As election season heats up, Judge James P. Gray, author of Why Our Drug Laws Have Failed and What We Can Do About It, took some time out of his campaigning to answer questions about running for Vice President of the United Staes on the Libertarian Party ticket.
What prompted you to run for Vice President on the Libertarian Party ticket with nominee Gary Johnson?
Based upon his stature, courage, and accomplishments as a two-term governor of New Mexico, for a long time I had been calling Governor Gary Johnson the most qualified person to be president that I knew of. So when he asked me to be his running mate, what was I supposed to say?
What can your running mate do to help the country and what will you do to help him achieve that goal?
Our country is in serious trouble on numerous fronts. Taking just three of them: the economy, jobs and education. President Obama and Senator Romney are spending hundreds of millions of dollars on TV ads, and not talking about their records – because they can’t – nor about their ideas – because they almost literally don’t have any – but instead spending all this money showing how inept the other one is – and we agree with both of them! Today of every dollar the federal government is spending, we are borrowing 43 cents! That is simply not tenable! We will submit a balanced budget to Congress in 2013. This so-called radical budget of Paul Ryan will not balance the budget for 28 years. We will conduct an audit of the entire federal government, and reduce spending on programs and agencies that are not giving value for our tax dollar. Similarly, we will repeal the income tax, which will make our products – both manufactured and agricultural – more competitive with other goods around the world. With that result, companies will bring their manufacturing back to the United States. In effect we will have a reverse outsourcing of jobs. Regarding education, we will empower parents to control where the government’s money is spent on the education of their children. As such, they will demand excellence. This program is now working famously well in Milwaukee and New Orleans, and it will work in the rest of the country under the leadership of Governor Gary Johnson as well.
Your platform involves balancing the budget, rethinking education, extending civil liberties, developing a plan for legal immigration, reforming health care, and environmental protection issues. How do you feel your approach to these issues differs from the other candidates?
In so many ways, like set forth above, Romney and Obama are the same. We come at Obama from the left, because we would repeal the so-called Patriot Act, the National Defense Authorization Act, and the pattern of flying drones over our towns and cities to monitor citizens without a judicial warrant. And we come at Romney from the right, because we really would reduce the size, cost and intrusion of the federal government. The choice between Romney and Obama, on the one hand, and Governor Gary Johnson on the other, is stark.
One of your major platforms is reforming drug laws, which was the subject of your Temple University Press book, Why Our Drug Laws Have Failed…. How have drug laws been less effective in the time since your book was published?
When I first published my book in 2001 I was convinced that we would change our failed and hopeless policy of Drug Prohibition if only we could legitimize the discussion, and that my book would contribute to that discussion. Honestly I believe that the book has, but today in 2012 we are in a much worse position than we were 11 years ago: more drugs in our communities, more people in prison, more deaths from the drug violence, more deaths from lack of quality control, and on and on. There is simply no question that eventually we will come to our senses and hold adults accountable for their actions, but stop attempting to hold them accountable for what they put into their bodies. But until that day, we will continue to make the situations worse at all levels of our lives.
How do you feel your work as a Superior Court Judge from Orange County qualifies you as a Vice Presidential candidate?
Honestly, there is no doubt in my mind that I am more qualified than any other of the candidates for Vice President. I will be the first person to be elected to national office who was a Peace Corps Volunteer. I am the only one of the six of us running for president or vice president who has served in the military. And I am the only one who has been a federal prosecutor and a judge for 25 years. Similarly, Governor Gary Johnson has more administrative experience than both Obama and Romney combined. We are the most qualified team by far, and it is frustrating that, so far, we could not even be a part of the debates.
You and Gary Johnson are on the ballot in 47 states and the District of Columbia. How/where will you get media coverage over the next month leading up to the election?
Getting coverage from the mainstream media is one of the most difficult parts of our campaign. Why is hard to figure out. But it is best illustrated by the time in about September when Jessie Ventura was being interviewed live on CNN when he endorsed Governor Gary Johnson for President. When CNN put the interview on its website, they deleted the endorsement. But slowly we are making progress, and if people demand that we get coverage, we are sure eventually it will happen.
Will you be touring America? Where can people see/meet you and/or Gary Johnson?
Governor Johnson and I continue to travel our country in this campaign. Everywhere. People can track us through our website, which is www.GaryJohnson2012.com
You and Gary Johnson are challenging the Republican/Democrat Status Quo. What disappoints you about Republican/Democrat discourse?
As Libertarians we believe in honest competition. That is what frustrates us the most about the Republicans and Democrats, because they don’t. For example, the Republicans have traveled all around the country challenging our qualifications to be on the ballots. So far we have successfully repelled their challenges, except in the State of Michigan. And overall it is the voters and the country that will suffer for this action.
What would we do in office?
We would balance our budget, because a weak economy is the biggest threat to our security. We would repeal the income tax and bring back millions of jobs to our country, as stated above, we would keep our loyal troops out of military conflicts unless our genuine national interests and security were to be threatened, and we would repeal these threats by our own government to our freedoms and our liberties. We care about our great country, and will reverse the process of prosperity, equal opportunity and freedom slipping from our grasp. The alternative is to give up, and that will simply never happen!