Gary Johnson: 'You Cannot Set a Life-or-Death Goal of Getting to the Top of the Mountain, or You're Gonna Blow Your Brains out'

Libertarian nominee, inching down toward 5%, is philosophical and defiant about whether his campaign is a "failure."

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The loneliness of the long-distance runner. ||| Matt Welch
Matt Welch

For each of the past 152 days, Gary Johnson has been asked what it's like to be a "spoiler." For the past 47, the Libertarian Party presidential nominee has been forced to revisit the deadly six-letter word "Aleppo," with the additional twist over the previous 28 about whether he can even name a single foreign leader. It's not particularly fun to be ridiculed on a daily basis as a "fucking idiot" (Bill Maher), "laughable" (Stephen Colbert) and "around 80 percent sure that he's running for president" (John Oliver).

Then in recent days a particularly unpleasant new line of inquiry has been added to the mix. What does it feel like, reporters and even libertarian fellow travelers are asking in light of Johnson's September-October polling slide from 9 percent to 6, to be a failure? The question has stung candidate and campaign staff alike. For someone who is both a fierce competitor and a cheerful loser—Johnson has played chess against a computer just about every day for the past two years without winning even once, for example—the answer can oscillate between bewilderment, defiance, and Zen. On Tuesday, when swatting around Facebook Live softballs from the publisher of his slim new book Common Sense for the Common Good: Libertarianism as the End of Two-Party Tyranny, Johnson responded to an innocuous question about climbing Mt. Everest with a pretty direct metaphor for his campaign:

What Everest says, and everything that I've done in my life, and everything that all of us do in our lives, is just put one foot in front of the other. I mean that's the key to living, and in that context, you know what? Things go wrong, every single day of our lives something goes wrong. Do you crawl up in a ball, do you declare yourself a victim and give up? Or you know what, get up the next day, smile on your face, it's part of the process….It's about the process, it's not about the end result; you can't predict the end result. But what you can predict is that if you get involved in the process, and you keep after it, that's what you should consider success. So climbing mountains, being involved as the Libertarian nominee for president….

Johnson returned to the mountain metaphor a little while later when I asked him in an interview whether he would either do anything differently in this campaign looking back, or whether there were any moments that surpassed all previous expectations. After stressing that he's a strictly no-regrets kinda guy, he said this:

It is what it is. And you can certainly look at mistakes, but to think that you as a human being are not going to make mistakes, by that I mean little mistakes? Yes, of course. But in the context of moving forward—well, that's the other part of the equation, too, which is, man, you've got to keep moving forward. How does it turn out? I have always believed that life is a process, and you cannot set a life-or-death goal of getting to the top of the mountain, or you're gonna blow your brains out if you don't get there. You put yourself in position to get to the top of the mountain—you're physically fit, you're not ill, you're doing all the right things—and in that context using that as analogy, that's always worked in my life. Always. And come Election Day, that's what I did in this cycle, and everybody I was associated with.

"It is what it is" is the same formulation Johnson has used previously when asked about the surely irritating rise of independent conservative candidate Evan McMullin in the Johnson-campaign-headquartered state of Utah.

In the course of our short interview, Johnson veered from bullishness to fatalism, gratitude to near-bitterness. Here's a selection:

Still probably not. ||| Reason
Reason

There's a lot of anxiety in the libertarian universe right now about the 5 percent threshold, for obvious reasons. First, are you anxious about it yourself; like, do you feel like you're gonna clear that well, is it something that you're worried about, how are you focused on it?

Well,…I thought we had the opportunity to be at 5 percent in 2012! Based on being on the streets right now as opposed to 2012, there's twentyfold the response today…than there was in 2012. Will that equate to 5 percent? I don't know, we'll see.

If you had a choice between 5 percent or winning a state, what would it be?

…First of all, if I'm gonna win one state, I may very well win eight states. I think it's a water-level-raises-all-boats kinda thing. So that's the—New Mexico? You know, we'll see. But polls, I understand polls, I got my degree in political science. I understand polls. I understand right now that the poll shift from registered voters a couple of months out to likely voters; because it shifted to likely voters, which underweigh young people and independents, that's really where our polling has [been strongest]. That's the factor involved in the drop in polls. […]

You were talking to me yesterday when we weren't in an interview situation about media people and the question of "What's it like to be a failure?"…It's amazing to watch the different kinds of interpretations of what this campaign has been—kind of a Goldilocks thing of, "Oh, it has exceeded all expectations," "it undershot all expectations," "it is where it is." How do you assess where you're at right now compared to expectations?

My expectations—beyond my wildest dreams has this election or my candidacy gone forward. Everywhere I walk in this country now, I'm known. Everywhere!

And you're offered weed. (Note: During his just-completed Facebook Live interview, Johnson volunteered in a humorous aside that "I get offered weed ALL the time.")

And I'm offered weed, every single time. The guy who makes the pizza wants to put weed on the pizza, you know?

Do you feel confident that the Libertarian Party now is the third party in this country?

(Pause) Yeah, I think that, um, of course.

Now, you get back to this 5 percent, and just how much of a game-changer that is going forward—not for me, but for the party going forward….Regardless, I think that this is a game changer for the Libertarian Party. But it's what the Libertarian Party does with this going forward. And you know, OK, Johnson's a dismal, miserable failure. Um, I probably won't even know that. I may not even listen to the news again for the rest of my life! So I'll be in ignorant bliss.

Reason on Gary Johnson here. Below, here's that Facebook Live video from Tuesday:

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259 responses to “Gary Johnson: 'You Cannot Set a Life-or-Death Goal of Getting to the Top of the Mountain, or You're Gonna Blow Your Brains out'

  1. I’m still hopeful about crossing 5%. If he can’t do that in *this* election cycle, then I’m going to have to revisit a lot of what I thought I knew about the electorate.

    1. I agree. I *think* he will end up closer to 10%, but in this election the “we cannot allow Hillary/Trump to win” hold-the-nose mentality seems pretty strong.

      1. I hope you are right, Rich, but I have this sub-1% feeling for the very reason you state.

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        2. I think he has to beat his 0.99% from 2012 just on sheer air time he’s gotten alone. But it might be something disappointing like 3%. Anything approaching just shy of 5% would suck but feels likely. :/

      2. Also, McMullin, particularly since he seems to have the Mormon vote sewn up.

        1. Not this Mormons vote

    2. Me too. This time I saw and heard more complaining and “I’m fed up with the establishment” than ever before. Granted, most of those people will always go back and vote for the D or R. But I was sure that this time, fewer would do that. I could still be wrong, and I hope I am. What will it take for people to realize that if you keep blindly voting for shitty candidates, you will only be given shitty candidates to vote for?

      1. I’m fed up with the establishment

        Translation: I’m fed up with the other team wrecking everything.

        1. “I’m fed up with the establishment”
          And yet perhaps the most establishment candidate ever is about to win

          1. “You misheard me. I said ‘I’m *fed by* the establishment’.”

      2. I used to think that if a truly different politician came along and got noticed that they could make serious inroads. Maybe start the process of competing with the two major parties. I guess it remains to be seen but I’ve become pretty disillusioned by that prospect.

        The two party duopoly seems to be hardwired into our electoral system. It’s hard for me to imagine a circumstance that can upset that. For the libertarians to make progress it seems like we are going to have to do one of the following

        1) Fundamentally change the electoral system to something like proportional representation or ranked choice voting. That will require state-by-state action or Constitutional change, and that will require action by the two parties that will weaken them (so that won’t happen) or real grass-roots change, which seems unlikely. So this doesn’t seem like a promising option

        2) Go back to trying to reform one of the two major parties. This election doesn’t make it seem like either the Republicans or the Democrats will be receptive. And frankly, I don’t think enough libertarians are willing to accept the compromises it would take, anyway.

        1. 3) Give up on state-wide elections and focus on district and lower-level elections. But I don’t see any real avenue for progress here, either, because there will be no national-level support structure. We’d consign ourselves to forever being outgunned. Any gains will be sporadic.

          It’s not a good picture.

          Now, if Johnson can get 5%, then maybe there is hope of using this as a launching point. But, again, if we struggle to do that in *this* election cycle, our prospects for the future seem grim.

          1. Maybe we could get lucky and find a good libertarian, with strong qualifications, charisma, and knowledge, who is actually willing to run for president. But that’s a one-off, lightning in a bottle sort of thing, and I don’t know of anyone who fits that bill.

            So I don’t see how we make process through the political process. That means focusing on long cultural change, but I don’t think anyone can really control that, anyway. It has to emerge. And the prospects on that front seem mixed at best.

          2. 3) Give up on state-wide elections and focus on district and lower-level elections. But I don’t see any real avenue for progress here, either, because there will be no national-level support structure. We’d consign ourselves to forever being outgunned. Any gains will be sporadic.

            Regardless of “give up,” a strong push to establish a bench of elected talent in the states is what’s needed. Beyond proving to voters in later elections that an LP candidate is feasible, running for an array of lower offices gives the opportunity for more candidates (and more sorts of candidates among the libertarian spectrum) to gain traction. Plus, since (despite disproportionate focus on national offices) most of the actual work of government ? and so much of its cost ? is down at local and state levels, LP office-holders could actual begin chipping away at the edifices of cronyism and regulation from the base (making it easier to topple some of it as gains are slowly built).

            Honestly, imagine what a state with 5-10% of its assemblymen standing for libertarianism could accomplish, if only as a brake on the majority and kingmakers.

        2. Whichever party wins will have no motivation to reform. It will be interesting to see what the losing party does, but there is no guarantee they will reform.

          1. My best case scenario:
            Gary polls enough votes to cover the margin of victory or at least gets to 5%.
            The Liberty caucus of Team R picks up a bunch of seats in 2018 mid-terms.
            One of their shining lights runs for Gov in 2018, then President in 2020. I don’t know who the shining lights are beyond Massie/Amash/Rand, but here are some upcoming open races with possible candidates in swingish states:

            Amash, Michigan
            Schweikert Arizona
            Brat or Griffith, Virginia (2017)
            Posey/Clawson/DeSantis/Yoho, Florida
            Jim Jordan, Ohio
            Sanford/Mulvaney/Gowdy, South Carolina
            Adding the gubernatorial pelt isn’t really an option for Massie or Rand as the next Kentucky Gov race isn’t until 2019.

            1. Mike Yoho really needs to be leading the American Pirate Party, amirite?

              1. I wonder how many more votes the LP would get simply by rebranding to Pirates.

            2. SC Republican Gov. Nikki Haley’s term ends in Jan, 2019. She could well run for Senate. She is somewhat liberty-friendly. Lindsey Graham’s is up for re-election in 2020.

          2. It will be interesting to see what the losing party does, but there is no guarantee they will reform.

            And if they do reform, there’s no guarantee that they’ll reform in a libertarian leaning direction. In fact, I’d be shocked if they did.

            1. ^This. I can see a losing Republican party doubling-down on the socon policies since those people are one of the most loyal consituencies, even though their numbers are dwindling. McMullin supporters will be forgiven; Johnson supporters and the liberty caucus will be villified.

              1. On the list of Enemies of the Faith, apostates are never quite as high as heretics.

          3. It’s no coincidence that we get the two worse candidates at the same time. The parties primarily serve a small subset of their membership and will always put up the shittiest candidate they think they can get away with because they have other motivations, popular support and adulation is secondary.

      3. The problem is that most of those people on the right already got their preferred anti-establishment candidate. And the ones on the left will mostly fall in line behind Hillary because of fear of Trump (the opposite is also true of a lot of people on the right afraid of a Hillary presidency) or because Johnson is too far right on some things (they might vote for Stein if that’s the case). The percentage of people who don’t like either candidate and will not fall in line because of partisanship and/or fear of the opposing candidate is pretty small IMO (probably

        1. That should say probably

          1. What the hell is going on with the comments? In both comments I had less than 10% at the end (with the sign not the words) and it got left off.

            1. My thoughts and prayers are with you.

            2. If you used the less-than sign it got interpreted as the opening character of an html tag, and stripped. There is a way to work around that, but I forget what it is.

            3. They’re trying to tell you something.

    3. This time around we have two extraordinarily unlikable candidates, on every level. In four years, unless the GOP puts up another terribly orange candidate – like Boehner – to unseat Hillary’s rotting corpse from the presidency, I don’t see a repeat of this in the near future.

      1. The Republicans will learn from the Democrats and fix the nomination process to ensure that their next nominee is a right good milqutoast centrist who the media will like until the General when he’ll become Hitler.

      1. Is that the percentage of your sex-chickens that have STDs? Way to run a clean ship!

        1. “Sex Chickens”

          Good punk band name.

    4. If he can’t do that in *this* election cycle, then I’m going to have to revisit a lot of what I thought I knew about the electorate.

      My assumption has always been that the majority of voters are fucking morons, the only difference will be do I go forward assuming that 90% are morons, or 99%.

    5. If he can’t do that in *this* election cycle, then I’m going to have to revisit a lot of what I thought I knew about the electorate.

      Meh. I think some conditions apply here that suppress the Moment.

      1. He’s not Ron Paul
      2. He’s not particularly libertarian, to the point where both he and his running mate are ID’d as Republicans.
      3. Speaking of his running-mate, any pol from MA running for national office has been the kiss of death since JFK.
      4. Voters, especially in swing-y states, understand their vote might actually matter.
      5. The ‘Aleppo Incident’ is first thing people think when they think ‘GayJay.’

      I think this cycle Libertarians had a moment, and they completely blew it. Instead of Ron Paul showing up again in Republican primaries, it was his lackluster (and relatively unknown) kid, who also tossed towel in before New Hampshire and didn’t even really try that hard. Instead, libertarians got fooled (again) by Republican turncoat with cachet of having been elected to something, somewhere. Libertarians got what they deserve this cycle.

      1. 5b. And the second thing they think of is pot, followed with an obligatory stoner joke.

      2. 4. Voters, especially in swing-y states, understand their vote might actually matter.

        Which is precisely why they should vote for someone decent, rather than for a reprehensible authoritarian piece of garbage. The perception of the spoiler effect can be used as a weapon to frighten and help change the dominant parties, while at the same time aiding the third party (easier ballot access, more publicity, perhaps more funding) if they get enough votes. The ‘greater evil’ might win in the short term, but the short term is not what matters.

  2. His campaign has been a failure because of his inability to articulate much of any libertarian message, an inability to make any lasting impression, and its overall incompetence which has only reinforced the snickering media’s condescending notion of libertarianism. And, oh, yea…picking a VP for his donor connections who would sell out the LP two weeks out from the election. Sad thing is, Weld’s move wasn’t surprising at all. I said from the beginning he was only present because he wanted to hurt Trump. He couldn’t care less about libertarianism or having a successful third party.

    This is a guy who set up his campaign HQ in Utah, and then proceeded to basically tell the religious leaning to fuck off (before trying to backpedal) – blowing his best chance to actually win some electoral college votes.

    No one expected Johnson to win. Even getting into the debates was a long shot. I just wanted someone to sell libertarianism in a principled fashion. Someone who would get eyeballs for good reasons.

    Whatever uptick in votes the LP sees this election will be entirely ephemeral.

    1. This is a guy who set up his campaign HQ in Utah, and then proceeded to basically tell the religious leaning to fuck off (before trying to backpedal) – blowing his best chance to actually win some electoral college votes.

      That right there is way stupider than his Aleppo moment.

      1. Can someone point me to where he told the religious to fuck off, as opposed to telling them something they didn’t want to hear?

        1. It’s the same thing. If I were running for president and articulated even half of the things that truly do need to change I would probably end up lynched.

          I certainly wouldn’t crack 5%.

          1. Libertarians are always going to have an uphill battle against the free shit for me crowd, which Romney put at 47% of the electorate.

            1. Hmm. Maybe the libertarians could rebrand “free shit” as “free to do shit” or something.

              1. Libertarianism as a concept will win some big victories this cycle with the continuing de-criminalization of dope around the country.

                Unfortunately for libertarians, they are not voting for that issue via politician’s promise but the issue itself.

        2. Something something gay Nazi cakes. Clearly the most important issue facing America today. Religious bakers make up 60% of the electorate and Gary blew it.

          1. Yeah fuck those people I don’t like losing their free association rights. It’ll never happen to me.

            1. I’m all for freedom of association rights but if you’re going to win over people we need to find a less retarded hill to die on than fucking cakes. I can’t entirely fault Gary for not jumping on that bandwagon. It’s an argument that’s impossible to win with the general electorate for very little gain. Do we really think Mormons would’ve spurned McMullin if he nailed that answer in perfect dogmatic fashion? The answer is to pivot to something that makes people really think about what they’re saying, and admittedly Gary is not the guy for that.

              1. I love the defeatist attitude here. The public is not at all sold on the moronic issue of gay cakes. And to be clear, Johnson didn’t just sign on to suppressing freedom of association for the religious in the name of anti-discrimination law. He went a step further than the progressives in actually arguing that even Nazis – a class no one is seeking to grant special privileges to – should be able to get any cake they want made.

                In doing so, Johnson demonstrated that he doesn’t really grasp the issues at hand. He’s sadly not even pandering – he just doesn’t get it.

                1. I love the defeatist attitude here.

                  Gee, I wonder why people are defeatists? Hmm, I wonder… Couldn’t possibly have anything to do with the fact that the LP, and libertarianism in general, has been completely defeated in the “court of public opinion mental diarrhea”, could it? /sarc

              2. I’m all for freedom of association rights but if you’re going to win over people we need to find a less retarded hill to die on than fucking cakes.

                Then don’t bitch, piss and moan when those religious people don’t line up behind him. It’s an issue where the logical libertarian position is clear. And it’s clear that it sides with the social conservatives on this one. Instead, Johnson went off of principle to take the position at odds with the religious. Gee, wonder why they might see him as hostile.

                1. On the flip side how much of the electorate do you expect to go: “ahh good a principled stand against the civil rights act based on freedom of association and states rights. This man is clearly a political philosopher and not a racist/homophobe.”

              3. You don’t get to pick which hill you die on. You only get to pick which side of the hill.

            2. No, it happened to everyone else decades ago when they were forced to associate with Christians at work and in public accommodations.

              1. Hey, you know that law passed decades ago that screwed people over? Well, it’s payback time! Very libertarian message you have there, Hail Rataxes.

          2. More that he’d rather pander to SJW sensibilities than stand up for constitutionally protected religious liberties.

            1. This. Johnson had no particularly good reason to say what he did about religious freedom. If its what he really believes, it’s not libertarian. And if he was pandering, he was doing it to the wrong crowd.

              1. If he actually believes it, isn’t that a good reason for saying it? Or should he lie in a way that will turn off a lot of people?

                1. If Johnson believes it, then that’s more troubling to me than him doing some pandering. Especially when he wants to go farther in suppressing freedom of association than most progressives (revealing not just ignorance of libertarianism, but the actual question being debated).

                  Politicians lie. Johnson has lied and pandered in this election cycle. But no matter how you slice it, there was little to gain in what he said about religious freedom. Not as a candidate of the LP, anyway.

                  1. I’m skeptical that he wants to go farther than progressives, but whatever. I don’t agree with his stance, but I do agree with probably 90% of his positions. In this election, it’s frustrates me that other libertarians can’t bring themselves to hold their noses over this issue. I’m not saying anyone should brush it off like it’s not important, but it seems like some perspective is needed. We need to delineate moral libertarianism from political libertarianism.

          3. Clearly the most important issue facing America today.

            Well, it’s not like we’re $20 trillion in debt or involved in multiple foreign policy clusterfucks that both the R and the D are bound and determined to make even worse, or have an NSA that spies on all of us violating our 4th amendment rights in ways that would make the Stasi blush. So what else is there but gay wedding cakes?! /sarc

          4. Mike Pence had already locked in the homophobic bakery owner vote. I don’t see the Republicans letting another party own the “right to religious discrimination.”

        3. Except “not what they want to hear”, beyond a certain point, means “fuck off”. It’s hard to square Johnson’s public accommodation stance with libertarian principle. Taking it, I think even more than the abortion question, where a lot of religious folks understand libertarians might not agree with them, kind of stood out as a fuck you. From their perspective he specifically went out of his way to run counter to their views or interests.

        4. No, he didn’t tell the religious to fuck off. Or even the Mormons. But he’s not anti-abortion or anti-gay enough for the religious. The Mormons were never really that into us, and once McMullin declared they all jumped ship for them. We may find common ground with SoCons on some issues but they are not a group with which an enduring alliance could be formed.

          1. How come?

    2. His campaign has been a failure because of his inability to articulate much of any libertarian message

      Maybe, but I don’t think that’s the case. I have a hard time believing that Austin Petersen would have done better.

      1. Whether Austin would have gotten the attention of Gary I question, but Austin definitely can defend libertarian message

        1. Guaranteed to yield a sub 1% of the total vote.

      2. Austin Petersen would not have gotten into the room – at least Johnson got in the room which allowed him to say things like closing down DHS, and less foreign intervention, etc, on the national stage; I think that matters.

        1. I think Austin would have gotten as much attention as Daryl Castle (or however he spells his name) or Jill.
          Gary got press because being a 2-term governor made him viable for consideration.

          1. He received attention because the media was hoping he’d siphon off votes from Trump. Stein would only take votes from Hillary and the media isn’t going to aid that.

            He was a two-time governor last go around, and how much attention did that get him?

            1. The candidates were more popular last time around. Also, Johnson still double the share of the vote of any LP candidate since Ed Clark’s run in 1980.

              1. The candidates were more popular last time around – yes, this is the point. It would have been far easier for any LP nominee to get attention in this cycle.

                And Johnson isn’t the only libertarian in the world who can offer some version of sane and respectable. If the LP is unable to scrounge up better candidates, that’s on them, as well. Johnson is a guy picked for his political chops who screwed up even basic questions.

                1. “It would have been far easier for any LP nominee to get attention in this cycle.”

                  But by how much? I think it definitely makes a difference if you’re an ex-governor versus some random guy. I think you’re onto something when you say the LP can’t get better candidates, but again, who exactly is there with any sort of political experience who would take this nomination other than Johnson?

                  1. On paper, Johnson *was* a great choice. A former governor who had been reelected is inherently more “serious” than a guy with a website.

                    But Johnson wasn’t a great choice as a human being. I sincerely believe that chronic drug use has messed his cogitation up. He has poor judgement. He behaves inappropriately compared to what people expect of a presidential candidate. He doesn’t “get” libertarianism, and his attempts to fake it were easily holed or torn down.

                    Thus he came across as a space cadet.

                    The system was set up to destroy any good candidate who wasn’t a Republican or Democrat, and he, being a mediocre candidate, proved no challenge to their attempts to destroy him.

                    I wish him luck and congratulate him on the decision to get out of politics and take up the life of an honest man.

                    1. Another trenchant analysis, tarran. Even though Weld has a pretty sketchy record wrt libertarianism, at least he articulated the position well and was not a space cadet.

                      If I were a more suspicious person I might be tempted to think that the LP was infested with republican moles whose job was to keep people like Johnson and Weeks (stripper guy at LP convention) in the forefront to discredit the movement. [Adds another layer of tinfoil to head]

            2. It also takes money to get attention. Last time Gary had about $2 million. This time he’s already north of $8 million. That’s why getting to 5% this time is so important as it seeds the 2020 candidate with $10 million

              1. And will be much more difficult given the widespread fear of Trump plus the candidacy of McMullin.

      3. That is the problem with the libertarian purists.

        The candidate they want to see simply does not exist and never will.

        Anyone who is actually pure enough to meet their standards will inevitably come off looking like the bastard child of Neitzsche and Trump. Every time he actually starts to gain a foothold he is going to come out and say something incredibly stupid and off message that turns off large swathes of voters and makes libertarians of all stripes look like heartless automatons who love corporations and killing poor people.

        Successfully articulating a libertarian philosophy is simply not possible in the 10 second sound byte world of a political campaign. Your 15 minute nuanced reasoned explanation of why freedom of association means we must allow discrimination ALWAYS becomes a 15 second clip of you advocating for the return of Jim Crow laws.

        You want someone to successfully articulate a libertarian philosophy? Lets start a program of getting young libertarians into film schools so they start flooding the entertainment complex and in 20 years we have a handful of seasons successful writers and directors routinely producing highly entertaining advertisements for personal liberty.

        1. Meanwhile unless you just want libertarians to simply cede the political sphere to progressive, fundamentalist, and Neo Con Statists we NEED candidates like Johnson who come off as largely respectable mainstream politicans and are NOT ideologically pure or able to always articulate a perfect libertarian philosophy but are at least libertarianish enough to act as at the very least a gadful pointing out how unsuccessful the statist visions of control always end up being and presenting an alternative

          1. If the LP wants to buy this argument, very well. How about they find themselves a respectable politician who isn’t going to screw-up basic questions? There is the real rub with the people making pragmatic arguments. Johnson isn’t a particularly good candidate no matter how you slice it. He has not a shitty campaign.

            1. “How about they find themselves a respectable politician who isn’t going to screw-up basic questions?”

              I generally defend Johnson on these boards, but I do agree with you that’s he a flawed candidate in this (and other) regards. However, who exactly do you have in mind? There isn’t exactly a deep bench of libertarian-leaning politicians who would want the nomination (and none who pursued it other than Johnson). None of the sitting libertarian(ish) politicians (Paul, Amash, etc.) were going to make a run on the LP ticket and ruin any career they have within the GOP, and who is there out of office that was a better option than Johnson? The LP ran Bob Barr and WAR in 2008, to illustrate how shallow this pool is.

              1. It doesn’t even need to be a politician. I am thoroughly unconvinced that Johnson was any more prepared for the media than a businessman or academic would have been. A reasonably smart individual could have outperformed his campaigning this election cycle.

                If the LP doesn’t have anyone who fits that relatively modest bill, it needs to do some real soul searching and figure out what it can do to attract some bigger names. And maybe that starts with moving away from their politician fetish.

                1. It’s only been since 08 that they’ve made it a habit of nominating politicians. Ron Paul was the only prior nominee who had served in a nationally-prominent office, and from a quick look at everyone else, you had a couple guys who served a term in state legislatures. And out of all of them, Clark was the only one to even beat 0.5% of the vote, and Paul was the only one who even got third place. On a list of obstacles for the LP (or libertarianism broadly), choice of candidate is very far down the list in any year.

            2. I never said Johnson was a great candidate. He is flawed in a great many ways but your criticism was not that he was a flawed candidate, your criticism was specifically that he was a failure of a candidate specifically because he was not libertarian enough.

              And you’re right, it doesn’t need to be a politician but what it does need to be is someone who has significant name recognition, reasonably deep pockets or the ability to attract money from those who have them, and enough gravitas that the media can’t just dismiss them as a vanity candidate or a patently unfit joke. A Candidate like Trump can get away with running as a Republican because the party apparatus automatically makes him a legitimate candidate in the general election and his deep pockets and name recognition make him a force to contend with in the primaries no matter how mentally unfit for the job he is.

              So given that who is your dream candidate? I gotta admit I am struggling to come up with a name, even ignoring the question of whether than person would actually want the job

          2. You’ve got it precisely, Rasilio.

            Purists are the biggest threat to traction that libertarians will ever face. What does “pure” even mean when it can’t possibly apply equally to all those who fly the pennant? The cynic in me on the worst of days suggests that we do it to ourselves on purpose, that it’s a childish desire to rebel even against our allies, and that we do it because we don’t even know what we really want or how to accomplish it.

            We don’t even seem to be able to agree on the basics of the best strategy to pursue. Some of us actually vote two party, and specifically vote because they want to see the system burn of its own fuel. Others refuse to vote in protest. Others vote only for candidates who stand no chance of winning but seem ideologically “pure” by their standards. Others vote for less “pure” candidates that do stand a chance of winning, except for the actions of all those other groups.

            We play games of distinction that ensure that there really is No True Scotsman. That one might turn a logical fallacy into a self-fulfilling prophecy seems absurd, but there it is. Are you big-L or little-L libertarian? Are you an AnCap or minarchist?

            And teams red and blue laugh at us for not being able to get our shit together. And it’s depressing, because we’ve got some of the very brightest people I’ve ever known claiming to share our tent, and most of them would rather pitch a tent of their own.

            1. Most libertarians are libertarians for moral reasons first and practical reasons second. When one makes moral judgements the concept of trade offs usually goes out the window. There isn’t much of a trade off to be made between right and wrong.

              Combine that with the fact that most libertarians are, almost by definition, highly individualistic and you have the makings of a movement that will be hard to organize and that spends a lot of its time fighting over purity. For all the jokes we make at the expense of SJWs, we do a lot of the same things. They are just more collectivist and so more visible and impactful in the current climate.

              A lot of intellectual effort has gone into exploring libertarian morality. A lot of intellectual effort has gone into exploring libertarian or classically liberal policies and the real-world tradeoffs that those entail. But it seems to me that there is a big intellectual hole at the intersection of our moral ideals and political/social reality.

              1. Indeed. Somewhat counter-intuitively, a lot of us stake a claim for pragmatism, and then proceed to act in exactly the opposite manner. Reason alone should tell us that our perfect candidate doesn’t exist. Not now, not ever. Our perfect candidate can’t even be ourselves. If we’re intellectually honest, we’ve grappled with a lot of ideas, eventually rejecting the worst ones that our younger selves thought were fine. I think that at a very basic level, we understand that even if we refuse to acknowledge it.

                It’s a blind spot. We believe in free association, but most of us only do so for as long is it’s of direct benefit. We don’t put down roots with one another because we can always see that mote in our brother’s eye without acknowledging the plank in our own. Free association alone isn’t enough.

                SJWs are something else, and share little in common with us for comparison. They probably all hate each other as much as they hate themselves and turn the megaphone of hate toward perceived outsiders to hide deep insecurity. There’s a reason that so many of them are young, socially inexperienced people. In unifying to hate everyone else, they feel at once like they’ve got a connection to others that has been denied them mostly by their own prejudices, and that is the substance of addiction.

              2. Most libertarians are libertarians for moral reasons first and practical reasons second. When one makes moral judgements the concept of trade offs usually goes out the window. There isn’t much of a trade off to be made between right and wrong.

                But keep in mind that ? contrary to aspersions often cast on all sides ? supporters of other political philosophies are choosing them for moral (or at least intellectual) reasons. Where practicality comes into play is in convincing someone who might not consider your ideas first to see them as intellectually or morally coherent (and helpful to their interests) and thus worth voting for. The purist position needs to be tempered by how speak practically enough to expand in the civic realm beyond those purists who anchor any political philosophy.

        2. Lets start a program of getting young libertarians into film schools so they start flooding the entertainment complex and in 20 years we have a handful of seasons successful writers and directors routinely producing highly entertaining advertisements for personal liberty.

          On one hand I think this would be the best strategy, but on the other I question whether it’s really possible to change cultural in that way, or if you can only ride the wave of emergent change.

          But I agree with pretty much everything else you said here and below.

        3. That’s exactly what happened to Rand Paul with Rachel Maddow. Tried to explain the nuance and got painted as a racist.

          1. Most people didn’t care. There’s the rub. There are a lot of libertarians here who mistake positive headlines with winning elections and gaining support. They aren’t the same. Maddow’s gottcha didn’t hurt Paul besides in the eyes of establishment hacks.

            If you let your enemies set your agenda and the terms of the debate, you’ve already lost. You’re just too blind to see it.

            1. Winning a Senate race in Kentucky doesn’t say much about one’s presidential chances. In case you forgot, Rand Paul ran for president this year, and he was getting less than 5% of the vote in polls and dropped out after the first contest. That position in particular didn’t even come up, but a lot of GOP voters were skeptical of him for his views on things like military spending, national security, drugs, old-age entitlements, etc. where he was too libertarian for their tastes. Making a solid, reasoned argument on libertarian grounds isn’t enough to win people over.

              1. I have argued for a while that Rand lost because of his libertarian leaning positions, rather than despite them. I fail to see how that’s relevant to an argument on the importance of some gottcha question on MSNBC in 2012. Which was the point raised.

                I see a lot of libertarians too terrified to have a candidate push real libertarianism.

                1. I think the point people are making is that Johnson’s biggest problem, or the problem of libertarian(ish) candidates in general isn’t that they’re insufficiently libertarian (which you acknowledge regarding Paul). Regardless of what you think of that issue, Johnson’s stance on it is probably having a minimal impact either way. The number of people that would vote for a pro-choice candidate, but draw the line at gay wedding cakes probably isn’t very big. The country isn’t going to go from where we’re at currently to becoming a nation of minarchists and an-caps overnight. Even libertarians can’t agree on what “real libertarianism” is. Any electoral success at all is going to have to bring in people who aren’t hardcore libertarians. If you’re a libertarian who is going to care at all about elections, it follows that the prominent libertarian candidates probably aren’t going to be hardcore dogmatic “real” libertarians. And that’s true for someone like Gary Johnson as much as it is for Rand Paul, whose platform could certainly be critiqued quite a bit from a purist libertarian POV.

                  1. I think the point people are making is that Johnson’s biggest problem, or the problem of libertarian(ish) candidates in general isn’t that they’re insufficiently libertarian (which you acknowledge regarding Paul).

                    My problem with Johnson wasn’t that he was insufficiently pure. It was that he was stupid in where he chose to deviate. There comes a point where libertarians have to recognize they just aren’t going to get progressive voters. And Johnson made trying to appeal to them the cornerstone of his run. Even to the point of alienating a lot of the more conservative-leaning voters he could have picked up. And on top of that, his VP spending most of the election talking about how awesome HRC is and how awful Trump is certainly didn’t help him even get the progressives’ votes.

                    I’m not talking abandoning libertarian principle to be just another conservative. But, going out of your way to alienate people who might vote for you to appeal to people who won’t vote for you is a sucker’s bet.

                    1. I think Johnson is who he is. I think you’re exaggerating the extent to which Johnson pandered, and I think you’re viewing things in an overly simplistic progressive vs. conservative mindset. If we are going to take the anti-discrimination laws as the example, it’s not just progressives who support them. Especially if we are talking about them more broadly, and not just narrowly applied to gay wedding cakes. As I said above, I think the number of conservative voters who don’t like Trump, could be convinced to not vote for him (going against partisanship, anti-Hillary sentiment, etc.), are ok with a candidate being pro-choice, but draw the line at gay wedding cakes, is pretty small. I just don’t see the evidence that there’s this huge group of potential voters Johnson is missing out on.

                      I wasn’t a fan of picking Weld, and Johnson needed to do a better job of keeping him in line. I will say, however, that attacking Clinton can be a double-edged sword when appealing to right-leaning voters. You don’t want to be too friendly, obviously, but at some point your attacks may encourage those voters to think “Damn, we really do have to defeat her, so I must vote for Trump!” I think for that reason you have to be cautious about it. On the other side, Stein has attacked Clinton a lot and not been as harsh on Trump as she could be for probably similar reasons. But overall, I agree the messaging could have been handled a lot better.

                2. I see a lot of libertarians too terrified to have a candidate push real libertarianism.

                  “‘Smash The State’? But then, who would rule us?!?”

        4. That is the problem with the libertarian purists.

          The candidate they want to see simply does not exist and never will.

          Anyone who is actually pure enough to meet their standards will inevitably come off looking like the bastard child of Neitzsche and Trump.

          I’m pretty sure we had that man.

          And his name was John McAfee.

          1. Lol he was definitely one of the ones I had in mind when I made that statement 🙂

        5. Successfully articulating a libertarian philosophy is simply not possible in the 10 second sound byte world of a political campaign.

          *Less government, more freedom, lower taxes.

          *Don’t hurt people or take their stuff.

          *Self-ownership and non-aggression.

          The first one is the least esoteric, but also suffers from lack of specifics on the first two points; the promise of lower taxes doesn’t register because everyone promises that and nobody ever delivers that. Our brand has been damaged by the people who have been promising lower taxes for decades, so people don’t believe that’s really popular.

          Libertarianism works best at the local level. Things like lemonade stands and food trucks should be our best issues.

        6. U mm. Let Life Live.

    3. his inability to articulate much of any libertarian message

      I’d say he and Weld pretty consistently cited some *basic* stuff, like “fiscally conservative; socially liberal”, abolishing agencies”, etc.

      In this media climate, if he said “Bastiat” he’d probably be clobbered for cursing. 8-(

    4. And ‘Chetta hits it out of the park.

    5. Weld’s move wasn’t surprising at all.

      What move? Are you referring to the speculation that he’s going to drop out and endorse Shrillary that he’s denied in no uncertain terms on multiple occasions and was debunked weeks ago, or has something actually happened? WTF are you talking about?

  3. It’s not particularly fun to be ridiculed on a daily basis as a “fucking idiot” (Bill Maher), “laughable” (Stephen Colbert) and “around 80 percent sure that he’s running for president” (John Oliver).

    He can take solace in the fact – FACT – that any candidate in the race not a Democrat or spoiling demonstrably for the Democrat would be labeled as such.

    1. Yeah, Aristides would get the same treatment if he were running against a Dem. I wouldn’t worry about Maher/Colbert/Oliver.

      1. Exactly. James Stockdale is incredibly intelligent, a war hero, and a true Stoic philosopher, and he was painted as a doddering fool by the media for daring to run as a 3rd party veep.

    2. It is just strange that Welch is this kind of bitter over this treatment of Johnson. Yes it is ugly, unfair and all that, but it should not be unexpected when Johnson was perceived as taking votes away from Hilary. This is how the Leftists in the culture circle the wagons around the Democrat. The only reason this had not happened before is that the Libertarian was not perceived as any kind of threat to the Dem candidate.

      Maybe next time the Welchs out there come up with a way of countering it rather than bitching about it.

      1. I’m not bitter at all. I expected this, as I would have expected it had Rand Paul won the GOP nomination, or if the LP had nominated anybody different.

        1. Face it, you’re another bitter whinger.

  4. Do you crawl up in a ball,

    Curl up into a ball, dummy. You can safely ignore everything else in the article after a gaffe like that.

    1. I HAVE A BALL THAT WAS SPECIFICALLY PURCHASED FROM AMAZON FOR ME TO CRAWL INTO IT’S CALL THE CRAWL BALL

        1. Why does that address include the term “gag”?

  5. As much as I dislike my dad, he did say one wise thing that this reminds me of.

    “If you treat everything like a live or die situation, you’re going to die a lot of times.”

  6. Johnson has played chess against a computer just about every day for the past two years without winning even once

    The worst part: the machine was turned off.

    1. Get a load of Jon Stewart over here.

      1. Leave him alone. That was actually funny.

        1. Get a load of the The Daily Show with Jon Stewart‘s audience over here.

          1. *claps like a trained seal*

            1. Ball’s on your nose.

              With or without apostrophe? 😉

    2. On the other hand he has attempted to mix metaphors each day for the last two years with great success, failing only once, when he was so high that he tried to mix a simile with a metaphor and almost killed himself with a bow and arrow near the summit of, like, Kanchenjunga, man.

  7. Johnson has played chess against a computer just about every day for the past two years without winning even once, for example

    D-:

    1. As is the case with most programs, if its playing strength isn’t reduced, most players are going to lose every game unless they 1) are a strong master, and/or 2) play a weird anti-computer style of game. I’m a decent player (1800 rating on FICS), but I would likely lose every game.

      1. Every computer program I have played against seems to have the following levels:

        1- moves at virtually random, super easy to beat.
        2- I get crushed because I am not a master.
        3-10 I dont know why they exist.

        1. 3-10 I dont know why they exist.

          Just in case Kasparov decides to test it.

        2. Good. I thought it was just me.

          1. I’m feeling a lot better about myself now as well.

      2. What a lot of people don’t know about chess is that the very best players use a combination of good strategies they come up with and a heavy reliance on memorized results of famous games. Very few of us have the motivation to study the game and memorize results. We just want to play the game for fun.

        It takes some of the mystery out of why some people are so very good at the game while the vast majority aren’t anywhere near them. We use chess as a proxy for intelligence in a lot of metaphors, but in reality it’s like many other skills. You need book-smarts, lots of practice for street smarts, and sometimes when logic alone won’t carry the day, you need the intuition that the all that work prior gave you.

        1. Honestly, the main difference between a _very_ good chess player (a strong grandmaster, say) and a good player (a decent International master, say) is that the former has a lot more positions in the data bank than the latter.

      3. Yeah- I peaked at Expert (around 2050 IIRC) when I was teenager, and then stopped playing for a variety of reasons. Expert isn’t good- it’s actually kind of trash, and means you’re mystified by even pretty basic stuff. But it’s like top 1% of tournament players, and far better than any casual player. I’m weaker now than I was then, but even if I were a fair bit stronger than I was then I would lose _every_ game to a decent chess engine. I would be very happy to draw a single game against one.

    2. I like battle chess. Remember that? The pieces would fight each other.

      1. Battle Chess was pretty cool. They brought it back a few years later for the N64, but despite looking better it was…less cool.

      2. Yep. *That’s* entertainment!

      3. I remember it, we pitted Battle Chess for the NES against a simpler chess program for the Atari. (We entered the moves each computer made into the other)

        Battle Chess beat it in a head to head match up.

      4. The queen in Battle Chess. Would.

    3. Everyone knows the computer cheats.

  8. And yet, he’d STILL be infinitely preferable to Hillary or the Donald.

  9. Poor Gary, he still thinks he’s a real boy.

  10. I’m still voting for the guy, but for christ’s sake Gary, just STFU and wave a little american flag, kiss babies or something.

    1. This. Part of being a good salesman is know when to just shut up.

      Gary, unfortunately, is a terrible salesman.

      1. good point

      2. Which is probably why he did a good job at actually being and executive. Salesmen and (good) executives have very different skill sets.

        1. not disagreeing necessarily…

          …but very often the best “chief executives” do come from a sales background.

          That is distinct from ‘executives’ in general. You’re right that good general-execs are managers with technocratic ability, organizational skills. But the guy at the top of the heap isn’t necessarily that sort of person at all. CEOs sell the company to the public, to Wall Street, to their potential acquirers, to exactly the sort of ‘skill-based’ executives you describe when he hires a team. The #1 boss isn’t there to actually run the company – he’s there to sell the strategy his subordinate executives have formulated. Or he’s there to get deals done – make acquisitions, sell the company, go public, smile and make convincing promises while a very fucked-up company is restructured, etc.

          that’s not always true, but its true of many big corporations, and certainly true of the presidency. The boss is the salesman in chief.

          1. Nuh-uh, I’ve been assured by countless progressives that CEOs just collect millions of dollars while doing no actual work whatsoever, leading to income inequality.

            /sarc

    2. You know who else wouldn’t show up, much to the embarrassment of his country…

      1. Bob Motherfuckin’ Dylan!

        Bite it, Nobel!

        1. Ugh. Meant “shut up,” but that’s a good answer.

    3. I’m still voting for the guy, but for christ’s sake Gary, just STFU and wave a little american flag, kiss babies or something.

      “ABORTION FOR SOME, MINIATURE AMERICAN FLAGS FOR OTHERS!”

  11. So much of politics is fear driven, and not just during the elections.

    There might have been a tipping point if Gary had gotten within single digits, but I doubt it. I also doubt that Trump would be polling where he is if he had run as a 3rd-party candidate.

    My response to the Aleppo question and other sound-bite gaffes is that after 4 years of Gary as governor the people of NM re-elected him by an even bigger margin. That and isidewith are enough for him to get my vote.

      1. This is the best thing you’ve ever linked. Love this.

        1. My favorite.

          Never understood the whole “fabric artfully draped over chairs and tables” thing in still-lifes and portraits. Also, that rag should be oily.

      2. Those are a real blastphemy.

      3. Some fine stuff there. Thanks.

    1. That is wonderful.

  12. The libertarian candidate (regardless of who it is) is not going to top 2% in the popular vote.

    The sheep will flock into one of two pens. Every fucking time..

    1. Maybe libertarians might try attracting sheep by including a little hay with the sawdust and gravel they set out as bait.

      1. Like, what, free stuff? MJ legalization is the most single popular libertarian position and you see how the press treats that.

    2. Not if is name is Ross Perot in 1992!

      1. Ross Perot was no fucking libertarian.

    3. Very likely.

      Maybe 3% is possible, if we’re being optimistic.

  13. He officially lost me when Weld endorsed Hillary. Fuck him and fuck the LP. And fuck everybody who supports Hillary, a war mongering, corrupt criminal who will have the media cheerlead her ever move when she’s prez.

    1. Weld didn’t say vote for Hillary. He said whatever you do, don’t vote for Trump. No surprise that the media spins that as a Hillary endorsement

      1. He’s a douchebag. The right answer was: “I frankly can’t understand why a rational person would consider either of these deeply flawed candidates’. Then, give some examples of ClinTrump malfeasance. Finally, finish with a strong pitch for Gary. It’s not fucking rocket science.

        I don’t think Weld likes Gary at all. I think he’s doing whatever he can to stay in the game. Asshole.

      2. In follow-up conversation with reporters, Weld “refused to say whether he was asking undecided voters and Republicans to back Clinton,” reported The Boston Globe. “Nor did he make a strong pitch for them to get behind him and his Libertarian presidential running mate, Gary Johnson.”

        “I DUNNO LOL” is not an acceptable answer to “are you endorsing Clinton?”

        I’m absolutely fine with Weld thinking and implying that Trump is worse, but if you’re a third party VP it’s the height of rat bastardry to be publicly ambivalent about your own damn ticket. Screw Weld.

        1. The Boston Globe did an earlier hit piece on Weld. I’m not defending the guy, but I’ve certainly learned that the media is bending over backwards to spin anything and everything Hillary’s way.

          1. Theres a few ways to avoid being spinned

    2. He officially lost me when Weld endorsed Hillary.

      So, because his running mate defects you won’t vote for him?

      1. Even if Gary won a bunch of states, Weld would never have been V.P. unless Johnson/Weld finished higher than 2nd. His role was to be a master fundraiser. Shame him for being crappy at that if you like.

        1. His role was to be a master fundraiser.

          So he sucked at that too, huh?

          If his role was to be “master fundraiser”, then he should have kept his fucking mouth shut and let the actual candidate do the talking to the press. Instead he gabs to anyone who’ll point a mic at him that Hillary’s the bees-knees and gary, well, he’s not so bad i guess. If it were anything except the LP he would have been shitcanned and never work in politics again. You don’t torpedo your own fucking campaign.

    3. Johnson was as bad as Weld when he characterized Hillary as a “wonderful public servant”.

      That’s why the LP presidential ticket did not get a dime from me, though I’m a 26-year LP member.

  14. We will not live in a more libertarian society because Libertarian politicians won elections, seized the reigns of power, and inflicted libertarianism on everybody–whether they wanted it or not.

    The world changes from the bottom up. People didn’t suddenly find Jim Crow and segregation unacceptable because politicians made Jim Crow and segregation against the law. That would be putting the cart before the horse. Politicians made Jim Crow and segregation against the law because people changed their minds and came to consider them unacceptable.

    That’s the way real change happens. Even when a politician like Obama inflicts something unpopular on us like ObamaCare, ObamaCare can only survive if the Overton windows shifts and the American people come to find it acceptable. Once the window shifts, and people come to find anti-libertarian ideas unacceptable, it won’t matter much who’s in power. The politicians in power will be falling all over themselves to become as libertarian as possible.

  15. To that end, the purpose of the Libertarian Party–in my mind–has always been to expose a national audience of average people to libertarian ideas at a time when average people are thinking about politics. To the extent that Gary Johnson has made libertarian ideas and liberrtarian candidates more acceptable to average Americans, his candidacy and campaign have been more successful than any Libertarian has ever been before.

    He should be proud of himself for that.

    Jesus took over the Roman Empire starting with only twelve guys. So Gary Johnson isn’t Jesus, that’s okay.

    Maybe he’s more like John the Baptist, preparing the way. That was important. That was necessary. If Gary Johnson was successful like the John the Baptist was successful, then his candidacy will have made a huge contribution to the libertarian cause and we should be grateful.

    1. Ken, serious question: Do you think “Jesus” is of age yet?

      1. He looks young to be mowing my lawn. I don’t want him getting hurt and suing me over it, but I asked PePe, the guy he’s working for, and PePe said that Chuy is over 18.

      2. Were you really being serious?

        Just in case you were, the point was that Jesus’ ideas took over the Roman empire to the point that after Constantine, you’d have a hard time maintaining yourself as the Roman emperor without at least feigning some tendencies towards Christianity.

        2,000 years after Jesus, whether Obama was really a Christian was still an important issue–to the point that he felt like he needed to address it for political reasons.

        The point was that Jesus wasn’t elected to become the Roman emperor, but he effectively took over the Roman empire by getting the people of the empire to see things his way. He may not have been completely successful in that, it was a perverted form of his ideas that gained influence. But if libertarians ever achieve as much influence as Jesus’ ideas did, we’ll be wildly successful.

      3. My point was that influence doesn’t come from politicians down. Influence comes from the bottom up. The world we have tomorrow won’t be because of the politicians we elect today. The politicians we have tomorrow will be a function of what people think today. If we want to influence politics, we have to preach the libertarian gospel. And I see a lot similarities between libertarianism and Christianity.

        One of them says that individuals have rights that should be respected. The other one says, “Do unto others as you would have done unto you”. It could be argued that one is a restatement of the other, and that the implications of both are the same.

        Maybe Jesus has a way to go yet, but if libertairans ever catch up to him, 1) we’ll have followed in his intellectual footsteps, and 2) we’ll only be as successful as he’s been. If his message was watered down by pragmatic concerns once it gained influence, ours likely will be too.

    2. I think Johnson has given the AnCap movement a giant boost. “If that’s a Libertarian, then let’s see what happens when you get past the cakes. OOOOh, look what I found.”

      1. It’s market penetration.

        Johnson was an advertisement that people looked at and said, “I think I want that”.

        In the next primary, if and when somebody tries to smear Rand Paul as a libertarian, it won’t have the same sting it had before Johnson.

        You can even give some credit to Bill Weld for that.

        I can see people in Massachusetts using “libertarian” as a slur, and someone else responding that Bill Weld ran as a libertarian.

        Being a libertarian is okay now. Gary Johnson’s candidacy, much to SIV’s chagrin, was like a gay pride parade. The original purpose of gay pride parades was to show people that they didn’t need to be embarrassed or ashamed of being gay. Gary Johnson and Bill Weld were like a Libertarian Pride Parade. It’s okay to come out of the closet and tell people, “I’m a libertarian”. Your friends and family won’t necessarily shun you for it, and if they do, then shame on them for being liberphobic.

        1. Thank you, nicely put.

  16. “…blow your brains out!”
    -GJ

    Libertarian loon advocates gun violence and suicide.

    1. Tim Messenger: Sergeant Angel, hi-hi. Quick word for the Sandford Citizen?

      Nicholas Angel: It was very enjoyable.

      Tim Messenger: “Cop Enjoys Watching Young Lovers”?

      Nicholas Angel: I don’t think so.

      Tim Messenger: “Local Bobby Gives Thumbs Up to Teen Suicide”?

      Nicholas Angel: That’s just grossly inappropriate.

      1. I have to dig that move out of the DVD pile and watch it again.

        Maybe I’ll forget the disappointment of “World’s End”.

        1. It may be recency what does it but World’s End is my favorite.

          Nick Frost on Chris Hemsworth:

          “He is tactile,” says Frost, eyes widening to saucers. “I like it. I’m a hugger. There was always a lot of cuddling in the morning in those big Thor arms. It works if I’m sitting down and he comes from behind. Otherwise, if I am standing up, I’m buried in his chest? which has its own rewards.”

          1. I have a hard time picking a favorite between SotD and HF, but WE is always 3rd.

  17. Easy answer to the question of whether your campaign is a failure:
    “I reject the idea that our campaign has been a failure. We set out to give the American people a responsible choice for President on their ballot, and we have accomplished that, which is something that the Democrats and Republicans have failed to do. Furthermore, in any election there can be only one winner. If you lose by 1 vote or by 50 million, it makes no difference: you still have the same ability to implement policy. If we lose, we still will have done no worse in a practical sense than at least one of the so-called major party candidates. And our number our growing; they are up substantially from last election and I expect them to continue to rise and our party to become an ever greater force for good in American politics in the coming years.”

  18. Gary Johnson: I don’t play to win.

    Did I miss something?

    1. Nope. That’s our Gary!

    2. Nope. You could say he has been Gelded.

    3. I thought it was the other way around.

      I thought he was arguing that in order to win, you’re gonna have to compromise on principle.

      Personally, I think this election was about two things:

      1) Single Member Districts.

      Can’t get away from them. When a choice is distilled down to mutually exclusive alternatives, people tend to choose one of those alternatives.

      There’s only so much a third party can do about human nature.

      2) Aesthetics over Issues + Aesthetics over Popularity

      We should be arguing over Virginia Postrel and glamour right now–not about where Gary was on any particular issue in terms of whether his position is consistent with libertarian principles.

      If Hillary beats Trump, it won’t be because she differentiated herself from Trump on the intellectual merits of any particular issue. Hillary is going against the popular grain on a number of issues. But she’s managed to make Trump look ugly for backing certain things. In this election, whether Trump’s position is popular is beside the point–if it’s ugly. Muslims and illegal immigrants aren’t popular–but bashing them is ugly, and Hillary made Trump look ugly on those issues + pussy grabbing.

      How was Gary Johnson being intellectually consistent on free association going to make a difference in that environment?

    4. When the race between Hillary and Trump was tighter, Hillary was going after Johnson because he was sucking more support away from her (especially by way of millennials) than he was taking away from Trump. At that moment, Hillary would have blasted Johnson for being ugly on homophobia if she could.

      As libertarians, we want to believe that the world is open to persuasion on the intellectual merits of any given issue, but this election wasn’t even a popularity contest. It was a beauty contest.

      The Iraq War is unpopular, ObamaCare is unpopular, the Iran deal is unpopular, single payer is unpopular, assault weapons bans are unpopular, Benghazi is unpopular, the Clinton Foundation is unpopular, and Hillary is unpopular–she hasn’t had a Gallup favorable rating above 50% since July of 2014 (Two Thousand Fourteen).

      If popularity doesn’t make a difference in this beauty contest, what difference would Gary Johnson have made by taking an ugly position on association rights?

  19. Break up the quadropoly.

  20. For absolutely no reason at all:

    Heroes 1978.

    Damn.

    1. One of the very first “music videos” I ever remember seeing was Space Oddity. Bowie was one of a kind.

  21. Good news, everybody! The Libertarian moment has arrived!

    Federal regulators have approved unprecedented new rules to ensure broadband providers do not abuse their customers’ app usage and browsing history, mobile location data and other sensitive personal information generated while using the Internet.

    The rules, passed Thursday in a 3-2 vote by the Federal Communications Commission, require Internet providers, such as Comcast and Verizon, to obtain their customers’ explicit consent before using or sharing that behavioral data with third parties, such as marketing firms.

    Ha, ha, ha! I guess that fucks ATT’s plan to sell my data to the feds at a tidy profit right in the ass, don’t it? Much as I was concerned about the FCC taking control of the internet and using that power in anti-free trade, anti-personal liberty ways, I guess I have to humbly admit I was wrong about them now that they’ve made it illegal for ISP’s to turn over their data to third parties like the NSA or the FBI without my knowledge or consent. An unequivocal “Hurrah!” for the FCC!

    (Note: I haven’t actually read the fine print in the FCC’s new rules but if WaPo is celebrating this as some kind of victory for the little guy I’m quite confident there’s nothing in there that would cause me to question the cause for celebration.)

    1. “Where are the street hookers in El Paso” will no longer be regarded as an academic social science data collection effort?

    2. such as Comcast and Verizon, to obtain their customers’ explicit consent before using or sharing that behavioral data with third parties, such as marketing firms.

      If one of those third parties is “the government” then I’m on board with this.

    3. The rules, passed Thursday in a 3-2 vote by the Federal Communications Commission, require Internet providers, such as Comcast and Verizon, to obtain their customers’ explicit consent before using or sharing that behavioral data with third parties, such as marketing firms.

      I haven’t read the rules yet, but I’m going to go out on a limb and guess that the Feds are exempted from this requirement.

  22. Filed under “things we already know, Clinton subsection.”

    WaPo: Hacked memo reveals intersection of charity and personal income.

    The memo, made public Wednesday by the anti-secrecy group WikiLeaks, lays out the aggressive strategy behind lining up the consulting contracts and paid speaking engagements for Bill Clinton that added tens of millions of dollars to the family’s fortune, including during the years that Hillary Clinton led the State Department. It describes how Band helped run what he called “Bill Clinton Inc.,” obtaining “in-kind services for the President and his family ? for personal travel, hospitality, vacation and the like.”

    1. PHAIK SKANDULZ

  23. God, this is all sooooo boooorrrrring.

  24. I do not understand third-party candidates who have emotions about their inevitable loss. It’s inevitable! This is why only crazy people run third-party.

    1. You know, I’ve had that same problem trying to understand people getting emotional about inevitable losses. “Why are you stabbing me repeatedly in the neck?” they cry. I mean, c’mon – you didn’t really expect to live forever, did you? Everybody’s gotta die sometime. Here I am, just a nice guy helping people come to grips with their mortality, but what thanks do I ever get for my service?

      1. Yes because that analogy fits perfectly with a guy who chose willingly to run an inevitably doomed campaign.

        1. Depends on what you think the actual goal was. If the goal was to get 5% and maintain LP ballot access then he might do that.

          1. I am nearly certain that this is an excuse for irrationally voting made up after the fact–I hear the same from Stein weirdos. To which I respond, so your goal is to spoil elections every single time rather than intermittently?

            1. ‘To which I respond, so your goal is to spoil elections every single time rather than intermittently?’
              They’re stealing muh votes.

    2. Oh, Tony. There is so, so much you don’t understand.

    3. Your mom doesn’t understand third-party candidates who have emotions about their inevitable loss. It’s inevitable! This is why only crazy people run third-party.

  25. I, for one, will be enthusiastically pulling the Johnson lever on November 8th. I might vote, too.

    1. Your vote won’t matter, but if you stay home and pull the Johnson lever at least you’ll have a little something to show for it.

      1. A VERY little something, right?

  26. “As libertarians, we want to believe that the world is open to persuasion on the intellectual merits of any given issue, but this election wasn’t even a popularity contest. It was a beauty contest.”

    I had this argument with old buddy David Nolan many times. Persuasion on the intellectual merits is something best left to the libertarian educational outfits, not politics. The purists should not be in the LP, they should be in Hornberger’s group or SFL or writing trenchant letters to the editor of their local paper. The early LP did make some educational gains: I did a media tour with Bergland in 1984 and he was asked substantial questions about libertarian principles and he nailed the right answers but got, what, 250,000 votes? Maybe local media still provides a Libertarian candidates with the space to explain answers to issues, but I think the same effort put into ballot drives could be better spent by a libertarian organization providing speakers to the local Rotary club or some such.

  27. The Free to Choose series with Milton Friedman is on youtube. In one lecture he dispels the Robin Hood myth, that government takes from the rich and gives to the poor. Generally, it’s the middle class that benefits. They have the ability to take advantage of government largess, which the less well-off lack (which lack is probably why they are poor), while the truly wealthy pay taxes and their own way. Example: government subsidizing higher education.

    Then the comments. People were arguing that the government should have programs to help those poor people, so they are better prepared for college, better able to navigate the student aid.

    In other words, having just listened to a clear explanation of the Robin Hood myth, people were arguing for the rich to pay to help the poor. This is why I sometimes feel hopeless for humanity.

    1. Well, you can’t reason someone out of a position they were never reasoned into.

      1. Indeed. When people offer up knee jerk progressive platitudes on the internet, you expect it; you know they aren’t articulating any worldview they’ve developed or even thought about all that much.

        But if you are commenting on something Friedman says 45 minutes into an hour long lecture, that implies a certain level of commitment and intellectual curiosity. You made it that far and all you can say is, well the government ought to fix that? That person may have no functioning cognitive apparatus at all.

  28. The biggest structural problem faced by libertarians is that we are anti-statists in a statist world. The duopoly offers two flavors of statism and will gladly work together to fight anyone who wants to upset that apple cart.

    1. Hence the response to any thought of repealing Obamacare: what are you gonna replace it with ?

      I’ve recently commented over at Dear Abby (don’t laugh). And it’s amazing how even gentle suggestions that the government may be a little too involved with what ought to be personal decisions is met immediately with the usual litany of you hate children, you hate the poor, you hate the environment. It was quite enlightening to see just how steep in statism so many people are.

      1. Nobody cares how you feel about the children or the environment. The question is whether you think people should pool their resources to prevent children from starving to death and the environment from being polluted into collapse.

        1. The question is whether you think people should pool their resources to prevent children from starving to death and the environment from being polluted into collapse.

          And no group of people in the history of the world has gotten together to do these things voluntarily, right, Tony?

          1. Yes, many have, countless times. They’re called countries these days.

        2. The question is whether you think people should pool their resources to prevent children from starving to death and the environment from being polluted into collapse.

          You can do those things voluntarily, slaver. The question you’re asking is has two parts: (1) whether you want to compel other people at gunpoint to pool their resources for said purposes and (2) whether you personally won’t do so unless you and everyone else are compelled to do so at gunpoint.

          1. Remember, Tony has admitted that he doesn’t think people would even take care of their kids if there weren’t laws against neglect and abuse. This says nothing informative about government, society, or morality, but it does tell you a lot about Tony.

          2. You tell me how you enforce a collectively made decision with even 10 people without some kind of threat hovering over people’s heads. All you’re complaining about, really, is the fact that newborns are automatically opted into the system. That’s just kind of a necessity.

        3. There are no children starving to death in the US due to poverty on inavailability of food. That is a myth propagated to sway sheep with mindless sentiment into giving money to utterly corrupt “charities” that utilize the vast majority of the collected funds to further their own salaries.

          The environment in the US is not being polluted into collapse. That is a myth propagated to scientifically clueless sheep to leverage them into passively accepting higher taxation. The US environment has been steadily improving for the last 30 years. We are the world leader in per capita pollution reduction and have the lowest pollution to production ratio.

          Dumb, prog, and clueless is not way to go through life.

          1. No thanks to food stamps and pollution regulations, I’m sure.

  29. I fully expected Johnson & libertarians to get poo thrown at them from both the left and the right.

    One thing that was made glaringly clear this cycle: progressives are vile and mean. That’s always been true, but it is just off the charts nasty now. They’re not even passive-aggressive about it. They’re bullies and proud of it.

  30. So….he’s basically comfortable being a loser. Bravo.

    A real candidate would have said,

    “This country needs change. Not the kind of change proposed by Sanders or Trump, but the change that will focus on the core ideals of our Country. The ideals that our founders enshrined in the Bill of Rights, Constitution, and Declaration of Independence. Freedom, liberty, and the natural rights we are all born with that the broken two party system has slowly eroded. We must move forward. We must break the cycle. Every voter that I can bring to the LP is one more step away from the corrupt Dem and Rep cronyism, corruption, and dysfunctional system that is destroying what this country could be. I am not satisfied with 5% and won’t be satisfied until we are at 100%.”

    but, no. lets talk about weed.

  31. It is true that Johnson, in a discussion of the 2000 Nader effect, did not immediately realize that “ALEPO” was not an acronym.

    However, the NY Times, in its article shaming him, mis-identified Aleppo not just once but twice, first as the “de facto capital of Islamic State,” and then as the “Syrian capital.” See http://www.moonofalabama.org/2…..takes.html .

    It seems we all make mistakes.

  32. Sorry, but anyone who doesn’t know what “Aleppo” is in NO way qualified to be President of the United States. It’s bad enough that third party candidates are working at a disadvantage because of media prejudice, but to have candidates that are woefully ignorant of international events that could easily result in World War III, the media prejudice becomes wholly justified!

    1. A friend did a word search of the local newspaper: Aleppo was mentioned seven times in the three months before the Johnson gaffe and has been mentioned one hundred thirteen times (not counting reports about Johnson) since then. Could it be that Aleppo has only been heating up to “easily result in WWIII” since Johnson flubbed it??

    2. What is the main language spoken in Austria?

      Our current President thought it was “Austrian”. Qualified?

  33. Why doesn’t Gary debate Jill Stein? What has he got to lose? They’ll get a TON of press coverage since the presidential debates are over. I did a video about this awhile back and have since updated it with annotations. Here’s a link to it: http://tinyurl.com/gkwr7qr If you agree with it, send a link to it to Gary’s campaign. Again, what does he have to lose?

    1. Gary is a terrible debater. Public speaker in general. He’s never even read Rothbard and you think he can win a debate with Jill stein. He is a joke.

  34. I wonder now how many Republicans will re-register as Libertarian and get the attention of the pollsters and political pundits when this is all over. One can always hold their nose and vote in every election for the better electable candidate – not necessarily the best.
    In this political atmosphere, Party registration will make more of a statement than one vote.

  35. The Gary campaign is absolutely a failure. This is the election that libertarians should be breaking through and yet we won’t because of the weak unprincipled candidate. If you can’t fire up your base then you will go nowhere. Can’t wait until Gary is gone. Its really sad that we can’t point to our nominee and say anything better than “well he’s better than the other two.” Hes not even the best third party choice.

  36. If anyone’s a fucking idiot it’s Bill Maher.

    Bill Maher Calls on Obama to End Drug War and Free Drug War Prisoners

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/…..37414.html

    Of course Obama did not.

    And Bill Maher even had an Obama SuperPAC

    Bill Maher’s Obama SuperPAC Donation Causing Stir

    Comedian Bill Maher’s $1 million check to the superPAC supporting President Obama’s re-election is the first seven-figure donation to the group since Obama tacitly endorsed the fundraising strategy in early February.

    http://www.npr.org/2012/03/28/…..auses-stir

    So the fucking idiot really thought Obama would end the war on drugs and even gave the asshold $1M.

    1. Bill smartened up a little

      Bill Maher: Hillary Clinton Has My Vote But She’s Not Getting A Million-Dollar Check

      http://tinyurl.com/jemog6m

      But if he thinks she’s going to end the war on drugs, he’s a fucking dolt.

      In Bed With Prison Lobby, Hillary Clinton Unlikely to End War on Drugs

      http://marijuanapolitics.com/i…..-on-drugs/

      So while Maher – rightly – is calling for and end to the war on drugs, he supports those who support the war on drugs.

      Bill Maher = fucking idiot

  37. I agree with much of the non-personal criticism of Gary Johnson. He is not outstanding in interviews. He is standing under the edge of the libertarian big umbrella. He also is a more accomplished person and has worked more for libertarianism than probably everyone commenting here. My observations in the previous sentence cause me to lower my opinion of his nastier critics.

  38. He’s a terrible candidate and a worse libertarian.

    His whole focus was trying to chase after the Bernie Sanders supporters disaffected by the Democratic party.

    But while they want dope and social justice, which Johnson promised them, they want socialism more than anything.

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