Election 2016

Can Gary Johnson Really Be the Commander in Chief?

#NeverTrumpers say "No way!" but they're already against him. More important, they're wrong.

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McMullin For President Site

Just how desperate are #NeverTrump Republicans to find someone—anyone!—to vote for other than the official nominee of the Republican Party?

So desperate that once-serious powerbrokers such as William Kristol wasted his Memorial Day Weekend teasing out announcements about…a journalist and lawyer named David French, who turned down an endorsement to run for president from The Weekly Standard editor. More recently the Hail Mary pass has taken the human form of one Evan McMullin, a former House staffer and CIA hand who believes his "service has given me unique, firsthand knowledge of the threats our nation faces." As important as his being a warm body, McMullin is pro-military and anti-abortion. Given that the filing deadline has passed in 26 states, a strong grasp of planning doesn't seem to be a requirement for #NeverTrumpers when it comes to picking an alternative candidate.

The one person that renegade Republicans (who are mostly or all social conservatives and/or military hawks) absolutely refuse to consider is a former two-term Republican governor who will be on the ballot in all 50 states. The Libertarian Party nominee Gary Johnson served eight years in New Mexico, where he successfully pursued a small-government agenda by cutting taxes and slowing the growth of spending. He's joined on the LP ticket by another two-term Republican governor (who worked in the Reagan administration!), Bill Weld of Massachusetts, who pulled off similar semi-miracles in a different deep-blue state. Johnson is polling around 10 percent in national polls and is in striking distance of hitting the 15 percent minimum to make it into the presidential debates. Johnson and Weld have pledged to produce a balanced budget as their first order of business and they talk about cutting whole departments of the federal government while simplifying taxes and reducing regulations.

And still, #NeverTrump Republicans keep their eyes on the distant horizon, waiting for someone—anyone!—who might steal The Donald's thunder.

What gives? Let's be clear. #NeverTrump conservatives, especially social conservatives, view Johnson as a "nonstarter" (in the phrase of The Weekly Standard's Mark Hemingway) because he believes that a woman has a right to an abortion. Period, end of discussion. Most conservatives have effectively become single-issue voters, with abortion being a threshold question that comes first. If you believe in abortion, next. That is why every Republican politician is anti-abortion, regardless of whether they can effect any change in law (abortion rates are at their lowest since 1973, largely due to a decline in unwanted pregnancies). Johnson is actually a moderate when it comes to abortion. He says he is personally opposed to abortion but, like most Americans, he believes that abortion should be legal under some but not all circumstances. He broadly falls in line with the current legal strictures on abortion, which is that the state has no interest up to the point of viability of the fetus and then can take an increasing interest up through birth. As governor, he pushed to limit third-trimester abortions, which comprise less than 1 percent of abortions. He refuses to single out federal funding of Planned Parenthood, another conservative trip wire, for special opprobrium. From his campaign site:

Gov. Johnson recognizes that the right of a woman to choose is the law of the land, and has been for several decades. That right must be respected and despite his personal aversion to abortion, he believes that such a very personal and individual decision is best left to women and families, not the government. He feels that each woman must be allowed to make decisions about her own health and well-being and that the government should not be in the business of second guessing these difficult decisions.

Gov. Johnson feels strongly that women seeking to exercise their legal right must not be subjected to prosecution or denied access to health services by politicians in Washington, or anywhere else.

There is a limited-government philosophy at work there that conservatives and Republicans might readily ascertain, even if they don't care for the outcome in this particular instance.

Reason TV

On the somewhat-related topic of religious expression in the workplace, Johnson has further disappointed conservatives and Republicans (and many libertarians, to be sure) by believing that current anti-discrimination laws should be extended to matters of sexual orientation. In a LP candidates debate hosted on Fox Business' Stossel show, Johnson hemmed and hawed before saying that, in the bizarre hypotethical case of a Jewish baker being forced to bake "Nazi wedding cake," the baker should have to comply. He doesn't believe that specifically religious institutions should be forced to serve all comers but if you open a business to the public, you should. You can take issue with that (as my Reason colleague Scott Shackford has), but Johnson has staked out a position that is hardly hostile to the expression and exercise of religion. As he explained recently in a newspaper op-ed, he favors the route that socially conservative Utah took:

The Utah compromise barred discrimination against lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgendered individuals in employment and housing. In addition, the Utah law requires the office of every county clerk to be available to solemnize same-sex unions. At the same time, the law provides reasonable protections for the freedoms of speech and association of bona fide religious organizations — and made the religious and LGBT protections inseverable.

If Johnson's stance on social issues makes him ineligible to many #NeverTrump Republicans and conservatives, his foreign policy stance rules out interventionists and hawks. In his 2012 LP run, Johnson was the only anti-war candidate of note and he continues to hit that note in 2016, stressing that U.S. foreign policy in the 21st century has accomplished very little while raining down huge amounts of death and destruction. Stop the bombings and the wars, focus on diplomacy and trade, remains his refrain, even as he insists on maintaining a strong military for defensive purposes. As much as abortion, this is as big a stumbling block to #NeverTrump Republicans. In late July, Bill Kristol tweeted that a vote for Johnson could be "a symbolic vote for the Constitution and against both demagogic authoritarianism and demagogic nanny statism" and that "you wouldn't (I think) feel that you'd have to take a shower after voting for him, unlike Trump and Clinton." In the end, though, Kristol, doubtless speaking for many "proudly 'pro-war'" Republicans, concluded that Johnson's non-interventionism was a bridge too far.

Writing for Bloomberg View, Eli Lake adds yet one more disqualification to which #NeverTrump types can point: He doesn't come across as commander-in-chief material:

You watch him on television. It's a disaster. Johnson is about as telegenic as an educational film about the metric system. He is a gangly ball of nerves who exudes the charisma of Don Knotts from his "Three's Company" years. He smiles when he shouldn't. When asked about the Black Lives Matter movement, he offered a word salad of honest introspection, ending with: "For me personally, slap, slap wake up."…

They are voting for a commander-in-chief. And the former governor of New Mexico doesn't come off like a commander, a chief or a president of any kind. He comes off like the NASA scientist in the movie who briefs the president right before the meteor hits.

Here's the thing about that scientist. Everyone is happy that he is finally warning someone in power about the pending disaster. But he is still asked to leave the room when the president must decide what to do about it.

Let me note that I am quoted in the story and that Lake is a sometime-Reason contributor, a non-Republican, a friend, a hawk, and, I think, completely wrong here.

To the extent that Johnson doesn't come across as a smooth, unflappable politician, that's in his favor. In the wake of Barack Obama, as cool a character to sit in the White House, and George W. Bush, whose lack of felicity with words was matched by a total comfort with himself, do we need yet another leader that seems untouched and untouchable by the world around him? Just as we need a different politics in the 21st century—one that moves past irrelevant distinctions between left and right, liberal and conservative, Democrat and Republican—we need different types of politicians.

Despite the nastiness of the 2016 election, the most stunning thing so far is how both parties and both major-party candidates agree on things such as war (we need more of it), free trade (we need less of it), and spending (Hillary Clinton will raise spending from 22 percent of GDP to 22.7 percent; Donald Trump will take it to 22.5 percent). Both the Trump and Sanders insurgencies showed how played out the parties really are. Not only do record-low numbers of Americans identify as either Democrat or Republican (who can blame us?), the differences between the two parties are rapidly approaching a vanishing point. Yes, the Democrats are rhetorically kinder to immigrants, though their two-term leader has deported more immigrants than all presidents up to the year 2000 (and more than Bush did). Established prior to the Civil War, neither major party represents a clear ideological alternative to the other and, more important, they betray no interest in a forward-looking vision for the country. Rather, they seek to shore up institutions and practices and policies that have brought us only to a point of bankruptcy and record-low levels of trust and confidence in government. The Democrats want to expand the very entitlements that account for nearly 75 percent of (out-of-control) government spending while the Republicans want to preserve them (recall that the loudest GOP criticism of Obamacare was that it would gut Medicare). Whatever else you can say about Gary Johnson's platform, he is the only candidate calling for serious reductions in the size, scope, and spending of government. His battle cry "Uber everything!" at least suggests he is aware that he is living in the 21st century.

As important is his self-presentation. Yes, Johnson is not a bully or a shouter like Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton. He is not a master of artifice and doesn't channel a divine-right-of-kings vibe. Do we seriously need or want that in today's America and today's world? In the Black Lives Matter example that Lake cites above (it came up during CNN's Libertarian Town Hall with Johnson and Weld), Johnson's candor wasn't "word salad." He acknowledged that he—and many white or upper-class Americans—had not realized the extent to which minorities and poorer people were held to different, harsher standards by police when it comes to everyday life. It was a moment of empathy with an audience member that certainly didn't exist at either the Democratic or Republican national conventions. We need more of that in our leaders, not an end to it.

If libertarian (small L) politics are about recognizing that power is rapidly decentralizing and dispersing throughout the system (even as those in control desperately try to conserve it), we need to recognize that we need different types of elected officials. We don't need demagogues and messiahs, we need individuals who can facilitate and emobdy a smaller, less dictatorial government, one that doesn't push and shove us around but instead provides fewer services more effectively. As Lake quotes me:

"[Johnson's] disinterest or inability to take over every room he enters, should be extremely comforting and appealing to a country filled with responsible adult citizens." Gillespie added that Johnson won't push Americans around "like cattle or sheep," but rather will competently execute the functions of government, "exhorting us to pursue happiness in all the different ways we define that term."

What was it that Obama said at the DNC? Americans "don't look to be ruled." If we want to be a country of self-governing people, we need to act like adults and stop waiting around for the person who can deliver from every evil, don't we?

But what goes into the "commander-in-chief" role exactly? Johnson has more executive experience than Barack Obama had when he took over the U.S. military. He has more of that experience, too, than Hillary Clinton, whose "We came, we saw, he died" comments and laughter about Muammar Qaddafi are kind of, well, fucked up (as is her insistence that Libya remains an example of "smart power" at its most effective). Trump's apparent inability to control outbursts has already sent many #NeverHillary types into the Democrat's arms. There is no reason to believe that Gary Johnson, who is the most popular candidate among active-duty troops, wouldn't command respect on the national and world stage as president. Indeed, there is every reason to believe that he will follow through consistently and clearly on the foreign policy that he's articulated so far, which is likely to earn the respect and relief of the planet far more than either George Bush or Barack Obama did.

And yes, Johnson doesn't fit the mold cast for presidents in the 20th century. Which might actually be the point, given that the 20th century is history, and it's not coming back.

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  1. “Given that the filing deadline has passed in 26 states, a strong grasp of planning doesn’t seem to be a requirement for #NeverTrumpers when it comes to picking an alternative candidate.”

    That would depend on what they’re planning.

    If they’re planning to get on the ballot in some key states like Utah, and then get enough votes to deny Trump those states’ electoral votes, then their plan is as good as anyone’s.

    If they’re trying to throw the election into the House, again, they only need the electoral votes of some key states, and enough division between Trump and Hillary in the other states that nobody gets a majority. Then the House chooses the Pres from the top 3 contenders, and if this McMullan guy is one of those contenders he will have enough establishment backing that he would have a good chance in the House.

    1. I doubt McMullan is going to finish in the Top 3.

      Conservatives better get ready for Hillary.

      1. Conservatives will not be ready. But the neo-conservatives already are.

        1. Jordan is last frontier of the current era for a foreign power-in-mideast tango foxtrotting. They’re small enough, and have not money, oil, or nuclear weapons. Easy pickings.

    2. They might as well concede these next four years to Hillary and regroup for the midterms and 2020, grooming some young, handsome and charismatic neocon to put up against the 72-year-old incumbent.

      1. We should all prepare for an 8-1 leftist SCOTUS.

        Hillary will win again in 2020, and everyone but Alito will be a leftist appointee.

        Chief Justice Roberts will sign off on “Single Payer” before 2024.

        1. And let’s consider the opposite of that. An 8-1 rightist SCOTUS.

          I see little difference in the net loss of liberty.

          1. An 8-1 rightist SCOTUS

            … would require the death of 7 justices and appointment of 8 rightists

          2. Other than the continued existence of the Second Amendment, you mean?

            1. ^This is my biggest fear. The Second Amendment will be the biggest victim.

              RBG has already called for lawsuits to overturn DC v Heller. Be prepared for that. It WILL happen.

            2. I’ve been saying this since I’ve been in my 20s. 2A is my line in the sand. Come for my guns and you die in my doorway SCOTUS ruling or no SCOTUS ruling. I don’t think I’m alone. I doubt I’m even in the minority.

              It might mean some slippage, but the existence of 2A isn’t on the line.

              RBG has already called for lawsuits to overturn DC v Heller. Be prepared for that. It WILL happen.

              When was the last time a SCOTUS overturned a previous SCOTUS ruling?

              Furthermore, last I checked, the Senate confirms confirmations.

              And further furthermore, Justices have a tendency to not always be what they appear.

              Just because it’s Hillary doesn’t mean the standard checks don’t apply.

              1. The Second Amendment won’t die on paper. It will die through a thousand regulatory cuts.

                Look at the NY SAFE Act. It expanded the definition of “assault weapons” to include semi-auto shotguns too. No more than 7 rounds in your 10-round mag. Registration if you own any of those weapons.

                When laws like that get challenged, there is a good chance they will get affirmed by the circuit courts, and even appeals courts. With a leftist SCOTUS, the challenger won’t get a hearing and the ruling of the lower courts will stand.

                It may not happen in our lifetimes, but if HRC appoints 7 new young SCOTUS justices before 2024, they will reign until 2064. By that time, lots of little laws will bleed the Second Amendment to death.

                Note that this absolutely not an endorsement for voting Trump. I won’t vote for that bastard. This is a plausible scenario. That’s what I’m pointing out.

                1. Look at the NY SAFE Act. It expanded the definition of “assault weapons” to include semi-auto shotguns too. No more than 7 rounds in your 10-round mag. Registration if you own any of those weapons.

                  My recommendation…

                  Don’t live in a shithole.

                  It won’t happen here until long after I’m dead, or in any state around me that I’d care to visit. I chose not to bring offspring into the world (much to my friend’s approval) so they won’t care. I live in paradise, so why would I travel?

                  Sucks to be you if you live on the coasts.

                  [only half-kidding 😉 ]

              2. When was the last time a SCOTUS overturned a previous SCOTUS ruling?

                Last year. Also, the predictive power of “how often do they overturn past decisions” is a bit weak when we’re talking about potential appointments made specifically to overturn a decision.

              3. “Furthermore, last I checked, the Senate confirms confirmations.”

                Loretta. Lynch.

                The R’s will just throw up their hands and say there was nothing they could do.

              4. You are absolutely NOT alone. The Framers gave us the 2nd for us to protect against oppressive government, and that is what I intend to do.

          3. The rightist justices have been blocking overreach these past 8 years. The illegal recess NLRB appointments, the EPA, and striking a blow for the Second Amendment notably.

            They have gotten some things wrong, but IMHO they are a better bet against executive overreach.

            WIth a leftist SCOTUS, in the worst case coupled with a Democrat majority, you’re going to see repeats of the infamous New Deal cases.

      2. They might as well concede these next four years to Hillary

        In which case, you may as well vote for Johnson.

        1. She’s going to win. Nothing can stop it at this point. Save your strength, everyone.

          1. I am still pretty sanguine about Trump’s chances – although the odds that *I’ll* be the one paying for the ice cream sundaes when my wife and I settle our election bet look much less remote than they did when we made the bet.

            The Hilbott has to debate Trumpy and I think he will kick her ass in the debates.

            1. The Hilbott has to debate Trumpy and I think he will kick her ass in the debates.

              He needs to come with a strobe light to trigger her petite mal seizures.

              1. I’ll kick in whatever the legal limit is if he’s shown on national television helping her up the stairs.

              2. That was my first really good laugh of the day. I can him pulling a tactical flashlight out of his pocket and aiming at her eyes on strobe while he squints and purses his…are those lips? …every time she starts to answer a question.

                That would make a good SNL skit.

    3. That strategy only works if he can win some blue and red states. Evans doesn’t appeal to the left other than that he dilutes anti-Trump voters on the right, giving Hillary more opportunities to pick up red states.

    4. Utah isnt going to Trump already.

      Johnson is taking enough votes there.

      1. And Mormon McMullin will take votes from Johnson.

    5. So they get on the ballot.

      To make a difference, they’ve got to collect some votes. That means campaigning, etc. And that doesn’t happen in any meaningful way, starting from absolute zero, in the next

  2. They lose. End of story. They have been completely rejected.

    1. They lose. Johnson loses. We all lose.

  3. Win one for the goober!

    1. Heterosexual men agree. #NeverJohnson

      1. I’m becoming increasingly convinced that SIV is Johnson’s illegitimate son and is pissed that daddy never came to his soccer games.

        1. What is SIV anyway?

          Simian Immunodeficiency Virus?

        2. He definitely has daddy issues. Why else would he attach himself so firmly to an erratic strongman?

          1. I read that as erotic strongman at first. Makes more sense that way.

        3. I’m thinking more like angry ex-girlfriend or bitter gay stalker.

          SIV is the embodiment of hate.

  4. …in the bizarre hypotethical case of a Jewish baker being forced to bake “Nazi wedding cake,” the baker should have to comply.

    I can’t tell, does this mean Gillespie doesn’t think Jews can bake or is it just that he is against National Socialist marriage recognition? And, you know who else refused a wedding cake?

    1. Buttercup?

      1. Welp, there goes my appetite and my heterosexuality.

      2. *reads URL, doesn’t click*

  5. Whatever you think of this guy, and for a lot of the reasons given here and others I don’t think much, you can’t vote for him because he is a false flag candidate. This guy can’t win and not because he can’t get the votes. He can’t win because he won’t be on enough state ballots to win. And he is not running to help build a third party the way Johnson and Stein are. He is running for the single purpose of dividing the opposition to Clinton and flipping a state or two to her side and with it the election. That is a false flag candidate. If this scheme were to work, the resulting election would have no legitimacy with the country. You can’t have a Republic with false flag candidates colluding with other candidates. It destroys the trust in the system.

    These people don’t care. They are so craven and determined to keep their influence they are willing to do grave damage to the democratic legitimacy of the government. If you don’t like Trump or Clinton, vote for Johnson or don’t vote. But whatever you do, do not vote for this ass clown. Him and everyone associated with his campaign ought to be run out of politics and polite society.

    1. I doubt this slimy prick will have much of an effect. It still pisses me off that they are openly trying this crap. I’d give almost anything for Gay Jay to win this thing.

      1. There is nothing wrong with third party candidates. They just have to be in the race honestly. If one candidate is only in the race to fuck with the support of another and that arguably flips the election, then the result isn’t legitimate.

        Johnson was running as the LP long before Trump or Hillary got their nomination and he would be running even if they hadn’t. The LP runs every year. So do the Greens. They are whatever you think of their merits, honest campaigns. This asshole is not an honest campaign. It was launched for the specific purpose of dividing the opposition to Hillary and defeating Trump It isn’t being run in some Quixotic quest to win or to build support for an alternative party. It is being run for the single purpose of helping a rival candidate. It is a direct assault on the legitimacy of this election. The people who launched it are willing to cheat and to have an election that the losing side would not accept as legitimate in order to get their way. You really can’t overstate how vile they are.

        The good news is that as vile as they are, they make up for it by being incompetent. This asshole isn’t going to attract any support or have any effect on the election. But that is not for lack of trying.

    2. “…do not vote for this ass clown. Him(sic) and everyone associated with his campaign ought to be run out of politics and polite society.”
      Don’t vote for Trump. Got it.

      1. No shit head. You don’t like Trump but tough shit. He is running an honest campaign. That is completely different than what this crap weasel is doing. Anyone who votes for him is either a useful idiot or has absolutely no concern for or understanding of the interests of the country. It is really that simple. I don’t care if Jill Stein wins or Bernie Sanders wins as a write in, as long as the election is legitimate. Anything is better than an election that was flipped by an asshole like this. The country can survive and fix the damage that results from a bad President. It likely can’t fix the damage that results from an election that the public does not accept as legitimate.

        1. “He is running an honest campaign.”
          HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA!
          HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA!
          HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA!
          HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA!

          1. So you are a moron who sort of emotes and can’t really think so well. Good to know.

          2. He means genuine, as in actually trying to get election, however hopelessly.

            1. He means genuine, as in actually trying to get election

              Are we even sure about that?

              1. No, but we wouldn’t see so much TDS if people on the other side didn’t believe he was in it to win it.

  6. I think “hypotethical” means there is a possibility of being tied to something. Or it might refer to the ethics of triangles.

  7. Is #NeverTrump’s Number 1 criteria baldness?

    First they tried David French. Now it’s another bald guy.

  8. Can Gary Johnson Really Be the Commander in Chief?

    Putting aside policy matters, Johnson isn’t a compulsively lying, know-nothing, degenerate, corrupt, national embarrassment like Clinton and Trump are.

    So yes, if they can be Commander-in-Chief, he sure as hell can.

    1. This.

    2. “So yes, if they can be Commander-in-Chief, he sure as hell can.”

      After seeing the last two presidents, neither of whom had a principle to call their own other than expanding state power over the individual, any complaints about Johnson’s qualification are absurd.

      Unlike the lying scumbag Bush who talked about smaller government and made it much bigger and unlike the lying scumbag Obama who promised to lower health care costs and greatly increased them, Johnson actually kept his word as governor of New Mexico. f

      The major party candidates have, in their miserable lives, accomplished nothing but lie to their supporters. The set of facts and the set of Trump/Hillary claimed accomplishments do not intersect.

      By any measure of real world actions Gary Johnson is by far the most qualified candidate in the race.

  9. Military hawks are pushing some unknown ex CIA guy to be the President through backroom deals and exploiting loopholes in the system? This is literally the plot of the show Scandal.

    1. As some commenter more astute than I am said yesterday, the fact of limited ballot access reveals that this new CIA “candidate” will ensure that Hillary wins. His purpose is not to win — his purpose is to make sure Trump loses.

    2. Yeah but who would actually know that?

      1. Relatively lazy people who carefully pick their battles

    3. Trump pondered running under the Reform Party logo a few elections ago.
      He realized that for the same effort on his part he could take over the Republican Party instead.
      If Trump were running as an independent or minor party candidate, would he still be getting this coverage?

      1. It’s hard not to chuckle when you remember that the pledge the GOP candidates signed to support the eventual nominee was aimed directly at Trump, so that he wouldn’t run third party.

  10. If Trump accomplishes nothing else but putting that first fissure in the GOP foundation, I just may send him a thank you card.

  11. successfully pursued a small-government agenda by cutting taxes and slowing the growth of spending

    This spring I noticed I’d put on about 15 extra pounds over the winter, so I’ve been on a strict diet this summer – so far I’ve gained 5 more pounds. A two-thirds reduction in weight gain, that’s quite a remarkable accomplishment I’d say.

    At this point, I don’t care what you want to use the power of government for, if you’re in favor of using the power of government for anything you’re an evil bastard and I hope you die a horrible painful slow death.

  12. #NeverTrump conservatives, especially social conservatives, view Johnson as a “nonstarter” (in the phrase of The Weekly Standard’s Mark Hemingway) because he believes that a woman has a right to an abortion.

    That seems sort of surprising/ridiculous to me.

    without reading all of nick’s over-long analysis of all this *(because frankly, the neo-con NeverTrumpers are almost as irrelevant as libertarians), i’d think GJ’s foriegn policy (or lack thereof) would be their sticking point

    But then i guess the neocon hawkish part of the right & the socons are sort of joined at the hip at this point, both being the “unwanted” core-constituents. (or at least the “shut up, sit in your corner and vote for whomever we nominate” part of the party)

    i’m fine with them splitting from the GOP and forming their own Jesus and Bombs party. Godspeed.

    1. I think very few if any Never Trump types are social conservatives. The Never Trump people are pissed about Trump’s view on trade and foreign policy. Johnson is a non starter for them because of his foreign policy views.

      Also, before these crap weasels found a candidate, they were saying how Johnson was an honorable alternative. now watch them call him everything short of a ISIS Manchurian Candidate. They just want to stay in power and see Hillary winning as the best option available to achieve that.

      1. They just want to stay in power and see Hillary winning as the best option available to achieve that.

        There is truth to that.

        the jesus & bombs constituency will always prefer big govt to anyone threatening to apply fiscal discipline. they also like hawkish-hillary WAY better than trump/johnson/cruz. The Devil One Knows, etc.

        1. Neocons are trotskyites. Of course they are okay with a socialist winning.

          1. *actual* “Neocons” are only a small slice of what i’m calling the Jesus & Bombs coalition… which is more a basket to throw “neocons, socons, generic-yokel-pro-military-and-bibles Redness” into.

            Its basically “everyone in the GOP who hate libertarians”.

            1. Maybe its my warped experience, but all lot of the Jesus part of the coalition would be amenable to libertarianism. Especially if the candidate would support religious freedom.

    2. Nick’s continuous misread of all conservatives is the simple reason johnson won’t get my vote. Nick has the same litmus test on social issues he accuses all conservatives of having, and his sincerity on reining in spending is belied by the fact that he spends the majority of his time and words on fighter jetz and very little on entitlements. He even supports an UBI. All of that tells me I’ve got zero reason to trust his favorite candidate.

      1. Decide for yourself who to vote for…don’t base it on Gillespie.

        1. Birds of a feather. Too many times I’ve seen the social liberalism and fiscal convenience.

      2. That also seems a little odd to me. It was only earlier today Nick was (uncritically) highlighting someone like Judge Napolitano , who takes a libertarian pro-life stance.

        i don’t think Nick’s own pro-abortion view is what affects his judgement about Socons, necessarily. or, i don’t know what (if any) litmus tests he has. I do think he’s more accepting of aspects of welfare-state ish (e.g. your mentioned UBI, other entitlements) than others, but not sure if that’s a huge influence on how he covers partisan politics.

        I do think’s he’s slightly mis-reading the split in the GOP and why the #nevertrumpers spurn johnson (*insert standard dick-joke here); but i’m not sure that’s why. i think maybe what’s happening now in the GOP is hard to get an accurate read on, and many people end up projecting their own biases into any analysis of how different interests groups are likely to influence the shape of things to come.

        I would personally welcome (as noted above) a more ‘centrist/libertarian”-GOP which ended up merging populist & libertarian tendencies (* and i know that’s a problematic combo) and eschewed some of the older “SoCon & Neocon” right-wing groups. The problem there is that even if that works with voters… as john notes = it doesn’t work for the establishment

        1. – to that last point;

          i think the main barrier to a reformation of the GOP is that its legacy “power-base” and money-men
          (e.g. the people in DC who run the lobbies, who have established issue-advocacy organizations, who’ve been in the “business” of politics for the last 30 years)… they’re not interested in seeing the game being changed. And between someone like Hillary (who represents the game they know) and someone like Trump *(who represents unknowns and likely shift in power-relations)… they’d prefer an ‘opponent’ who at least is playing the same game.

          But i think that is just putting off the inevitable; or rather, i think shifts in the way the GOP is organized and how it represents itself is going to happen no matter who wins. Whether it changes in a ‘better way’ (for libertarians) or a ‘worse way’, i think is something people should be concerned about. Many people seem to think no matter what, once Trump is gone that everything is just going to resettle and go back to the way things were. I personally don’t think so.

          1. they’d prefer an ‘opponent’ who at least is playing the same game.

            in many ways… the principal one being = Hillary would be a fund-raising goldmine. She scares the shit out of the deep-red types.

            The secondary one being, they know that she’s a power-broker, and will know how to deal with congress and sell bullshit-pork-sandwiches to the public as something it aint. so if they want stuff slipped into bills and still get signed, she’s open for business. Trump, who the hell knows what that guy is thinking.

          2. If trump wins we have a european style party system: a socialist party and a center left party with nationalist overtones. If he loses we retain a center right party. There will be some variation around those two central outcomes but that’s basically it and the only issue being decided in november.

          3. Who will be the Trump be in 2020? Who has the combo of cash and media persona to titillate us next time? The 16 rock stars of the establishment didn’t get it done this time. Is the bench empty? Mark Cuban is with her, not that party swapping isn’t out of bounds

        2. Nick dotes on the social issues. There’s no doubt in my mind that they dominate his thought processes. And the only reason he supports cutting fighter jetz is his buchanan-like isolationism. He’s over the top on anti-war and spending is a convenient excuse to push it. In 20 years he will be the new Sheldon Richman.

          Meanwhile entitlements and the welfare state are bankrupting the country. Only one major party has seriously talked about reforming them this century although sadly now both major parties are running democrats at the top of their tickets. But hey, at least we will finally get our libertine moment.

          Johnson increased spending by 7% a year during his tenure and increased his state’s debt. Reason has no trouble assigning mandatory spending to republicans so they don’t get to carve it out for their boy this time.

          1. Johnson got high B’s from the Cato Institute on fiscal policy when he was governor of New Mexico, which seems pretty good. Perhaps they took into consideration that he was against a hostile legislature.

  13. ” Americans “don’t look to be ruled.”

    I beg to differ. Case in point-

    “I’m With Her!”

    1. That “don’t look to be ruled” statement was probably the biggest bullshit I’ve come across in a long time.

      Trump is Big Daddy to his cult followers, Clinton is Madame Hillary to her feminist zombies/Clintonistas, and Obama himself ran as the Second Coming of Jesus.

      1. Yeah, it was pretty pathetic. The idolatry of Obama during his terms has been vomit-inducing. I have FB friends who post those “we are sure gonna miss this guy” buzzfeed videos of him acting as if he’s Sweet Valley High Class President and they eat it up like the raving worshipers they are. I’m already seeing the “BOY I WISH HE COULD HAVE A THIRD TERM” stuff, as if there is anything left he hasn’t burned to the ground already.

        Whoever wins this election is inheriting a shitstorm of epic proportions.

        1. “WE’LL MISS YOU BARACK! WE WISH YOU COULD RULE US FOR ANOTHER FOUR YEARS! WE LOVE YOU!”

          Although to be a little fair, I guess they want to have people like Obama and Trump in power so they can rule other people.

  14. Caption for that pic of Johnson:

    “Are you SERIOUS?”

    1. Better caption:

      “500 an O! For brickweed! Get the FUCK OUT OF MY FACE!”

      1. “500 an O! For brickweed! Get the FUCK OUT OF MY FACE!”

        That’s outrageous even for the goods.

        1. $300 an O, straight from the back of a Colorado dispensary. Pink knows what’s popping.

  15. At this point I prioritize Cankles over Johnson, and Drumpf must be defeated at all costs. I really can’t see Johnson as president, because he simply doesn’t have the force of will necessary to take on the big challenges. However my mind is definitely open, and I’m hoping he’ll reach his stride. If so I’ll be happy to vote for him. I’m with in on abortion and completely against him on his anti-discrimination laws. Europe shows that shutting down markets for being hallal is bad policy. Of course, Hitlary has even worse policies but I think she is educable and won’t get bullied by Putin and Kim Jong Un. Conservatives must still get out and vote for down ticket candidates.

    1. won’t get bullied by Putin and Kim Jong Un

      She’ll just get in to bed with them. Same with Trump.

      1. Bullied? No. Blackmailed, which amounts to being bullied? Most definitely.

    2. Of course, Hitlary has even worse policies but I think she is educable and won’t get bullied by Putin and Kim Jong Un.

      … the two literally contradict each other.

      “Hillary can be changed, but she won’t be changed!”

    3. I still don’t understand why using the original version of Trump’s name is supposed to be witty or cutting. It’s just as silly as calling Obama “Barry Soetoro”

      1. Equal opportunity – I have to use Cankles otherwise they will call me a “Cankles licker”. So therefore I have to use Drumpf to be fair. Sorry. It’s hurts me more than you.

        1. Yeah, that’s not how this works. You’re called a Hillary shill because that’s what you are, not because you didn’t call her “Cankles”. No one is fooled.

          1. Drumpf Drumpf Drumpf Drumpf Drumpf

            1. … yes, it is my fault for treating the 5-year-old like an adult

              *hangs head in shame*

            2. “Drumpf Drumpf Drumpf Drumpf Drumpf”

              This is what you’ve been reduced to.

    4. I really can’t see Johnson as president

      The good news for you is that he won’t win. But he might be able to build enough momentum for one or more of the following

      1) Pull the Republicans more towards libertarian policies, at least in certain areas
      2) Put a respectable face on libertarian ideas that encourages more people to move in our direction
      3) Give momentum to LP candidates in down ballot races or in the next election cycle. The former is important for getting guaranteed ballot access at the state level in future elections
      4) Bring more donors to the LP allowing them to develop a more consistent ground game

      For all those reasons a strategic vote for Johnson is well worth your trouble, even if you don’t really like him as a potential president. This is even more true if you live in a state that is solidly red or blue.

      1. I will definitely vote for him. Always voted for Libertarians and always will (even if I refuse to ‘take the pledge’). And for all the reasons you give and more.

    5. Of course she won’t get bullied by Putin or Kim Jong Un. They don’t need to bully her. They simply donate money to the Clinton Foundation.

  16. Mr. CIA shall from henceforth be known as MacGuffin.

  17. He’s no Harry Browne.

    1. I’ll take him any day over Clinton and Trump.

  18. “Can Gary Johnson really be the commander in chief? ”

    No.

    Also, every time I see his name I get sleepy so I just skip any paragraph with his name in it.

    1. Good thing it’s not a high school popularly contest, amiright??

  19. If only a candidate would have the knowledge and sense of history to tell the truth about the UU Individual Income Tax and articulate a real libertarian populism it could win Johnson is not that man. To me he comes accross more like Gary Busey than Gary Johnson.
    Because our candidates do not understand the differences between rights and priveleges and do not understand the taxing clauses in the Constitution and the 16th amendment, but rather believe the Fabian progressive lies about the tax we will v
    Continue to fall to correct our tax system and deny Americans the real choices that the true understanding of the tax allows for Americans.

    1. There is no objective “truth” about the tax system that is hidden from the electorate. The state levies a tax. Those who fail to pay are jailed. What more is there to know?

      1. Indeed; I’m all for repealing, or at least narrowing (no withholding!), the 16th Amendment, but as long as it exists in its current form, the system of taxation we have is constitutional (at least under the standard of constitutionality applied everywhere else).

        1. The framers of the 16th could never have forseen direct deposit therefore a well regulated militia requires a flat tax.

          I think i got that right.

      2. But if you utter the right incantation, they’ll leave you alone, don’t you know!?!

  20. “Johnson has staked out a position that is hardly hostile to the expression and exercise of religion.”

    The guy who literally said he’d force a Jewish baker to make a cake for a Nazi isn’t hostile to the expression and exercise of religion?

    Seriously, I can see a law-school hypothetical about a nazi cake, but for a Presidential candidate to say yes, I’ll force the Jewish baker to make a cake for a nazi?

    And all this while some people praise Johnson as a pragmatist for allegedly avoiding libertarian doctrinaire points on social issues.

    1. To my knowledge, *all* of the other candidates are *more libertarian* than Johnson when it comes to allowing a Jewish baker to decide for him/herself whether to serve nazis.

      But anyone who objects to Johnson’s position is simply being a purist.

    2. Is Naziism even a religion? I thought it was more of a political governing philosophy. How can Nazis be a protected class?

      1. Johnson focused on the presumed religious views of the Jewish baker.

        1. At least that’s my interpretation of the clip below – judge for yourself.

    3. I don’t know if I’d call a Jewish baker forced to bake a Nazi cake a religious freedom issue so much as a “I don’t want to do business with people who fucking hate me” issue.

      Regardless, Johnson’s position is “shut up and do what you’re told” on this one.

      1. Johnson framed it as a religious freedom issue. He said that the baker’s presumed religious objection to making a nazi cake should be overridden by the government.

        1. Somebody’s a bit confused on what the word “freedom” means if that’s the case.

          1. Here’s the relevant exchange where Johnson endorses forced nazi cakes.

            It’s in the context of a discussion where Johnson says that nobody should be allowed by the government to discriminate based on religion.

            1. … what I’m saying is that what Johnson is saying doesn’t make any fucking sense.

              Apparently, I as an irreligious person could refuse to bake a cake for a Nazi because I just don’t like Nazis, but a Jewish person couldn’t do so because his reason for not liking Nazis is related, even if (very) indirectly, to his religious beliefs.

              I mean, it’s one thing to say that you can’t e.g. refuse to serve Muslims or Jews because of their Islamic- or Jewish-ness. Johnson has taken it up to an entirely different level, to say that Muslims (presumably) and Jews can’t exercise any discretion at all if that discretion even smells like it has a religious component.

              1. That seems to be Johnson’s contention, it’s not quite coherent enough for me to say for sure, but it seems that way.

      2. “I don’t want to do business with people who fucking hate me”

        You mean, like conservative Christians being required to do business with gay activists who fucking hate them?

        1. My intent was not to say that there isn’t a religious liberty concern in the Christians baking for gays example, but to say that there really wasn’t one, except under Gary Johnson’s tortured interpretation, in the Jews baking for Nazis example. Not that it diminishes the merit of either claim.

    4. Johnson is no friend to the freedom of association. I look at his pick for VP and I see a gun grabbing, eminent domain using, Obama voting, Affirmative Actioneer who wants stricter environmental regulations.

      This libertarian party ticket is decidedly not libertarian. In fact, it looks like the worst of the other two.

      Pragmatist? Johnson is a fucking windsock, and a damned dull one at that.

      1. In my experience, the willingness of people to vote for Johnson is a Bessel function of the first kind for n = 2, with their exposure to his speeches or writings as the independent variable.

        At first people are very enthusiastic, but then the more they read or hear the more they doubt him. Pretty much everyone in my circle (N=2) who have stated they will vote for him have told me weeks later that that they think he’s missing a few screws.

        It’s not an independent observation. In both cases I told them during their phase of excitement that they were wasting their vote on someone who didn’t deserve it.

        1. “…Bessel function of the first kind for n=2…”
          Heh. That got a snort out of me.

          That describes me perfectly. When Paul dropped out I was hoping Johnson would get in. I momentarily hoped for Cruz but he turned out like Johnson…the harder you look the less you like.

          As usual it has come down to a single issue for me: guns. It always seems to.

          1. I know Weld has gun control issues, but isnt Johnson solid?

            1. If his stance on guns is anything like his stances on foreign policy and the freedom of association he will be very happy to support reasonable measures like the NY SAFE act.

              1. Lets wait for him to say that. Because he sucks on A and B, doesnt mean he sucks on C.

                And B is his really, really bad position. His foreign policy is so much better than anything we have seen recently, that I am not gonna complain.

                1. Both his stances are cosntantly being clarified as he desperately seeks to paint himself as a reasonable guy who isn’t too far out there.

                  If he applies the same thinking to the right to self defense, he is going to agree to all sorts of ‘reasonable restrictions’ that amount to an endorsement of the status quo.

                  The clearest statement he has made is OK, but shows dangerous signs of this phenomenon:

                  Even so, Johnson also says he has a “nuanced” view of the Libertarian Party platform plank, which opposes “all laws at any level of government” restricting guns. “We should be open to a discussion on keeping guns out of the hands of the mentally ill,” he says. “I don’t know how that manifests itself, but I’m looking to get elected president of the United States. I just want to let people know I have an open mind about how we might, how government might, interject itself in a lot of the problems we have.”

                  Gosh! The government hasn’t used allegations of mental illness to oppress people in previous years (or even currently)! What possibly could go wrong here?!?

                  1. I don’t know how you get more libertarian than wondering how government can interject itself into our problems.

  21. The one thing that could get me to support Gary Johnson is Lake’s commentary.

    Of course no sensible Hollywood director would cast Johnson as the President in an action/sci-fi movie like *Independence Day.* A sensible director would get a square-jawed jock-looking guy like GW Bush or Mitt Romney, or at least someone like Obama or Bill Clinton who radiates confidence and can project the right emotions at the right times.

    And in countries with a constitutional monarchy, that’s the kind of person we want as King or Queen – someone who looks good when giving a speech to Parliament or at a diplomatic event, or when addressing the country after some big tragedy.

    But if Lake confuses the US with a Hollywood action movie, then maybe we shouldn’t be listening to his advice.

  22. Johnson could get pro life conservatives to vote for him, even being pro choice, if he kept his old view that roe v wade was unconstitutional and abortion should be a state issue. He could get conservatives concerned about religious liberty by actually being libertarian and not threatening to use govt force on business owners who have religious beliefs contrary to same sex marriage. It’s really not complicated- Peterson would probably have pulled in almost every nevertrumper. Johnson, however, seems to be doing everything in his power to repel conservatives.

    1. Yes. Peterson came across as a slick, wannabe-Senator kind of guy, but he managed to be sensible on these issues.

    2. Unfortunately, that would cost him social liberals.

  23. Speaking of Jewish bakers, just how awkward is all of this for former(?) BFFs Ivanka and Chelsea? Is Chelsea’s noodle kugel still welcome at the Trump-Kushner household during the High Holidays? And more importantly, is Chelsea’s noodle kugel any good?

      1. Beautifully constructed, and it got a bite!

        1. Beautifully constructed, and it got a bite!

          Sounds like a good kugel.

  24. As for the claim that SoCons will vote for a bombs-for-Jesus candidate in preference to a libertarian…why not put that to the test and nominate a libertarian?

    Oops, too late, they nominated Johnson and Weld instead.

    1. +1 Why did the LP nominate two Rockefeller Republicans

      1. Wasn’t Johnson the ‘grown-up’ choice at the time? You had McAfee who’s a lunatic with even more baggage than Clinton and Trump and then Petersen who had his own odd issues.

        Johnson was an elected governor with a decent track record. He was the option to let the LP move from the type of party where tubby guys strip to their underwear during conventions to a party that could get some traction nationally.

        Not perfect, but few things are.

        1. +1 “The least short midget is the tall guy” argument

          1. Or the “politics is the art of the possible” argument.

            1. Well, what the fuck are you talking about a libertarian president for then?

    2. Your concern trolling is annoying me.

      Let the libertarians discuss the libertarian candidates. There are plenty of us who have problems with Johnson, we dont need you.

      1. Oh, piss off, I’ll not only discuss libertarians, I’ll discuss Hillary, even though I’m even less of a woman than I am a libertarian.

        If you want to talk about what would appeal to SoCons I get to chime in – and in fact as my handle indicates I’m a fusionist, which is kind of like a libertarian. I’d give you a link, but since you’re a jerk I’ll let you do your own Googling.

        1. The term “libertarian” either has objective meaning or it does not.

          If it doesn’t, just admit it’s all about your feelz and that you don’t want to hear anything which hurts your feelz.

          If “libertarian” *does* have an objective meaning, then anyone can opine on what is and is not libertarian.

          1. Or perhaps you aren’t confident that you can defend Johnson’s libertarian bona fides, so you go with insults instead?

            1. I dont need to defend them, they are what they are.

              This is a better ticket than Barr/Root and I voted for them. They are far, far better than Trump/Clinton/Stein.

              Done and done.

              Compared to the candidate I would want, they suck. But such is life.

              1. OK, I see that you discussed the merits of the issue.

                Of course I understand the view that he’s libertarian compared to the other guys. I even understand the view that he’s more libertarian than Darrell Castle of the Constitution Party.

                But when people start talking about how libertarian candidates won’t get votes from SoCons, I quite logically reply, why not nominate an actual libertarian and find out?

                1. 1972, 1976, 1980, 1984, 1988, 1992, 1996, 2000, 2004, 2012.

                  I will skip 2008.

                  1. n=10.

                    For politics, thats a damn large sample size.

                  2. OK, those guys got scarcely any SoCon votes.

                    But then, they got scarcely any votes period.

                    So I don’t think you can single out the SoCons – those candidates didn’t just lose the SoCon vote, they lost the farmer vote, the left-wing vote, the right-wing vote, the black vote, the white vote, the asian vote, the left-handed lesbian welder vote, every group you care to mention.

                    But what if a libertarian candidate starts making something of a splash in the media, and maybe gets into the debates?

                    (I said libertarian, not this years LP ticket)

                    1. But what if a libertarian candidate starts making something of a splash in the media, and maybe gets into the debates?

                      This years candidate is the first with a chance to pull that off. None of the other more libertarian candidates came close.

                      I wonder why? Maybe there is a correlation there.

                    2. I said libertarian with a small l.

                      Fine, on certain key issues he’s *more libertarian* than Trump and Hillary. On porn he’s more libertarian than Castle.

                      But he’s not actually a small-l libertarian IMHO.

                      But if you’re looking for a “close enough for government work” sorta kinda left-libertarian…well, I still am not sure Johnson and Weld qualify, but we may disagree.

            2. What insult?

              1. “concern trolling” and “we don’t need you.”

                1. You are a concern troll, you and joe telling us what libertarians should do. I figured, like him, you know what you are and enjoy it.

                  1. Tonio doesnt consider it an insult if I call him gay.

                    1. No, but gays do…

                    2. “No, but gays do…”

                      Oh, c’mon. Tonio’s not that bad.

                    3. Can I get a gay ruling?

                    4. Can I get a gay ruling?

                      Fabulous!

                  2. I’ve copped to being a troll, but not a concern troll – and in this case I’m not telling left-libertarians which candidate they should support given the available options. It’s likely that Johnson comes closest to their preferences, and I won’t pretend otherwise.

                    But when Johnson bombs among SoCon voters, I don’t want to hear a bunch of bitching about “see, libertarians can’t get votes from these Jesus freaks.”

                    Maybe libertarians can get SoCon votes and maybe not, but to find out, you’d have to nominate a libertarian (small l).

        2. “and in fact as my handle indicates I’m a fusionist, which is kind of like a libertarian.”

          A fusionist is somebody who believes in the viability of Lockheed Martin’s fusion reactor project.

          1. Eli Lake doesn’t want you to be President. Nerd.

            1. I don’t want me to be President either.

              I’d much rather be one of those hedge fund managers who makes about a billion dollars a year.

          2. I just thought Eddie had taken up cooking Cambodian/Tex-Mex cuisine.

      2. I for one am still waiting for this discussion. When does it begin?

        1. Nearly every thread?

        2. Sometime after the next libertarian moment.

  25. Love how the nevertrumpers think Johnson has no chance and then try to foist milquetoast candidates on us who would actually do worse than Johnson.

    1. Their objective seems to be to 1) demonstrate usefulness/relevance to the Biparty, and/or 2) steal a state or two and throw the election to the House. Not sure what they think the house will do then. If Trump doesn’t have the majority of electoral votes or the popular vote, giving to him will be seen as illegitimate favoritism. Giving it to Hillary will be the end of their party and the beginning of a new age of darkness and terror as Democrats roam in the daylight and feast upon the flesh of the innocent. Giving it anyone else is a non-starter. Hell, the House will be begging Obama to stay on and impose martial law, just to avoid the responsibility.

      1. Which blue state or two is Evan going to steal to send this election to the House?
        Splitting the red vote in red states is the recipe for turning them blue

  26. Not a chance… Clinton has this in bag…. and we will all suffer for it.

  27. They like it when the government says you can’t have an abortion, but don’t like it when government says bake them a cake.

  28. Johnson’s manner comes across to me as confidence, generally, and self-confidence. I imagine he has a libertarian management style. He manages by appeals to reason. Edicts and mandates are the last resort, but I don’t doubt he can do that, too, as a manager. I see no trace of fear, envy, insecurity, ambition, or bombast.
    While I think he’s wrong on a couple of issues, I don’t doubt he’s teachable. Even Ron Paul changed his mind on the death penalty and “don’t ask, don’t tell.” Johnson has been successful in doing the job we need him to do: shrink government, and expand freedom.

  29. Not this year. But, conceivably, a third party could make enough of a splash this year to make others take note in four more years.

    1. That being said, the #NeverTrumpers won’t even get more than Johnson.

  30. In the Black Lives Matter example that Lake cites above (it came up during CNN’s Libertarian Town Hall with Johnson and Weld), Johnson’s candor wasn’t “word salad.” He acknowledged that he?and many white or upper-class Americans?had not realized the extent to which minorities and poorer people were held to different, harsher standards by police when it comes to everyday life.

    Sorry, Nick, but Johnson made an absolute botch of that question. And that’s from a libertarian perspective. That woman might as well have been asking “Say, what do Libertarians think about police abuse and the need for criminal justice reform?”.

    He could have hit it out of the park.

    Instead we get a ridiculous white guilt presentation where Johnson all but said that he’s now “woke”.

    I’m still voting for the guy. But, Johnson’s performances as a public speaker borders on the cringeworthy.

    1. IF you cringe when he opens his mouth, why are you wasting your votes on him?

      Do you think he wouldn’t be a disaster as president? Do you think his judgement is magically going to improve? Do you think his analytic abilities will undergo a dramatic improvement between now and the end of the year?

      Seriously, other than having the word Libertarian attached to his name, what reason is there for a libertarian to want Gary Johnson to get any publicity whatsoever let alone be in political office? The guy is a pathetic retread of a Republican who couldn’t’ hack it in that party.

      Every vote for the guy is a wasted vote (for libertarians).

      1. This might sound silly, but I’m voting for him because I agree with most of his positions.

        I know. It’s really weird to support a candidate because you agree with them, rather than want them to be your best friend, Mommy, Daddy, and Father Confessor all rolled into one.

        I understand we’ve reached the Obama/Trump/Clinton era where every election is about picking your personal messiah to lead us into the promised land. But, I’m old fashioned. I’d rather think I’m electing a guy to run an organization with a limited and defined job.

        1. If you agree with him on most of his positions, why are you cringing when he talks about them?

          1. Except, his response wasn’t talking about his positions. It was emoting in sympathy.

      2. “IF you cringe when he opens his mouth, why are you wasting your votes on him?”

        When every politician makes you cringe…

  31. He refuses to single out federal funding of Planned Parenthood

    Actually, Johnson did single out federal funding of Planned Parenthood. It’s the single federal funding program that he promised not to eliminate in his February 2016 interview with Larry King.

    Just like the GOP has gone out of its way to alienate libertarian-leaning conservatives, Johnson goes out of his way to alienate both libertarian-leaning conservatives and Libertarians who differ from the party line and think that the government has no legitimate authority to fund Planned Parenthood.

    There is absolutely nothing libertarian about funding of Planned Parenthood from the forced exactions from taxpayers. But Johnson thinks it’s swell.

    Johnson also goes out of his way to alienate libertarians who either reason that freedom of association is an essential consequence of the NAP or who believe that it is an inalienable natural right. He even goes out of his way to praise Hillary Clinton as “a wonderful public servant”, which should make any conservative or libertarian gag. It seems as though his campaign is designed to appeal only to low-information voters who just can’t stand Trump.

    1. Seems more like he’s trying to pick up bernie bros. The fact that nick comes along for the ride is purely coincidental.

      1. Honestly, the major dissidents with both parties, Bernie Bros and #NeverTrumpers are both SO far away from Libertarianism that Johnson has a better shot with the Bernie Bros…

        The Bern Vics want free stuff as their primary and secondary objectives, but on some of their tertiary objectives libertarians align.

        The #NeverTrumpers want Trump to be more warlike and neoconservative, mostly. Compared to the actual neoconservative running Democrat, Johnson’s got no chance of courting THAT side.

  32. I’m a social conservative, defender of religious liberty/conscience (as James Madison defined it) and hawk, but Gary Johnson stands a very high probability of getting my vote despite being pro-choice on abortion and anti-choice on the rights of conscience. I’d have preferred Austin Petersen (a man with a fresh face and ideas), but sometimes it’s better to choose the opponent of two really evil choices and that’s Johnson (not voting for POTUS or a write-in are alternatives too).

  33. If someone would just stuff a sock in Bill Weld’s mouth and shut him in a closet until November you would have my vote.

  34. “Can Gary Johnson Really Be the Commander in Chief?”

    Can he? Even as a Johnson/Weld supporter, I have no idea what that would look like.

    Again, he has to show us, by giving a well-written, well-staged Major Foreign Policy Speech.

    Show us what a libertarian Commander In Chief looks and sounds like.

    Or is that line he keeps repeating about “unintended consequences” and “more harm than good” really all he got?

    1. The proper question to ask is if it is physically possible to be a worse Commander in Chief that Trump or Hillary?

      1. Of course, but they do put on the show required to make them look “Presidential”.

        Trump had his Major Economic Policy Speech this week as part of his comeback efforts. It was incoherent BS, but he now dominates a few more news cycles.

        Where are Johnson/Weld? They have to at least get in the game to win.

  35. SoCons who would rather vote for Donald Trump or not vote at all than vote for Johnson can go die in a fire as far as I’m concerned.

    Get used to perpetual Democratic rule until you can figure out how to compromise with libertarians, you fucktards.

    1. Wow, that’s harsh!

      I’d hate to hear what you have for libertarians who refuse to vote for Johnson!

      1. If you hate Hillary so much, you should be willing to vote for a libertarian.

        1. Votes aren’t fixing this mess. The tree of liberty looks like my tomato plants right now.

        2. I might be willing to vote for a libertarian. Since there aren’t any running for President (at least on the MA ballot), it’s kind of a moot point.

  36. Ella . you think Victoria `s storry is astonishing… on saturday I bought themselves a Car after bringing in $7899 this – 5 weeks past and-more than, 10-k last munth . it’s by-far the best-job I have ever had . I began this 8-months ago and almost straight away started to earn minimum $77
    ?????????? http://www.factoryofincome.com

  37. This is the Nick Gillespie I like: thoughtful, articulate, good reasoning and arguments, not laced with profanity. We need more articles like this one from you, Nick. Skip the less serious pieces, often poorly edited, that don’t sound serious, as this one does. Set them aside, come back to them later, give them a good edit.

    This article makes the case for Johnson well. Good work.

  38. Start working at home with Google! It’s by-far the best job I’ve had. Last Wednesday I got a brand new BMW since getting a check for $6474 this – 4 weeks past. I began this 8-months ago and immediately was bringing home at least $77 per hour. I work through this link, go to tech tab for work detail.
    +_+_+_+_+_+_+_+_+ http://www.factoryofincome.com

  39. I have no axe to grind with Gary Johnson or any other true Libertarian. I do have an issue with the problem at hand, namely that we don’t have time left to choose and promote a Libertarian in this cycle. We HAVE to defeat the utterly evil Dems vs the ever so slightly less evil unknown that is Trump. IF we get past this, THEN we have a chance to promote, for the next 4 fucking years, the idea of a Libertarian platform, AND we have the chance to turn off the welfare spigot that, ultimately, completely negates the primary ideals of the Libertarian platform, namely that you are responsible for you.

    Giving away trillions of dollars to both legal and illegal “immigrants” and providing a retirement to the FAR larger numbers of “civil servants(!)” than even thought of, is NOT going to work and does not compute with Libertarian ideals. Not electing at least the somewhat opposite of “Government is Good” (Clintron) vs the “Government sucks, let me suck EVER so slightly less” Trump is the key THIS cycle.

    Too fucking late to make a diff with GJ. Get someone other than Hitlary into office and THEN you can start a convo with the public about why you don’t want either. Too late to do that now.

  40. And, the moment to start that conversation, once this battle is won, is the day after Inauguration of whomever becomes president. If you don’t think money will matter and that you need to campaign for same all the time, then you will NOT get your candidate into office.

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