Former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson has just announced his candidacy for president, and, finally, a Republican is actually running. Johnson didn't announce an exploratory committee, or that he's thinking about running. He announced that he's a candidate for president.
"I'm ready for a different America," Johnson said on the steps of the New Hampshire state house.
You may be asking: Who is Gary Johnson? Is he a serious candidate? Why have I never heard of him?
In a field of potential contenders who all talk about drastic spending cuts and echo a small-government message designed to resonate with tea partiers, Johnson is the only bona fide social and economic libertarian in the race. If Ron Paul doesn't run, then Johnson really will stand a chance to inherit the libertarian mantle in the 2012 Republican primary, though Paul formed an exploratory committee two weeks ago.
Johnson served two terms as governor of New Mexico, winning that job as an entrepreneur with no prior political experience. He earned a reputation for his vetoes, which he talks about a lot these days.
He stands for school vouchers, a balanced budget, the block-granting of Medicaid, and against the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.