Gary Johnson

7 Issues That Won't Be Treated Seriously at Tonight's Debate in Gary Johnson's Absence

Remove the Libertarian and there goes fiscal sanity, federalism, and free speech.

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Tonight as many as 100 million Americans, God help us, will be tuning in to watch the first debate between the two most hated presidential nominees since pollsters have been measuring candidates' unfavorability. Because the Commission on Presidential Debates, a technically nonpartisan nonprofit that was co-founded in 1987 by the Democratic and Republican parties to manage the terms of televised general-election discourse between White House aspirants, decided last October (with details ratified this August) to maintain as a participation threshold the unreasonably high average of 15 percent in national polls—a level no third-party candidate has attained in September of an election year since 1968—that means Libertarian Party nominee Gary Johnson, the highest-polling presidential outsider since Ross Perot in 1992, will be live-Tweeting instead of live-debating.

Which is a shame, and not just for those 8.5 percent of us who intend to vote for the guy. Having a debate with no Gary Johnson means that a whole host of pressing issues will not be treated seriously Monday night, and increasingly in the election itself. From fiscal sanity to free trade, foreign occupation to repealing prohibition, the Democratic and Republican candidates have abandoned sober policy-making in favor of centrally planned, government-aggrandizing promises that often flout their own parties' bases and traditions. In many important ways, there will be no adult on stage.

The following is an incomplete list of at least seven issue areas in which sensible and frequently popular viewpoints will not be offered by either of the "major"-party presidential candidates tonight, because a contrary Libertarian who will be on the ballot in all 50 states will nonetheless sit excluded, 28 miles away.

1) The country's grim long-term fiscal outlook. "Nobody's talking about balancing the federal budget," Johnson said on ABC's This Week with George Stephanopoulos Sunday. "Nobody's talking about the threat of a runaway government, nobody's talking about reforming Medicaid or Medicare."

This reticence to grapple with the America's perilous balance sheet is new, and actively dangerous. As I detail in Reason's October cover story, every State of the Union Address between 1997 and 2013 mentioned the need for long-term entitlement reform; but no more. And that's not because the situation has gotten any less dire. To the contrary.

In July, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) pointed out that publicly held debt is "growing larger in relation to the economy than ever recorded in U.S. history," and that debt service alone will eclipse military spending in the next president's first term. "Large and growing federal debt over the coming decades would hurt the economy and constrain future budget policy," the CBO warned. "The amount of debt that is projected…would reduce national saving and income in the long term; increase the government's interest costs, putting more pressure on the rest of the budget; limit lawmakers' ability to respond to unforeseen events; and increase the likelihood of a fiscal crisis."

Yet Hillary Clinton wants to expand Social Security and reduce the age for Medicare opt-in eligibility to 55, in addition to passing "the biggest investment in new, good-paying jobs since World War II," making "college tuition free for the middle class and debt-free for all," liberating "millions of people who already have student debt," and helping "more people learn a skill or practice a trade and make a good living doing it." How the heck would she pay for expanding an already bloated and unaffordable government? "Here's how," she said in her Democratic National Convention speech. "Wall Street, corporations, and the super-rich are going to start paying their fair share of taxes."

Donald Trump, to his credit, does talk about the "disastrous" national debt. To his discredit, however, Trump's economic plans are estimated to increase that debt much faster than Clinton's, which is what happens when a Republican candidate wins a primary on protecting entitlements, drastically increasing military spending, and out-spending the Democrat on infrastructure.

There is a broad middle of American public opinion that is legitimately anxious over a national debt that was doubled under George W. Bush from $5 trillion to $10 trillion* (an increase that then-candidate Barack Obama characterized as "un-American"), and then doubled again over the next eight years. That middle will not be represented on stage tonight.

2) Federalism. Of the many ways that Donald Trump flouts the letter and spirit of the United States Constitution, one of the least examined is his ongoing disregard for the 10th Amendment, which states that "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people." His statement last week that "I would do stop-and-frisk—I think you have to," indicated a man with zero instinct for recognizing the proper limitations on federal power.

The woman he's running against literally wrote the book on inviting the federal government to alleviate intimate concerns. It Takes a Village remains both a startling ur-text of modern technocratic progressivism and useful primer on Clinton's hierarchy of government values (basically, if you can argue it's "for the children," she's in).

As the former governor of New Mexico, Gary Johnson sees federalism not just as a way of generating creative solutions to difficult problems like medical-entitlement reform, but—and this is crucial—as a decentralizing value to be embraced even if it does not lead immediately to his preferred policy goals. So it is that the man most famous for being the first major U.S. politician to support ending the drug war has repeated ad infinitum that beyond repealing the asinine federal prohibitions and marijuana-classifications, a Johnson administration would let state and local governments figure the rest of that stuff out.

Federalism was the magic-bullet solution in a mini-run of political books during President Barack Obama's second term, from Charles C.W. Cooke's The Conservatarian Manifesto to Nelson Hultberg's The Golden Mean. It was even a semi-popular idea on the left during George W. Bush's second term. Yet the only presidential candidate talking about it is Gary Johnson.

3) Trade. Forget for a moment the controversies (libertarian or otherwise) over the Trans-Pacific Partnership, and instead drill down into one salient and gruesome fact: Both candidates on the debate stage tonight are campaigning on promises to punish U.S. companies for relocating.

Hillary Clinton would charge companies moving overseas an "exit tax." Trump is even more ominous, if less specific: "If companies want to leave Arizona and if they want to leave other states," he said during his big immigration speech in Phoenix last month, "there's going to be a lot of trouble for them. It's not going to be so easy. There will be consequence. Remember that. There will be consequence. They're not going to be leaving, go to another country, make the product, sell it into the United States, and all we end up with is no taxes and total unemployment. It's not going to happen. There will be consequences."

Gary Johnson does not believe that the federal government should punish U.S.-based companies for changing addresses.

4) Military interventionism. In every campaign appearance, Gary Johnson emphasizes that U.S.-led "regime change" and foreign occupation are almost always bad ideas that lead to "unintended consequences." Agree or disagree with this argument, it's one that resonates with broad swaths of American public opinion on both sides of the political aisle. And it won't otherwise be represented tonight.

Hillary Clinton continues to defend the disastrous, U.S. led regime change in Libya that she helped lead as "smart power at its best," and has spent the 21st century as a largely unrepentant warmonger. Donald Trump, while introducing some long-overdue war-criticism to Republican politics, also blames the rise of ISIS on U.S. withdrawal from Iraq, promises to "bomb the shit out of them," and advocates the type of long-term occupation required to control that country's oil fields.

5) Domestic surveillance. Hillary Clinton still defends the PATRIOT Act, wants to ban encryption and give the feds access to your iPhone, and denies that Edward Snowden is even a whistleblower. Donald Trump supports re-authorizing the PATRIOT Act, supports the National Security Agency's bulk metadata collection, and has repeatedly called for Snowden's execution.

Gary Johnson would repeal the PATRIOT Act, dismantle the NSA, and pardon Edward Snowden.

6) Free speech. "Trump vs. Clinton Is Terrible News for Fans of Free Speech and the First Amendment," ran the headline of a piece by our resident constitutionalist Damon W. Root this May. "Both candidates have abysmal records on First Amendment issues."

To cite one of many possible examples, both candidates, within 24 hours of each other last December, responded to the San Bernardino terrorist attack by proposing to shut down parts of the Internet, and then mocking those who would object on free-speech grounds. (One of them said "You're going to hear all of the usual complaints—you know, 'freedom of speech,' etc.," and the other said, "Somebody will say, 'Oh, freedom of speech, freedom of speech.' These are foolish people.")

Trump wants to "open up the libel laws" (as if a president could; see #2). Clinton has advocated for a half-dozen laws whose basics were eventually declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court on First Amendment grounds.

"I am gung-ho for free speech, the Constitution, the First Amendment!" Gary Johnson said on Fox Business Network's Varney & Co. last month. While that commitment has been called into question over Johnson's not-especially-coherent comments on freedom of association and campaign-finance restrictions (he's against the latter, but in return for mandatory disclosure of funding sources), his default position on issues from "Net Neutrality" to campus speech codes remains favoring individual choice over government control.

7) Prohibition. Donald Trump thinks we can solve the "heroin epidemic" by building a border wall with Mexico. Hillary Clinton thinks we should throw $10 billion at it. Gary Johnson, whenever he is asked about the increase in opoid-related overdoses, points out that black markets make drugs more dangerous (while also emphasizing that this is ultimately a state issue; see #2).

Hillary Clinton in 2009 uttered of one of the single dumbest scare-quotes ever about legalizing marijuana ("There is just too much money in it"), though at least she, like her opponent, would continue the federal government's semi-tolerance of legal marijuana in states like Colorado. Gary Johnson's views on the issue are obviously well known, scary as they might be to the Marc Thiessens and Rolling Stone magazines of the world.

It's plausible that the 2016 presidential campaign will soon have a BD/AD moment—as in "Before Debate" and "After Debate." Such are the stakes, the level of interest, and the unpredictability of Donald Trump. But as the nation careens toward fiscal calamity, it's worth noting that some of the most critical questions were edited out long before the debate began. By excluding the Libertarian Party nominee, the Commission on Presidential Debates has made a mockery out of its stated commitment to "voter education," and thus contributed to the postponement of America's day of reckoning. It's up to the rest of us to insist on discussing what the old-party candidates will not.

* (was "million," due to authorial stupidity)

NEXT: Against Democracy and Elitism

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  1. Trump and Hillary, despite the fact that each one has convinced half the country to be terrified of the other one, have more policy in common than any of the other presidential candidate pairs in my lifetime. It’s amazing how few people see it.

    1. It’s not that surprising that people don’t see it. Most voters aren’t that concerned with policy. Other than Obamacare, what policy decisions over the past 8 years have had a direct impact on the typical voter? Most people aren’t in the military and have no connection to our ongoing interventions. Most people aren’t actually directly impacted by immigration. Most people aren’t directly impacted by gay marriage. Most people aren’t trying to open or run a business and don’t have to deal with the labyrinth of regulations. If you file a 1040-EZ then you are probably completely unaware of the details of the tax code. Most people aren’t trying to buy or sell drugs.

      For the average person, politics is about larger cultural issues and reaffirming certain partisan preferences and group identity. Despite their similarities, Clinton and Trump project very different cultural affiliations (which also don’t seem that different to those of us on the outside, but, then we aren’t the target audience).

      1. good points. people have been crying wolf about deficit spending since at least the Reagan era, but even broken clocks are right twice a day and one day that clock will go off in a way that impacts most voters

        1. I think it also explains why concerns over the increasing reach of government don’t resonate. I’m a libertarian, and there are probably only two or three areas of my life where laws or regulations directly prevent me from doing something I’d like to do. And I still manage to lead a pretty damn satisfying life. All the indirect things and opportunity costs are too abstract for most people to appreciate.

        2. one day that clock will go off in a way that impacts most voters

          And then the voters will piss and moan about how “we didn’t listen.”

    2. Thank you. I made the same point last night. It’s just a show. Kayfabe. Yet even libertarians waste untold hours debating which of the two is worse. It doesn’t matter. Either way, someone is going to be getting rich off your labor. You can’t change that. But you can free your mind from being obsessed with this shitshow.

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    4. My vote will not matter as I am in Louisiana. I will vote for Johnson.
      But, since they really are very similar, I would rather see Hillary win
      so that the deems, central banks, etc. get the blame when the economy
      crashes. Trump is too big of an unknown AND the Repubs and “free market”
      will get the blame if Trump is president. In fact, my biggest fear would be
      a Johnson win followed by the crash that should have happened a few
      years ago if it wasn’t for QE, ZIRP, NIRP, etc. Then, of course, even if
      the crash happens before January or after 5 days in office, it will due due
      to the libertarian, dog eat dog, free market policies of Johnson.
      Let Hillary destroy the economy and country and we can rebuild
      from the ruins. We will use this, $, as our symbol. 🙂

      1. This is the best and ONLY reason to vote for Hillary.

      2. Libertarian spoiler votes change the laws. Search for Reversing Socialism and you will find that the Populist looter party got 8.5% of the vote in 1892, and within 2 years had passed a communist income tax not in the Dem or GOP platforms (plus major economic collapse while it was debated). Back then people read A Traveler from Altruria. Today we read Atlas Shrugged. Spoiler votes change the laws out of proportion to their number. This is simple arithmetic to verify using Wikipedia vote tallies.

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  2. Is there going to be a Reason drinking game? Because there’s no way this debate could be tolerated unless one is completely falling down drunk.

    1. I’m using Monday Night Football as my cover for getting s-faced before hand.
      Plus I’m banking on Reason putting up a thread close to kick-off for the Commentariat to add their expert commentary and keep this entertaining. Otherwise I’m just going to watch MNF

    2. I just drank 1 quart of scotch and 15 gallons of Mad Dog 20-20 “fortified wine”… Enhanced by the VERY BEST Cheez Whiz I could find…

      Your turn now!

    3. Yes. Start drinking now, continue drinking through the debate.

      Fun!

    4. I made my first batch of apple pie moonshine of the season last weekend with anticipation of over-indulging in tonight’s shitshow.

  3. I’ve got one tab of acid in my possession. Maybe tonight is the night.

    1. I typically would not suggest doing that, but tonight might be the proper occasion.

      1. careful, I wouldn’t want flashbacks of a Clitrump trip haunting me years from now

    2. If the trip gets too awful watching the debate, save yourself by going over to SugarFree’s blog for some mind bleach.

  4. Of course CNN wants the highest ratings they can get. Already calling this the debate of the century, blahblahblah.

    100 million viewers? Is that from USA only? I seriously doubt that half of the adult population of the US will be watching this.

    1. Falcons vs Saints, motherfuckers

      1. Are you making the argument for why the debate will reach that viewership number?

        Because nobody cares about a couple of NFC South garbage teams.

        1. You are correct, Gojira. Who cares about those teams. I don’t. However, I am still watching football.

        2. Them’s fighting words!

  5. Military interventionism. In every campaign appearance, Gary Johnson emphasizes that U.S.-led “regime change” and foreign occupation are almost always bad ideas that lead to “unintended consequences.” Agree or disagree with this argument, it’s one that resonates with broad swaths of American public opinion on both sides of the political aisle. And it won’t otherwise be represented tonight.

    Gary Johnson has repeatedly stated he supports “humanitarian wars”, not in the US interest. This is essentially the way every foreign intervention is shown to the American people right up to that dazed and dirty Aleppo kid today.

    Donald Trump has proposed “making countries pay for us to defend them” which means they most certainly will assert their sovereignty, increase military preparedness and form local alliances. Trump’s whole foreign policy, other than those bellicose soundbites y’all haters like so much, is one of non-interventionism and withdrawal from our “entangling alliances”.

    Does Trump mean it? Sure we don’t really know until he’s in office but Gary Johnson is going to get less than 2% of the vote and retire to his cannabusiness and outdoor pursuits.

    1. Yeah, I wonder. I tend to think he doesn’t mean anything he says, but being a non-interventionist isn’t popular with either side. So why pretend to be that if you aren’t? If we can get that much out of a Trump presidency then I will have considered it a step forward.

  6. If I had to guess on what the 3 main topics will be?

    1. Something mean Trump said.

    2. Something mean Trump said.

    3. Something mean Trump said.

  7. Once again RAISIN ignores the really real issue of this election: what coded messages Hillary is sending out in her coughing fits and to whom.

    1. That message is clear. ‘Hey, I’m dying you idiots, but vote for me anyway, I promise to completely destroy the Constitution before I croak.’

  8. The other day I heard it referred to as “Fair Weather Federalism”. What a perfect phrase to describe how the party out of power suddenly finds itself embracing return to state’s power. This election it’s crickets, however.

    1. I just call them “homos”.

  9. Also, there’s the question of association.

    Without Gary Johnson’s courageous stand against forced association, there wouldn’t be anybody in the debates who . . . um . . . wait.

    Yeah, free speech!

    1. Can you expand on this? Yes, I’m being serious. I’m a Libertarian leaning ex-GOP’er and am still informing myself

      1. It’s sort of tongue in cheek, there.

        Most libertarians are principled in their opposition to forced association. Much like we support the Fifth Amendment rights for arsonists and the First Amendment rights for Nazis, many of us think that homophobic bakers should be free to refuse to bake cakes for gay weddings.

        Johnson has taken the opposite position. I suspect it has to do with Republicans of his generation seeing Goldwater make the same political mistake by refusing to support the Civil Rights Act on principled grounds.

        My perspective is that Goldwater’s vote wouldn’t have sank the Civil Rights Act anyway, and he paid a terrible price at the polls for putting himself in a position where he could be easily smeared as a racist. . . . and Goldwater can’t be President if he can’t win the election because of principles, so what was gained?

        I believe Republicans of Johnson’s generation are very aware of the political cost of being right on principle on an issue like that because of Goldwater’s experience. Now, no one can smear Johnson as a homophobe because he publicly supports businesses being . . . free to NOT engage in homophobia whether they like it or not.

        And, yeah, that last sentence is tongue in cheek, too.

        1. Other than hardcore anarchists, almost everyone has an exception to how far they are willing to push their principles in practice, either for pragmatic political reasons or because they genuinely dislike what they think the world might look like if they applied their principles in the extreme. I suspect both are at play with Johnson’s stance on public accommodation.

          I disagree with him but it’s mostly a wash since almost every other politician in the country is on board with public accommodation, other than those conservatives who support an exception for religious objection to gay marriage.

          1. I wish this issue were dealt with in the courts.

            The courts aren’t supposed to be politicized specifically so they can deal with questions like this.

            Whether for First Amendment religious grounds or right of association grounds, arsonists, Nazis, and homophobes have rights–and their rights should be protected by the courts.

        2. Oh yes. Thanks Ken. I have heard his stance on this before, but have had a little information overload since I started learning more about libertarianism and forgot.

          1. If you think you should be free to make choices for yourself, you’re already libertarian enough for me.

            We all pretty much agree on that, but once we agree on that, a lot of us seem to disagree on everything else.

            That’s one of the great things about being a libertarian: Our candidates don’t have to speak for us on every issue since they think we should be free to make choices for ourselves–so long as we don’t infringe on other people’s right to make choices for themselves.

            . . . sometimes that last part gets complicated, but then real life is complicated.

            1. “If you think you should be free to make choices for yourself, you’re already libertarian enough for me.”

              Yep, I’m definitely there. Part of my “awakening” was becoming aware of how some of my conservative positions took that right away from others. For example, I’ve done a complete 180 on drugs and gay marriage. Well, actually ALL marriage. I’ve come to believe that the government should not have anything at all to do with ANY marriage between consenting adults.

              And great point about our candidates not having to speak on every issue. I hadn’t thought of that, but you’re spot on!

        3. The debates purport one thing: to provide a balanced education of the voter but with clear purpose and determination they seek to limit voter education. They certify under oath on tax documents that they are non-partisan, but clearly they are bi-partisan. Freedom of association has nothing to do with the problem. The problem is fraud.

  10. i’d rather watch white people dance.

    1. Here ya go:

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sHloyT9sJ5M

      After a little reflection I have to agree with you.

      1. That was in honor of HM by the way.

  11. Going down the list:

    Cankles – 0 out of 7

    Trump – 3 out of 7

    It could be a lot worse I suppose.

  12. Prohibition. Donald Trump thinks we can solve the “heroin epidemic” by building a border wall with Mexico.

    Then there’s this:

    “We’re losing badly the war on drugs, You have to legalize drugs to win that war. You have to take the profit away from these drug czars.”…

    “What I’d like to do maybe by bringing it up is cause enough controversy that you get into a dialogue on the issue of drugs so people will start to realize that this is the only answer; there is no other answer,”

    Trump has been relatively consistent on drugs until he was seeking the presidency. Even then he says “legalization should be studied” which is more than the current L.P. candidate is willing to say out loud.

    1. Who knows what he is go;ing to do?

      He is pandering to the law and order crowd and cop unions in the campaign.

      1. Yet he still won’t totally walk back his legalization views. It’s just something he doesn’t want to do “right now” when “right now” is during the campaign. No major party general election candidate has ever had a history of calling for outright drug legalization.

    2. If it were actually possible to secure the longest international border in the world it probably would make a difference in the drug scene…like push the price up and incentivize the dealers to get drugs in by other methods. He is correct; there is no answer other than legalization.

      1. Is the US/Mexico border really the longest?

        1. The one up north is obviously longer. The Alaska/Canada border is almost as long as the US/Mexico border.

          But maybe that’s the one Suthen is talking about; drugs come through there too.

          1. They often are going the other way as well. I think we trade drugs for their terrible celebrities. What a rip off.

            1. their terrible celebrities.

              “The Shat” would like a word…

              But other than him, yeah.

        2. I think second longest. The US-Canada border is longer by ten yards.

          1. Googling this question gives the result that the US-Canada border is the longest (2,777 mi between contiguous US and Canada, 5,525 mi total including the border between Canada and Alaska) while the US-Mexico border comes in as tenth longest (1,989 mi). I would bet that the reason you thought US-Mexico was the longest is that you confused it with another fact, that the US-Mexico border is the most frequently crossed border in the world.

  13. “national debt that was doubled under George W. Bush from $5 million to $10 million (an increase that then-candidate Barack Obama characterized as “un-American”), and then doubled again over the next eight years.”

    If I’m reading that right, W. added $5(I’m guessing that was supposed to be trillion) to the debt and Obama has added $10Trillion?

    Jesus Christ, can you believe the austerity the poor federal government has been living with for the last eight years?

  14. And they can get away with it, too, because Americans have become all too willing to uncritically surrender the freedom of others* to fend off dangers which are not merely highly improbable, but largely theoretical. The Precautionary Principle overrides the Constitution.

    Thank a schoolteacher.

    * “You today, me tomorrow” doesn’t occur to them, it seems.

  15. I’ve got one tab of acid in my possession. Maybe tonight is the night.

    My advice: chain yourself in the basement (out of reach of the teevee) and give the key to someone you can trust unreservedly.

  16. The funny thing about all of reason’s anti Trump articles is how internally inconsistent they are. On the one hand, Trump is a pathological liar who is certain to betray all of his supporters on everything they hold dear. On the other hand, Trump is an authoritarian who can be counted on to follow through on every statement he makes that even hints at authoritarianism. How exactly Trump is supposed to be some right wing authoritarian who at the same time sells out all of his right wing supporters is never quite explained.

    Reason’s criticisms of Trump are so emotional and so over the top, they can’t be taken seriously. A “pathological liar”? Really? Whatever you think of Trump, the guy’s kids seem to like him and while he has ex wives, a lot of people have those and even his ex wives seem to still like him. Sorry but anyone who is actually a pathological liar is not well liked by their family or anyone close to them. Show me a real pathological liar and I will show you someone who is completely unable to form long term social and familial bonds. And Trump, whatever you think of him is not that. He just isn’t. And pretending he is just makes the author look ridiculous.

    1. that is a pretty fair criticism but the most telling are his children. You are correct. People with psychological problems don’t raise children that are well balanced, functional, sane people. Having a crazy kid is always a huge red flag for me.

      1. I left out the possibility that the kids could have been raised by a well chosen nanny, but in Trump’s case there are too many anecdotal stories of his interactions with his kids.

  17. How can Gary Johnson repeal the Patriot Act unilaterally? Or dismantle the NSA? On the federal balance sheet, what has he proposed, specifically, with the slightest chance of passing a Congress dominated by major parties?
    How is Trump’s denial of the 10th Amendment any worse than both Paul’s denial of the 9th (a/k/a THE libertarian amendment)?

    Would Gary be at 15% or more, if he had coherent and specific policy solutions? How would he govern? Or would both parties shut him down, as they did with Dubya and Obama? Is this how he worked with a Democrat state legislature?

    1. Johnson can’t do any of that unilaterally anymore than Trump can. And while we are talking about unilaterally doing things, Reason is constantly losing its mind over Trump’s desire to end the libal and slander standards for public figures under NYT v. Sullivan and never bothers to mention how he would accomplish that given that it is a Supreme Court case and one that there is no desire on any current justice’s part that I am aware of to overturn it.

      Meanwhile Trump’s statement about NYT v. Sullivan is constantly help up as proof that he is just as much of a threat to the 1st Amendment as Hillary, who wants to overturn Citizens United, a case that already has four justices against it and that the next President will be able to appoint a replacement justice for one of the five votes in favor of it. Trump can magically overturn NYT Sullivan and that is totally the same thing as the near certainty Hillary winning will overturn Citizens’ United. They are just pathetic on the whole subject of Trump.

      1. What any President can and should do (see the oath/affirmation required of Presidents) is observe the Constitution, and if there’s a Congressional enactment purporting to supersede the Constitution, he doesn’t simply have the option of disregarding that enactment, he has the *duty* do do so.

        1. For example, if Congress (assume it’s over the President’s veto) passes a law saying “American citizen so-and-so is a terrorist and the President is hereby commanded to kill him without trial,” the President must disobey.

          Wouldn’t you concur?

      2. Johnson can’t do any of that unilaterally anymore than Trump can. And while we are talking about unilaterally doing things, Reason is constantly losing its mind over Trump’s desire to ….

        THIS.

        Most of the media do the same thing, They take the candidates policy ideas and assume he/it can transform them into laws/regulations unilaterally. That is pure BS. The Prez has a phone and a pen, and in Hillary’s case a private server for her illegal email, but you can’t do most of those things without Congress and/or the Supreme Court going along.

        That’s why the voters should take any and all candidate statements as proposals only.

        1. Except that Clinton not only has the support of Democrats in congress, but she also has the neocons and the media on her side. They’ll work to stop Trump, but with Clinton, they’ll do everything in their power to enable her.

    2. Johnson wouldn’t have to repeal anything. He can just pour sand in the gears a la Obumbles. If you know how to tweak here and there you can really gum things up. Of course when I say ‘tweak’ GJ’s mind might go in a different direction than the one I have in mind.

    3. How can Gary Johnson repeal the Patriot Act unilaterally?

      Veto it the next time it comes up for an extension. Of course, Congress could override if they have the votes, but he could at least try.

      Or dismantle the NSA?

      The NSA was created by an Executive Order, it can be repealed with an EO.

      On the federal balance sheet, what has he proposed, specifically, with the slightest chance of passing a Congress dominated by major parties?

      He’s proposed several specific things, and also want to eliminate several departments. Of course, the same caveat as the PATRIOT Act applies: he can veto spending bills, or ask Congress to pass bills eliminating any department he wants, but if Congress overrides his vetos or refuses to pass bills eliminating certain departments, then he’s SOL. But at least he would be able to honestly say he tried to actually cut shit.

      1. He’s proposed several specific things, and also want to eliminate several departments.

        “with the slightest chance of passing a Congress dominated by major parties?”

    4. A few vetoes go a long way.

  18. This reticence to grapple with the America’s perilous balance sheet is new, and actively dangerous. As I detail in Reason’s October cover story, every State of the Union Address between 1997 and 2013 mentioned the need for long-term entitlement reform; but no more. And that’s not because the situation has gotten any less dire. To the contrary.

    I’ve noticed that the bigger a problem something is, the less likely politicians are to want to actually address it. I don’t think the story of Nero fiddling while Rome burned was just a story about one incompetent moron failing to do anything about a major problem. The more time goes on the more I see that it was really an allegory of how politicians in general respond to major crises. The bigger the problem, the less they want to deal with it. Probably because the solution is often times very hard and painful and you don’t win re-election by promising that tough times are ahead, you get re-elected by promising that the good times will never end and “moar free shit for all.” Also, I suspect that the morons don’t actually know what to do, but they can’t admit that either because people stupidly believe that their elected so called leaders are all “Top. Men.” who have all the answers. Again, you don’t get elected and re-elected by admitting that you don’t know everything and have all the answers.

    1. You win elections by promising that you’ve got a three point plan to fix everything.

      1. Like the 999 plan?

        1. I like the 999 plan. With pepperoni and extra cheese.

      2. Three point or Five Year?

        1. How about a 3 point plan that takes 5 years?

          1. Which may seem odd for a president to propose considering elections are every 4 years, but that’s another little trick to ensure re-election:

            “We’re only in year 4 of my 5 year plan! You don’t want to change horses mid-stream, do you? That would be crazy!”

      3. You win elections by getting enough spoiler votes to force the looters to repeal their shitty laws. That’s 1.4% of the popular vote, on average, to amend the Constitution the way the Prohibition Party did–in 11 presidential campaigns. That fixed everything until Herbert Hoover had the Glucose and Yeast Trusts arrested and their assets nationalized in sacrifice to “ordered liberty” as opposed to “dog-eat-dog”. Today the results of prohibition (Republicanism) and communist dictatorship (the Democratic agenda) are uniformly visible to all as economic collapse, war, torture, murder and slave-pens. Yet by voting your conscience and ignoring looter hobgoblins your vote can heft the clout of 35 votes cast by impressionable fools and Trilbys unable to simplify a fraction.

  19. There is a broad middle of American public opinion that is legitimately anxious over a national debt that was doubled under George W. Bush from $5 million to $10 million

    If only it were true.

  20. Commission on Presidential Debates: We don’t have the time and resources to deal with every diverse perspective, not when the country’s busy picking it’s favorite flavor of ass.

  21. In July, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) pointed out that publicly held debt is “growing larger in relation to the economy than ever recorded in U.S. history,” and that debt service alone will eclipse military spending in the next president’s first term

    But interest rates are so lowlowlow we’d be crazy not to borrow all we can!

  22. Isis Isis Baby. Shovel ready jobs. Free stuff.

  23. So will there be gun control questions given recent shootings? Or will they give Hillary a pass?

    1. So will there be gun control questions given recent shootings?

      ‘The next question is for Mr. Trump. You’ve come out in support of gun rights. Given the recent shootings, why do you hate people and want to see them get shot?”

      1. Do you hate children, or just black children?

  24. “Gary Johnson, whenever he is asked about the increase in opoid-related overdoses, points out that black markets make drugs more dangerous (while also emphasizing that this is ultimately a state issue; see #2).”

    A state issue, did you say?

    Hmmm…what other candidate do you associate with a federalist approach to drug issues?

    1. Portugal decriminalized ALL drugs, including heroin, methamphetamine and (if it even exists) PCP a decade ago, yet somehow their banks are the only ones in National Socialist Europe able to pay interest and attract depositors.
      Canada has NO, repeat NO Pro-Life-After-Death antiabortion laws, yet women flock there from all warm and sunny parts of the planet.

  25. I think if Johnson had come out like a Paul, who understand the dynamics of the whys and how the design of the Constitution separated and limited federal power, he would’ve done a lot better. His pussy footing around and nebulous answers to issues that a constitutionalist would hit out of the park was ridiculous.

  26. So the debate nazis were founded in 1987? This was the year “Just Say No” segued into Rep. Crane’s Customs Forfeiture Fund amendment, and establish a sentence of life imprisonment without parole for hemp pushers, and authorization for state and local law enforcement grants from $100 million in FY 1987 and $200 million in FY 1988 to $660 million in FY 1987 and $695 million in FY 1988; and to reduce the matching requirements from 50% to 10%, and to permit the use of funds for non-federal prison construction? THAT was when these “bi-partisan” gatekeepers were instituted to watch over the Nixon anti-libertarian law?

  27. It would be educational for voters to hear Gov. Johnson’s take on the issues. However, he is running an incoherent campaign. He has no focus. His moment was right after the Republican National Convention, and he failed to capitalize because his appeal was to the left. His time is over. Third parties just can’t count on the Commission on Presidential Debates, an instrument of Oligarchy. I don’t know what the strategy is, but in many ways Johnson has made choices that marginalize him even more. He made the debate the be-all and end-all of his campaign. Well, it just ended then.

  28. my best friends mom got a nine month old Ford Fiesta ST by working part time from the internet
    see more at———–>>> http://tinyurl.com/Usatoday01

  29. Since control over debate issues are in the hands of the two corrupt major parties, they will never allow any common sense candidate onto to ‘their’ stage.
    PBS is partially funded by taxpayers, they should hold the debate decisions and include ANYONE who will be on enough ballots to gain the 270 electoral votes!

    Both of the parties are rotten to the core and should be banned.
    Thank them for destroying the nation.

  30. Xavier . I can see what your saying… William `s posting is incredible… last monday I bought themselves a volvo after I been earnin $5905 this-past/5 weeks and-just over, 10k this past munth . without a doubt its the coolest job I’ve ever done . I actually started four months/ago and pretty much immediately brought home at least $69 p/h . look at this now

    ….. http://www.NewsJob3.com

  31. i like this Soulcalibur V iPhone 7 Plus Case

    if you have a new phone. you like the naked body of the phone or protect it with a case?

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