorado, indicate that Johnson is drawing more heavily from votes that might otherwise have gone to President Obama, whereas in other states he draws more heavily from votes that may have otherwise gone to Mitt Romney. As a counterpoint, a commenter on one one of those blogs observes that Obama’s campaign is also advertising heavily in San Francisco (it is highly unlikely that they think Johnson is even remotely likely to put California in play).
The speculation about Oregon has made its way onto the LNC discussion list by way of Dan Wiener. Some readers may find ironic, however, that earlier this year Mr. Wiener’s alternate, Dr. Scott Lieberman, wrote to Richard Burke
I think you work for the Johnson campaign. Please make it clear to them that it is in their long-term best interests to sacrifice ballot access in Oregon if that is what it takes to politically neuter Wes Wagner and his group of misfits.
Steve Newton writes in response to Bruce Cohen’s statement along those same lines:
Gary Earl Johnson is not doing as well as expected: In fundraising, in appearances and in polling.The way for him to become relevant…To become interesting to the media…And American voters…Is to threaten to take a battleground state away from Obama. Libertarians will be thrilled if he uses Marijuana as a wedge issue. Pot smokers are a large enough voting block to swing it in Oregon.I say to the Gary Johnson campaign, the way for you to do something good for the LP and for America, much less for your own efforts is to go hard against Obama in one or two swing states.How about Oregon and New Mexico for starters?Gary! Do America a favor and take down Obama. Or go down trying.
This is a fascinating post that deserves both fisking and parsing.
In what way is the Gary Johnson campaign not doing as well as expected, Bruce–and by whom?
The campaign has painstakingly raised several million dollars, almost entirely from small donors. Did you somehow expect that million-dollar donations were going to roll in for a third-party candidate until after he had broken through?
Appearances? You have to be kidding, right. Gary Johnson and Jim Gray have been crisscrossing the nation, appearing nonstop at every possible venue. While Gary has not cracked regular coverage on A-list media (and note that even Ron Paul, with ten times his funding never did, either), he has attracted more press coverage in local, state, alternative, and internet media than any other Libertarian candidate in history. He’s been on Fox, CNN, the Daily Beast. . . . USA Today published his answers to debate questions; WaPo and Newsday called for his inclusion. Three debate sponsors pulled out thanks to grassroots pressure from his campaign.
Polling? He’s disappointing in polling? Some polls show him at double digits in the battleground state of Ohio, others at 6% nationally.
From this disappointment, Bruce goes on to argue that what Gary should really be doing is running hard against Obama in a swing state like Oregon, that he should make himself a single-issue candidate in order to tilt the balance in one state.
What an idiotic strategy, designed only to improve Mitt Romney’s chances and not to improve the Libertarian Party’s.
What the Gary Johnson campaign is doing that has NEVER before happened in the Libertarian Party is building a truly nationwide effort with coordinators and events in virtually every state, with earned media aplenty, with true grassroots organizing. . .
An example from Delaware: when Bob Barr [...] ran in 2008 he did nothing in Delaware. Even if you wanted them, you couldn’t find signs, or bumper stickers, or a campaign, much less an event.
This year Gary Johnson skyped into the Libertarian Party of Delaware convention, and Judge Jim Gray actually came to Delaware State University to address and excited crowd, doing radio and TV interviews while he was here. You can actually see Gary Johnson signs around the state (when embittered Ds and Rs don’t knock them down, which has happened), and third party candidates are getting a “coat tail” effect. The Jewish Federation of Delaware reversed its longtime exclusion of third party candidates from its debate; state media has even covered the controversy of the University of Delaware holding to political apartheid in its debate.
That would not be happening without Gary Johnson, and more specifically the Gary Johnson 2012 campaign.