Libertarian campaigns to 150 at Bowling Green nightclub

Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson tells the crowd in Bowling Green that voting for him would rain on the two-party system. He spoke there downtown Friday.
Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson tells the crowd in Bowling Green that voting for him would rain on the two-party system. He spoke there downtown Friday.

BOWLING GREEN — Jake Streacker of Fremont said he may not agree with everything former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson says, but the Libertarian has his vote for president.

“I like the frankness of his message. I like the fact that he’s campaigning for his ideas, not necessarily for a vote,” the 24-year-old said after Mr. Johnson spoke Friday afternoon at a Libertarian rally at the Clazel, a former movie theater turned nightclub in downtown Bowling Green.

PHOTO GALLERY: Johnson in Bowling Green

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“What I like about his candidacy is that I don’t have to agree with him on issues,” Mr. Streaker said. “I just have to agree with him on the fact that it shouldn’t be our business.”

“It” is everything from airport security to military intervention to health care and what two consenting adults do in the bedroom.

“Less government is better government,” Mr. Johnson said to the 150 or so people in attendance. “Keep government out of the bedroom. Don’t be making choices for me that I should be making.”

Mr. Johnson, a former Republican who joined the Libertarian cause after an unsuccessful campaign for the GOP presidential nomination last year, said he was more liberal than President Obama on social issues but more conservative than Republican challenger Mitt Romney on fiscal issues.

He wants to abolish the Internal Revenue Service and the Federal Reserve. He wants the federal government to get out of the health-care business and pass associated funds to states to create their own systems for their poor and elderly. He wants to put airports and airlines in charge of security.

He favors legalizing marijuana and making it easier for immigrants who want to come to the United States to work to get work visas. He’s pro-choice and supports same-sex marriage.

And his plan for job creation? Get rid of income and corporate taxes in favor of a national sales tax.

“I’m embracing the fair tax,” Mr. Johnson, 59, said. “I think that’s the answer to tens of millions of jobs being created in this country as opposed to anywhere else.”

His was a message that resonated — or at least piqued the interest of — some in attendance who said they were still undecided voters.

David McClough of Bowling Green said Mr. Johnson offers “a very nice alternative to the two existing parties.”

“I am interested in the message — it’s a positive message,” he said. “I like the frankness. I like the willingness to take on issues that are politically dangerous.”

He said — much as Mr. Johnson did — that a vote for a third-party candidate was not a throw-away vote, especially in Ohio.

“This is a state where every vote matters,” said Mr. McClough, an assistant professor of economics at Ohio Northern University in Ada. “Right now it’s a toss-up. When you choose to vote for Gary Johnson in this state, you are making a massive statement and you can be very pleased knowing you’re not wasting your vote. You’re forcing the parties to acknowledge a lot of folks aren’t satisfied with the two options.”

Mr. Johnson, a self-described entrepreneur who was elected governor of New Mexico in 1994 and 1998, told the crowd it would only be a waste to vote for a candidate you did not believe in.

“I’m hoping to rain on the party,” he said. “I’m hoping to rain on the two-party system.”

Bre Forkapa, 19, of Toledo liked that image.

“Red or blue. There’s no white,” she said of the current two-party system. “He’s the white of it.”

Contact Jennifer Feehan at: or 419-724-6129.