Gary Johnson

Nice Guys Finish Third: Gary Johnson's Awkward Night

In order to be 'likable,' the L.P. candidate threw away opportunities to define himself better and to explain the differences between libertarian pragmatism and idealism

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CNN Libertarian Town Hall ||| CNN
CNN

Eight hours before he stepped on a CNN stage for a widely anticipated, strategically critical town hall appearance, Libertarian Party presidential candidate Gary Johnson explained to me why he was planning yet again to wear athletic sneakers to a formal event. "It's analogous to the Patriots' perfect season," he said.

Huh? Well, New England had gone 16-0 in the 2007 National Football League season then won its first two playoff games, all with head coach Bill Belichick wearing his nasty, trademark gray hoodie, Johnson explained. But under the bright lights of Super Bowl XLII, with the opportunity to make history, Belichick threw away what got him there, donned a shiny red sweatshirt instead, and the Patriots went on to lose in arguably the sport's greatest upset. Moral of the story: Don't go changing just because the venue does.

Well, so much for that. Near the tail end of Johnson's mostly frustrating, occasionally inspiring performance on CNN, moderator Chris Cuomo asked him about his footwear. It was then that I noticed for the first time that the mountain-climbing triathlete was wearing shiny dress shoes, just like a normal politician. "I always have sneakers on," Johnson stammered. "And I just—you know, everybody in my campaign is [saying] just don't blow it with the shoes."

It is possible that Gary Johnson blew it with the shoes. Or at least overthought his approach to the point of straying away from what's gotten him polling consistently at 9 percent and rising. Johnson had two main goals going into what was effectively an electoral first date: He wanted to be "likable," and he wanted to be "pragmatic." Unfortunately, the effort to embody the former tended to undercut the latter.

That tension was particularly thick at the outset, when Cuomo kept trying to get the candidates to bash Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump, and Barack Obama. You could almost see a mini-Gary Johnson sitting on his shoulder, saying "Be nice! Be nice!"

Asked to react to Trump's characterization of Clinton as "the most corrupt person to ever run for president," Johnson didn't say, "No, but…" Instead, he said this: "That is not a view that I would embrace. I don't think either of us are going to engage in any sort of name-calling. We're going to keep this to the issues, and the issues are plenty." That was already the second time in the debate he had vowed to stick to issues that he didn't bother naming (despite the very rich vein of critiques centered only on Hillary Clinton's veracity).

Then came the most excruciating passage of the night:

I knew these were going to be crucial even back then. ||| Matt Welch
Matt Welch

CUOMO: All right. Governor Johnson, let's do some word association here. I'll say the name, you hit me with the first thing that comes to mind. Remember, we've got an audience here and a lot of people watching out there, as well. President Barack Obama?

JOHNSON: Good guy. 

CUOMO: One. Governor Weld?

WELD: Barack Obama? I think he's been statesman-like the last couple of years. He had a disappointing first term, and I think he's picked up his game the last couple of years. It's gone better for him. 

CUOMO: Hillary Clinton?

JOHNSON: Hillary Clinton, a wonderful public servant, I guess I would say that. 

WELD: Old friend. Nice kid. Knew her in her 20s. We shared an office in the Nixon impeachment, real bond, lifelong. Seriously. Not kidding. 

You are less than 10 minutes into the most important introduction to voters of this campaign, one in which differentiating yourself from the existing big-party competition is kind of the point, and you can't do any better than this?

Johnson has long and genuinely said that he doesn't do personally negative campaigning, and on his effective days he then pivots to talking about his opponents' various terrible policies, which allows him to be simultaneously nice and cuttingly honest, and away we go. The "wonderful public servant" phrase for Hillary was recited as if in a hostage video; he could have said "the best example of why we shouldn't measure policies by their stated intentions" in about the same amount of breath.

There's a seemingly trivial media truth here that is nonetheless important when you've taken the trouble to run for president. And that is, you don't have to play by the TV person's rules. Reducing entire opinions of complex politicians into one-word answers is super stressful, intentionally distorting, and kind of dumb. There really are more important things for a Libertarian to say about President Obama than whether he's a "good guy," and these more-than-one-word treatments serve the important dual purpose of alerting strangers proactively to your political values.

Instead, Johnson spent too much time communicating his values defensively, sometimes confusingly, while failing repeatedly under cross-examination to draw clarifying distinctions between the theoretically ideal and the politically plausible. Given that libertarians and Libertarians alike, quite unlike Democrats, Republicans, progressives or conservatives, are constantly being asked to take their foundational ideas to their logical and most extreme conclusion, deftly navigating the theoretical/pragmatic divide is a survival necessity out there in the media jungle. This burden falls especially on those of us who live in libertarian squishville, trying to talk the Normals into ever more radical positions, in part by not coloring too far outside the lines.  

Johnson had a hard time last night keeping these distinctions sorted. The guy famous for being the first major national politician to favor the legalization of marijuana found himself awkwardly emphasizing that the L.P. ticket isn't calling for legalizing heroin, but then instead of really explaining the pragmatic reasons why he's stopping at pot, he devoted the bulk of his answer talking up the benefits of heroin harm-reduction in places like Zurich and Vancouver. Sure, nobody enjoys taking hostile policy questions from the mother of a drug casualty, and yes, Johnson eventually managed in two minutes to articulate more truth about the dangers of prohibition than you'll hear in two years on Hannity, but there's an unnecessary defensiveness about applied libertarianism that makes such answers end up sounding evasive.

You can say, while still being perfectly likable and pragmatic, that you're legalizing pot now because it's politically within reach and also by far the largest illegal drug of choice; and that you sincerely hope such legalization eventually triggers similar conversations about other drugs, but until we get there, here are some sensible harm-reduction measures we could take today. Libertarianism, when placed in contact with lived-in political reality, is going to look mighty different than it does at a Liberty Forum weekend. Professional Libertarians need not always take up the invitation to wave the policy magic wand; part of pragmatism is being humble enough to recognize that the majority of policymakers are going to disagree with you.

Asked by a witness to the horrific Orlando massacre about guns on the very first question, Johnson hemmed and hawed and declared openness to discuss policy, and otherwise sounded cagey and not particularly libertarian…until he stuck a perfectly Libertarian landing about expanding gun prohibition to people on government watchlists: "I think that these lists are subject to error," he said simply.

There were moments of fluency in the debate. Johnson was on firm footing talking about injecting more market policy into health care. He pointed out that "Look, nobody is addressing the fact that there does need to be reform to Social Security, there does need to be reform to Medicaid and Medicare." He and Weld spoke forthrightly about the disasters of U.S. military intervention. And Weld was almost dazzlingly comfortable in his own skin, towering over Johnson in confidence and poise.

Libertarians, as is their wont, were a bit over the top with despair at the performance last night. "A straight cock punch to anyone with two brain cells and a belief in human liberty," Tweeted Reason contributor Jeff A. Taylor. "More horrible than imagined. LP is dead."

But it's probable that we are well and truly not the target audience. Johnson and Weld are fighting for the broad sweet spot of "fiscally conservative and socially inclusive," which is a bloc much bigger than mere Libertarians (or libertarians), and one that just does not have a logical home anymore in either of the two major parties. In a season dominated by widely disliked, government-aggrandizing sociopaths, maybe just showing up and seeming nice and qualified enough will go farther than drawing airtight distinctions between different flavors of libertarianism.

But only with the right shoes.

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  1. Re the last paragraph: yes, there is a place for a non-doctrinairre classically liberal party in this election. Similar to what Costa Rica has. Johnson’s vision may be a good blue-print for that party but holy canoli he is a terrible architect, engineer, and everything else but blueprint-maker. No charisma, no coherency, no forethought…pretty much sounds like he was a litre of flopsweat in a half-liter bag. He’s probably lost his chance to make a dent in this election, and if the LP can’t now they should just go away.

    Based on what I’m reading, honestly, they should flip the ticket.

    1. Re the last paragraph: yes, there is a place for a non-doctrinairre classically liberal party in this election.

      Indeed there is. As a punching bag for irate Trump supporters.

      1. Your tears will be tasty.

    2. Johnson was ok. A bit disappointing overall. Having to respond to a mother distraught over the death
      of her child is nasty. Weld was extremely poised and came off well and as more honest with the Hilary
      versus Trump question.

      If Johnson does not get better, Clinton will win. And if the big recession and stock and real estate
      crash comes again as I believe it will, it might be better to have her and Obama get the blame.
      Instead the MSM message would be that the “Republican”, “Free Market”, “Libertard” Trump or Johnson
      should get the blame as everyone knows that economic disasters don’t happen over time, but if someone
      is in office 15 minutes and then a crash occurs, it is their fault.

      1. Johnson and Weld weren’t even on the same page. That’s failure.

        Clinton is going to win, period. Trump isn’t, period, and Johnson’s chances are vanishingly small, but still better than Trump’s.

        Free markets will get the blame anyways but whatever. The Crisis will still force a shrinking of government.

        1. “The Crisis will still force a shrinking of government.”

          you mean like the last one?

        2. This is why Nostradamus spoke in generalities.

      2. Johnson didn’t get better and Clinton didn’t win.

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  2. The most disheartening part is the lack of any evidence that Johnson has improved himself, which was all too predictable. He’s like Trump in that he started awful and stayed that way.

    1. Bingo. His Republican debate performances are on Youtube if you’re ever deathly bored. He has habits and ticks that he has not improved one iota on since then. One thing in common that ANY successful 3rd party candidate has is that they know their talking points by heart and recite them as such. Love or hate guys like Sanders, Nader, et. al., they were married to their message and made certain it was heard ad nauseam.

      1. Agreed. Say what you will about Trump and Sanders but they deliver their message forcefully and without apology. Most voters are deeply ignorant about issues so if you say something with conviction and refuse to apologize, you at least have the benefit of seeming strong. To be fair, the fact that the questions on guns and drugs came from emotional questioners did make it harder to be like “No here’s why the proposed policies on these issues are really ridiculous.”

        1. “wonderful public servant”

          That’s a mess up.

          I understand he doesn’t want to mud-sling, but that black-hearted wench will drag you into a death match and he has to learn to scruff up whatever shoes he has by kicking some ass and playing hard.

          Hillary is so unlikable and so clearly in it for herself I don’t think he would have lost brownie points being a tad more forceful about her.

          Just don’t pull that shit again Gary.

          BE LIBERTARIAN.

          1. That was insane. He and Weld destroyed whatever chances they had in that moment.

            1. I agree. I count that statement of his as an outright lie to us, the citizenry. I can understand not being brave enough to tell the truth, but at least don’t lie and say Hillary Clinton is “a wonderful public servant.” That statement is so wrong in so many ways Johnson absolutely had to know he was lying as the words passed through his lips.

              His choice says to me that he is too weak to do what is right and speak the truth when the truth needs to be said.

        2. Yep. Those were shit questions, and Cuomo was a douchebag moderator. Pressing points that didn’t need to be and asking them to basically bash the other candidates. His ticks are serious. He comes off way more genuine on a Stossel type interview (a friendly interview) but he needs to work on his points and delivery. The sad thing is that we know that he’s capable of and he didn’t show it, and we know it. Hopefully the rest of the public just finds him likable. That’s enough to get him in there. Weld was nearly spectacular. If only they were on the same page.

          1. almost arguing with each other over if we can get rid of the IRS was a low point.

    2. Agreed. Gary needs to go back and review his interviews and critique himself. After all these years you would hope he had perfected it into an art form instead of stammering. Nice guy, but that won’t do it. Trump would eat Gary alive and spit him out worse than Hillary Clinton.

      1. I doubt Trump would see Johnson as a real threat. In which case, while he (being Trump) would still slip in an occasional cheap shot, for the most part he’d be conciliatory and agreeable.

        Clinton would be her smug smiling self, all while counting on the media to fill Johnson’s back full of arrows.

        1. If Johnson can’t actually win, he can at least find a way to ensure Hillary does not. Cankles brings with her a thousand years of darkness.

      2. Trump is not going to eat Hillary alive. He can barely form coherent sentences.

        1. He already has been no? She has 40 times the money and yet she is only 3 percentage points ahead of him.

          1. She has always been up against polite republicans who won’t get nasty. Trump IS nasty. HE might actually be able to get her to lose her temper and show her true in public. The screaming violent incoherent cunt described by everyone around her.

  3. How difficult is it for Johnson to prep for these events? You sort of knew what the topics were going to be ahead of times. Have a 20 second, concise answer for each topic.

    Black Lives Matter–police need to be accountable, due process, drug war.
    Drug Legalization–Prohibition doesn’t work, weed legalization would likely reduce drunk driving deaths and heroin overdoses, etc.
    Shooting–Answer isn’t to take away rights in times of fear.

    Seriously, this isn’t THAT hard. Granted, not everyone is a natural on that medium but most people aren’t choosing to run for president.

    If he was prepped, then the person in charge of that should be fired immediately. It also doesn’t help to have Weld up there with him. As you noted, Weld is completely poised and comfortable–a stark contrast to Gary’s disposition. The push to get into the presidential debates will be completely negated by a performance remotely similar to Johnson’s tonight.

    1. Have you watched Johnson on Penn’s show or other longer interview type stuff? He seems better in those settings (of course the long interviews tend to be with people sympathetic to the message). Must improve a lot though. And fast.

      1. The Clinton News Network did their homework and were never going to play to his strengths, which is why the rolled him with those emotion based ‘issues.’

    2. Marco Rubio could do it, so Gary Johnson better at least be able to, and then go further than Rubio’s canned responses that Christie deflated so easily.

    3. The campaign seems (I hope I am wrong) to be almost completely incompetent and that is being widely discussed by libertarians. It was probably true in 2012 but since there was so little earned media no one could tell.

      What I have seen so far is one media guy who basically know what he is doing and then a reliance on the Ron Neilson consulting group Gary used in 2012 and for his gubernatorial races. They seem mainly dedicated to fundraising. The Gary gear website is nice but if you order something from it like buttons or signs they will take weeks to arrive as they haven’t even produced them. I ordered buttons the first week of June, one batch from official campaign and one batch from a private producer on Amazon Prime, on the same day. The latter arrived two days later, and the official campaign shipment has never come and I’ve heard nothing other than an initial email that it would take a while since no one has printed buttons yet.

      If you want to work on this campaign please start your own PAC raise your own money and do local independent expenditures. Don’t wait for the official campaign to do something.

  4. Okay, let us further examine the 2007 New England Patriots and 2016 LP ticket comparison:

    The Hoodie had Tom Brady.

    Jay Gay has Bill Weld.

    1. Yes, but Bill Weld has known Hillary since she was a child, which is a pretty big fucking deal. I mean, he’s known her for this long and has yet to be killed off as the result of any land deal gone bad, so at the very least he’s a survivor.

      1. Hillary has to have some weaknesses. For example, does she recoil i the face of holy objects like crucifixes? Any sensitivity to sunlight, garlic, or holy water? These things are important to know.

  5. There were a number of things he got wrong. I would love to know the person who said, “You should say that immigration should be as easy as possible” and “We need to completely abolish the IRS”. How are these things “fiscally conservative and socially liberal” and “most Americans would agree with them”? It just sounds extremist.

    And why can’t he and Weld agree on their positions before the get out on stage? And why can’t Weld talk some sense into him?

    1. The communist income tax sounded extremist in 1850.

  6. Shoes? *FUCKING SHOES?* What the fuck is this, a Reebok Pump throwback rationale?

    Definitive. Libertarian. Moment.

    1. Well, at least they didn’t discuss shoe size…

  7. Bill Weld is a “government aggrandizing sociopath”.

    Look at his record:

    (1) A big chunk of his adult life has been spent in the public sector or trying to be part of the public sector;

    (2) He outdid his predecessor, the Duke, in spending the hard earned money of bay state taxpayers;

    (3) He had a voracious appetite to cage folks for engaging in consensual activity while he was a US attorney;

    (4) He has always been an enthusiastic supporter of the drug war;

    (5) He has always been a vocal supporter of asset forfeiture;

    (6) He has been an outspoken champion of the income tax – witness his failure to even try to eliminate the state income tax in Massachusetts;

    (7) He did nothing to eliminate the sales tax in Massachusetts;

    (8) He presided over a rotten, corrupt republican party hackorama while governor of Massachusetts. Look at all of the people in his administration who were incarcerated, indicted, fired for incompetence, went no-where politically, and / or were associated with scandal and no show jobs and crony capitalist sweet heart arrangements;

    (9) Has never really created a job – a real job, you know, one based upon voluntary consent and untainted by cronyism. Put another way, lobbying for federal payola doesn’t count; and

    (10) Praises other government aggrandizing sociopaths like the nihilistic negro and shrillary.

    1. Let’s not forget about the cesspool known as the Big Dig.

      If you want typical republican party mismanagement and incompetence, Weld is your guy.

      But, we can’t lose sight of wedding cakes for Gay Jay types.

      1. Weld and Johnson are really both moderate, centrist democrats. It’s obvious with almost every word that comes out of their mouths.

        They would have fit in perfectly with the democrats back when that party was still nominally sane (the Bill Clinton era), but for some weird reason they get their jollies being fake republicans, fake libertarians… anything but what they really are.

        1. The Democratic party isn’t welcoming to moderate, centrist democrats.

    2. Then how did Weld get an A and high B’s as governor from the Cato Institute on fiscal policy?

      1. Clearly, Cato is in on the ‘conspiracy’ and helped pull off 9/11.

  8. Gary Johnson’s Awkward Night

    Has he ever had any other kind?

    1. [*yo mama* joke deleted]

  9. I don’t put much value in how people present themselves publicly. I’ve known too many competent people who do poorly under time constraints that you experience in conversation, but that you’d never experience in actual decision making. Unfortunately, we live in a world where public presentation is heavily weighted and a lot of unfair assumptions are made about a person based on how they present ideas publicly. It doesn’t help that Johnson is already more of a utilitarian manager than a principled leader (or at least that his principles are operational, like defaulting to markets or vetoing spending). The end result is someone who looks unstable and unknowledgeable, even though I don’t think either is the case.

    This wasn’t the teaching event I was hoping it would be. I wanted them to take every question up one level of abstraction and then formulate a broad libertarian principle that seems like common sense, which they could couch in a few pragmatic caveats. But then people don’t really like feeling as if they’re being lectured, so maybe that’s okay.

    1. You are correct–the more thoughtful types are often hard-pressed to condense complex concepts into sound bites. But what is really telling is that Johnson chose to lie and say good things about Obama and Hillary that simply were not true.

      And I’m not talking about partisan opinion, I’m talking about demonstrably not true. Hillary a “wonderful public servant” when not even her supporters and surrogates can name an achievement while she was at State Dept.? Put aside all the stuff about Benghazi and her email server–no achievements = mediocre at best, not “wonderful” as GJ put it.

  10. “I always have sneakers on,” Johnson stammered. “And I just?you know, everybody in my campaign is [saying] just don’t blow it with the shoes.”

    I have a sad.

    If you’re going to do it, own it, instead of looking like a wishy washy squish who hems and haws over what shoes to wear, and then is pushed around by your staff to put on an image.

    He could have just said “I like these. I think they look good. ”

    Decider in Chief. Not so much.

    Maybe he was aiming at CuckVote 2016. The indecisiveness and fear of disapproval by others might play well.

    1. I’m hardly the best debater, but let’s see if I can think of some alternative responses:

      Gun control question: “I am appalled at this act of an ISIS sympathizer (at the very least) who murdered people because he hates America. We need to treat ISIS like the Mafia, target them like Bill did, and have them punished. Disavowing regime change, we should bomb ISIS and drive them out of the territories they control. Taking away *your* gun (and you said you were a gun owner) would not have helped, quite the contrary. If the gun-control laws passed, which allow you to be disarmed based on some bureaucrat’s whim, that bureaucrat could render you defenseless because some hostile person lies about you and since it will be a secret process good luck getting that decision reversed. They want to take us to a regime of banning orders, which will disarm the law-abiding while terrorists remain armed and willing to kill more victims.”

      Drugs: “I am horrified and saddened at this family tragedy which you suffered while the laws on the books promised to protect you – clearly they didn’t. Thanks to prohibition, recreational drugs are the province of shady dealers who adulterate their products and greatly increase the risks of users dying or being injured. While failing to protect your son, prohibitionists imprison people, seize property without trial, and otherwise trample the Constitution.”

      1. Abortion: “The Declaration of Independence say we are endowed by our creator with the right to life. That applies to all persons, and ‘a person’s a person no matter how small.'”

        Foreign policy: “Use our troops to drive ISIS out of the territories it holds. Don’t use our troops to babysit West European ingrates.”

        Add to every answer “the budget needs to be brought under control.”

        1. Retarded process questions (fundraising, would you vote for Hillary): This is why people don’t buy what the media is selling, because the media doesn’t deal with the real issues. Let me talk about one of those real issues – the budget. Did you know [etc]

          1. “Spoiler” question: “If you like what the Democrats and the Republicans have been doing to this country, vote for a Democrat or a Republican. If you *don’t* like what they’ve been doing, vote for us.”

      2. Not great answers. My wife (who lived in NM when GJ was governor, met him a few times, and adores him) cringed several times, but in the end, still felt great about the overall presentation. I didn’t.

        Gun control question: “There are homicidal maniacs in this world. Not many, but they get a disproportionate amount of attention. We have to be happy that the homicide rate from guns is at a remarkably low point and keeps dropping. We also have to accept that there ‘s no government policy that prevents a nutbag from being a nutbag.”

        Drugs: “There is no government policy which will keep teenagers from doing stupid, dangerous, and reckless things. Destroying the Bill of Rights and hundreds of thousands of lives in a fruitless attempt to do so doesn’t strike me as a good idea.”

        Foreign policy: “We haven’t been attacked by ISIS or Syria or Libya or name-the-shithole. Primum non nocere, which is Latin for ‘Get the fuck out of there and stop making things worse.'”

        1. FWIW, my apolitical wife – who doesn’t know a Whig from a wig – was listening in the background asked at one point, ‘who are those guys? They sound smart!’ I asked if she’d vote for them and she replied, ‘based on what I’m hearing? Why not?’

          The message was refreshing nonetheless and there’s the positive I reckon in all this.

          Congrats Yanks.

          1. Can you explain to your wife that we don’t let beady-eyed floppy-headed Canucks vote?

            1. Sorry not sorry but mine does now, eh buddy, and she is a proud member of the GJ1% club.

        2. “”We haven’t been attacked by ISIS”

          But they will.

      3. While I get the Mafia (of any origin) thing it’s worth noting the Mafia wasn’t at war with state. They weren’t going around shooting up innocent people (except for a brief period during wars between families) for political reasons. So there is, I think, a bit of a distinction.

  11. I have to say, I wasn’t particularly impressed with his performance last night. For somebody insisting that the key to a libertarian future is getting in the debates, Johnson has a lot of work to do in getting his public performance up to snuff in that area. Getting in the debates and choking like he did last night is only going to hurt.

    He spent too much time and energy trying to look like a down-the-middle “moderate”, rather than presenting libertarianism as a fresh perspective. I get that Johnson doesn’t want to come across as a wild-eyed radical. But, listening to him last night, I found myself hard-pressed to see where he would be particularly interested in curbing the size and scope of government at all. At every point, he seemed to be conceding the statists’ point that the government is the right answer, just pretty please can we have just a little bit of life outside the state?

  12. This burden falls especially on those of us who live in libertarian squishville

    Population YOU, Welch.

  13. Johnson deferred or looked to defer to Weld too much. The perception of leadership is primal and people spot that stuff and don’t respond to it well. He has to remember he’s running for President not Weld.

    Weld was smooth and it shows he’s been at it a long time. He talks a mean libertarian game but if what I read about him up thread by Libertymike and he’s just another Republican hack, oof. Not good.

    CNN had to have planted the mother and Black Lives Matter dude. The former an emotional play while the latter an appeal to the narrative. It was ridiculous as it was surreal. He referred to the BLM as the diaspora or some craziness. Clearly, he’s not used to ambush journalism and isn’t Chris Cuomo an uber-progressive dolt?

    1. Yes, Weld is the more polished and came across better as a moderate centrist, but Johnson was the more libertarian. So it’s good that Johnson is at the top of the ticket, because if Weld was at the top, the libertarianism would probably be dropped like a hot coal, and Weld would just run as a moderate Republican.

  14. It could have gone worse. I try to keep a level head and not panic. That said, it sure wasn’t good. If he gets into a debate he needs to spend about 80 hours debating his aides until he has a non-stuttering, non-dodging answer to every issue.

    On the plus side, Weld looked solid, and saved Johnson’s ass a few times.

    1. It could have gone worse.

      No it couldn’t have gone any worse.

    2. He’ll never be VP, cuz Gary ain’t coming in second.
      In the ‘nobody gets 270’ scenario, the house picks the president from the top 3 finishers, and the senate chooses the VP from the top 2 finishers. Weld won’t be on that ballot.
      He should shut up and stick to fundraising. He looked like a lifeline for Gary last night, which makes Gary look weak. Showing his admiration of Hillary doesn’t help pull anti-Hillary voters to Gary.

    3. If he gets into a debate he needs to spend about 80 hours debating his aides until he has a non-stuttering, non-dodging answer to every issue.

      I’d settle for a stuttering answer that would be considered libertarian, and not half-hearted moderate Republican who likes pot.

  15. “Given that libertarians and Libertarians alike, quite unlike Democrats, Republicans, progressives or conservatives, are constantly being asked to take their foundational ideas to their logical and most extreme conclusion,”

    And when you do, in some cases, you sound nuts. Particularly guns. This past week, Tucille suggested here that all of the patrons in that club in Orlando should have been carrying. Even the NRA couldn’t truck that one. In that world, it would be a must that all attendees to a club, arena, park, or building would be packing. What, everyone should just trust libertarians with guns? And in that world, every business in those facilities would close.

    At least Johnson seems to recognize that Tucille’s vision is just a bridge too far.

    1. But it’s okay for law enforcement to come in and shoot the joint up, right?

      In your world, the innocents are always the guinea caught betwixt the criminals and law enforcement in the nether-regions of taking it up the ass.

    2. That’s not remotely the logical conclusion of gun rights. Forcing people to carrying guns is just as bad as forcing them not to.

      1. When Tucille suggests that patrons should have carried in that club, what is the cut off? What limits how many there are? Should I trust you? The reality would be everyone would start to carry. And that guy brought in an assault weapon. That would be your next demand… If the bad guys are bringing in assault weapons, we can’t defend ourselves with hand guns, we need assault weapons in that club

        Insanity

        1. What about the owner of the establishment? Shouldn’t xe be the decider?

          If xe permits packing, what is the factual predicate upon which you rely in asseverating that “everyone would start to carry?” Do you have empirical data to support that claim?

          If xe permits packing, what is the factual predicate upon which you rely in averring that “insanity” would ensue?

          Why do you claim that the Muzzie freak had an “assault” weapon? Are you assuming facts not in evidence?

          I note that you have not responded to Rufus’ question?

          1. Rufus comment is ridiculous, but you can respond to him.

            So, the owner of the club gets to deny you your “constitutional rights?” That is the basis of your argument, isn’t it? That you have a constitutional right to that gun and to bring it where you want? How is he allowed to deny you that right?

            1. You would think that as long as you have been trolling here you would understand libertarian positions enough to not ask such a fucking stupid question. The libertarian position is basically “Your house your rules”

              If a proggie business owner wants to prevent any gun on their premises that is their right. If you want to have a bar where everyone is required to carry an AK-47 and write a short essay on the latest episode of Hannity that is also your right.

          2. By the way, it is an assault weapon.

            1. You truly are a fucking idiot.

        2. Nowhere in the article did he advocate for forcing anyone to carry. He’s only saying they would’ve been safer if everyone did carry. And when the law prohibits self-defense, it is your right to break it.

          1. Given the fact that Omar certainly didn’t a shit about the Florida law forbidding him to carry in clubs.

          2. So, a club where liquor is served is “safer if everyone carried.” A couple of hundred people, many who are drunk, is a safer place if they all had guns.

            You only make my point that libertarians should answer to their illogical conclusions. Insane conclusions.

            1. Do you even know what logic is? However it makes you feel the conclusion must be accepted.

              Now in a free society, it would also be up to the owner of the place, but the fact is, state law prohibited it and Omar broke it, leaving everyone defenseless. I don’t know why you’re so blind to that fact.

              1. The owner of the place can deny you your constitutional right to carry a weapon?

                1. ^Dipshit doesn’t understand the difference between public and private.

                2. Uh yes, because it’s his property, not mine. My right to own a gun does not supersede his right to tell me I can’t bring a gun on his property. If the club owner says that only himself and whatever security he has are allowed to have weapons on his property, than he can do that because that’s his property. The constitution exists to protect me, most importantly, from infringements on my rights from the government. A club owner having the right to do decide what can or cannot be brought on his own property does not infringe on my rights.

            2. Yes the 49 dead people would be much worse off if some of them had had guns. Obviously you are an expert on the down side of shooting off in public while drunk .

          3. Even the NRA thinks that is nuts.

        3. So Jack, tell me, would the violence have been worse if even one of those folks in the club had a gun? Even if they missed the gunman and hit ten bystanders, but dropped the terrorist, it would seem at face value that would be better.

          Also, are you trying to say that if this nutjob had walked into a densely packed club with a razor sharp sword that this wouldn’t have also been a massive disaster?

          Or, just for bonus points, maybe this fella’ could have taken what’s under his sink and strapped it to himself and had a real ‘blast’ at the club?

          I mean, seriously, do you even logic? A gun is hardly the most potent weapon of mass terror a person could use. Most of the largest disasters that have ever happened involve the use of bombs. Worst school disaster? Bombs. Worst terrorist disasters? Bombs. Worst civil disasters? Bombs. Yet you’re going to sit here and tell us the guns are the problem? Hell, we should be so lucky that they continue to rely on guns first and that they spend less time researching how to make their bombs work better.

          You’re such an idiot it boggles the mind. Terrorists commit acts of terror, and you automatically turn around to disarm the people under assault. You are a true shitlord. You’d have been the first one trying to get black people disarmed during the height of the KKK.

        4. Slippery slope fallacy…

          Think of carrying guns as herd immunity when dealing with viruses and vaccines.

          Not everyone has to be vaccinated, just enough to develop herd immunity to a virus.

          Same thing with guns, not everyone has to carry, just enough to deter the criminals.

          Also, many people who CAN carry choose not to. I am such a person–the reason is that I have studied enough to know that violent crime is largely decided by the neighborhoods/locations you spend most of your time in. Most people that CAN carry won’t ever need to for their entire lives.

          Ironically, it’s the inner-city people that are banned from carrying that need to the most, but oh well. Let them keep voting Democrat…

        5. Under a less gun Prohibitionist regime and culture we might expect concealed carry would be allowed, and a private owner of a club – or bridge or tunnel or street or sidewalk – who told patrons not to carry would then be expected to provide adequate security.

          Loons would be aware these are no longer gun free zones.

      2. Correct.

  16. The guy who is going all in on getting into the presidential debates as the springboard to getting elected sure is an awful debater. What a wasted opportunity to get his message out.

  17. The answer was always that Rand Paul should have resigned from the GOP and ran for the LP nomination. He not only would have articulated the libertarian cause better, he would have had s real opportunity to deny anyone 270 electoral votes, and then actually winning in the House. He not only could have pushed Libertarian causes further, he had a true chance of winning. Johnson? Neither.

    A true opportunity lost.

    1. This, this, a hundred times this. I am shocked that it didn’t happen.

      1. Rand Paul seems to hate the Libertarian Party. Maybe he is libertarianish but he disapproves of it as a strategy and belittles people who run as Libertarians and in many cases like Sarvis in 2013 actively campaigns against them, even saying dishonest things in public.

    2. Eh… Rand Paul doesn’t come across that great in person either.
      That’s one reason he never got any traction in the R primary.

      1. I think in hindsight if Rand knew that it was going to end up Trump V. Hillary he might have done just that. However he, like many of us, probably didn’t realize the election was going to end up with literally the bottom of the barrel winning both major parties spots.

    3. Rand Paul would hand Ann Frank to the Gestapo in exchange for a ban on abortion. Impostors can join the Tea Party, Prohibition or Constatooshun outfits. There are four antichoice prohibitionist parties and only one LP.

  18. Striving for pragmatic is a great way to get me to lose interest in voting for you.

    1. Which, for the most part, is what ultimately sunk Rand Paul’s effort. Ahh,the irony!

  19. I was unable to watch bit it Looks like it was a swing and a miss. Too bad because this was a golden opportunity blown.

  20. Do you folks think GJ’s poll numbers will drop from here?

    I think they will.

    The performance was so poor that it was indefensible. It’s quite clear that GJ is not fit for president, and that’s OK. What’s worse was that he probably tarnished the basic principles of a classical liberal.

    1. All I can say about this is the following:

      Does this imply that you think Trump or Hillary are fit to be President? I only ask because, if you want someone in office who is fit for President, your only option is to climb into a cryogenic canister for the next 4 to 8 years. Even then you’re just hoping. Personally, you might want to just climb in and set the timer for 100 years.

    2. Since no one watched it the countdown clock CNN ran for two days that read “Libertarian Presidential Townhall” was probably great exposure and the actual Townhall irrelevant.

  21. The harping about reforming Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security, though truthful, is a non-starter. If voters even remotely cared about that, it would have happened decades ago. They don’t.

    What infuriates me about Johnson, especially, is that when he goes to talk about things like entitlement and healthcare reform, he doesn’t even get into actual pro-market policies that most people would likely agree with, like abolishing the various regulatory strangleholds – make more drugs OTC, expanded the authority of nurse practitioners, demand that the AMA open more medical schools or break-up its monopoly, allow the purchase of health insurance across state lines. Most emphatically: Do not mandate that citizens are legally compelled to give their money and their private medical data to government-approved corporations.

    Fuck, what a disappointing year for the LP.

    1. Just like every other time?

    2. If you think the AMA runs medical schools and has a monopoly, you probably shouldn’t be commenting on the issue until you educate yourself.

      1. Do you have some point to make, or are you just being a dick?

  22. The ideal libertarian candidate would be a version of Jimmy McMillan. Colorful and entertaining that amuses the media and so give him airtime, where he repeats a punchy mantra. Who can then go in to explain how to address the issue raised in the catch phrase. The rent is too damn high obviously we need to get more housing built and the em pediment to doing so is corrupt zoning that favors wealthy insiders.

    1. Matt Welch would be a good candidate to explain the principles in ways that are easy for people to understand.

      Somebody just needs to dress him up properly.

      1. You are forgetting that episode in Prague with the dancer.

  23. You never hear intelligent critiques of Trump or Clinton by their supporters. That’s what I love about being Libertarian. I enjoy being surrounded by individual free thinkers. Problem is the lack of sheep mentality will probably never get a Libertarian elected president.

    1. Problem is the lack of sheep mentality will probably never get a Libertarian elected president.

      Perhaps not, but it’d be nice if one were even running.

  24. What a mealy-mouthed bitch.

  25. I knew it would be bad in here, but it’s fucking worse than I thought. You perfection-demanding people are part of the reason liberty doesn’t advance.

    Yes, there were many times where I would have liked a different answer. The praise on Clinton about made me throw up. But come on, try to have a little wider world view and know that you live in a tiny bubble of libertarian philosophy in a sea of people who don’t care and don’t spend their time on message boards puffing out their chests pontificating about political philosophy.

    My wife’s eyes glaze over the moment I start talking politics. She especially hates it when I get all strident about the morality of liberty and the bankruptcy of the political elites. Well, she liked Johnson and Weld. She thought they seemed positive and thoughtful. She liked them even when I couldn’t hold back my complaints about them. Perhaps she’ll mention them to her other non-political friends.

    Yes, Johnson and Weld are far from libertarian purity. I would call them libertarianish, kind of like the Pauls. But they are far and away better than the other two candidates. When you’re making sausage, it’s pointless to try to keep your smock sparkling white. Let the people at Cato, Reason, FEE, IJ, Mises Institute, FIRE and others wear the sparkling white smocks.

    1. I agree in a general sense, I don’t care if Johnson disagrees with me on two things if he promotes liberty better than the two-party authoritarians.

      I’m glad to hear a report that someone outside the party tent viewed them positively. Maybe lots of people saw it like your wife, that’d be great!

      I was trying to put myself in the shoes of a possible voter thinking about voting third party for the first time, and my problem wasn’t with his purity, it was that he didn’t seem willing to stand for anything in particular. A lot of libertarian ideas mixed with a lot of “but that’s definitely negotiable.”

    2. My problem is that he came off looking unprepared. He seemed unable to give general concise and coherent answers to some of the questions. He stammered on the question for what libertarian things he did as governor. “I was like seriously?” How about, “I made 700 vetoes on legislation that would’ve either wasted tax payer dollars, made government more intrusive, or would’ve served no benefit to the tax payers of New Mexico other than make politicians look good.” Short and concise to the point and it goes to his message of being “fiscally conservative and socially tolerant.”

      Looking unprepared, relying too much on your running mate, that’s a good away for the voters and the media to not take him seriously. Even the question about who he would support between Clinton and Trump, he should have had a quick response to this and he should’ve sat down with running mate to make sure that they were on the same page on both this issue and every other issue. I mean if you can’t get your running mate on the same page that both the major party candidates are so terrible that we had to put ourselves out there as an alternative, then what’s point of running in the first place?

      Gary Johnson’s problem isn’t that he’s not pure, its that he doesn’t seem to be willing to do the work necessary to run for President. If he’s not willing to do hours of debate prep, meet with donors and do all things he said he hates doing and doesn’t want to do, then he’s just wasting our time.

      1. Watching it I was thinking about what you are thinking. but I have (somewhat) re-considered. Maybe he was trying to play towards all those people in the viewing audience who really have no concept of libertarianism – who might otherwise be sympathetic, but might also be put off by something that might be easily spun by the Clinton News Network as ‘toll roads for everyone.’

        He is a politician, and in that sense maybe he does know what he’s doing. It might just be hard for us to see it from our perspective.

    3. I agree with the general strategy of moderation but it was totally incoherent, unprepared, and terribly delivered!

    4. Maybe they are germaphobes?

  26. My wife’s eyes glaze over the moment I start talking politics. She especially hates it when I get all strident about the morality of liberty and the bankruptcy of the political elites. Well, she liked Johnson and Weld. She thought they seemed positive and thoughtful. She liked them even when I couldn’t hold back my complaints about them.

    This is encouraging. I didn’t watch and don’t plan to watch because I know it’ll be disappointing for me, but that’s me–the majority of the electorate isn’t like me. Maybe Johnson and Weld can appeal to a large enough number of people even though their performance is disappointing from my perspective.

  27. I’m going to say, just based on the transcript, that Weld did seem like the more prepared, more polished speaker.
    The few points where Johnson stood out was in his later answers on ending the drug war. Not so much the harm-reduction heroin answer, but talking about how the drug war has turned so many people into felons and it’s impact on black people.

    The one really BAD moment was when he started talking about eliminating the IRS. That’s where he veered into kook territory, and then he had no serious answer when asked to flesh out his consumption tax idea. It’s like he never really thought about it at all. You don’t throw out your kooky idea on national TV in your one opportunity to make a good impression if you haven’t fully thought out the idea. I have no idea what he was thinking.

    1. The one really BAD moment was when he started talking about eliminating the IRS. That’s where he veered into kook territory, and then he had no serious answer when asked to flesh out his consumption tax idea. It’s like he never really thought about it at all. You don’t throw out your kooky idea on national TV in your one opportunity to make a good impression if you haven’t fully thought out the idea. I have no idea what he was thinking.

      That’s what concerns me too, and that’s why I can’t bring myself to watch. If you’re gonna throw ideas out there (especially fairly radical ones), you have to be able to explain the rationale and the benefits flawlessly.

    2. I agree with you that sometimes Johnson doesn’t seem to have canned and precise answers to things. However, the consumption tax has been pretty well fleshed out in the Fair Tax proposal. Johnson mentions that and hopes people will go there to learn more.

      I’m stuck on questions like this. How useful is it to go into deep detail about tax policy when you only have a minute or two before you lose your audience?

      I think presidents should articulate general principles from which their decisions will flow rather than go into minutia about particulars. Leave that to white papers written by staff and think tanks.

      1. Johnson IMO is tactically smart to limit the details on tax but point to a specific proposal at a website. He’s tactically not smart to claim he’s going to abolish the IRS. That Clinton and Trump are the major nominees proves that a lot of voters have a lot of stupidity, naivete and/or ignorance, but you’ve gotta have those things pouring out your ears to believe there won’t be an IRS.
        And fundamentally a flat-type tax (even with a rebate at the bottom end) will never fly. Realistic small govt people have to accept significantly higher tax rates for rich people. Yes it’s a slippery slope with big craters of moral hazard as people vote to make other people pay for their lives. But a flat type tax is just not happening, simple as that.
        A tax that’s more tilted to taxing consumption rather than labor and investment could happen. And it’s critical it happen to spur growth, because at today’s growth and spending trend we go bankrupt.

    3. One other thing – I wouldn’t describe the Fair Tax as kooky. It has been developed and promoted by Republicans in Congress. It has been discussed by mainstream Republican presidential candidates using almost identical language.

      1. Libertarians have far more important thungs to worry about than tax policy. Things like faces on currency.

  28. Are we sure Johnson is a libertarian and not a conservative democrat?

    1. No we are not sure. He’s also a liberal republican. The problem is, what the fuck do the words conservative, liberal, democrat, or republican even mean?

    2. He’s absolutely a moderate, centrist democrat. Of course, the democratic party today is so insane and has gone so far off the rails that he would probably be way too far to the right for them, but he would have fit in perfectly with Bill Clinton and the DLC crowd back when that party was still nominally sane.

      1. Cool story bro.

    3. Johnson never was libertarian. For a movement that has impossibly high standards, even Hayek would probably fail the purity test. He is libertarian enough though.

      1. Couldn’t we have got someone who could say more about libertarian than “fiscally conservative and socially liberal”?

  29. Hillary is a good kid? Are you fucking kidding?

    1. He was on the Clinton News Network

    2. Obviously that was a joke, like when he feigned the heart attack at CPAC.

  30. I agree with the others that said Jaguar Johnson is cringe-worthy

    I’m still voting for him, but shaking my head in the booth over our first presidential candidate with fucking Aspbergers

    seriously Johnson, this isn’t Cuck the Vote. Read Hardball (or better yet, Hardball for Women) and start playing the game instead of wishing it would go away.

    Unofficial Ambassador to Belize was right when he said GarJo was uncomfortable in his own skin and it absolutely FLOORS me that he hasn’t even improved an iota in presenting himself or his ideas.

    this is the textbook definition perfect moment for the Libertarian movement to define itself with a gaggle of media gatekeepers being outright ignored by The Centipede is a Deadly Predator/consummate alpha male extraordinaire and a has-been sociopath who could very well be indicted.

    for cuck’s sake Johnson… I wish Weld would just play “are you rushing or are you dragging?” with you in the green room each time before you put yourself in front of a camera https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q-aXOrAp_zA

  31. Great writing. Slightly off topic, but this is one of the best written pieces I’ve read in awhile.

  32. As painful as last night may have been, GJ and Weld did not say anything worse that the shit that comes out of Trump’s mouth, and did not give canned responses like the Hillbot. Granted they have a much higher hurdle than the established parties but I don’t think they did anything to hurt (or help) themselves. This was their coming out party and they still have two months to make it to 15%.

  33. Here is a UPI story about the CNN town hall that is pretty favorable I must say:
    http://www.upi.com/Top_News/US…..466642743/

  34. The local AM this morning ran with “Gary Johnson says building a wall is just insane.”

    Lots of time infront of the camera and the take away that is parroted is “Libertarians are anti-border fence”.

    Not the worse thing that could be memed.

    1. “Lots of time infront of the camera and the take away that is parroted is “Libertarians are anti-border fence”.

      Not the worse thing that could be memed.”

      Agreed. At least nobody can claim he is stealing votes from Trumptards now.

  35. Weld is a downer on this ticket
    They also both choked on the abortion question.
    Johnson: > Planned Parenthood I think Republicans, really, they alienated a lot of people when they stopped – when they talk about de-funding Planned Parenthood.

    How can any Libertarian, pro-life or pro-choice support funding Planned Parenthood?

  36. I don’t know about a lot about the L party. Samantha Bee’s coverage of the convention was hilarious but I’m sure played for laughs. But the general impression I get is that Johnson is about as ‘mainstream’ a person as the existing Lib party would ever nominate. But I can see and hear for myself that he’s too loopy to take his party to the next level.
    It would be a more serious ticket if Weld/Johnson but besides Weld not being what the hardcore Libs want, it’s questionable whether a lot of the general electorate really wants any variation on ‘socially liberal, fiscally conservative’. I’m socially conservative and ‘fiscally conservative’, actually pro-free market, pro-growth is the more important part of the non-social side. And I’d much rather get the fiscal/market side right than the social side if I had to choose. I’ll live my life socially conservatively either way, but the country is on its way to ruin from fast growing entitlements paired with slow growth choked off by govt interference.
    But, Trump, who hardly talks about social conservatism (and nobody believes him when he does), has already shown what a big chunk of the GOP really wants: big government, but to benefit real ‘Murricans, not ‘them’. And Obama voters want big govt, that’s an outright majority right there as of last time. So how many people actually want small, or even somewhat smaller, govt? That’s the basic problem, even if Johnson were a better candidate.

    1. Westy, I think the problem is most people you describe equate big government with generous hand outs. Of course they want that, but then they complain when the government takes with the other hand through taxes and restrictions on things they enjoy like soda and cigarettes. They can’t have it both ways and the libertarian message, as I’ve understood, is that less government comes with greater personal responsibility, which may be too much for most to handle.

  37. The Libertarian Party’s understanding of liberty and its vision of freedom is incomplete and its focus misguided! And whatever understanding it does possess, it dilutes in order to be moderate, at least its top leaders!
    Really, its largely useless to the advancement of freedom!
    robertsrevolution.net

  38. “You can say, while still being perfectly likable and pragmatic, that you’re legalizing pot now because it’s politically within reach and also by far the largest illegal drug of choice; and that you sincerely hope such legalization eventually triggers similar conversations about other drugs, but until we get there, here are some sensible harm-reduction measures we could take today.”

    Well, one could say that, but isn’t that precisely why libertarianism never goes mainstream in terms of being competitive in national elections? MOST Americans believe in a smaller and less intrusive government, but most Americans (or at least among those who understand what a libertarian is) also believe that those who self-identify as Libertarian are extremists. From the quoted sentence, I can assume that you believe the legalization of pot is a stepping stone to the legalization of everything, including heroin. It’s fine, if that is one believes, but that’s a losing platform in this country from now until eternity.

    I think that if a candidate comes out and says or even implies that..

    ‘In all my judgments, I’d like to come down on the side of liberty. However, in terms of legalizing drugs, marijuana is probably the biggest leap that the public could accept for now.’…

    this renders that candidate utterly unelectable. Maybe, just maybe, legalizing certain drugs (or other things) is just really bad public policy.

    1. I don’t see how most Americans could want smaller and less intrusive government but also want the government to infringe upon the fundamental right to control your own body. There’s a contradiction here, unless “smaller and less intrusive” means a government that is only different from our current government by an almost completely undetectable amount.

  39. needs quit the pot and start taking Adderall

  40. Can we stop pretending there’s no difference between a libertarian’s definition of “inclusion” and that of a typical liberal?

    The left’s vision of “inclusion” is a “It’s a Small World After All” Disney ride of a society where every aspect of humanity and culture must be represented at every turn, even at the end of the sword. if whites and Asians make up most of the elite colleges, then these schools must find ways to accept other students, regardless of individual merits and efforts.

    The left doesn’t support gay marriage because it’s an act between consenting adults. Their motivation is empowering their protected groups. They’ll lash out at DFS, prostitution or campaign spending citing all kinds of moral reasons.

    The libertarian social inclusion will allow for EXCLUSION, because they embrace “live and let live”. You don’t want to make cakes for gay weddings or shemales to use women’s bathrooms? They can. Women want to get abortions, that’s fine. A Catholic hospital doesn’t want to perform abortion, that’s fine too. The center right cares about “liberty” and won’t sacrifice it for “equality”.

    Bottom line – a socially tolerant liberal is NOT “inclusive” in the ways of freedom, is not one of us, and most will not vote for Johnson.

  41. Yes, I cringed a few times, but every time I also had to admit that their responses probably got them more supporters. There must be plenty of voters out there who won’t vote for Trumpary because they aren’t being nice, and are glad to vote for a couple of gentlemen.
    I’m a typical INTJ (INTJ’s know what one is), and Johnson and Weld are most likely Sensates–they speak the language of Sensates (who are pragmatic and don’t mind dealing with reality in pieces that don’t fit a principled whole)–so I recognize that they are not working from internal principles as I do, but they’ve reached the same conclusions (mostly) due to their experiences. As I like to say, some libertarians are born, and government makes the rest. “Government doesn’t work very well for most things” is the conclusion they’ve reached, and that’s good enough to be way better than any of the other candidates.
    Besides, I was there at UC Berkeley in 2012 and watched Johnson grow an audience that came to eat lunch, started listening, and kept getting bigger as he spoke. Sensates make up 75% of the US population. We INTJ’s are a tiny minority often willing to vote for people who “can’t win,” but I think these candidates broaden the appeal of our ideas, and ultimately, the voters decide who can win.

  42. Yes, I cringed a few times, but every time I also had to admit that their responses probably got them more supporters. There must be plenty of voters out there who won’t vote for Trumpary because they aren’t being nice, and are glad to vote for a couple of gentlemen.
    I’m a typical INTJ (INTJ’s know what one is), and Johnson and Weld are most likely Sensates–they speak the language of Sensates (who are pragmatic and don’t mind dealing with reality in pieces that don’t fit a principled whole)–so I recognize that they are not working from internal principles as I do, but they’ve reached the same conclusions (mostly) due to their experiences. As I like to say, some libertarians are born, and government makes the rest. “Government doesn’t work very well for most things” is the conclusion they’ve reached, and that’s good enough to be way better than any of the other candidates.
    Besides, I was there at UC Berkeley in 2012 and watched Johnson grow an audience that came to eat lunch, started listening, and kept getting bigger as he spoke. Sensates make up 75% of the US population. We INTJ’s are a tiny minority often willing to vote for people who “can’t win,” but I think these candidates broaden the appeal of our ideas, and ultimately, the voters decide who can win.

  43. The man is a terrible candidate. He doesn’t fight his corner worth a shit. This was his best chance, and he mealy mouths it. Weak.

  44. Let Weld come up with the talking points. Johnson’s are awkward at best, often goofy or counter-productive. Who’s running this show?

  45. Is anyone surprised? Gary Johnson has always been a fucking tard nugget when it comes to presenting himself as anything other than a guy who ran some marathons and climbed a big ass mountain. Did i mention he climbed a big ass mountain?

  46. At this point, the objective is for Johnson to stand out as a much safer candidate than the alternatives. It’s not the right time to be instructing the world about libertarian dogma. Many of those who vote for Johnson will not be libertarians in the purest sense. As an ancap, I am comfortable voting for him because his election would clearly result in a net decrease in the size and scope of the state. As he has stated, he can’t legislate, but can only sign legislation.

    But maybe he should keep the shoes – as a trademark.

  47. I’m just sad he walked back on the “trump is a pussy,” comment. i was really looking forward to hearing that, if he makes it into the debates.

    1. Trump is a pussy and Hillary will eat him for lunch.

  48. RE: Nice Guys Finish Third: Gary Johnson’s Awkward Night
    In order to be ‘likable,’ the L.P. candidate threw away opportunities to define himself better and to explain the differences between libertarian pragmatism and idealism

    I recognize that it’s too late, but the LP must get a better candidate than Johnson.
    He has a hard time communicating the LP’s ideals and talks too much about himself, and don’t give me Weld either. He’s just another republican attention whore.

  49. Gary Johnson = LINO.

    *Libertarian In Name Only*

  50. No wonder Mitt Romney is thinking of endorsing. They have the same debate coach .

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