Johnson Impresses Salem Voters [VIDEO]
One invokes Kevin Kline's character in "Dave."
Voters came away impressed with what former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson had to say Friday as he ramps up his 2012 GOP presidential campaign.
One voter and Greater Salem Rotary Club member likened Johnson's approach to that of Kevin Kline's titular character in the movie "Dave," about a presidential look-alike who shakes up Washington.
"You had a guy who had common sense who really goes in and makes a difference in government," said John Moynihan from Hampstead. "He had some really good ideas and I wish him well."
Johnson, who served as New Mexico governor from 1994 to 2002, noted he is the only 2012 candidate with a positive favorable rating in his home state.
"I got elected saying I would put issues first and politics last," Johnson said. "Regardless of the issue, let's put it on the table and look at it."
Johnson vetoed 750 bills while governor and thousands of line-item vetoes, standing up against spending he didn't feel was needed. One-third of the bills he vetoed were Republican bills, he said.
"We're on the verge of a monetary and financial collapse," Johnson said, predicting bond markets will take the hit due to the massive national debt. "Money's not going to be worth anything."
Johnson said he didn't create jobs in New Mexico as governor, but "businesses went to bed at night knowing I would veto legislation that would hurt them," he said, adding that a balanced federal budget would be his top priority.
Johnson is a proponent of the "fair tax" system where federal income and businesses taxes, as well as the IRS, are abolished and replaced with a "federal consumption tax." This, in Johnson's opinion, would create a level tax playing field.
"The more money you make the more you pay but it promotes savings," Johnson said. "No withholding from your check as an employee...It would create tens of millions of jobs overnight."
He favors reform of Medicaid, Medicare and Social Security, removing troops from Afghanistan and Iraq, allowing the "magic" of free markets to operate especially for health care, eliminating the U.S. Department of Education, simplifying the work visa program and the legalization of marijuana.
North Salem's Wally Stickney liked that Johnson took the time to outline every aspect of his platform while addressing the Rotary.
"Instead of focusing on one or two issues he focused on the totality of the things he would do as president which I thought was very interesting," Stickney said. "Some of them require significant changes, social changes as well."