As you can see in the video above [Trigger warning: if seeing a former governor who presumed to place himself before the nation as a qualified leader making an epic fool of himself on live television upsets you, as it does me—heck, those sitcom episodes when characters try to do stand-up and bomb horribly, like Cliff did on “Cheers” make me leave the room—don’t watch it. I mean it.], Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson, the designated “none of the above” for voters who believe Donald Trump has nothing to offer but chaos and Hillary Clinton is more untrustworthy than Richard Nixon (both correct assessments), went on “Hardball” with Chris Matthews and made Sara Palin look like Henry Kissinger, and Rick Perry seem like Carl Sagan.
During the interview on MSNBC yesterday, Chris Matthews asked Johnson, who sat beside his running mate, former Massachusetts governor Bill Weld,”Who’s your favorite foreign leader?” “Name one foreign leader that you respect and look up to,” Matthews asked. “Anybody.” Johnson looked like he had been asked for the dewpoint of feldspar.
“Mine was Shimon Peres,” V.P. Weld offered unhelpfully, picking the former Israeli leader who just died from a stroke. “I’m talking about living,” Matthews shot back, focusing on Johnson.
“Anywhere. Any continent. Canada, Mexico, Europe, over there, Asia, South America, Africa: Name a foreign leader that you respect,” Matthews said as Johnson continued to freeze. “I guess I’m having an Aleppo moment,” Johnson said, pathetically.
“But I’m giving you the whole world!” Matthews said. “Anybody in the world you like. Anybody. Pick any leader!”
“The former president of Mexico,” was the best Johnson could come up with. Whichever one he meant, by the way, he’s massive crook, like all Mexican presidents.
“Which one?” Matthews pressed.
“I’m having a brain freeze,” Johnson whined,
as Weld began going through the list of recent Mexican presidents.
“Fox! Thank you!” Johnson said when he finally heard the name of former Mexican president Vicente Fox, who Johnson probably vaguely recalled from the evident mush he calls a brain because Fox had just made the news by mocking Donald Trump’s debate performance.
- “How does somebody think there going to run for President and be this ignorant? Completely ignorant?” asked Joe Scarborough on “Morning Joe,” today. “He could not name a leader — living or dead — past or present! My children can answer those questions!”
Good points all. The answer is that Johnson is uninformed. Johnson is lazy. Johnson clutches under pressure. Johnson is not taking his own candidacy seriously. Johnson is a joke, but the proper response to it is weeping. At a time when the two parties have completely failed their responsibility to the American people by presenting unfit, untrustworthy candidates that the majority of the nation dislike, and the need for a viable third party option has never been greater, does Johnson study like a monk, prepare like a champion, and devote himself to being able to dazzle even the most skeptical voter with his expertise and mastery of issues? No! He apparently decides to boycott newspaper and TV news, and devote himself to Pokemon Go, or something. Surely he’s been doing something?
Diligence, responsibility, competence, respect for the nation and the public: Johnson has flunked all of these, spectacularly and beyond defending.
- Johnson’s campaign manager Ron Nielson tried to spin this on Facebook. Well, that’s his job. He wrote:
“The Clinton and Trump supporters are at it again. This is gotcha-ism at its finest. Not by Chris Matthews, but by too many looking for any opportunity to pounce. Anyone who watched the entire hour tonight on MSNBC saw Governors Johnson and Weld answer every question and deal with the entire spectrum of issues. A very fine performance. Yes, asked to name a favorite foreign leader, Gov. Johnson didn’t quickly name a specific favorite. That really doesn’t mean much. Most Americans and certainly most political candidates would have to stop and think before responding, with the possible exception of a Donald Trump who is enthralled by Putin.”
Not bad, but ridiculous. What wouldn’t be a “gotcha,” Ron? Asking who wrote the Declaration of Independence? Who was the first President? Who won WWII? Recite the alphabet? “Gov. Johnson didn’t quickly name a specific favorite”—is that how you would describe this embarrassment? So we now know that misrepresentation and deceit is officially approved by the Johnson campaign, right?
Oh…you might explain to your guy that trying to deal with one gaffe by reminding viewers of another one isn’t very smart. Have Bill Clinton explain it to you. As he may have told Hillary, “When you’re caught in a lie, do NOT say, “I am having a “I did not have sex with women” moment!”
- Is MSNBC making a special effort to expose Johnson because he is perceived as taking votes away from Clinton? That would be my guess.
- Because Johnson, like so many libertarians, has pronounced himself a pot enthusiast, Morning Joe’s panel speculated that maybe his penchant for weed was the reason for his short-term memory loss. Is this as despicable as Howard Dean’s speculation that Donald Trump is a coke head? No, it’s not. At least being one toke over the line, sweet Jesus, is an alternative option to “he’s an idiot.”
- To elaborate on the earlier point, this represents a massive betrayal of the nation by the entire political system. Two dreadful candidates who have almost everyone, Republicans ( except for the idiots) and Democrats (except for the thoroughly corrupt) both, begging and pleading for a better option than Trump and Clinton are on the ballot, and after years of political analysts saying the U.S. need a viable third party, the Libertarian Party, with an incredible opportunity falling into its lap, needs only to find someone better than those wretched options, and this is who they present to the nation? This utter boob? I wouldn’t have believed that it was possible to nominate someone who inspires less confidence that Trump or Hillary, yet the Libertarian Party managed to do it. Any libertarian who isn’t furious has forfeited the privilege of being taken seriously.
- I received some rather heated responses to my position that this election was a binary choice, and that those who believe, as I know to be the case, that Donald Trump will damage the culture and political process beyond easy repair, have no choice but to suppress their rising gorge and vote for Hillary the Corrupt. “oh no!” they said. “Gary Johnson is qualified! Gary Johnson is an honorable choice!”
My answer was that not voting for Clinton was the equivalent of throwing a vote away that could be used to banish Trump, and thus voting for Johnson was delusional and irresponsible. I now want to add this: “Voting for Gary Johnson is like voting for your dog.”
But buck up, Gary. “Dancing with the Stars” will be calling soon.