Washington Post: Gary Johnson is an honest but defective candidate

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By the Washington Post Editorial Board, WashingtonPost.com, July 7th, 2016:

GARY JOHNSON and William Weld, the Libertarian Party nominees for president and vice president, respectively, brought their fiscally conservative, socially tolerant message to an interview with us Thursday morning. In some areas, their honesty and resistance to poll-tested polish have a certain bracing appeal. Mr. Johnson had no apparent qualms about calling for some politically dicey policies, such as raising the Social Security retirement age to “at least 70” and encouraging government programs that would test heroin quality in order to reduce the number of overdose deaths. He and Mr. Weld declined the opportunity to attack one of their rivals, Hillary Clinton, over her State Department emails, saying that FBI Director James B. Comey was right to recommend against any indictment.

Read the rest of The Washington Post’s editorial here. 

The Washington Post also released the full transcript of the meeting the newspaper’s editorial board held with Johnson and Weld:

FRED HIATT, WASHINGTON POST EDITORIAL PAGE EDITOR: Maybe we could start with the top news today, which is police shootings.

GARY JOHNSON, LIBERTARIAN NOMINEE FOR PRESIDENT: Oh my gosh, yeah! The Minnesota shooting.

HIATT: The Minnesota shooting. How do you react when you see these, one yesterday and another today?

JOHNSON: Well, I’m perpetually horrified by all of it. I do think that the basis for all these shootings really is the war on drugs – and I realize that drugs were not an issue in this particular case, but I do believe that that is the root of all this.

Read the rest of the transcript of the meeting here (a 62 minute audio recording is also available).

(Via American Third Party Report)

39 thoughts on “Washington Post: Gary Johnson is an honest but defective candidate

  1. George Phillies

    Not knowing what the Nuclear Triad refers to is modestly disturbing, but then several prenomination debates indicated that our candidates were less than ideally well prepared to be Commander in Chief of the armed forces, so readers should not be concerned that they have learned something new.

  2. T Rex

    Oh my god…how in the HELL does Johnson not know what the Nuclear Triad is?!?!

    Especially when the media endlessly ridiculed Trump for not knowing what it was? And reported it a million times? Back when Hugh Hewitt pretty much *said* what it was in the question, and then Marco Rubio gave *another* explanation of what it was?

    This is Sarah Palin-level stupidity.

  3. Darcy G Richardson

    “This is Sarah Palin-level stupidity.” — T Rex

    And that’s putting it mildly.

  4. Darcy G Richardson

    Gary Johnson has always reminded me of the character Chauncey Gardiner, played by the late Peter Sellers, in the movie “Being There.” That was a great movie.

    It would have been interesting if the Washington Post’s editorial board — long considered by critics as the mouthpiece for the Federal Reserve — had asked the former New Mexico governor about the causes of the 2008 financial meltdown, a crisis, incidentally, of Wall Street’s making.

    One can only imagine the deer-in-the-headlights look on Johnson’s face if they had asked him about repealing the Glass-Steagall Act, and what role the Commodity Futures Modernization Act — both brought about by Hillary’s husband — had in bringing about the crisis and the ensuing “Great Recession.”

    Almost assuredly, that would have been another classic Chauncey moment.

    What an embarrassment.

  5. T Rex

    Agreed, Darcy. It reminds me of when Michelle Bachmann condemned the “Hoot-Smalley” act.

    Johnson has no clue about anything. When it comes to the Commodity Futures Modernization Act, I doubt Johnson could define 3 out of those 4 words (let alone “over the counter derivative”). He probably thinks it has something do with being “fiscally conservative and socially liberal.”

  6. Darcy G Richardson

    Yeah, didn’t the Hoot-Smalley Act cause the Great Depression?

    T Rex is the best!

  7. Darcy G Richardson

    Then again, it’s nice to see Gary’s big brother — or is that red-faced guy his father? — accompanying him in his various media appearances and editorial board interviews.

  8. steve m

    ok which of you read the Washington Post Editorial Board meeting transcripts with Johnson and Weld? Then which of you read the their board meeting with Trump? with Clinton?

    I posted them in the July Thread.

    Compare the Washington Post Editorial to the actual interview. The editorial is bull shit. The Washington Post lets Hillary Clinton get away with 10 minutes where they don’t ask her anything. They take Trumps interview and trash him. They ignore what Johnson and Weld say and write a hit piece.

    The Washington Post is not the paper it was in the early 1970s it is now just an establishment piece of propaganda.

    The good news is they didn’t ignore the Libertarian Candidates this time.

    That says we are gaining ground.

  9. T Rex

    “Then again, it’s nice to see Gary’s big brother — or is that red-faced guy his father? — accompanying him in his various media appearances and editorial board interviews.”

    Hahaha yeah, “Big Brother” Weld helps whenever Johnson becomes politically ignorant or socially awkward (interestingly enough, the two seem to happen at the same time).

    They are like the odd couple, except Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau were actually entertaining.

    Johnson-Weld are simply banksters and statists.

  10. Darcy G Richardson

    Steve,

    I read the Washington Post transcript of the Johnson-Weld editorial board interview that Krzysztof — who, incidentally, has posted some really good stuff here lately — was kind enough to include in this thread, but in all honesty I haven’t bothered to read the Post’s interviews with The Donald or Hillary.

    Like millions of Americans, I’m not interested in the Trump or Clinton candidacies. Moreover, I’m not the least bit interested in voting for the lesser of two evils. Nor — I might add — am I interested in voting for a flake, a candidate who can’t be bothered with bringing himself up to speed on the current issues facing the country.

  11. steve m

    So Darcy, did in your opinion the WaPO editorial match what Johnson and Weld actually said in their interview. Please use specifics.

  12. steve m

    The WaPO had over an hour to question Johnson and Weld. For Clinton they had 10 minutes. The WaPO did a strong dump Trump piece and ow the have done a Johnson isn’t serious piece but they let Hillary skate with a 10 minute interview. Where they ask her nothing and she says nothing.

    Biased?

  13. Darcy G Richardson

    “So Darcy, did in your opinion the WaPO editorial match what Johnson and Weld actually said in their interview.” — steve m

    No, the Post was probably a bit too harsh. They’re a slimy bunch — the late Eugene McCarthy hated that newspaper. But, in fairness, they weren’t entirely inaccurate in describing Johnson as leaving a lot to be desired in terms of his grasp of the issues.

    Cheer as you might that editorial boards are taking the Libertarian ticket seriously. But here’s the bottom line. Johnson — and by extension, the Libertarian Party — is now part of a triumvirate committed to maintaining the status quo while protecting the rich and powerful.

    Sadly, it’s just another Establishment ticket.

    The duopoly has become a threesome.

  14. steve m

    Darcy,

    The libertarian Party and its candidates as the WaPO Editorial alluded to have put forth proposals for significantly changing how business is done here in the US. Specifically with ending the drug wars. Specifically with not intervening in the affairs of other nations militarily. Specifically with changes to the 3rd rail of American politics that being dialing back on entitlement programs. Specifically with taking on insurance companies with respect to what drives the cost of health care.

    You want to pretend that the differences between the Johnson/Weld and the Clinton or Trump are in significant but when you do so you are wrong.

  15. T Rex

    “Specifically with ending the drug wars.”

    Johnson-Weld support the War on Drugs, except marijuana. Even there, expect them to cave to be “practical.”

    “Specifically with not intervening in the affairs of other nations militarily.”

    Johnson-Weld are interventionists. Johnson wanted to intervene in Uganda just recently. The ticket supports foreign aid and NATO and criticizes Trump for his (one) correct position.

    “Specifically with changes to the 3rd rail of American politics that being dialing back on entitlement programs.”

    Unless monetary policy is dealt with first, this will benefit banksters at the expense of the elderly. Nobody can save for retirement when the Fed constantly devalues their money (in the name of “price stabilization”).

  16. Darcy G. Richardson

    “You want to pretend that the differences between the Johnson/Weld and the Clinton or Trump are in significant but when you do so you are wrong.” — steve m

    I’m not pretending anything, and I vigorously applaud the Libertarian candidates for calling for an end to the war on drugs and for advocating a noninterventionist foreign policy — if, indeed, that’s what they’re actually advocating.

    Those are the easy things.

    But like most Americans, I’m deeply fearful of what Gary Johnson proposed four years ago, namely calling for an immediate, 43 percent across-the-board reduction in federal spending — a draconian $1.4 trillion cut (the “ban the burqa” candidate could never keep the figure straight that year and sometimes suggested an immediate $1.6 trillion cut) that would have virtually destroyed the nation’s social safety net, throwing millions of seniors dependent on Social Security and Medicare into poverty while absolutely pummeling the working poor and the most vulnerable in our society.

    In this age of massive income inequality — when most people are working harder and longer hours than ever before — it’s kind of ludicrous that a presidential candidate would be looking to make life harder for ordinary folks.

    Thanks, but no thanks.

  17. steve m

    T Rex,

    What did Johnson say about drugs other then Marijuana?

    What did Johnson say about continued US Troops in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria?

    How is does what Johnson say compare or contrast to what Clinton and Trump say?

    When is the issue of Retirement and healthcare going to be dealt with by the Democrats and Republicans and how does what Johnson has to say the same or different?

  18. steve m

    Darcy,

    What are you for? whom will you vote for this time around?

    “But like most Americans, I’m deeply fearful of what Gary Johnson proposed four years ago, namely calling for an immediate, 43 percent across-the-board reduction in federal spending — a draconian $1.4 trillion cut (the “ban the burqa” candidate could never keep the figure straight that year and sometimes suggested an immediate $1.6 trillion cut) that would have virtually destroyed the nation’s social safety net, throwing millions of seniors dependent on Social Security and Medicare into poverty while absolutely pummeling the working poor and the most vulnerable in our society.

    In this age of massive income inequality — when most people are working harder and longer hours than ever before — it’s kind of ludicrous that a presidential candidate would be looking to make life harder for ordinary folks.”

  19. Darcy G Richardson

    “Darcy,
    Whom will you vote for this time around?” — steve m

    I’m not sure yet. Maybe I’ll cast a write in vote for economist Laurence J. Kotlikoff — he’s a pretty bright guy and he’s waging something of a bold and imaginative national write-in candidacy — or maybe I’ll support the Green Party’s Jill Stein. Neither of them are looking to punish the poor. I might even vote for a libertarian, somebody like Darrell Castle. His daughter is pretty cool and I’ve been enjoying their “Red, White, and Dad” shows.

    Or — who knows — maybe I’ll end up voting for myself.

    One thing is certain. I won’t be wasting my vote on Clinton, Trump or Johnson — or any other groveling apologist for the Establishment, the ruling elite on Wall Street who have destroyed this country’s productive capacity while virtually wiping out our once-thriving middle class and making the United States a kind of colony to the world.

  20. steve m

    Darcy,

    Thanks, good to know. Saves me from wasting time arguing with you.

    Good to know that your world view is so different then mine that I shall refrain myself to pointing out when your views are inconsistent with the facts that I can demonstrate.

    Have fun

  21. robert capozzi

    dgr, BEING THERE is great. Dude’s name was Chance, not Chauncey, but people called him the latter, as they misunderstood him.

    BT illustrates the attractiveness of honesty and truth over intellect and manipulation.

    In fact, GJ is a bit like CG when he talks about putting one foot in front of the other; CG talked in BT about how he tended the gardens, and others interpreted that as a profound insight…which it is! You reap what you sow! Despite the intellectual manipulator’s belief that they can get by without integrity, the truth is integrity is the most valuable virtue.

    It’s pretty embarrassing that GJ didn’t know the label “nuclear triad.” (Truth is: I didn’t know what that label was, either, although I did know about the 3 means for delivery of nukes.) Could be that GJ was unfamiliar with the label, too. But after Trump was stumped on that, he should have looked it up, or staff should have flagged it for him.

    If IQ tests were administered the HRC, DJT and GJ, it’s quite possible that the scores would be in that order. Intellect, however, is only one trait one would want to see in a prez. I’d take wisdom over intellect all day long.

    GJ demonstrates wisdom. HRC and DJT show little of it.

    GJ understands that life in a moment by moment thing…one step in front of the other. I’m so over the schemers we keep electing. YMMV.

  22. Darcy G Richardson

    “The good news is they didn’t ignore the Libertarian Candidates this time. That says we are gaining ground.” — steve m

    Maybe so, but it’s hard to gain ground in quicksand — and that’s the terrain of American politics in 2016.

  23. Darcy G Richardson

    “BT illustrates the attractiveness of honesty and truth over intellect and manipulation.” — Robert Capozzi

    Agreed — and that’s Gary’s most endearing quality.

  24. robert capozzi

    dgr, glad we agree.

    I go further to say that that’s the most important quality…by far.

  25. robert capozzi

    more…

    I’d recommend watching GJ and WW’s presentation at the National Press Club for more on this. GJ discussed his approach to governing, which I found quite impressive and moving. It’s more subtle and nuanced than I’d previously recognized, while at the same time integrity-infused.

    Even if he didn’t live up to his standards 100%, at least he has standards…virtuous ones.

    WW’s speech, btw, was absolutely brilliant. I assume he wrote it himself. If intellectual bandwidth is useful in governing, dude has THAT in spades.

  26. Darcy G Richardson

    I respect your opinion, Bob. That was a great movie, one of my favorite movies of all time, but I suppose I’m looking for a candidate who not only possesses the honesty or simplicity of a Chauncey — or Chance, as you reminded us — but also the intellect and knowledge to deal with the myriad of complex issues that any modern President is expected to face.

    Gary Johnson just doesn’t strike me as somebody who is reasonably well-informed — and that’s simply not the kind of person who should be occupying the Oval Office.

    I loved Chauncey to death, but keep him in the garden tending to the vegetables.

  27. Darcy G Richardson

    “WW’s speech, btw, was absolutely brilliant. I assume he wrote it himself. If intellectual bandwidth is useful in governing, dude has THAT in spades.” — Robert Capozzi

    Interesting. During a radio interview last week in Texas, a talk show host told me that he would be more comfortable — much more comfortable — if the Libertarian ticket was reversed and William Weld was the presidential candidate.

    Weld is a pretty well-read guy. I have to admit that I was impressed when he mentioned the University of Chicago’s Robert M. Hutchins — a real blast from the past who has been dead for something like seventy years — during their recent editorial board meeting with the New York Times. Johnson probably had absolutely no clue who Hutchins was.

    Oh, well…

  28. robert capozzi

    dgr, likewise on your opinions.

    Intellect and knowledge are tools for the exercise of wisdom. It’s absolutely great to have more tools for specific tasks at hand, so long as the handyman has the requisite wisdom. (Sounds like something Chance might say!)

    I know people whom I respect who are — gasp — Trump supporters. They recognize HIS lack of bandwidth, too, but they hope that, if elected, he will surround himself with wise counselors.

    Of course, I don’t know for sure, but I get the sense that both DJT and HRC are control freaks. This is a quality that I find to be disqualifying, a sign of an unwise mind. I don’t get that sense from GJ. His strikes me as wiser, just under-prepared.

    I’m not too worried about GJ winning to test my theory, but despite his lack of preparation, I’ll continue to support him and spend a quixotic hour voting for him in November. Making America Sane Again is something I can get behind.

    I’m having a very difficult time visualizing how President Clinton2 or Trump ends well.

  29. Darcy G Richardson

    “I’m having a very difficult time visualizing how President Clinton2 or Trump ends well.” — Robert Capozzi

    I certainly can’t argue with you there.

  30. ATBAFT

    Yep, let’s figure out how we can get a policy wonk like Tom Palmer or David Boaz to become a two term
    governor and then we will have a pretty well informed candidate who has immersed his life in ideological details instead of climbing mountains. But of course, some will stamp their feet and demand that
    Palmer or Boaz is sadly mis-informed about some aspect of the drug war or the NAP or ancapism.

  31. George Dance

    It was nice of the Post to release the interview transcript. As Reason points out, there were several points in the editorial where the writer summarized Johnson’s or Weld’s responses in ways that were quite different from what they actually said (including, “allegedly not knowing what the nuclear triad is”) – but having a transcript allows one to immediately check their accuracy.

    Since “Johnson doesn’t/didn’t know what the nuclear triad is” is sure to be added to the stockpile of anti-GJ stories going around the web, it’s refreshing in this case to have a source those interested in the truth can check for themselves.

  32. T Rex

    WELD: You’re referring to trying to get less Oxycontin flooding the market?

    DIEHL: Yes.

    WELD: That’s a good idea.

    War on Oxycontin! Hell yeah! I remember the LP platform explicitly calling for that.

  33. steve m

    JOHNSON: Well, because people misunderstand that. Harm reduction strategy – -if Washington, D.C., for example, wants to reduce heroin death due to overdose, what they would do is, they would open up clinics that would test heroin for anybody that came in with their dose of heroin. ‘Here, test it, tell me what the quality consistency of this is’ — and I guarantee you that death due to heroin overdose would decrease dramatically, if that’s a program that a community undertook. The problem would be, is to get people to actually come in with their black-market heroin. I mean, there are problems of course associated with everything, but if you look at Zurich as a model, Zurich has re-upped on their program to provide free heroin to anybody that comes in and registers, and the idea was to reduce death, disease, crime, corruption.

  34. steve m

    Clean needles, so no more hepatitis C, no more HIV, no more overdose. And of course people will always commit suicide, that’ll always be a fact. No more prostitution, no more guns, no more violence associated with having to go out and get the money to pay for the habit in the first place. And this — by the way, what I just said came verbatim from the chief of police from Zurich, who was adamantly opposed to the program at the beginning, and was here in the United States saying that the program has been wildly successful, and he’s on board as is all law enforcement now in Zurich that were not on board prior to it taking place in the first place.

  35. steve m

    HIATT: So then I don’t follow why you don’t say you’re in favor of decriminalization.

    JOHNSON: I think that those will be steps that we will take after marijuana.

  36. Starchild

    I’m somewhere in the middle on this. I’m not particularly happy with Johnson and Weld’s Washington Post interview. No libertarian should be. Perhaps the low point was Weld’s suggestion of hiring 1,000 more FBI agents – as if that would have done a damn thing to prevent the nightclub killings in Orlando, even aside from all the other reasons it’s a stupid idea. It was so bad that even the Post essentially called him out on deviating from libertarianism.

    On the other hand, I think calling them an “establishment” ticket as Darcy does goes too far. While Gary Johnson was better four years ago when he called for a 43% cut in federal spending, calling for even 20% is still definitely outside the parameters of what the leaders of the 2-party cartel consider acceptable. And what I got out of his responses to the Post on the Drug War is that he personally thinks decriminalizing all drugs including substances like heroin is a good idea, he’s just not going to push for right now, preferring to wait until cannabis is decriminalized.

    The latter is definitely not my style – I think making the basic point that your body belongs to you and all government Prohibitions are illegitimate is a much stronger and more sensible approach – but incrementalism that doesn’t get in the way of further progress, i.e. focuses on a limited short-term goal yet still has nothing but good things to say about going even further, is the kind of incrementalism that I as a radical can live with.

    The focus on the term “nuclear triad” seems like a non-issue. Assuming that Gary Johnson didn’t know what that means is a bit of a stretch – the transcript only reflects him asking a one-word question, “Triad?” when the phrase is suddenly introduced out of the blue. From that response, it’s not clear whether he was really unfamiliar with the concept, or was simply checking to make sure that he correctly heard what the interviewer said. Even if didn’t know the term, I suspect that if he’d been asked what kinds of delivery systems the U.S. government has for its nuclear weapons, he could have correctly identified them as missiles, bombers, and submarines.

    But even in the worst case scenario where he didn’t know that, I’m not sure how much it matters for a candidate to lack that specific knowledge – much more important that he understand the tremendous destructive power of nuclear weapons, and not have an itchy trigger finger when it comes to using them. For once I find myself appreciating something Robert Capozzi has to say – intellect and detailed knowledge of current policy issues are one thing, but it’s more important for a president to have wisdom.

    Bottom line for me is that Johnson and Weld are kind of like democracy – the worst possible option, except for all the alternatives. If Darrel Castle is more libertarian, as he is apparently claiming, I have a very simple question for him: What are you doing in the right-wing, theocratic Constitution Party (as a founder of that party, no less!), when you could have joined the Libertarian Party?

    I can respectfully disagree with the decision of a Ron Paul to work as a libertarian within the GOP, but if you’re a libertarian looking to go with an alternative party, I can’t see any logical rationale for choosing the weaker and less libertarian Constitution Party over the stronger and more libertarian LP.

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