For a typical presidential candidate, admitting to illegally smoking marijuana just a few years ago would be badly damaging. But Gary Johnson isn’t a typical candidate. He’s a libertarian prophet crying out for the Republican Party to “get back to the religion of the pocketbook,” and spreading his message takes precedence over appealing to Republican primary voters. His personal marijuana story may even help him spread the word. And marijuana legalization may, in fact, be a much easier sell to Republican primary voters than Johnson’s positions on national security, foreign policy, and social policy.Johnson is for cutting the national defense budget by a wide margin (though he won't put a dollar amount on it), is adamantly pro-choice, and supports gay marriage. Unlike Ron Paul -- the most visible national libertarian candidate right now -- he is pro-Israel.
It'll be interesting to see how far Johnson makes it through the GOP wringer while being as fiscally conservative as Paul Ryan but as socially conservative as Nancy Pelosi. My guess is that he won't get very far. Regardless, Johnson's "Our America Initiative" is a big indication that he's gearing up for a 2012 bid.