Tonight at 6pm Pacific/9pm Eastern time, nine GOP presidential hopefuls will take the stage in a live question and answer session intended to familiarize Americans with the candidates. This will be the seventh so-called debate in the 2012 presidential primary season, and the second to include Governor Gary Johnson, who appeared in the first of these debates back in May but who has not been permitted to participate since. In a surprise (but welcome) decision on September 20th, Fox News invited Johnson to participate in the debate over the objections of the Florida Republican Party, a co-sponsor of the event.
Johnson was the Governor of New Mexico from 1994 to 2003, a republican elected and reelected in a predominantly democrat state. Unlike some republican governors elected to liberal states, he was uncompromising on fiscal policy, using his gubernatorial veto over 750 times in his eight years in office. This proves two things about voters that seem to be forgotten in today’s political climate: that voters will back a candidate they believe has integrity even over one with whom they agree on policy issues (within reason, of course) and that voters are hungry to escape from the unholy alliances that party politics force.