I share ED’s goals of ending all of our stupid wars, both foreign and domestic. But, if lightning struck, a young woman from Kansas clicked her ruby slippers, the ghost of Elizabeth Montgomery twitched her cheek, and Gary Johnson became president, I don’t see how he’d accomplish those goals. The drug war apparatus would still be funded, as would the military. There’s significant bi-partisan support in Congress for both the DoD and the DEA, enough to ensure that any veto by President Johnson would be overridden. As for the Johnson Department of Justice, even if it soft-pedaled the drug war prosecutions, he and his Attorney General are sworn to uphold the law, and repealing drug prohibition isn’t on anyone’s Congressional radar.
One of the big problems with the Obama presidency is the mismatch between expectations and his actual power. But at least Obama’s signature issue — healthcare reform — had long and abiding support within his own party. Johnson’s anti-war agenda would attract nothing like the depth of support that HCR got. I think it’s fine to speculate about some political outlier as president, but let’s get real about any president’s ability to move the bubble on issues with deeply rooted Congressional constituencies.