The elephant in the room

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.