Gary Johnson: the Presidential Candidate for Non-Crazy Americans

Johnson's ideas have appeal, but he needs to communicate them better.

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Gary Johnson
Reason TV

It was a big night for the Libertarian Party. CNN aired a special townhall event with the two former Republican governors heading up the ticket: Gary Johnson and William Weld.

Johnson, unfortunately, was underwhelming. He struggled to explain his philosophy to voters who don't already grasp it. Weld fared much better, although he almost made Johnson look worse by comparison.

Even so, there couldn't have been a more perfect time for the libertarians to make their case to non-crazy Americans. "We reject the extremes of both parties," said Weld. This might as well have been the theme of the evening. As I wrote in a column for The Daily Beast:

As Johnson and Weld spoke to CNN viewers, a curious spectacle was unfolding in the House of Representatives where Congressional Democrats, led by former civil rights icon Rep. John Lewis, staged a sit-in to demand federal action on gun control. Specifically, they want Republicans to sign off on a plan, supported by President Obama and Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, that would prohibit citizens on the no-fly list from purchasing firearms.

Such a policy would obviously violate the Constitution, which stipulates that the government may not deny citizens' their rights—and like it or not, gun ownership is a right, according to the Second Amendment—without due process. Putting someone on a watch list does not constitute due process, which is why the idea is vehemently opposed by the American Civil Liberties Union.

But extremism in opposition to liberty is not solely the province of the Democratic Party—not remotely. Earlier this week, Republican leadership began scheming to approve new surveillance powers for the FBI. If Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell gets his way, the agency would be able to monitor online activity without seeking warrants.

In the wake of national tragedies like the horrific mass shooting at Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Republicans and Democrats alike retreat to their preferred policy solutions, which would invariably punish vast swaths of people—be they immigrants, gun owners, or Muslims—for the misdeeds of a few. Neither party cares very much about civil liberties when civil liberties are inconvenient.

Johnson and Weld, however, are a breath of fresh air for Americans who want the government to consistently respect their rights.

Read the full thing here, and watch Reason TV's recap of the townhall below.

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56 responses to “Gary Johnson: the Presidential Candidate for Non-Crazy Americans

  1. OT: third acquittal in Freddie Gray trial.

  2. Johnson, unfortunately, was underwhelming.

    Fortunately, it was CNN primetime. So, you know, no one saw it. He can use this as a learning experience and be better prepared when he’s actually being televised.

  3. And OT again: shooting in German cinema:

    http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-36610068

    1. Odds on it being a white, religious, homophobic teabagger?

      1. In Germany?

        No, I’d put money on a migrant. Let me see what I’ve got in my pocket… lint, damn.

      2. It was almost certainly the ghost of Adolf Hitler making his long-awaited comeback.

      3. He will be transformed into one by the media regardless of whether he is or not.

      4. There is an easy way to check. If it’s on Drudge, it was a Muslim. If it’s not on Drudge, but it is on HuffPo, it was a white guy.

    2. But, but, but, what did the gun LOOK like? We’re we responsible in the US because of “loose” gun laws? Did the gunman have a proper license, and certified training? Did the Pols sitting on the House floor link arms and sway and sing? DETAIL, we want DETAILS.

    3. If only they had gun control….

      1. They do, it’s just that a their efforts are undermined by the lax gun laws in neighboring counties countries continents.

  4. Since I AM CRAZY, Gary isn’t for me? I feel so othered right now.

    1. You should be used to being othered by now. That should be our greeting: “Wassup, other.”

      1. Libertarian, party of one, your table is ready.

  5. As I wrote in a column for The Daily Beast:

    Because why would a libertarian magazine want to cover that shitshow.

    “I’m totally pro gun rights!”
    – but guns are scary?
    “Well, i mean, its not like i’m saying we should repeal anything. and obviously we should keep bad people from having them. and no machine guns obviously. I mean come on, everyone supports better background checks”
    – didn’t you say you were pro gun rights?
    “Totally, just like, you know within reason”
    – So what’s your deal with ISIS
    “Well i think we should treat them the way the FBI treated organized crime. my VP bill weld, will explain what this means in an anecdote involving Whitey Bulger”
    – You said we should only fight back if attacked. and then you said we were attacked.
    “well yes and no. I basically say that ISIS is a problem, but congress should be involved. You know, congress, those people sitting on the floor over there. A president shouldn’t make decisions without their input.”
    – you’re high right now aren’t you
    “Hell no! Drugs are a personal choice, but a horrible one which no one should ever take, except for weed, which isn’t like the really bad ones. We should be like switzerland. Make sure heroin is tested for purity! but also keep it illegal. this makes lots of sense because reasons.”

  6. Voting third party is for titty babies who want to opt out of making a real decision. Trump or Clinton will be the next president. No getting around it.

    1. “Voting third party is for titty babies who want to opt out of making a real decision.”

      Limiting oneself to only two out of the possible 3 or more choices on the ballot when you don’t like either of those two choices is deluded thinking.

      Of course thinking that your one vote is making a real decision is perhaps just as deluded.

      1. If voting is pointless, then voting third-party is pointless.

        It’s not about limiting “oneself,” it’s about the fact that the next president will, with 100% certainty, be the Republican or the Democratic nominee. Do you really disagree with that?

        I just think people should nut up and make a real decision and not pretend like they’re some kind of moral paragon for opting out of a hard choice. If they want my respect anyway.

        1. If they want my respect anyway.

          Why would I want the respect of a low foreheaded mouth breather? Fuck off.

        2. Let me draw a Venn diagram for you. Over here is a circle labeled “People that want your respect”. And over here, several miles away, is another circled marked “The entire fucking world”.

          1. lol. Truth!

        3. ” it’s about the fact that the next president will, with 100% certainty, be the Republican or the Democratic nominee.”

          If this is the case then what difference does it make if I vote for either? They don’t need my vote. Voting for Clinton or Trump would be nothing more than social signaling to whatever team that “I’m on the right side.” Its bullshit.

          “I just think people should nut up and make a real decision and not pretend like they’re some kind of moral paragon for opting out of a hard choice. If they want my respect anyway.”

          “Nutting up” Seriously? There is nothing “nutting up” about supporting a candidate that I fundamentally disagree with and think would be either a dangerous buffoon, or an unrepentant drug warrior.

          What “Nutting up” means to me is not giving into the silly peer pressure to vote for one of the two corrupt pieces of shit running for President simply because it shows, “I’m on the right side.” Tell me how did that work out for the voters of Virginia who now have yet another Governor under investigation for corruption?

          You talk about “third party voters” pretending to be paragons of moral virtue. When really its people like you who do this by pushing the idea that I have to participate in the two party system in order to earn “your respect.” You’re the pot calling the kettle black.

          1. Not social signalling. Voting takes place in a private booth on a piece of paper you don’t even put your name on. Social signalling is going on the Internet boasting about how morally superior you are because you’re voting third-party.

            Participating in the two-party system isn’t about moral virtue, it’s about basic intelligence. We have a two-party system. We’ve had one since Day 1, and it’s not going away any time soon. One assumes a thoughtful person would take that fact into account.

            1. Basic intelligence says not to participate at all, you douche dumpling.

            2. “Social signalling is going on the Internet boasting about how morally superior you are because you’re voting third-party.”

              And going on the internet boasting about how morally superior you are for voting for one of the major parties isn’t social signaling. And telling people there not being thoughtful or intelligent for not supporting your view isn’t making yourself out to be morally superior? Give me a break, your the pot calling the kettle black.

            3. And really if you’re on here to convince anyone of your point of view, then perhaps you shouldn’t suggest that anyone who doesn’t agree on voting for the major parties is a “titty baby” and not a thoughtful or intelligent adult. If you’re gonna start that way then why should I take you seriously as an intelligent and thoughtful adult?

              1. Touche on the social signalling. Didn’t claim I wasn’t doing that, though. I’m here to insult libertarians and chew bubblegum, and I’m all out of bubblegum.

                I say the same thing to progressives who think voting third-party is rational. They’re even more insufferable, because instead of being autism spectrum geeks who think they have valid beefs with both parties, they fell in love with a 74 year-old socialist and don’t know how to deal with how things turned out.

            4. “No way to get out of this bucket,” says crab who keeps pulling escaping crabs back in the bucket.

        4. It’s not about limiting “oneself,” it’s about the fact that the next president will, with 100% certainty, be the Republican or the Democratic nominee. Do you really disagree with that?

          If you knew, with 100% certainty, that Donald Trump would be elected president, would you vote for him, despite hating everything he stands for?

          If you knew, with 100% certainty, that Donald Trump would win the electoral college votes for the state you’re registered to vote in, would you vote for him, despite hating everything he stands for?

          If your answer to either of those questions is “no”, then you’ve just given an awesome reason for not voting for either Trump or Clinton if you disagree vehemently with what they want to do.

          1. If you knew, with 100% certainty, that Donald Trump would be elected president, would you vote for him, despite hating everything he stands for?

            If that were the case then we would be living in a banana republic type place and I’d be voting for him for fear of getting shot should I do otherwise.

            If you knew, with 100% certainty, that Donald Trump would win the electoral college votes for the state you’re registered to vote in, would you vote for him, despite hating everything he stands for?

            Better question. We’re talking about rational voting. Since Trump will win my state, the most rational thing for me to do would be to skip voting and do something productive. So I would have to qualify my point of view by saying “If you live in a swing state, voting third party is to spoil candidate X and is thus irrational.”

            But there is more to it, because popular vote matters to some nonzero degree. And the one ethical proposition I can’t endorse is the implied claim that voters in swing states are doomed to be the electoral Morlocks in our system, doing the dirty work so that the rest of us in nonswing states can vote our “conscience.” I say if voting third-party carries a moral weight it should apply to all people equally.

    2. Shorter Tony:

      Know your place and vote for one of the two approved candidates.

      1. Well, it so happens that your place is in a country where the next president will be Trump or Clinton.

        1. Not if they both wind up in prison.

        2. That’s only because most people know their place and vote for one of the two approved candidates.

          1. You must be really bad at enlightening the masses then.

            1. To be fair, they’re really bad at being enlightened. Aren’t you?

            2. Tony, you are really bad at solving world hunger.

        3. So what’s the point of voting for either if it’s already predetermined? Particularly since I find both of them unfit for office.

          1. Because they are extremely different candidates with extremely different policy platforms, and surely you lean toward one more than the other. Well, that would be the rule in any other election. This time one of the candidates is a ridiculous boob on a book tour gone terribly wrong, and any thoughtful adult can at least vote against him for the sake of the species.

            1. “Because they are extremely different candidates with extremely different policy platforms”

              Except Donald Trump no more than five years ago was a Democrat who donated to the Clintons and Pelosi. He was also pro-choice, pro-single payer health care, pro-ending the Drug War, and hell just four years ago he criticized Mitt Romney for being too tough on immigration: http://www.mediaite.com/online…..migration/

              So didn’t give me this crap that their party platforms mean anything or you know what Trump’s going to do if he gets in office. Hell the Clintons are famous for their own policy triangulations. There platforms aren’t worth the effort that was used to make them.

              “and surely you lean toward one more than the other.”

              Nope. Donald Trump is a liar and flip flopper and Hillary Clinton is a triangulator whose only been really consistent on being a foreign policy hawk, and proponent of government intervention and like Trump also a liar.

              “any thoughtful adult can at least vote against him for the sake of the species.”

              Because thinking that the Chameleon whose been a part of and friendly with the same political establishment that he now opportunistically attacks is a threat to the human species is “thoughtful”?

              1. He’s a threat to the human species because he is an incompetent, possibly senile, total headcase. It’s the presidency we’re talking about, right?

                1. And she’s a threat to the human species because she’s a warmongering statist with no integrity, is monumentally corrupt and will place her own self-interest above the safety and security of the country. It’s the presidency we’re talking about, right?

                  1. Pick your poison, I guess.

                2. “He’s a threat to the human species because he is an incompetent”
                  And this is “thoughtful”? A threat to the American Economy maybe, but to humanity? Yeah no.

                  Incompetent, maybe. But so far through the years he’s been successful at getting himself out of every bad spot he’s landed himself in, whether it’s been through the state or otherwise. I’d call that competent and corrupt. Which is why I’m not going to vote for him.

                  “It’s the presidency we’re talking about, right?”

                  Yeah and so far you’ve only attacked Donald Trump without really making the case for your candidate. Because for some reason you think I need to be convinced about Trump’s unfitness when I’ve already told you I think he’s unfit.

                  Through out many of your comments you have implied that I’m not thoughtful or intelligent for not supporting either major candidate, while failing to actually pitch Clinton. Do you really think that questioning my “thoughtfulness” will get me to vote for your preferred candidate? That doesn’t seem thoughtful to me. In fact it looks like your just presenting yourself as “morally superior.”

                  1. I don’t think making the case for Hillary Clinton would be all that fruitful considering that many of the policies she and I both support are anathema to libertarians.

                    I’m here to argue the point that voting is not an act of social signalling, it’s about choosing between two available options for the office, a sober civic duty, and that for thoughtful adults the choice should be easier than picking out an avocado.

                    I will grant a partial exception to thoughtful libertarians who genuinely hold roughly equal opposition to both parties’ platforms. But the problem with that is that I don’t believe someone can qualify as thoughtful if they don’t believe climate change is a real thing, and if you do then obviously Republicans are unacceptable before you get to any other issue.

                    1. “I don’t think making the case for Hillary Clinton would be all that fruitful considering that many of the policies she and I both support are anathema to libertarians.”

                      So really what’s the point in telling people to pick their poison? You acknowledge that your candidate’s positions are anathema to libertarians and you believe Donald Trump is unacceptable as a candidate. Really you should take the same view as my socialist brother who says, “as long as your not voting for the other guy I don’t care.”

                      “I’m here to argue the point that voting is not an act of social signalling, it’s about choosing between two available options for the office, a sober civic duty, and that for thoughtful adults the choice should be easier than picking out an avocado.”

                      Well no, you’re first argument was that third party voters are titty babies who should nutt up and vote either for the “threat to human species” or the candidate that is “fruitless” to argue for because she’s stances are anathema to libertarian views.

                      And you’re right voting shouldn’t be an act of social signaling. It should about choosing between the available options that are running for office. And because this a sober and civic duty that I take seriously as a thoughtful adult I will vote for the candidate whose governing philosophy I most agree with and who I think would make a good President. Instead of treating it like I’m choosing between two rotten avocados when really I’d prefer mango.

                    2. But there is a 0% chance you’ll get a mango.

                    3. “But the problem with that is that I don’t believe someone can qualify as thoughtful if they don’t believe climate change is a real thing.”

                      Except even If I agree with you that Climate Change is real it doesn’t mean I’m I have to believe that you and Clinton have the correct solutions for the problem. Or that I have to believe that Clinton is the most capable candidate to deal with that problem. Someone whose thoughtful would recognize that.

                      Also since I’m not a single issue voter, one issue isn’t going to super cede all others for me. So even if Donald Trump put out the perfect climate change plan, if he was still calling for expanding the surveillance state, building the big wall, deporting millions of people, and threatening a trade war. I still wouldn’t vote for him.

            2. Because they are extremely different candidates with extremely different policy platforms

              Not really. They’re both corrupt cronyists liars whom no one should ever trust.

      1. They all want cake

    3. Voting third party is for titty babies who want to opt out of making a real decision.

      Ass backwards as always. Never change, Tony.

  7. ….which would invariably punish vast swaths of people?be they immigrants, gun owners, or Muslims?for the misdeeds of a few.

    So the Democrats want to punish American citizens who are gun owners while Trump wants to punish non-American immigrants and Muslims by slowing down the number that move here. If Libertarians are for open borders then it’s probably smart to allow the citizens to arm themselves because in the long run there’s going to be a lot of trouble.

  8. Ralph Nader was exactly right when he said Al Gore had to earn his votes (and were it not for the wisdom of Tennessee voters, Florida wouldn’t have mattered). I’m going with Johnson because he’s someone I can vote for, with reasonable confidence in his ability to govern. I also want to see the election won by the smallest plurality since 1860, so we never hear the word “mandate” in that context again, and for that reason, I hope Jill Stein gets good numbers in those states where she’s on the ballot.

  9. i dint watch dat gay on Cnn i watched a nazi show on pulbic tv and they had there submarines and shit and cra shit like Oooo dam it was like Powpowpowpowpow!!!! and shit

    1. I found this comment to be more intellectually stimulating than I did Tony’s.

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