Election 2016

Gary Johnson's Aleppo Gaffe Is an Inexcusable Blunder, But Hardly Unique to Presidential Candidates

"Serious" major party candidates screw up foreign policy questions almost every election cycle.


Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson scored the biggest publicity his campaign has received thus far following a foreign-policy gaffe on MSNBC's Morning Joe earlier this morning.

Interviewer Mike Barnicle asked Johnson what he would do about Aleppo if elected President. Johnson replied, "And what is Aleppo?" Barnicle, aghast, remarked "You're kidding," before informing the man currently polling in third place to be commander in chief of the most powerful military in the history of the world that Aleppo is the epicenter of the Syrian refugee crisis.

Watch the full exchange below:

This is a serious blunder by Johnson, who has said he will be slower to intervene militarily abroad than Hillary Clinton and that Donald Trump's promise to "bomb the shit out of ISIS" is uninformed policy. Johnson has pushed the idea that libertarians are not isolationists, but that there are better ways to help with situations such as Syria than sending U.S. troops, arming unvetted rebels, or using extralegal drone strikes which inevitably kill civilians.

Gage Skidmore/Flickr

Johnson's Aleppo gaffe gives ammunition to those who think Libertarians are inherently unserious (especially about defense and foreign policy) and a pointless distraction from the two major-party candidates. Morning Joe host Joe Scarborough concluded today's show by remarking that Johnson's gaffe rendered him "unqualified to be president of the United States." Barnicle added that Johnson expressed "an appalling lack of knowledge."

Following the segment, Johnson ran into MSNBC's Mark Halperin in the lobby of the NBC studios, who told the Libertarian candidate that his segment "is going to be a big flap, I promise you. It already is." Johnson admitted, "I'm incredibly frustrated with myself."

And yet Johnson is hardly alone when it comes to Syria gaffes. Former Obama administration ambassador to Iraq, Chris Hill, followed Johnson on Morning Joe and mocked the former New Mexico governor's "blank stare." Hill predicted that "he will now be known as 'Aleppo Johnson'" and then called Aleppo "the capital of ISIS." In fact, Raqqa, not Aleppo, is widely considered the capital of the self-declared caliphate known as the Islamic State. The New York Times incorrectly referred to Aleppo as "the capital" of ISIS three times in its quick take on Johnson's screw-up before adding a correction to the bottom of the page. Even that correction required a correction, as it initially referred to Aleppo as Syria's capital, when it is in fact, Damascus.

Foreign-policy misstatements actually are a staple of presidential elections. In 1999, George W. Bush scored 25 percent on a foreign policy quiz given to him by an NBC affiliate. He was unable to name the presidents of India, Pakistan, Chechnya, as well as the foreign minister of Mexico. During a 1976 debate with Jimmy Carter, Gerald Ford insisted that "there is no Soviet domination of eastern Europe." Just last night in a forum about veterans issues and foreign policy to which Johnson was not invited, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton appeared not to know that Libya is in a state of civil war. That the war is a result of the power vacuum created by the military intervention she aggressively pushed for while serving in Obama's cabinet makes her oversight particularly distressing.

None of these examples of past campaign gaffes excuses Johnson's "blank stare" when asked about Aleppo. He and his running mate and the Libertarian Party have been insisting that they belong on the main debate stage, where they would prove both that their ideas are viable and their ability to effectively govern is based on sound footing. Choking on a simple question about what he would do about the refugee crisis by not knowing a major Syrian city is a completely fair mistake for which to hold Johnson accountable.

But does it really serve as an unforgivable disqualifier, especially considering everyone from Hillary Clinton to Obama's former Iraq ambassador to The New York Times is clearly capable of fumbling important details at any given moment? Or is this just the excuse establishment media and staunch defenders of the two-party duopoly were waiting for to finally dismiss the highest-polling third party candidacy in 20 years? Virtually all signs point to the latter.

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Election 2016 Gary Johnson Syria Hillary Clinton Iraq ISIS Refugees

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461 responses to “Gary Johnson's Aleppo Gaffe Is an Inexcusable Blunder, But Hardly Unique to Presidential Candidates

  1. Damn if that wasn’t a ridiculously fast jump into crisis mode to cover your Johnson.

    1. It would be unseemly to let it hang in the breeze.

      1. Imma let you all finish, but I just have to do this first….

        *narrows gaze*

        1. Started working at home! It is by far the best job I have ever had. I just recently purchased a Brand new BMW since getting a check for $25470 this 8-week past. I began this 6 months ago and I am now bringing home at least $92 per hour. Go to this website and click tech tab to start your own business…. http://goo.gl/LtI1C0

          1. That is an example of how NOT to finish spambot.

      2. That was Johnson’s big mistake, he let it hang in the breeze. His new nickname, I am told, is Willie-Willie-Whippin’-Free… Or maybe that’s his stage name at Chippendale’s; I can’t recall for sure.

        Anyway, they hung free, and they got nabbed! I think I saw them hung as a trophy, under the rear axle of a large F150 Ford truck barreling west on I-80 today…

    2. Started working at home! It is by far the best job I have ever had. I just recently purchased a Brand new BMW since getting a check for $25470 this 8-week past. I began this 6 months ago and I am now bringing home at least $92 per hour. Go to this website and click tech tab to start your own business…. http://goo.gl/LtI1C0

    3. Started working at home! It is by far the best job I have ever had. I just recently purchased a Brand new BMW since getting a check for $25470 this 8-week past. I began this 6 months ago and I am now bringing home at least $92 per hour. Go to this website and click tech tab to start your own business…. http://goo.gl/LtI1C0

  2. How can you understand the history of northern Mesopotamia without knowing Aleppo?

    I will not have a president who cannot recite the timeline and major events of the Seljuk conquest of northern Syria. It’s automatically disqualifying. Therefore, I am voting Trump, because I trust that he knows these things.

    1. I want a president with a drinking habit and gambling problem, although I’d settle for a drinking problem and gambling habit.

      Harding 2016.

      1. In the event the president isn’t a history major, I would also take the drunken gambler. Or a drunken gamboler. I’m good either way.

        For Playa:

        Tom: His father…the drunken gambler?!

        Homer (cheerfully): That’s right, and who might you be?

        1. Next on Jeopardy:

          “I’ll take Presidential Politics for $800, Alex.”

          “Gary Johnson’s poll numbers dived after this gaffe.”

          “What is Aleppo?”

          “I am sorry, wrong. You didn’t phrase that in the form of a question.”

          1. Pack it up folks, show’s over.

            1. In any event, check out NYTimes’ own lack of knowledge while criticizing someone else for not knowing:

              Correction: September 8, 2016
              An earlier version of this article misidentified the de facto capital of the Islamic State. It is Raqqa, in northern Syria, not Aleppo.

              Correction: September 8, 2016
              An earlier version of the above correction misidentified the Syrian capital as Aleppo. It is Damascus.

      2. Is this supposed to be sarcastic? Because I’m totally on board with a drinking, gambling president. At least that’s someone I can relate to.

        1. Not at all. Harding is far and away my favorite president.

          1. I will fight you for the honor of William Henry Harrison.

        2. Well, Hillary’s got you covered on the drinking, at least. And sleeping with Bill is a gamble

      3. Rob Ford for President!

        1. Rob Ford is dead. So I agree!!

    2. Based on interaction on this forum alone, the Venn diagram of Paradox Studios game players and libertarians is a single circle.

      Johnson is done for.

      1. I must admit to my ignorance regarding Paradox Studios, not being a big gamer.

        If it isn’t Starcraft, Total War, or a Warhammer IP, I don’t really play it.

        1. Then you are disqualified as well.

        2. Total war is for when you want to focus on the battlefield side of Roman, Medieval, or Colonial history.
          Paradox games are for when you want to focus on the diplomacy/intrigue side of Roman, Medieval, or Colonial history.
          Both game series tend to be absolutely terrible at modeling the aspect of history that the other series focuses on.

          1. I absolutely agree with that. You can have good tactical gameplay or good strategic gameplay, but not both.

            1. Do you think there something inherent in the nature of the universe that causes this, or is this just a historical artifact based on the mindsets of the developers at the two outfits?

              1. BTW, if you want both good tactical gameplay and good strategic gameplay, I suggest go.

                  1. Ha, why am I not surprised you play :). I will have to hit you up sometimes. I got a bit disinterested after AlphaGo trounced Lee Sedol, but I am slowly getting back into it.

                  2. Dude- 17k? Not OK, because it’s so easy to get better than that. Get a book full of easy life and death problems you can solve in less than 30 seconds each, and just spend 20 minutes a day doing them. Its totally OK (and recommended) to go through the book several times. When you can do all the problems in the book in a few seconds get a different book, but one that’s still easy for you.

                    I’m not a very good go player (though not 17k)- I haven’t even played in a few years, though I did host and cook for the closest thing we have to a local Go congress last summer. I keep thinking I should pick it back up though. My landlord was fairly recently the strongest active Caucasian player in NA. So if I wanted I could get coached by a “super 9-dan.”

                    Anyway, at least get to 10k, ffs. That, at least, isn’t hard, and you’re representing more than one race, dammit. Another tip: try some of the Korean servers. NA kyu players try to play like pros. Korean players just full-out fucking go for you, and that’s how you ought to play until you’re like 5-dan amateur.

              2. Do you think there something inherent in the nature of the universe that causes this, or is this just a historical artifact based on the mindsets of the developers at the two outfits?

                I think, conceptually, for historical wargames, such a game would be massive. You would have to be able to model (at minimum) regiment or battalion-level battles all the way up to grand geo-political strategy and have each decision, at each scale, matter and affect everything else in the system. On top of that, you have to make it fun for the player.

                1. So… dwarf fortress?

                2. Battle for North Africa?

                  or whatever it is called? Your Italian troops get a penalty if their isnt enough water for their pasta.

            2. You can have good tactical gameplay or good strategic gameplay, but not both.

              What a fascinating question, IRL. I don’t get the impression that very many people are both good strategists and good tacticians. And I wonder how many organizations are good at both.

              Look at WWII. The Nazis were excellent tacticians, and could not stop making massive strategic blunders. Maybe being good at tactics gives you a blind spot on strategy, in that you become narrowly focussed on winning the next battle, and then looking for the next battle to win, and so on, until you find yourself freezing in the rubble at Stalingrad, thinking “Shit. We should have stopped at that last river after all.”

              1. The Nazis were excellent tacticians, and could not stop making massive strategic blunders.

                That’s because the German Army had Adolf Hitler as its strategist. Seriously. They did very well while using the strategic plans they had developed internally prior to the war. But once they ran out of their canned plans – they had to rely on Hitler….

              2. I can think of titles that loosely do both (X-COM, X-COM2) but to do both in the same game equally well is probably just beyond the scope of what would be marketable. The pacing would also be bizarre, since tactical games generally take forever in a round-by-round format whereas strategy games usually span, say, centuries so combing both could be somewhat jarring and take longer to play than anyone would care to play them.

                So really, I’d say the gameplay for both of them independent of one another is deep and fulfilling, but when you try to combine both you end up with a final product that few people are going to be interested in which means you won’t be able to fill up that old water tower with cash and go all Scrooge McDuck in there.

                1. I played the shit out of the original X-Com. Great game, but plagued with bugs. As anyone who played it seriously knows you couldn’t launch more than one craft at a time without both crashing the game and corrupting all your previous saves (!). Once you understood that I guess it was just one more unintended mechanic, but… srsly. \

                  90s games were like that though- game-breaking bugs were expected, and only sometimes patched. Remember the can’t loot corpses bug in Atari’s Temple of Elemental Evil?

                  Modern AAA titles tend to be stupid and anodyne, but at least they work.

          2. Speaking of war games, I tried out the BF1 open beta. The scenery is fantastic (Sinai, as it happens) and the gameplay seems fun (I hate multiplayer shooters), but given the franchise the chance of a solid single-player campaign is slim. Shame, I love the era.

            1. “Oh wow! Look at the scenery. The realistic way the sand … erm .. looks so sandy in the wadi. And the fur on that camel – I can almost smell the mange! … And don’t even ask about the mirages!”


          3. Um Total War is pretty terrible at modelling the aspect of history it focuses on as well. Don’t get me wrong, I like Total War games, but comparing its mechanics to actual historical combat is insane. If Alexander the Great was psychic and every soldier was directly wired to his brain, maybe. And that’s not covering the ‘historical inaccuracies because Rule Of Cool’. I mean, they have katana samurai in Shogun 2 and fire arrows in most of the Total Wars for Christ’s sake.

          4. The problem is that it’s hard enough to get either right. And your audience is likely to be very happy if you get either (mostly) right, but unhappy if you get both wrong. Look at Spore (a much-hyped game which was on sale for 5 bucks this weekend on Steam.) It tried to be all things, and failed to do any of them well. It was the “No-Man’s Sky” of its time.

            It makes more sense to devote all your resources to getting one thing right than it does to split your resources and get a lot of things wrong. If your game is about tactics, make it about tactics, and get tactics right. If it’s about strategy, do that. If you chase both rabbits you’d better understand what you’re getting into.

        3. I only know what Aleppo is because of total war. They seem to have bad luck with earthquakes over there.

          1. Just biding my time til gunpowder is invented so I can put cannon towers on all my castles.

      2. Damn straight. If you don’t know that the duchy of Saxony resided in the HRE after its conquest by Charlemagne in the 8th Century and the secondary sources documenting this event in medieval Latin, you sure as hell aren’t qualified for my vote.

      3. Paradox Studios

        And what is that?

        1. Dead to me.

          Paradox is a game developer who actively hates you and wants to punish you for giving them your money.

          What’s not to love?

      4. Indeed- Aleppo isn’t just a city, it’s a whole damned trade node. To be ignorant of its existence implies that you’re the sort of noob who plays Portugal, allies Castile, and just colonizes for the whole damned game. By this point in Johnson’s career I’d expect him to be playing either OPMs or Norway/Ryukyu for those last couple achievements.

        A better question might have been “So what would you do about Aq Qoyunlu?” He might answer “Well, I’m generally a non-interventionist, but AQ holds our cores, which is unacceptable. The alliances don’t favor DOWing them quite yet, but once I’ve polished off Karaman I’ll deal with them.”

        Well, that answer might sound statesmanlike, but the question was a trap, and the media could fire back: “Still playing kebab are we? You really are a noob. And btw, why would a non-interventionist play kebab in the first place? I mean, Ottomans are all about violating the NAP, amirite?” And they’d have him there. Maybe better a Portugal noob than that especially if he wants the support of the alt-right.

        The correct answer is: “I only play EU IV from the 1776 bookmark, and I’m kind of conflicted about getting the Liberty or Death achievement. ‘Start as USA in 1776 bookmark and own all your cores while being at peace’ sounds pretty libertarian to me, but… well I guess you have to bake a few Nazi wedding cakes to make an omelette.”

        1. Also, you have to take humanist ideas even though they’re basically worthless as the USA.

          1. But so good as Ottomans. More proof GJ is a noob.

    3. How about a president that doesn’t know the difference between Murray Rothbard and David Friedman? Cause GayJasy also has that going for him.

    4. I’m still trying to figure out why I should be outragged when MSNBC invites the Former Ambassador to Iraq on to dogpile Johnson, only to have him refer to Aleppo as the Capital of ISIS…..seriously, wtf?!

  3. So where does Aleppo rank on the scale between nuclear triad and “Like, with a cloth?”?

    I kid, I kid. Aleppo is uniquely perverse because libertarian, or something.

    1. C is for paragraph alphabeticalization

  4. What is Allepo? Even the lofty and erudite New York Times can’t get the facts straight. In their hit piece against Johnson, confused themselves about the names of cities in and the capitol in Syria, they had to publish a correction. Then they had to publish a another:

    “Correction: September 8, 2016
    An earlier version of this article misidentified the de facto capital of the Islamic State. It is Raqqa, in northern Syria, not Aleppo.

    Correction: September 8, 2016
    An earlier version of the above correction misidentified the Syrian capital as Aleppo. It is Damascus.”


    1. In the earlier post I was told Aleppo is common knowledge like the eye-fall tower being in Prague.

      1. Wait, so it doesn’t stand next to the leaning pizza tower?

        1. I think they moved it when they moved the London Bridge.

        2. So Italy jails a seismologist because he couldnt guess when an earthquake was going to hit, but lets a giant tower lean dangerously close to toppling over for centuries? And sells admission to curious tourists? Oh brother!

          Italy, stick to spaghetti and meatballs.

      2. I thought it was near the louver.

        1. It’s called “The Leaning Tower of Pisa”, dummy, it’s in Pisa. The Louver is in Rome.

          1. Wrong wrong again. The Louvre, Colosseum, Big Ben, Ludwig’s Castle, Eiffel Tower, and Parthenon are all lined up next to each other in cool diorama setup. Saw it on a postcard once in the Cincinnati airport.

            Geography 101 bitches, jeesh.

            1. I thought all those were in Vegas.

              1. Vegas is a microcosm of everything that somehow includes itself.

          2. Oh. I thought it was Pizza.

      3. At minimum, if you read the news once a month or so, you have the vaguest idea that it’s a city in Syria, and you can bullshit your way through the question after that. As opposed to just going full deer in the headlights.

        1. I had never heard of it.


        2. Yes – but lepo is also a Brazilian word for ‘sex’. So clearly when GJ was asked Whatcha gonna do about a lepo? He thought that he was being asked about kinky sex by illegals. Understandable that he got caught up in what he thought was a libertarian gotcha and missed the establishment/beltway codetalking reference.

    2. Wow. Just had some say GJ is an idiot because of Allepo. I told him about your article and he’s all “yeah Allepo the capital.” I said no it’s Damascus. “Well Johnson is running for president.”

      Me: back to my phone

    3. Capital of the USA: Aleppo, District of Columbia.

    4. What is Allepo?

      Everyone know this was the sixth Marx brother.

  5. He has given his opponents, those who support either Trump over HRC and vice-versa, the sound byte they wanted, already dubbed a “Palinism” with the obvious suggestion that you can not possibly consider him over their campaigns,

    That’s about as far as it needs to go for the average voter, though I doubt it will really make any further difference to those who have already made up their little minds.

    1. I’ll not be voting for Johnson, and this only furthers my resolve.

      Not because I think it’s a colossal gaff, I just have better things to do that day.

      1. Yeah, I went from “hey, at least he’s a libertarian” to “well, at least he has ‘libertarian’ next to his name” to “lesser of three evils” to “oh look – football starts tonight” pretty damn quick.

        (Cam Newton, Tom Brady, or Aaron Rodgers. Which one would you most enjoy seeing get Theismanned just because you’re so damn sick of hearing what a miracle-worker this guy is every 5 minutes? “Let’s see you miracle-work that 6-jointed leg you got there, smart guy.”)

        1. Hey all last season I had to listen to how the Panthers were the worst undeafeated team in history and their demoralizing defeat was just around the corner at the hands of the Cowboys, Redskins, and I can’t remember what other terrible teams.


          1. I’m a Seahawk fan and I’ll tell you the Panther’s looked a hell of a lot like the Seahawks from the year before. Props to Cam, but the strength of the Panthers is how solid they are. There’s no big stars, but there’s no big weaknesses either. What I got sick of is hearing how Cam was carrying the team all by himself and that’s just silly. In basketball, one guy can carry a team, in football one guy can make the difference between a good team and a great team, but constantly focusing on Cam as if that’s the whole team is pretty disrespectful to everybody else and I got sick of hearing it.

            (But I also have to support my local team, the Falcons, so I am contractually obligated to hate on the Panthers and the Saints and the Bucs.)

            1. Seahawks are saying they may note may not stand during the anthem. I want to see who will be brave enough to stand. amazing that it will now take brave people to stand for the anthem.

        2. Brady, hands down.

      2. The reason to vote for Gary Johnson is in the futile hope that he gets 10% of the vote and wins easier ballot access for future candidates.

        No more.

        No less.

  6. “Did [Breyer] actually uphold Kelo?” Johnson asked Benson.
    “Yeah, he did,” Benson replied. “He was in the majority in that case.”
    “Oh my gosh,” Johnson declared.

    Poor GayJay is the Jeff Spicoli of the 2016 campaign, the dumb schmuck who gets stoned and drives your brother’s car into a pile of cinder blocks.

    1. It’s okay. His dad’s an electrician and has an ultimate set of tools. He can fix it.

  7. The thing that’s really terrible is that Johnson has been a professional politician and thus should be able to bullshit his way through a question that he doesn’t immediately recognize the answer to. (The video player doesn’t work for me, so I can’t see the actual exchange, but I would imagine there was enough context leading up to the question that Johnson should have realized it had something to do with foreign policy.)

    1. (The video player doesn’t work for me, so I can’t see the actual exchange, but I would imagine there was enough context leading up to the question that Johnson should have realized it had something to do with foreign policy.)

      Actually no. It’s a pretty jarring transition from Qs about the campaign to Syria. I can see why that caught him off guard to where he wasn’t even sure what the topic was.

      1. Ah, thanks, that makes it a somewhat more excusable, although I think he still should have been able to give some platitudinous answer to buy time while trying to figure out what the question was asking about. E.g., “There are no easy answers about Aleppo, but once in office I will fully devote our resources to consideration of what can be done in regard to the issue.” Note that at this point the interviewer either has to let the whole thing go or ask a follow-up question that might give the interview subject more of a clue at least about what the general topic is.

        1. “And can you tell us where Aleppo is?”

          “Between a rock and a hard place, if you ask me.”

        2. He should have just said he has a secret plan.

    2. “OK, Mr. Integrity Barnicle, can you tell me [some abstruse question to which he knows the answer – maybe the payroll taxes paid by a lower-middle-class family, etc.]?

      “Oh, so you don’t know stuff about the actual real-world conditions of working Americans, but you want to play games with questions about furriners? This is why the media has a credibility problem, they aren’t in touch with real people and their concerns.”

    3. I would’ve liked to have seen them ask Clinton that question out of nowhere.

      Seriously, would she have known absolutely anything if out of nowhere, you suddenly asked her, “What would you do about Aleppo?”

      1. There would be a pause while her handlers fed her the answer through her earpiece, and then a stumbling reply that would be hailed as proof of her Most Qualificationistness EVAR!

        1. Funny you should say that:
          RC. Right Again.

          I know – the source – but the photo looks reliable.

          1. Hildog, how much does a quart of milk cost?

            Even her handlers are too rich and smug to know.

            1. “I will have a blue-ribbon panel look into why the cost is so high. Milk is a basic human right that all people should have, especially the under-privileged.”

  8. He’s getting more awareness of his name from this gaffe than anything else he has done. ” So I got that going for me, which is nice.”

  9. The status quo can make a big deal of this because anything else is scary. OMG – Johnson is human and imperfect!! I still can and will vote for him.

  10. We’ve moved past the “third party: voteable?” phase of the MSM and come to the “third parties are scary!”. He stumbled a bit on a question, as every Presidential candidate in history has, and they’re going to be using this for the next two months until Hillary is finally elected.

    1. based on this I don’t know how Obama recovered from his 57 states comment. Oh never mind

  11. Oh come on. It was idiotic and absolutely disqualifying. What is Reason’s obsession with this guy? He has no charisma, he’s not particularly bright and he’s barely a libertarian (if that).

    1. He’s better than everyone else in the race, even with all of that.

      1. Define better.

        1. Not nearly so horrible.

        2. Does it matter how you define it? Look at the other two? Yeah he’s an idiot. But I guess that just means he’ll fit in better.

        3. Not a felon

        4. Better is a president more interested more in domestic affairs than the name of every bombed out hovel across the globe. It that were the case, I think there would be a lot less bombed out hovels.

  12. Morning Joe host Joe Scarborough concluded today’s show by remarking that Johnson’s gaffe rendered him “unqualified to be president of the United States


    But the other two are perfectly qualified…

    Eat a bag of dicks, Joe!

    1. Apparently telling your lawyers to instruct your network guys to destroy all of the emails under subpoena makes you enormously qualified though.

      Although Hillary does think “C” is for cookie and that’s good enough for me.

  13. Other than that Ms. Lincoln how was the play?

  14. OT:
    Drunk asshole breaks window, tosses insults across the thin blue line…and so it begins

    1. L?se-majest? is a serious crime.

    2. scary days when those in charge can now jail people just for practicing their free speech rights. but according to Hillary all rights have limits of course its just a matter of which or whose limits are imposed.

  15. This will be Johnson’s undoing.

    Well, that and the fact he never had a chance to begin with.

  16. I agree that it is ultimately comparable to a bunch of other gaffes from the ‘serious’ candidates, but still… this feels like the only appropriate response.

  17. It seems as if this election actively seeks to conform to all European stereotypes about Americans.

  18. To be perfectly honestly I don’t see how this hurts him. He’s suddenly getting more attention in the news than he’s ever gotten before and his response has been pretty on point: he admits he doens’t know everything, will make mistakes, and will get better. If you’re an average, uninformed American that’s having your first exposure to Johnson that probably comes off as pretty refreshing.

    1. His gaffe gets play; his response gets buried.

      1. Yeah, how much attention is his explanation getting?

        Serious question, because I don’t know what the hell is going on. But my assumption is that people will focus on the gaffe, and pay little attention to his response.

        1. While it is true that the gaffe will get more play than the response (which is always the case for a candidate not fawned over by the majority of the media), I don’t think this gaffe will hurt him much. Informed voters already have an opinion of him, and while this might be a straw that breaks the camels back for some of them given other gaffes he has made I doubt it will move the needle much among that crowd. For uninformed voters, if they hear about this they will probably agree “what is an Aleppo” and shrug it off. It’s not like he misspelled potato or gave the wrong number of states, things that the average Joe would understand to be common knowledge.

      2. Approximately 0% of the electorate knows wtf Aleppo is.

        Sounds like a dog food.

      3. Doesn’t matter. 99% of Americans don’t know what the fuck Aleppo is. To them, if you think Aleppo is important then you are an elitist prick and will become more hate-worthy.

    2. Their first exposure is that he’s an idiot.

      1. This isn’t Gerald Ford inexplicably blurting out that “There is no Soviet domination of Eastern Europe” this is a guy they aren’t familiar with getting caught off guard in a live interview on a subject that the average person cares little about.

        Show me a voter with no personal stake in the conflict that gives a shit about Syria and will find this unforgivable.

        I maintain there is no such thing as bad publicity if you’re a third party candidate.

        1. I maintain there is no such thing as bad publicity if you’re a third party candidate.

          Aha! Another McAfee supporter.

        2. I think you are being far too generous.

        3. But when Ford said that, it was from braggadocio rather than ignorance.

    3. So as far as the candidates go, he would be the one who is “most improved.”

  19. This won’t go anywhere. The story about the Foreign adviser and the New York Times getting what Aleppo is wrong is reaching people before the original gaffe is. The story is now about how even the people correcting Gary Johnson don’t even know why the city is important.

    1. It’s important because the media says it is. DUH.

      1. But now the story they tell includes that even they don’t know what the city is. They can claim it’s important all day long, but their claim now just make it look like he had good reason not to know that particular city.

        1. Only 17% of Americans can name 3 of 9 Supreme Court justices. 2/3 can name all of the Three Stooges.
          I’m not sure which figure is more astonishing. Only 2/3? And wasn’t there 4 stooges? Or was that the Marxist Brothers?

          1. There were six Stooges if you want to be technical: Moe, Larry, Curly, Shemp, Joe Besser, and Curly Joe DeRita.

            1. And then there was Iggy, Scott, Ron and Dave…

          2. One stooge died or something

            1. They’re all pretty much dead now.

          3. There were four stooges, but not at the same time. Shep, then Curley and always Moe & Larry.

            Jesus I hate myself.

          4. I bet you not even 1/3 could name three of the stooges. That’s how far gone we are as a country.

            1. You know what they say – if you look around the poker table and can’t tell who the stooge is, you’re the stooge. This election there’s about 300 million stooges.

          5. It would be much easier to remember the Supreme Court justices if they had simple names like Larry, Curly and Moe.

            1. well the SC does act like the stooges most of the time anyway so why not

  20. Libertarians learn what a prominent Democrat opponent is all about. You have to be verbally perfect at all times, while any criticism of the Dem candidate is unfair, sexist or ageist.

  21. It’s a damn good thing Johnson didn’t claim to be running to represent “all 58 states.”

    I mean, someone who doesn’t even know how many states there are in the U.S. would NEVER be elected President!

    1. That was evidence he was exhausting himself working for the good of the people, not that he was a hapless ignoramus.

    2. I hate this juvenile pedantic kind of shit. Obama’s 57 states comment was a misstatement. He was referencing the 47 states he’d visited during the campaign in 07-08. He misspoke and said “fifty” instead of “forty”. If you watch the speech, you can tell he misspoke.
      Johnson not knowing what Aleppo is strikes me as a bit worse in that he genuinely didn’t seem to know what Aleppo is.

      1. Possibly, but we’re having some fun at the expense of a man who is clearly – only a racist would claim otherwise – the most qualified, competent man who ever ran as President of the United States.

        How could an individual who could – by the mere force of his will – make the oceans recede and unify the world – make a *mistake*.

        It’s impossible – come to think of it – inexcusable!

        1. Face it 6. Every four years we collectively attribute all of our hopes and dreams/fears and anxieties on to a fucking salesperson with delusions of grandeur. Their policies really don’t matter, but they make us feelz one way or the other. It’s the Yankees vs Red Sox, or the Blackhawks vs the Red Wings. Good vs Bad.

          On that note:How can you be so glib when the fate of the free world hangs in the balance???

          1. I’d love to hear more about how a single person invested with the ability to make war and treaties because of massive abrogations of duty by the House and Senate, who also has vast regulatory authority over most of American industry, is a person who’s ‘policies really don’t matter’.

            I mean, if we still had that whole ‘rule of law’ thing you’d be right. But today we have a soft emperor.

            1. Deep in our little hearts most Americans want a benevolent strongman to make us feel secure. He/She just better be wearing the right “team’s” uniform.

      2. That is, by definition, a gaffe. I agree with both you and Reason, getting worked up about a brain fart is ridiculous.

      3. Ok, but Obama thinking Austrians speak a language called Austrian is far dumber than Johnson not knowing Aleppo. So no one who think Obama is halfway intelligent should be criticizing Johnson here.

  22. The left are full of shit if they overblow this; even if it was a tad weird.


    I accidentally stumbled on The View and some woman named ‘Joyce’ interviewing Gary Johnson. Did any of you watch this piece of work? I wanted to reach into the TV and literally smack her in the face. What a complete piece of shit the way she spoke to him equipped with the usual ‘who is this guy’ look and nervous squirming in the chair going as far as to tell him he’s nothing but a spoiler and his error was a ‘disqualifier’. I can just imagine how this idiot would react if someone spoke to that twat she supports in the same way.

    I couldn’t believe what I was seeing and hearing.

    But hey…it’s not like Obama never made mistakes.


    1. Joy Behar? The woman who had a talk show too terrible for even HLN to air?

      1. Yeh her. The partisan ignorance on display was breathtaking.

    2. Why wouldn’t they over blow this? (and of course they’re full of shit)

      If they don’t over blow Aleppogate, they might have to talk about Hilary’s latest round of astoundingly blatant lies from last night.

  23. Googling site:reason.com for Aleppo over the past year (excluding today), yields 11 results.

    Same search since 2012 yields 17 results.

    Of course everybody knows that Aleppo is actually the 6th Marx brother.

  24. I can’t believe he didn’t say “We have intervened in Panama, Haiti, Somalia, Bosnia, Serbia, Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, and Pakistan and Yemen. What did it get us???” I’m dumbfounded, disappointed, and doubtful I will vote for him now. I know he’s only human, but that was an unforced error on something he should be able to spit out a strong, non-interventionist libertarian position. #FAIL

    1. That’s assuming he’s a strong non-interventionist libertarian. I think he’s mostly in it for all the hot libertarian groupies.

      1. You mean the reefer!!!

    2. you’re thinking of a libertarian

  25. Johnson was the biggest mistake the LP made this year, adding Weld onto it was worse….. They have earned this for their failure to learn from the LP debates that Johnson can’t debate worth a damn. McAffe for all his flaws was at least the sharpest wit on the stage and Weiss was also an excellent pick for a VP. The only thing that was going to happen was we had the chance to appear on the main stage and send out the message, TPTB will NEVER allow us to win and are known through congressional testimony that they are rigging elections (Clint Curtis) so why we picked our weakest, most anti-libertarian candidate that ran for nomination is just beyond me, unless someone in the upper levels of the LP is working for the enemies of liberty to make us all look like jackasses.
    GJ is not a Libertarian he is an Alt-Right sockpuppet and doesnt say anything more than he is commanded by his handlers.

    1. GJ is not a Libertarian he is an Alt-Right sockpuppet

      Wait, what?

      1. Yeah, that is a startlingly ignorant thing to say. Everyone knows the alt-right is a progressive sockpuppet for discrediting conservatism.

        Johnson is just a milquetoast has-been.


    2. Go the fuck back to AceofRacists, guy, save that shit for the herd.

  26. Uniquely disqualified to be President? I think not. This is typical of the mainstream media to attack a potential threat to the duopoly.

    I am not surprised that Johnson doesn’t know about Aleppo. He’s unable to vocalize libertarian ideas and seems unread in that regard. Why should I expect him to read up on current events. I baffled by his reasons for seeking the LP nom this year as he doesn’t seem to care about prep work for debates or interviews.

    1. He’s been that way from the start of his campaign, since he characterized most of the effort he put into his 2012 campaign as a “complete waste of time”. That’s why I’m leaning back towards voting for Trump. If I’m casting an anti-Hillary ballot in this election, I’d rather cast one for the guy who at least acts like he gives a shit.

      If he’s not even going to put in effort to prep for these interviews, why should I put out the effort to vote for a guy polling below 10% who seems to favor a lefty agenda every bit as much as the other two candidates?

      1. You know, you don’t have to vote for anybody! 🙂

        I’m writing in “None of the Above” this election.

        Since the US. govt is doomed to financial collapse no matter who wins the election, your vote even more meaningless than it ordinarily would be.

        A vote for Trump will fool the political classes into thinking that Trump is acceptable and you’ll get more like him.

  27. So a non-interventionist doesn’t know the name of a place we should have no involvement with (nor does anyone else apparently)?

    He’s got my vote.

    1. I’ll admit that is clever damage control. I like it.

    2. Pro tip for Gary: next time this comes up he should say “Yes, I know it was a gaffe and I will continue to get better. But I must say I am more troubled by the violence in Chicago than I am by the violence in Aleppo. That should be our next president’s focus, here in America, not abroad where our previous interventions have had the effect of making things worse.”

    3. This was my take.

      “Is that the name of yet another place Hillary fucked up as Sec State?”

      “Maybe we should stop doing that.”

    4. This was my take.

      “Is that the name of yet another place Hillary fucked up as Sec State?”

      “Maybe we should stop doing that.”

  28. So what the hell is Aleppo? It’s not the capital of ISIS. It’s not the capital of Syria. Why is it important?

    1. its the locus of fighting in the Syrian civil war. when it falls, the rebels will be done.

      note i said, “when”, not “If”

      1. One city is it? Damn, can they even be properly called rebels if they can’t hold onto more than one city.

        1. http://syriancivilwarmap.com/

          its a little more complicated than that.

          There are not exactly “2 sides” in this conflict.

          1. In the first link above, look up in the NE corner where 4* different blobs converge on Aleppo

            (*5, now that the Turks are rolling in w/ tanks)

          2. It is pissed about my adblocker so I cant see it.

        2. Considering there are two or three major cities in Syria, holding one of them is a big deal (Aleppo was also the most important commercial center of the country before the war). Yes, they can probably survive in the countryside for a while but losing Aleppo means they’re pretty much done.

      2. This. It’s also (supposedly) where almost all of the “refugees” being allowed into various western are coming from, although I personally don’t believe our governments have any clue whatsoever as to how true this really is.

        The United States so far has allowed in approximately 10,000 of the “refugees”, and rising.

      3. Taking out their one main city will cause them to fall? I would think you’d have to take out some of their leadership as well – like maybe killing their #2 guy. Yeah, that should do it, killing their #2 guy would be a blow they’d never recover from.

    2. Aleppo is where the Armenians tried to escape to when Armenians that happened to live in Turkey from 1915 to 1917 were allegedly dying and allegedly having their wealth confiscated.

      But this was just a fairy tale told by Armenian grandmothers to their children at night. The Turkish government has always been open and trusting. Minorities of ethnic or religious stripe have never had any reason to fear violence and abuse.

  29. Ignoring Gary’s own ignorance of Syrian geography…

    …. i personally think its a stupid *(and loaded) question in the first place.

    What is the US doing now in Syria (forget Aleppo) and why? And is it smart or defensible in any way?

    Why is there any “Do Somethingism” about someone else’s civil war? The media presumption that “There’s something happening over there!! QUICK = Stick our dick in it!!” is insane.

    Its got to be one of the worst aspects (if not the worst of all) of modern media-approaches to politics that there’s this false dichotomy of “Doing Something/Doing Nothing”, where a Presidential Person must always be prepared to Do Something about over-seas stuff, no matter how irrelevant.

    The fact is we’re not actually “doing anything” in Aleppo right now, really, unless you count the ‘support’ the US provides *some* syrian rebels (*who represent a minority within the overall resistance in the first place)

    You’ve got rebels and ISIS fighting over control of neighborhoods which the Syrians and Russians then bomb.

    What can the US (or anyone) do about it? Mostly what they do is “john kerry”-style posturing = demand “Talks” where they get various representatives in a room to lie to one another. That way the US appears to be “Doing Something” without actually doing anything.

    That’s what they want to be told? We’ll do that “Diplomatic Charade”-thing? And why should the US do it, and not China, or Greenland, or Sri Lanka? Oh, Because Leadership, or something.

    1. Ignoring Gary’s own ignorance of Syrian geography…

      Or maybe he is sooooooo educated in the subject that he didn’t recognize “Aleppo” at first, because modern-day Arabic speakers call the city “Halab“.

      You ever think of that? Huh? HUH?

    2. Let’s ignore Obama and Clinton’s role in fomenting this shitshow… Gary Johnson said something we’re gonna call disqualifying!

    3. That’s why the correct response, both tactically and philosophically, was to say (a bit dismissively) something along the lines of “What would I do? Meaning, unilaterally, as the president, or? I think you need to rephrase the question.”

      1. Exactly.

        You don’t have to “know” anything about the Syrian civil war to handle questions like that. You need to be able to put the media in their place when they come at you with attempts at wonky-gotcha’s.

    4. Gary has talked plenty about Syria. although the Morning Joe folks hadn’t been paying any attention to him so they wouldn’t know that. Thus they thought they got a scoop when he had a brain fart / senior moment.
      Now many news organizations are piling on and he’s getting a ton of media attention. Perhaps the MSM will overplay their hand on this and end up helping Gary. If 60-70% don’t know who he is, what % know what Aleppo is?
      Because other than this one incident, Gary is always articulate and on point.

      1. Gary is always articulate and on point.

        no, he’s not.

        1. I can’t tell whether that comment was sincere or sarcastic.

          1. sincerely both

    5. I blame the historians when they claimed George Washington was the father of the nation. every since then people have been looking for a father figure to run the country and assume that all fathers can solve all problems no matter where they are. Its childish but I actually think that is how many Americans think of our president as their father and now many of them want a mother as well and that mother is Hillary. these same people must have come from abusive homes.

      1. You only say that because you’re dad doesn’t know what Aleppo is. My dad is better at geography than your dad.

  30. It’s interesting that MSNBC felt the need to create a controversy wrt a nobody.

    1. The left absolutely hates libertarians with a flaming passion. Prior to this year they spent several years ramping up their demonization efforts. I think they really saw the Rand Paul republicans as a serious threat from the left on social issues and wanted to move early and often to make sure they gained no purchase.

      HuffPo had Rand, Ron and all the other libertarian names prominently featured in their negative spin cycle for most of the past decade, certainly since the rise of the tea party.

      So it is an easy sell for them to go after Johnson. Their listeners are Hillary supporters and the only reason to go on the network is to peel away Hillary votes. No chance they take that lying down.

      1. Ahhhhh Rand. Remember when Rand was a candidate for president?

        *Fd’A wipes a tear off his cheek*

        Wouldn’t it have been interesting to see what would have happened if Rand was the last man out rather than the first? OR if he’d run as the Libertarian? Maybe Johnson as a running mate?

        1. That would have been my second favorite ticket.

          I’m still pulling for Dwayne Johnson to come out as a libertarian and run. Mostly because I desperately want to see that debate.

  31. Other prominent politicos have screwed up on foreign policy and have rightly had their feet held to the fire. Johnson messed up here on something he should have known and pointing to others’ flubs isn’t something libertarians should be doing. Unlike the Rep partisans and the Dem partisans, libertarians should hold him accountable if only to make him a better candidate. Trying to wave it away by pointing out the other guy/gal did it too is a mistake.

    1. I think Gary will take this flub to heart.

    2. I think the point here though is that some people actually think this disqualified a person for the presidency.

      Also, you’re a kettle and the pot calls you black, do you really think the thing to do is just admit it and apologize, without pointing out the pot’s color too?

  32. If Gay Jay was being glib, he did it wrong.

  33. I really don’t give a fuck about Aleppo and most Americans don’t either. What I do give a fuck about is that Johnson doesn’t seem to understand what being a libertarian is its not fiscally conservative, socially liberal I agree with Sanders on 70% of issues BS. Its about the NAP. Libertarians are not moderate Republicans!!!

    1. Agreed, that’s what disqualifies him to me, not this Aleppo bullshit. His libertarianism doesn’t really seem to have a philosophical foundation.

      1. Yeah. Imagine how Michael Badnarik would have hit that outta the park.

        1. “Aleppo???? You are asking me about Aleppo, when I can’t even drive without a government issued piece of paper??”

      2. So who’s your preferred candidate?

        1. I think I’m going to write someone in, haven’t decided on who yet. I would just not vote but politicians seem to take apathy as a sign of satisfaction with the status quo.

          1. That’ll send a message! 😉

          2. Writes arent allowed in my state for President and generally require someone to register as a write-in candidate in order to be counted.

            So, basically, that is not voting.

              1. remember Obama considered those who didn’t vote as approval of his policies so I would right in even if they aren’t allowed. How can someone not be allowed except for the limitation placed by the constitution. If a majority wrote in Santa Clause I think they would have to comply. oh wait santa clause in not a natural born citizen so never mind.

    2. Its about the NAP

      Another thing most Americans don’t give a fuck about.

      1. 100 percent correct, unfortunately.

    3. Its about the NAP.

      No, its about self ownership.

    4. being a libertarian is its not fiscally conservative, socially liberal

      “fiscally conservative” – tax collector for the Total State

      “socially liberal” – brownshirt for the SJW locust horde

      Yeah, not libertarian.

  34. I must say, it is rather amusing to see a lot of the people who usually deride others for pulling “the other guy did it too!” pulling “the other guy did it too!”

    1. I don’t exactly support GJ, but even I can recognize a hypocritical smear job when I see it.

  35. Yeaah, but can he recite the names of all 57 states?
    (did I get scooped again?)

  36. And how many federal departments would GJ eliminate?! Huh?! Maybe DOT, HHS, and, uh…

  37. Alex Trebek: “This city is the capital of Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.


    Gov. Gary Johnson: ‘What is Aleppo?’

  38. He just forgot.

    Everyone knows where Aleppo is.

    It’s where that warlord lives who donates $1 million to the Clinton Foundation every time he lynches a gay guy.

  39. Sure, it was a gaffe, but seriously, how important are the details about the name of a place compared with the broader picture of what is going on in Syria? This was a gift to the dems who have been nervous about Gary eating into Hillary’s support, especially from the under 35 demographic. Fortunately, most of them aren’t probably going to hold it against him.

  40. Fucking awesome:

    Best part is it all stemmed from NYT mocking Johnson for displaying “a surprising lack of foreign policy knowledge”

    The Correction Correction, a rare bird, the Inception level-two dream of journalism.

    Correction: September 8, 2016
    An earlier version of this article misidentified the de facto capital of the Islamic State. It is Raqqa, in northern Syria, not Aleppo.

    Correction: September 8, 2016
    An earlier version of the above correction misidentified the Syrian capital as Aleppo. It is Damascus.

    1. Libertarians are sooo stupid! And racist! So just STFU, brownshirt!

  41. Barnicle then continued: “I served with Jack Kennedy. I knew Jack Kennedy. Jack Kennedy was a friend of mine. You’re no Jack Kennedy. Have you no sense of decency, sir? At long last, have you left no sense of decency? You can quote me on that!”

  42. I guess I will take on the role of Johnson defender in this situation.

    I’m not exactly sure how his remark can be “inexcusable” but not “unforgivable,” unless there Reason is using really strict legal or theological language, which I doubt is the case.

    Johnson is running against one candidate who can’t tell Aleppo from a leper, and another candidate who claims that the strange world of email frightens and confuses her.

    And the journalists and commentators attacking Johnson couldn’t pour piss out of a boot if the instructions were printed on the label.

    But let’s focus on the intellectual shortcomings of the guy challenging the status quo, not the reverse-meritocracy which has run this whole country into a ditch.

    1. But nothing, that was a typo.

    2. But nothing, that was a typo.

    3. What’s wrong with something being inexcusable and also forgivable?

      1. Legally and theologically, they’re different ideas, like I said.

        I’m just not sure how precise Reason was being in its use of the terms.

        In common usage, they’re usually synonymous.

        1. I disagree, but I’m not sure how we’re supposed to hash out what is “common usage.”

        2. They seem very different to me.

          But I’m told I’m Baptist.

        3. Whether or not something can be forgiven has more to do with the severity of the offense and the offended party’s capacity for grace. Whether or not something can be excused is more related to extenuating circumstances or other concept of fairness toward the offender. Even outside of theology, I would think similar understanding would apply.

          1. Yes, yes, I thought Reason was being vague, who knows, maybe they weren’t.

    4. I was listening to some Rush Limbaugh in the car while I was out doing some property inspections today. The fuck laid it on real thick about Johnson not knowing about Aleppo. He pretended that he was defending the guy and went on to condemn the media for expecting libertarians to know anything about foreign policy or any subject other than legal marijuana and open borders. The guy can speak with some gravitas about the shortcomings, fraud and corruption of the media and leftists, but when it comes to libertarianism or any issue outside of the NFL or GOP talking points, his depth of knowledge is more shallow than a kiddie pool, not that that stops him from blabbing about it.

      1. I heard a few seconds of that. It sounded like he was in an alternate reality.

        He was rambling on about how the mainstream media treats any third party candidate with kid gloves and unearned gravitas. He went on to talk about the MSNBC interview as if it were a puff piece, attempting to make him look as good as possible, and he still flubbed it because he didn’t even know where Aleppo was.

        Maybe this was a setup for a pivot, but that’s as far as I got. If the mainstream media is treating Johnson seriously and with kid gloves, I certainly missed it. I suppose they haven’t tried to gotcha him over random bizarre trivia, or asked him 30 consecutive questions about government regulation of Klan meetings. But still, I wouldn’t say he’s gotten fawning coverage.

        1. Maybe this was a setup for a pivot

          Yeah he pivoted to a rhetorical assault on libertarians and libertarianism, which despite my doubts about the imminence of a “libertarian moment”, is a profoundly stupid thing to say about the only steadfast allies that the dwindling number of conservatives could actually have. This is why the mainstream conservative types lose elections and have utterly failed to conserve almost everything for the last forty years. They even lose control of their own ostensible party. They’re too busy sneering at potential allies who don’t choose to fight and die on worthless fucking hills.

          Conservatism as we’ve come to know it needs to die, and it needs to die fast so that civilization can actually defend itself against the left.

          1. The problem is that it’s not clear what you mean by libertarians, and even less so to non-libertarians. If my understanding of libertarianism came from reading recent Reason articles, I think I would find it hard to justify your statement that libertarians are allies of conservatives, steadfast or otherwise. Much like neocons are Marxists that like the MIC, Reason libertarians are cultural Marxists that like moderately regulated markets with smarter technocracy and a less generous and less controlling welfare state. IOW, people that would be at home in allegedly socialist Scandinavian countries.

            1. I agree. You aren’t wrong about strands of libertarianism becoming infected by cultural Marxism. But it’s not that simple. Personally, I think the vector of infection is the Chicago school of economics, which is widely mistaken for a free market school of economics when in reality it’s just a home for repentant Keynesians. Reason’s outreach to the left as opposed to the right is certainly going to spell trouble down the road, as Murray Rothbard learned about his own attempts at winning over leftists to his cause.

    5. couldn’t pour piss out of a boot if the instruction were written on the bottom. clarified it for you.

  43. Former Obama administration ambassador to Iraq, Chris Hill, … called Aleppo as “the capital of ISIS.” In fact, Raqqa, not Aleppo, is widely considered the capital of the self-declared caliphate known as the Islamic State. The New York Times incorrectly referred to Aleppo as “the capital” of ISIS three times in its quick take on Johnson’s screw-up before adding a correction to the bottom of the page. Even that correction required a correction, as it initially referred to Aleppo as Syria’s capital, when it is in fact, Damascus.

    Like Johnson, I didn’t know that Aleppo was a city in Syria, but I did know that Raqqa is the capital of ISIS (such that there is such a thing) and that Damascus is the capital of Syria. But Hill and the NYT are “serious, non-kooky” people while Johnson (and myself, apparently) have “an appalling lack of knowledge.” Yeah, OK, what the fuck ever.

  44. For fuck’s sake. I’d bet that most of the people losing their shit over this couldn’t even find Damascus on a map.


    1. Mike Barnicle couldn’t find his buttocks on a map.

      1. How the fuck do you do what he did (over and over again, apparently) and still have a journalism career?

        1. Because strict accuracy isn’t a prerequisite of a career in modern journalism?

          1. And if we started pointing fingers at reporters who make shit up, where would it end?

            1. Isn’t he also a plagiarist? Also, journalists like to talk about ethics but they rarely follow the code. Kind of like Catholics.

              1. Wow, that was out of left field.

                And you have a nice day, too!

  45. The dissenters have convinced me. This was more media gotcha bullshit*, and the publicity may even help their numbers (though it will make online comments more annoying).

    *just look at the way that fucker says “Aleppo.” It looks like he’s mouthing some strange acronym! I do think Johnson’s a bit of a spacey dimwit, but this is not his worst offense.

  46. Dammit. Now Gary is slightly less the only option that’s not embarrassing.

  47. If they go to far with this, it might backfire. If you sneer at GJ for not knowing about Aleppo, then you’re probably sneering at the majority of Americans too.

    When I saw it trending on Twitter, I had to look it up. “Oh, yeah, that city in Syria.”

    If I couldn’t recall its significance right away after spending way too many wasteful and unproductive hours each week surfing the news, I’m pretty damn sure most Americans couldn’t either.

    I’m pretty sure most of those lefties on Twitter celebrating Johnson’s stumble didn’t know anything about it before today.

    1. I think Presidential candidates ought to be held to a higher standard than the general public. I would absolutely think that not knowing Aleppo existed would be disqualifying, even if Syria were of no current geopolitical importance, if our Presidential candidates were anything at all what they ought to be. Other things I might consider disqualifying:

      1) Lying shamelessly and repeatedly about misdeeds committed while holding high political office
      2) Being Donald Trump

  48. Fifty. Seven. States.

    ’nuff said

    1. “57 Varieties”

      1. There are exactly 57 card-carrying members of the Communist Party in the Department of Defense at this time!

        1. Heinz-Kerry is in Dept. State though ….

    2. “No nation needs 57 states when there’s children starving.”

  49. Just last night in a forum about veterans issues and foreign policy to which Johnson was not invited, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton appeared not to know that Libya is in a state of civil war. That the war is a result of the power vacuum created by the military intervention she aggressively pushed for while serving in Obama’s cabinet makes her oversight particularly distressing.

    So Johnson not knowing that Aleppo is a second tier city in Syria is a disqualifying gaffe, while “most qualified candidate EVAR” Hillary not knowing that Libya is in a state of civil war caused by an intervention that she is at least partially responsible for isn’t?

    I feel like I’m taking crazy pills!

    1. Yeah, that’s a fucking doozy.

      *issues correction about proper use of ‘doozy’

    2. I would have responded that the pile of rubble formerly known as Aleppo wasn’t worth one (more) drop of American blood.

      I’m an impure libertarian, because I believe that there are circumstances where civic-minded volunteers’ lives can be put in danger on the say-so of some old fart in Washington, but Aleppo is not one of those places.

      The Aleppo of the 2008 Edition of “Lonely Planet Syria and Lebanon” is no more. It now looks like Dresden or Hanover in 1945, but with more sun, enforced genital mutilation, homo slaying but a lot less raki. It would be improved somewhat if it was on the receiving end of a systematic deployment of 40 or 50 large yield thermobaric bombs, although I wouldn’t want the US military to have to go to even that much trouble.

      With 4 or 5 major military factions representing a combination of sovereign nations and irregular troops, probably 10-12 distinct political groups and what is probably now a very *small* number of “innocent bystanders” there’s no upside for anyone we care about if the US “does something”. There’s not even any scope for pure humanitarian aid, so let these imbeciles squabble over what remains of Syria’s third (or fourth) city.

      1. I agree whole heartedly with your plan to do exactly jack and shit about Aleppo, but I suspect if GJ had said anything remotely close to that, that would have been even more “disqualifying” than not knowing WTF Barnickle was talking about.

        1. To the extent that the US *should* do something about Aleppo, it would be to drop our current and former Sec State, and possibly our current preznit into the center of the city so they can explain their policies to the eager locals.

      2. “Frankly, I wouldn’t spend another bomb, and certainly not a drop of American blood, on Aleppo. Why? How many Americans do you think should die there?”

        1. “Mike, help me out here. What’s an acceptable butchers bill for Aleppo? 100? 1,000? 2,271? How many presidential condolences letters should I have to write for us to ‘do something’ in Aleppo? Let me tell you Mike, Zero. The answer is Z-E-R-O.”

          1. Unfortunately that answer would never come out of the mouth of anyone as milquetoast as Johnson, but boy would I pay to see it.

  50. before informing the man currently polling in third place to be commander in chief of the most powerful military in the history of the world that Aleppo is the epicenter of the Syrian refugee crisis.

    Turkey might rightly be considered the epicenter of a refugee crisis. Aleppo might rightly be considered the epicenter of a fucking war. There is some slight distinction there methinks.

  51. Stop. There is a big difference to not knowing what Aleppo even is and what may or may not be considered the capital of a stateless entity like Isis is.

    Regardless, the Times isn’t running for President. Johnson is.

    Herman Cain caught all kinds of grief for his foreign policy mistakes, probably even here.
    Your turn in the barrel. Stop making excuses.

    1. 9-9-9!!!!

    2. So, is Hillary clueless about email, or is she lying?

      1. Indeed. Hillary made Johnson an ignoramus.

        1. No, but she’s at least as big an ignoramus as Johnson, and far more corrupt and mendacious than he is. But then again, those are probably the qualities that a statist shithead like you like about her.

          1. If every thing Johnson says or posits requires it to be a discussion about Hillary instead, you e got nothing to offer.

            1. You’re not allowed to talk about the person who is leading in the polls! You can only criticize this fringe weirdo who isn’t even trying to get elected!

        2. So, just to be clear, you position is that Hillary is dishonest?

          Because stupid and dishonest are the only two options here.

          1. Just to be clear, the issue in this article is about what Johnson said, and not emails, right?

            Oh right…it’s the clarity thing you always struggle with.

            1. You are insisting that we treat “our” candidate as critically as others. We returned the request. So…?

              1. So what? Check back on an issue and article that is about Hillary. See you then.

                1. While I agree that a Presidential candidate ought to know that Aleppo exists, this is a Presidential race. Just as in the Special Olympics someone has to win, and it doesn’t make much sense to pre-emptively disqualify someone for being a little slow if their competition is slower.

                  Sure, not knowing that Aleppo is a city _ought_ to be disqualifying. But when the media seize on that while ignoring or excusing obvious corruption and dishonesty on the part of the front-runner it’s at least worth noting.

                  Back in the fifties or sixties Walt Kelly wrote of his dismay that we were being out-competed by the Rooskies, in that we were ruled by half-blooded idiots, whereas the Soviet system consistently produced full-blooded idiots. Well, Walt must be beaming now, wherever he is. Us is doomed, so Churchy LaFemme while you can.

                2. You make apologias for dems every time they open their mouths, why shouldn’t we follow your lead?

                  And frankly, not knowing Aleppo even exists isn’t really a big deal in any case. Explain to me why anyone should care.

                  You of all people, who calls every grain of dirt on Clinton or Obama a faux scandal,,are demanding our indignation over this?

                  What next? Will we learn to our horror that Jihnson doesn’t know that the capital of Djibouti is Djibouti?

              2. Johnson owns this criticism. Stop making it all about someone else. It’s not courageous.

                1. You do realize that there are over 100 comments above, multiple blog posts, etc, criticizing Johnson?

            2. So, you’re intellectually incapable of discussing two discrete things at once?

              Yeah, we know.

              1. Hey frilly! How goes it?

                1. I’d ask you the same, but that’s three discrete things, and I don’t want to be responsible for your Scanners moment.

                  1. Philip K. Dick fan?

                    1. I like the dodging, it’s a good tactic to preserve your cranial integrity.

                    2. Hey, I tried! Have a good one!

                    3. See? Dodging and empty banter in response to questions he can’t answer.

              2. I doubt he can fart and chew gum at the same time.

                1. Let me put it this way: Hillary’s media supporters want to put her into office by pushing double standards. They’re trying to get people to vote for Hillary based on “OMG look at this thing the other guy did which isn’t nearly as bad as Hillary!”

                  But Jackand knows this.

                  1. Gary Johnson said…..Lets get back to Hillary!

                  2. He’s not a stupid as he pretends to be, he realizes when his talking points have been shot down, and resorts to worthless banter to discourage others from keeping him on point.

                    He’s already started spiraling, he’ll flee any minute, or drop a few more totally empty posts feigning a social interaction that doesn’t exist, then slink away.

                    1. No, joe promised to come back and rip Hillary a new one in some future thread. He just hasn’t gotten around to criticizing her, ever, yet. But he will!

          2. I mean if you can’t say that you know what the big [C] at the top of a document means then you’re either stupid or lying.

        3. Hillary made Johnson an ignoramus.

          Does this count as your turn in the barrel?

        4. What’s that [C] stand for again?

      2. So, is Hillary clueless about email, or is she lying?

        The answer is “Yes”.

    3. Stateless? You’re really fucking stupid, Joe.

    4. Jackand Ace|9.8.16 @ 1:48PM|#
      “Stop. There is a big difference to not knowing what Aleppo even is and what may or may not be considered the capital of a stateless entity like Isis is.”

      Sevo|9.8.16 @ 1:05PM|#
      Yeaah, but can he recite the names of all 57 states?
      Fuck off, Jack.

  52. Choking on a simple question about what he would do about the refugee crisis by not knowing a major Syrian city is a completely fair mistake for which to hold Johnson accountable.

    I’m not really sure how simple the question really was in context though. They weren’t discussing Syria or foreign policy in general, and Barnicle didn’t ask “What would do about the humanitarian/ refugee crisis in Aleppo?” He asked “What would you about Aleppo?” Out of the blue. With no context about what the fuck he was asking about. I suspect a lot of people would have gotten confused.

    As was pointed out in the earlier thread about this, Johnson should have asked him to clarify the question. Like “Could you be more specific? In what regard?” And then after Barnicle clarifies that he’s asking about the Syrian civil war and the refugee situation, then Johnson could have turned the tables on him by saying something like “Oh, we’re switching subjects now and talking about the Syrian civil war and foreign policy. You changed subjects on me there all of a sudden…” and then launch into his answer. If he played his cards just right, he could have made Barnicle look like an idiot who likes to spout random non-sequitur questions out of the blue at people. But GJ isn’t a polished enough politician, and he instead committed the cardinal sin of anyone running for president: he admitted he didn’t know what someone was asking about.

    1. “What would you about Aleppo?” Out of the blue. With no context about what the fuck he was asking about.

      That’s how you can tell its just a stupid gotcha question designed solely to make the candidate look bad.

      1. its like asking what would you do about LA. which la and what the drought or the flood or the police …. it was a gotcha

  53. I fail to see how this would be a problem for regular schmoes. It’s not like they have any clue what Aleppo is. Not even the New York Times does.

  54. …who told the Libertarian candidate that his segment “is going to be a big flap, I promise you. It already is.”

    At least he’s making the news.

  55. A gaffe, no matter how trivial, matters in politics. he just cost himself a significant portion of the % of the vote he was about to get.

    Now it is, of course, ridiculous that it matters but this gives the final ammo for the entire media and political apparatus to dismiss him and totally ignore him like they did Ron Paul.

    Remember that voters are shallow idiots that don’t read nor dissect candidates’ history or policy implications. Most votes are based on looks or “likability” which makes them even more stupid.

    It is the sole reason Trump is going to win because Hillary is a disgusting hose beast. Not one person with the microphone has dared discuss the most important things that Johnson talks about which are: Free market capitalism, bankrupt debt financing, insurmountable debt and entitlement obligations and never ending war.
    Syria is but a blip except to the moronic voter who has been told it is important.

    1. This will likely lose him Dem votes. Even the dumbest of Democrats who haven’t even finished high school think they’re honorary intellectuals just because of their affiliation, so even the ones who didn’t even know what Syria was will hold this against Johnson, while they scramble to read the Wikipedia article on Aleppo so they can pretend they knew about it all along.

  56. This is INSANE! Clinton has had 25 years of scandals. An ambassador killed on her watch. Felonious mishandling of national secrets. Johnson has a brain fart about a city 95% of the country doesn’t even know exists and that’s the death of his campaign? We are definitely living in the end times.

    1. There are times it’s all about your candidate and not someone else. This is one of those times.

      1. Leave Hillary alone!!!1


      2. You keep trying to make Johnson the favorite candidate of everyone here, but Ice Trey never said that he was in the bag for Johnson. He was just pointing out the obvious media double standard. And then you swoop in to white knight Hillary, who is definitely your favorite. Partisan people always think that someone criticizing their candidate is only doing so because they strongly support some other candidate, but that’s just projection.

        1. Tell you what. Go back and look at all the comments here… Their only response is Hillary. Just like ice.

          1. Even better, you could take your own advice and scroll up and know that’s a lie. Get lost.

          2. Because she’s going to win.

      3. Let us know when you finally experience one of those times.

    2. Hey, at least they’re holding *someone* accountable for their screwups.

      Maybe eventually, they’ll get around to Hillary – kind of like every architect who designs a skyscraper started out as a kid playing with blocks.

      1. Maybe eventually, they’ll get around to Hillary

        Midway through her 2nd term maybe. That’s about when I expect them to finally start noticing “Hey, this Hillary Clinton’s a really corrupt old hag.” That way by the time the 2024 election rolls around they can still claim to be impartial and non-partisan. “See! We criticized Hillary plenty – *mumbles under breath* over the last two years – now let us tell why whoever the RETHUGLIKKKAN nominee is is the worst.”

    3. It is idiocracy. It is over and has been over for about 10 years.

      I venture a guess that the beginning of the end of the united states started in the nineties with the OJ trial, the continuation of all gulf war crap, the branch davidians, Alan Greenspan’s glory years, citigroup’s bailout, and the Clintons among others I am forgetting.

      I think those rapid fire events amalgamated the decline of our moral society, made obvious total government corruption and cronyism, biased/corrupt media, more idiotic rap, blatant university brainwashing, and set the fear of government quotient on a the non-stop trajectory that we have seen since.
      It was basically when everything started to get so dumb.

      1. It was over in the 1960s. The baby boomers realized that they couldn’t compare to the accomplishments of their parents, so they focused on “me me me”. from the early 60s onward. An entire generation that was not interested in reaching for the sky. Soviet propaganda started in the 50s fed into this perfectly, teaching the boomers that they didn’t even have to feel guilty about their sloth because America is a racist, evil nation founded on blood and lies.
        Reagan, briefly, reversed the trend with overt optimism, but the downhill trend has continued since, culminating in our current POTUS who lambasts his own countrymen (I mean us, not Kenyans) on the international stage.
        Bill and Hillary epitomizes the “me me me” boomer philosophy.

        The Millenials are our only hope, but they have been utterly bankrupted by student loans and shitty jobs. Unless they break out the pitchforks and torches, we’re done.

        1. Fair points all.

          Although, does it really matter where Obama’s sorry ass is from or what religion he practices?

          That deception tactic was probably introduced by his puppet masters. It is hilarious to me the trivialities that everyone repeatedly is drawn into.

          I am starting to think that Obama might have a touch of evil genius or at least his bosses do. For example, would it not be hilarious is Obama is revealed to have heavily invested in the firearms stocks prior to his presidency?

        2. “The Greatest Generation” was nothing of the kind. They pretend to have won WWII when, in fact, they did very little. It was their parents who built the economic machine that produced ships and planes at unprecedented rates. Henry Kaiser did more to win WWII than any of the “greatest” generation. Tacticians like Patton and strategists like Eisenhower and MacArthur determined how to best employ those ships and planes. Hardly any of the scientists working on the nuclear weapon that ended the war in the Pacific could claim to be part of that generation. Feynman was an exception, not the rule.

          No one would question the extraordinary heroics of Audie Murphy whose actual feats seem like impossible fantasies. But battlefield heroics don’t win wars anywhere except in fiction. Wars are won by the drab, dismal science of logistics and by the tactics made possible by logistics.

          The Greatest Generation was, in reality, the greatest generation self promoters. They expanded the welfare state by voting in statists from both parties, Truman, Kennedy, Johnson and Nixon. It was they who rejected Goldwater. If there was ever a gimme generation it was their generation, not the boomers who followed them.

          Boomers have a lot to answer for, but at least they aren’t nearly as delusional as “The Greatest Generation”.

          1. Not to mention 3/4 of those who fought had to be drafted. The myth is that all able bodied men rushed to join up but that’s just not true.

          2. Wow, someone has a sore spot.

            You naively assume WWII is what I was talking about. I didn’t mention it at all. What made the “greatest generation” so impressive was the industriousness that they initiated in the late forties and fifties. Sure, circumstances were perfect for it, but the boomers grew up with parents who had defined the American Dream. Houses, yards, barbecue pits, backyard swimming pools. That generation ‘lived’ hard and the boomers were raised in the shadow of that.
            By the time the boomers came of age, they were expected to work hard, dig deep, and keep driving higher, but without the scars from the Depression and WWII they had no internal drive to do that. They checked out and focused on self indulgence. We’re paying for that now.

  57. At first I thought this was a really bad blunder, but after thinking upon it and Stefan Molyneux’s explanations that libertarians are the only political group that doesn’t claim to have all the answers, maybe this isn’t bad at all.

    Maybe it is a good thing to present the humbleness, the “government doesn’t have all the solutions,” and non-interventionist libertarian philosophy in a very direct, human way.

    Johnson’s follow-up apology, “I’m only human” is a stark contrast to the inhuman coldness of Hillary and the attack dog bluster of Trump. Some people are going to be attracted to the humility Johnson showed.

    Of course, more people will be turned off by humility than by false projections of inhuman strength–“I don’t know what Aleppo is except that it needs to be bombed” seems to be winning the day.

    1. At last someone makes a cogent defense of Johnson, that should have meaning.

      Rather than the standard response we always see here…”oh yeah? HILLARY!”

      Good job.

      1. At least you made one comment where you aren’t completely white knighting Hillary, but only doing it a little bit.

        Good job.

        1. Did you see an original comment by me here on this thread about Hillary? Nope. Just responding to everyone who uses that as an excuse for Johnson’s ignorance. And that would be nearly everyone here.

          1. You mean like Clinton’s ignorance concerning the handling of the most secret information in our government?

    2. Well, pace my earlier comment, it probably does need to be bombed. What I disagree with is that the US has to be the nation to do it if we don’t want to lose our international bomb-dropping prestige or something.

    3. Johnson is weak on defense.


      And that is why humility and rational thought are irrelevant. You have to say bombs and re-store the military, and be tough, use stupid phrases and innuendo to get the mob to listen.

    4. “libertarians are the only political group that doesn’t claim to have all the answers”

      Not technically a humblebrag, but a brag about how humble you are. Also completely ridiculous. It is a dogma, whether you see that or not. It is certainly not a skeptical, evidence-based worldview. If it were it would have figured out the many, many ways it doesn’t work by now.

      1. It is certainly not a skeptical, evidence-based worldview.

        Horseshit. It may start from a few immutable principles, but where it goes from there depends entirely on evidence and logic, which are completely and conspicuously missing from leftist ideology.

        1. It may start from a few immutable principles

          And that’s where it goes wrong. Plus, it doesn’t even stick to them:

          “Government is inherently violent and thus shouldn’t do anything but shoot and imprison people.”

          1. Uhhhh yeah. The LAPD is inherently violent and perhaps there’s some place for that in society, but I can assure you that their place is not to be running children’s daycare centers or as psychiatrists.

            1. The problem is you’re pretty much OK with the government programs that involve actual violence like policing and armed forces, but you oppose taxation for all the rest of the programs like education and healthcare on the grounds that taxation is sort of like violence, if you squint.

              It’s one big cockamamie mess!

              Just say, all right, we have to tax people to pay for collective services, so let’s have a conversation about what those services should be, and then we’ll judge them on the merits of their outcomes. Stop saying your preferred set of programs is ordained by Logic Itself.

              1. healthcare on the grounds that taxation is sort of like violence, if you squint

                I oppose all taxation because it absolutely is violence in no uncertain terms. You have to squint not to see it. Disingenuous folks like yourself have no trouble with that. Never get between Tony and his euphemisms.

                Just say, all right, we have to tax people to pay for collective services

                Not really no.

                Stop saying your preferred set of programs is ordained by Logic Itself.

                You got that strawman real good. Never change, dipshit.

                1. I oppose all taxation because it absolutely is violence in no uncertain terms.

                  Okay, so you’re an anarchist. And I’m a My Little Ponytarian. Conversation stops at stupid.

                  1. Why does he have to be an anarchist? In Libertopia where only initiating force is illegal there is so little crime that the police could be funded by non coercive means.

                    1. In Libertopia where only initiating force is illegal there is so little crime that the police could be funded by non coercive means.

                      That was a pretty decent description of a state of anarchy.

                  2. Conversation stops at stupid.

                    Yet miraculously your words actually keep finding their way back onto the boards.

          2. And that’s where it goes wrong.

            Ok, so you have no principles? I think we all knew that.

            “Government is inherently violent and thus shouldn’t do anything but shoot and imprison people.”

            Wow. You really shouldn’t go around in public showing how stupid you are like that, especially in a thread where you’re criticizing the intellect of others. I mean, you’re probably too dull to understand why that statement is so embarrassing for you.

            1. Don’t do it Juice!

              Tony is actually a spam virus that attempts to suck the brains out of you. It usually takes about 5 back and forths to realize that he is actually just a really stupid computer. Replete with programming from Keynes, Marx, and Gore.

          3. You, on the other hand, don’t have immutable principles? I’m curious to hear how you honestly think that about yourself.

  58. This is just more of the stupid gotcha bullshit that the media loves to pull with non-Dem candidates. You never hear them ask these kinds of trivia questions to Hillary or Obama or any of their candidates.

    1. “Mrs. Clinton, which specific newspapers do you read?”

      (Not a Palin fan, just sayin)

      1. Only if there’s a followup:

        “So, you say you read the NYT. What was today’s headline, and what are your thoughts on that story?”

  59. I dont care about this. If he doesn’t know where it is, he’ll be less likely to bomb it. However it makes him look bad with the sheep, and is another nail in his campaign’s coffin.

    1. “I’ll tell you what Aleppo is, my fat-jowled warmongering friend. It’s another place I won’t be bombing, much to your chagrin.”

      1. Yeah but he didn’t even know it was a place. Morning Joe could have been talking about exotic cheeses for all he apparently knew.

        1. He should have asked Joe if any dead people from Aleppo had ever been found in his office.

          1. As far as I know Morning Joe typically sticks to murdering local hookers.

        2. To most of the red staters who frequent these pages, there is only one town in the Mid East. Benghazi.

          1. And they bungled that one. There would have been no Benghazi incident had we just let Qadaffi take care of the armed rebellion against him. “how could this have happened in a country we helped liberate?”

            1. Well, we needed to establish a local supply depot that was outside US jurisdiction with reasonable deniability where materiel could be amassed before we gave it to whoever the State Department thought were the worthiest Islamists in Syria.

              Libya wasn’t *just* a simple Ambassadorial detail.

            2. Plus the media lies constantly about Aleppo. They don’t tell you that pro-Assad forces have half the city and most of the remaining population. They don’t tell you that Al Qaeda is leading the opposition. They don’t tell you the rebels bomb civilians in govt. held territory, instead they show you some ashy kid with a bloody face.

          2. I’m a red stater and I strongly suspect I can run middle east trivia around your arrogant ass.

            1. Progressives don’t actually have to know things. They can just refer to the hypothetical leftist brain trust that they assume has all the answers.

              Refute their economic policy positions and they’ll liable to say, ‘well Paul krugman has a Nobel prize and you don’t, so I win.’

          3. So, far west does the ME extend? I would have said Benghazi is in northern Africa.

        3. I don’t recommend the Aleppo cheese. Too ashy.

          1. What is Aleppo?
            It is something Carnac the Magnificent prognosticates.

            What is Aleppo? A Lepo is a gay-tranny leopard hippo.

        4. Exotic cheeses would’ve been more relevant.

    2. He should have fired back with:

      “I’ll tell you what Aleppo is if you can define capitalism.”

      Tony, you want to give it a whack?

      1. Kardashianocracy.

          1. Actually that says a lot.

            Figuring out Tony is kind of like trying to find the space shuttle in one of those 3D art posters.

            You stare and stare until you realize there is absolutely nothing there. Then you feel like an idiot for engaging.

            1. He who fights with Tonys should be careful lest he become Tony and when you gaze into Tony, Tony gazes into you.

  60. I bet Gary knows where Michoacan is.

  61. “Hey, Pete, how’s your mom doing?”

    “Um, she died yesterday afternoon.”

    “Well, yeah, I knew that. But, I mean, is she still dead?”

    How hard is it to follow up a “look, dumbass” answer to the question “What is Aleppo?” with a “Well, yeah, I knew that, but I mean, in the greater scheme of things, what is Aleppo to us? Is Aleppo really that important, is it going to solve the real problems we face? You didn’t seriously think I didn’t know what Aleppo is, did you? I’m just saying ‘what of it?’ by way of saying it’s not that big a deal.”

    Or, what others have said – what kind of idiot can’t bullshit their way through a non-answer to a question they have no idea how to answer? You’ve never turned in a book report on a book you ‘read’ by looking at the back cover?

    1. Pretty good summary of my reaction.

    2. Haha, your hypothetical philosophizing Johnson sounds just like McAfee. Which is not to say that McAfee was a bullshitter, but he really liked doing that “what IS the meaning of government, really?” thing instead of giving direct answers.

      1. You mean something like “what is the meaning of ‘is'”?

  62. Well, that was fucking sad. Yep, whatever slight bit of respect I had for him is gone now. Now I’m convinced he’s just not that smart of a man.

    1. Meh. I’m pretty sure dumber men than Johnson have been president.

      1. Hmm. Trying to think of one. Gerald Ford?

        1. I’m thinking FAR more recent than that, Juice.

          1. Dubya was street smart. He was crafty and socially clever. Johnson can’t even make that claim. He’s dumber than Bush. A lot dumber.

            1. I was thinking later than Bush.

              I also don’t confuse intelligence with low (and dare I say it, *animal*) cunning.

              1. Obama is a genius! He went to law school! How can you be an idiot and go to law school?

    2. Lack of knowledge is ignorance not intelligence. Now guess which one you are.

  63. Daily Caller, American Conservative, and Hot Air all defended Johnson by noting the NYT error. Meanwhile Huff Po and Slate mocked him for the gaffe (as if they knew what or where is Aleppo).

    Looks like Johnson’s strategy of appealing to Leftists by trashing principle is not panning out. Let’s hope this stupid strategy is not repeated again. Leftists will never vote Libertarian, ever. You need the disgruntled voters on the Right- whether you want to admit it or not.

    1. Looks like Johnson’s strategy of appealing to Leftists by trashing principle is not panning out.

      It never does. “Social issues” aren’t what they care about, only socialism.

      1. They care about social issues basically the same as conservatives do: they want to impose their social mores on people. One group wants it to be illegal to participate in a gay wedding and the other wants it to be illegal to refuse to participate in a gay wedding.

        We are reaching a point in our history where being truly socially liberal means you’re to the right, not the left, of the political center, as the center-left position is no longer liberal but merely the imposition of a different set of cultural norms.

    2. Johnson’s strategy has been a wide net one, the only people who think his strategy is just appealing to the left are people on the right upset by any one to their left. And I think he’s always known that whatever votes on the left he’d get were not going to be from partisan cheerleaders like Huff Po or Slate. About 20-25% of the GOP has an unfavorable opinion of Trump. Clinton and Johnson combine get about half of that in the polls. After subtracting out the people in that group who were always going to still vote for Trump because “he can win, etc.” that’s not a bad showing. Alienating the center to get a trivial gain on the right is pointless.

      I also think it’s laughable to think that conservatives are really going to get behind a principled purist libertarian who is pro-choice, pro-gay rights (even from a purist libertarian POV), pro-immigration, against the surveillance state, etc. Rand Paul is a lot more palatable and he went nowhere in the GOP primary.

      1. I would say Rand is a lot more libertarian than Johnson. Last I checked abortion is a divisive issue within the ranks of libertarians and Johnson selling out on religious liberty, his nonexistent foreign policy (which supports ‘humanitarian wars), and his support of broad executive orders (not to mention judges that support the government’s broad authority) doesn’t sound very ‘libertarian’ to me.

      2. Johnson’s strategy has been a wide net one, the only people who think his strategy is just appealing to the left are people on the right upset by any one to their left.

        Libertarianism is naturally going to appeal more to the right than the left. Johnson shouldn’t get credit for that fact.

        On every issue where he walks away from libertarianism, he takes the left’s position. That’s the problem.

        1. This is true. It’s a mistake to think of libertarians as being equidistant between left and right. In some times and places it would’ve been closer to the conventional left, but not today I think, especially since it seems many of the areas where the right is most illiberal are the areas where left and right more or less agree.

          I think Johnson has a very entrenched self image as a political rebel and a hippie and he’s desperately trying to salvage that, while in reality the libertarian ideology these days jives more with suburban suits than rebellious pot smoking college students, and Johnson just refuses to accept that.

    3. He shoulda punched Joy Behar right in her indignant, rude, ignorant face today on The View.

  64. It was a stupid stupid gaffe.

    Johnson will never appeal to the low information voters. All they care about is hot-button issues and “what are you going to do for me” promises. His only hope of gaining share is appealing to the educated, informed quarter of the population. (quarter may be generous)

    This is the quarter that knows Aleppo is in Syria, and knows Syria is in an ugly state right now. The vast majority of them could bullshit their way through a response just on those two simple facts. So Johnson has now made himself appear less-informed than the voters that will most likely break for him.


    1. On the other hand, he can say with some credibility that he doesn’t think that a country should be governed by “Top Men”, or the “smartest guy in the room”.

    2. Johnson is a low-information voter.

      1. If that’s true Tony, I’m surprised you’re not inclined to vote for him.

        Birds of a feather, something something.

  65. MSNBC couldn’t ask GJ something like “What do you think about the humanitarian crisis in Aleppo” huh?

    This is a gaffe, but…. I sure didn’t know what “Aleppo” was yesterday. Donald Trump probably didn’t. MSNBC would thoroughly prep Clinton on all the questions, so she wouldn’t have this problem.

    Of course Johnson is a presidential candidate and should be well informed. But some black dude from Chicago thought there were 57 states, and the media mostly left him alone. Clinton lied about being under sniper fire and she’s the dem nominee. She insisted that she’ll “raise taxes on the middle class” not that long ago.

    Johnson actually has a sane policy concerning “Aleppo”. But OMG he didn’t know what that was at first!

    1. If Johnson can’t handle trick questions from the dolts at MSNBC, he simply isn’t qualified to be THE decision maker.

    2. I think the question was too vague (probably on purpose), but GJ should have been loaded for bear going on MSNBC.

    3. MSNBC couldn’t ask GJ something like “What do you think about the humanitarian crisis in Aleppo” huh?

      If he doesn’t know what Aleppo is, that phrasing would have had the same result.

      1. MSNBC question was poorly phrased.
      2. Johnson is stupid for not knowing what Aleppo is. Yes, I know the avg person doesn’t know what it is, but he’s running for president.

  66. “I have to get smarter, and that’s just part of the process.”

    Libertarians around the country wince at the realization that their guy is being too darn honest for a presidential campaign.

    1. Actual libertarians winced when he was made the candidate.

      1. By biggest problem with Johnson is that he’s not John McAfee.

        1. I’m not sure that McAfee is actually the Mythic McAfee that everyone was spoojing about.

          To believe that, I’d have wanted to see footage of John personally entering Harambe’s enclosure and wrestling the mighty beast into submission.

          And then have him personally edit those senses-blasting propaganda videos to be watchable by normal human beings.

          1. He wouldn’t of had to wrestle Harambe, it would have only taken a stare in its direction. Unfortunately John was kicking ass somewhere else that day.

    2. You’re right, he’s too honest for it; he’s like an innocent little lamb who that shameless, lying, egomaniacal heap you’re voting for will outmanoevre and tear to pieces (or more likely feed to her friends in the media) with no trouble. Congratulations, I guess.

  67. I’ll excuse the blunder. Besides, it’s only a blunder to the extent that it makes opens status-anxious, bien-pensant Reason scribblers and libertarian-leaning thinktankers to ribbing by their more conventional chattering class acquaintances. Drama queening Aleppo will not change anyone’s mind one way or the other. Those who’ll claim it’s important would not have voted for him anyway. It might even get his name mentioned more often by the power-worshiping lewinsky press, which might be for the good in terms of name recognition, regardless of the sniggering.

  68. and almost no one else knew the name of the place until this.

  69. Has Johnson had the “security briefing?” If no, then I don’t think he should be held accountable for not knowing about Aleppo on an “out of the blue” vague question. I caught Anderson Cooper and Lara Logan as contestants on “Jeopardy” the other night and was appalled by their ignorance on certain answers that any reasonably intelligent American should know. And, if you’ve ever run as a candidate, you’ll understand the brain fart syndrome and hearing from a dozen of your supporters that “you should have said such and such.”

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  71. If the person named Mike Barnicle had been asking about the city of Phoenix in the state of Arizona the same way he asked his question about the city of Aleppo in the nation of Syria, the person named Gary Johnson probably would have responded the same way he responded to the question about the city in Syria since the name of the city in Arizona could be used to in reference to several things (like a mythical bird or a river).

  72. The response to this gaffe from publications on the Right (particularly Hot Air, the American Conservative, the Federalist and the Daily Caller) versus the Left (particularly Washington Post, NYT, and Salon) highlights what a bad strategy Johnson is pursuing. The right-leaning publications have defended him and said, to quote the Federalist, “we could only hope that Clinton had never heard of Aleppo. It would have saved a lot of lives.” Meanwhile, the left-leaning publications have mocked him.

    Fusionism is the only way forward. Johnson has pandered to the Left extensively and he’s gotten nowhere.

  73. 50% of the country is laughing at Gary Johnson.
    50% are quietly glad they weren’t asked about Aleppo.
    90% wouldn’t be able to point out Syria on a map.

  74. Worse than the Aleppo gaffe itself is that he keep repeating the same incoherent “holding hands with Russia” and “worse as opposed to safer” talking points.

    Again, Johnson needs to do a well-written, well-staged Major Foreign Policy Speech. Enlist libertarian thinktanks and intellectuals to write it.

    Use it as an opportunity to present Johnson as Commander in Chief material and it would also provide him with better talking points for interviews and stump speeches.

    1. There definitely shouldn’t be any shortage of willing help, which makes me wonder. Can the LP not afford a speech writer or consultant? Does Johnson want to distance himself from Cato and other think tanks painted as ‘right wing?’

      Or does he just have this in common with Trump that he can’t stick to his points and let’s his mind wander into oblivion in the middle of an interview?
      Got to give Clinton credit; she has not an ounce of charisma or intellect, but she knows better than to go off on her own. She stays on script and does what her handlers tell her to. She’s a well trained dog while the other ones in the race are feral.

  75. After the presidencies of George H.W. Bush, William Jefferson Blythe Clinton, IV, George W. Bush and Barack Hussein Obama, aka Barry Soetoro, aka The Long Legged Mackdaddy, it is almost impossible to imagine anything which would disqualify anyone from the presidency.

  76. let’s compare:
    Donald Trump: When asked one time in a specific interview, is not aware or even overly concerned about what white extremist groups support or think in the 2016 election.
    Media: Thinks this is a really big deal.
    Gary Johnson: When asked one time in a specific interview, is not immediately aware of Aleppo. (despite having stated his views on middle eastern refugees on multiple past occasions)
    Media: Thinks this is a really big deal
    Hillary Clinton: Over a four year span as Secretary of State, claims to have not been aware the entire time of the legal requirements of her position, her responsibilities in handling official materials or what constituted ‘classified’ communication.
    Media: Ehhhh, no big deal!

  77. Was aleppo the 6th marx brother?

    1. Yes, he was Zeppo’s twin but after a serious head injury he had to be locked in the basement and fed the only thing he liked to eat – kittens.

  78. I didn’t know what it was until people started making fun of him for this obvious misunderstanding!

  79. Johnson’s Aleppo gaffe is nothing compared to the show that the 2 major party candidates put on yesterday when asked about our foreign policy.

  80. The only real question is “Who is most likely to reduce American freedom? Hillary, Trump or Johnson?”

    Two raw authoritarian statists and one not too impressive semi-libertarian.

    Does this question really require pages of nit-picking logic and a 180 IQ?

  81. President Clinton: “I’ll check my email and get back to you. … But my gut feeling tells me it’s a vast right wing conspiracy.”

    President Trump: “I’m going to make Aleppo great again. … Really terrific … You won’t believe it.”

    President Johnson: “I’ll run it by my staff and see what the f*+# is going on.”

  82. Well, I know what Aleppo is and why we shouldn’t be interested in it at all. That is more than most lefties know. That Johnson didn’t know at all, simply means he is better focused on what matters than are his interlocutors. They have no real clue what it is, either, not that that matters one bit. We need to get over the lefty NPR narrative about what matters in this world.

    The article states:
    Morning Joe host Joe Scarborough concluded today’s show by remarking that Johnson’s gaffe rendered him “unqualified to be president of the United States.” Barnicle added that Johnson expressed “an appalling lack of knowledge.” [Me: Compared to whom, about what? Hillary on Benghazi; Donald on most anything?]

    Following the segment, Johnson ran into MSNBC’s Mark Halperin in the lobby of the NBC studios, who told the Libertarian candidate that his segment “is going to be a big flap, I promise you. It already is.” [Johnson is simply too deferential to these sorts.]


    It is unfortunate that the nitwits, the Scarboroughs, Barnicles and Halperins, control the narrative.

    It is a major point of a Johnson campaign that such irrelevancies as Syria and Aleppo do NOT matter and should not involve us. Gary “should” have asked Barnicle about the significance of some base camp that was actually important in one of his climbs.

  83. But it was perfectly ok that POS Obama said he had gone to all 57 states.

    1. At least he had the courage to admit that he didn’t speak Austrian though.

      1. Are you telling me that all my years studying Austrian have been in vain?

  84. I love it!!!

    All publicity is good publicity.

    More people than ever before will know who he is and many will ask, A politician who says, I don’t know? How refreshing!

    Several people today who never heard of him, and I am within 10 min of Washington, DC, told me that they were not only impressed that he was candid and didn’t try to cover up but that they
    wanted to learn more about him.

    This is our greatest break thus far.

    I sent him $50 and I am willing to bet anything that he receives a ton of money and support from the many Americans who want someone honest, willing to learn, and who is not a shill for
    the Establishment.

    Go Gary!!

  85. Gary is getting more publicity for this than anything else he’s done in the campaign.

    He should schedule at least one gaffe per week. Maybe misspell “Apartheid” or something.

  86. Well that’s it. Since Gary Johnson doesn’t know everything there is to know about foreign policy… he’s not getting my vote. I’m only willing to vote for someone that has nothing left to learn.

  87. To Libertarian Party supporters and freedom-minded individuals supporting that party, that gaffe shouldn’t be such a big deal; what should concern you, indeed dismay you, is that the Libertarian Party is increasingly useless and worthless, indeed, in some respects, even injurious to the cause of liberty, at least on the national level!
    Those two candidates fail to articulate and define principles of freedom and true libertarianism, and their focus is all wrong!
    They are not even arguing for a complete end to the selective drug prohibition! It’s pathetic.

    The L.P. wants to appear/become more mainstream, and less extreme; the definition of extreme being as the mainstream defines it. This is all wrong. Those of us who yearn for and demand true freedom know that there is nothing extreme about wanting to live in liberty and ending the utter tyranny we find ourselves living under! And ultimately, their approach will never succeed in advancing the state of freedom to any substantial point, much less true freedom! We must make true freedom mainstream!
    We need a real freedom party, one that is uncompromising in respect to principles of liberty, and one that will take the fight for freedom to all oppressors with a clarity of purpose and a ferocity which they have never seen nor expect!

  88. Gary isn’t quite up to speed on foreign policy, to be sure.

    But with a libertarian foreign policy, none of us would know the name Aleppo, because it would not have become the war zone it is now.

  89. So, noting as a preamble that this gaffe doesn’t make Johnson less of a lesser evil nor is it even anywhere near as big a deal as the leftist media is portraying it considering Johnson is a non-interventionist and our current president has, among other things, publicly forgotten his own daughter’s age; said there are 57 states; thought the year was 2008 when it was actually 2011; and mistakenly thought that people in Austria spoke Austrian, it’s absurd that Obama’s worshipers would go after Johnson for not knowing about a city in Syria. But…

    Why the hell did the LP spoil its best chance to break into the mainstream in possible decades by making this incoherent pothead its nominee? This guy is a colossal mistake. Ugh. What a wasted opportunity.

  90. I’m sorry, I must be misremembering, but didn’t Hillary Clinton resign from secretary of state after destabilizing a country and leaving it to become a haven for ISIS? I’m pretty sure that’s higher on the Richter scale than not knowing what Aleppo is. Imagine if Donald Rumsfeld tried to run for president. We should be just as dismayed by Hillary’s shameless bid.

    1. ‘m sorry, I must be misremembering, but didn’t Hillary Clinton resign from secretary of state after destabilizing a country and leaving it to become a haven for ISIS?

      Hillary could find Libya on map as she said to Barry (or said to Valerie who was holding remote) “bomb…here?”

      Now, Shrillary was probably a little confused with the continents and pointing at Colombia or some shit, but bureaucracy sorted it out farther down the chain.

      1. Pity, if they’d really aimed Colombia they might’ve at least accidentally hit some of those FARC assholes and it probably wouldn’t have been as counterproductive as Libya was.

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  92. Not a Johnson supporter by any means, but that was a stupid question. I know what Aleppo is, but I still wouldn’t be sure what was meant by “What would you do about Aleppo?” Describing it as “the capital of ISIS” is wrong, or as “the epicenter of the refugee crisis” is questionable since that crisis is so widespread (and many of the supposed refugees aren’t even from Syria).

    If you went out on the street and asked 1000 people what Aleppo was, I doubt more than 10 would know.

  93. Gary’s chance of being elected President before this interview was exactly zero. His chance of being elected after this interview is exactly zero.
    Is he more qualified than either bozo running as major party candidates?
    to quote the next president “At this point in time, what difference does it make?”
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  94. So, that bastion of truth and knowledge, the NYTimes erred three times? That couldn’t be, could it?

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  96. goes without saying it was a mistake, but that it’s supposedly disqualifying on some level to people who just five minutes ago discovered he was even a candidate for president is a much more serious offense. all the ridiculousness we have to put up with from the hillary’s and trumps’ of the world, and that gets chalked up to “politics”, for which we apparently just have to live with. if having a brain freeze, which is a human quality we all share (elect either of the two evils and they’ll have their freeze’s too), then we apparently aren’t looking for a human being…which makes you wonder what in the hell we are looking for, and maybe that’s why we can’t have nice things.

  97. I’m willing to bet that Donald Trump would not have known what Aleppo is either. But he would have tried to hide that fact, perhaps even after asking “What’s a leppo?” At least Gary Johnson had the grace to admit he didn’t know, and to ask the right question. If he was president, he would have people to get him up to speed on the specifics of the situation in Syria, so that he could then make rational choices about how to deal with it.

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  99. This is a deliberate booby trap. Almost knows what “What are you going to do a out Aleppo?” (Proof is in the article.) 99% of viewers wouldn’t know the of the question, so it is wrong to ask it.

    The honest question is: “What would you do about the Syrian refugee crisis?”

  100. Whats the “C” is this email for? IDK

  101. Let him who has never suffered, or can say he never would suffer, brain freeze during a high-pressure interview cast the first stone.

  102. Gary Johnson missed a good opportunity to turn MSNBC reporters around. They asked him what he would do about Aleppo as president. They did not ask about Syria but rather just Aleppo, a major city in that beleaguered metropolis. He should have responded that he would do the same thing he would do about Ham another major city in Syria. We do not want our president worrying about the chlorine in the water at Aleppo. He should be focused on larger issues like what to do about the middle east in general and about Syria in particular.

    MSNBC transparently and deliberately tried to trip him up by asking about a city issue in a place that most of us have never heard of and then making out like it was a big deal for him not to have knowledge and an answer right on the tip of his tongue. There is a reason why I do not watch TV and MSNBC personifies it.

  103. “Polling in third”!

    Such volumes left unsaid.

    First and second command around 90% of the vote–and the fringes squabble for the remaining bits–each hoping to snag an actual electoral vote.

    Sadly, Gary’s training hard to get his Participation Award, and we all know it. Let’s refuse to lie to ourselves, shall we?

  104. A Leppo or Aleppo? How about what would do about Aleppo, Syria? Not everyone is in the shorthand world of the MSM. Not voting for GJ but the interviewer needs to do a better job of identifying exactly what he is talking about.

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  106. Yeah, drawing a blank on Aleppo is disqualifying, but not knowing that Russia already invaded Ukraine, or that China isn’t part of the TPP is not.

    Or maybe it will only be Hillary on the debate stage.

  107. Hopeless

  108. Gaffe, not a gaffe, who cares. The fact is relative to the two Leviathan parties, he’s going to get about five minutes of media time.

    He had to hit the f-ing ball out of the park, and he struck out bunting.

    I scan a few news and analysis sources maybe 15-20 minutes a day. I am not running for president, and I know where Aleppo is and what’s going on there. Trump, Clinton may not know. But a thinking Libertarian running for president should f-ing know.

    Johnson is a loser and he blew it and his campaign has gone nowhere because the lefties want HRC and he offers nothing to conservatives or for people who do not want the state telling us what to think about everything, One of the least inspired third-party campaigns in history. At least Jill Stein got herself arrested. Gary is like Perry Como. Oh, well, NFL football is back!!!!!!!!

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