I’ve been following the Governor since some friends started talking about him a couple of years ago when he launched the Our America Initiative. Honestly, before that point, I’d never heard of the man.
Even though I’ve been following him for a couple of years and know quite a bit about him and his positions, this book revealed far more that even I didn’t know – and convinced me even more that this is the man that America needs in the White House.
For example, while I’ve always known him to be forthright, I didn’t know to the exact extent he held himself until reading the chapter about honesty. Truman once famously said “The Buck Stops Here.” Johnson lives that statement, even when he knows the honest answer may wind up hurting him, as it did in New Mexico a time or two.
And I had never known about his program as Governor to allow any citizen of his State 5 minutes at a time to talk to him about anything they needed or wanted to speak to him about. For a few hours every evening, he set aside time to hear directly from the people. Not the various lobbying groups that haunt all Capitols, but the people directly. I personally think that made him a better Governor, and I would challenge all Governors to emulate that program (apparently his immediate successor, Bill Richardson, did at least for a time). Can you imagine how in tune a President would be with the American people if he had such a program? No more lobbyists in the Lincoln bedroom, no more “Celebrity President”, simply average Americans telling their President exactly what is on their mind.
Along the way through this book, you meet both the man and his ideals. You learn about the very human, very pragmatic side of the man who became known as Governor Veto – and you learn exactly why he vetoed so many bills.
In an age of increasing polarization of the electorate, this book stands as a shining example of a man who is well respected by all sides, even those who oppose his views. As he sometimes says on the campaign trail, he is the only candidate for President who the residents of his state wave at him with all five fingers, not just one.
This review of Seven Principles of Good Government by Gary Johnson was originally published on August 24, 2012.