Thursday, September 8, 2016

What is Aleppo?

Gary Johnson crashed and burned in a big public moment for him on Morning Joe today when he was totally stumped on the Syrian city of Aleppo that is such a humanitarian crisis.

His 'What is Aleppo?' moment sounds sort of like Trump not knowing what the nuclear triad is.

"Asked what he would do about the Syrian city of Aleppo, the region at the center of that nation’s civil war and refugee crisis, Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson responded by asking, “what is Aleppo?”

“What would you do if you were elected about Aleppo?” MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” panelist Mike Barnicle asked the former New Mexico governor during an in-studio interview Thursday morning.

“And what is Aleppo?” Johnson responded.

“you’re kidding,” a stunned Barnicle replied, to which Johnson answered that he was not.

"Barnicle explained to the Libertarian candidate that Aleppo is “the epicenter of the refugee crisis” in Syria, giving Johnson enough information to finally answer the question."

“Okay, Got it. Well, with regard to Syria, I do think that it’s a mess,” he said. “I think the only way that we deal with Syria is to join hands with Russia to diplomatically bring that at an end but when we’ve aligned ourselves with — when we have supported the opposition, the Free Syrian Army, the Free Syrian Army is also coupled with the Islamists, and then the fact that we're also supporting the Kurds and this is, it's just a mess. And this is the result of regime change that we end up supporting and, inevitably, these regime changes have led to a less safe world.”

"Johnson has ramped up his campaigning efforts in recent weeks, working to build enough national support to earn a spot on the general election debate stage alongside Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. To do so, he must average 15 percent support among five national polls selected as criteria by the Commission on Presidential Debates. Despite newly deployed advertising and multiple TV appearances, Johnson appears to be short of the 15 percent threshold, polling at 8.6 percent according to the Real Clear Politics polling average."

"Co-host Joe Scarborough followed up with Johnson, asking him if he really thinks “that foreign policy is so insignificant that somebody running for president of the United States shouldn’t even know what Aleppo is, where Aleppo is, why Aleppo is so important?”

“I do understand Aleppo and I understand the crisis that is going on. But when we involve ourselves militarily, when we involve ourselves in these humanitarian issues, issues, we end up with a situation that in most cases is not better, and in many cases ends up being worse,” Johnson replied. “And we find ourselves always, politicians are up against the wall, and ask what to do about these things, and this is why we end up committing military force in areas that, like I say, at the end of the day have an unintended consequence of making things worse.”

Read more:

Maybe, though it's not much of a testament to libertarian non interventionism that Johnson doesn't even seem to know what's going on in Syria. How then can he be so confident about what we should or shouldn't do there?

Here's the thing. This is not an isolated incident for Gary Johnson. He has had boners like this before, where someone who hopes to be Commander in Chief-and who is positioned to possibly play spoiler-lacks even basic common knowledge on important issues.

For instance, he was also found to not know who Harriet Tubman is. Again, you don't have to be a history major to know this or have a degree in abolitionist studies.

This is very basic knowledge.

So Gary Johnson doesn't sound much better qualified for the job than Trump does.

I have to say that those on the Left voting Johnson are as ignorant as he is. How do you go from supporting Bernie because he supports free college and single payer and a huge increase in fiscal stimulus to GJ who wants to block grant Social Security and Medicare?

As to the question of whether Johnson should be in the debate, the answer is no for two reasons:

1. He doesn't qualify based on debate requirements for a 15% minimum as the Politico piece quoted above noted his average is 8.6%. That's not even close.

2. In any case, there is no reason to lower standards to let him in. The only candidates who belong in the debates are those who have a genuine chance to win.

For this reason Ross Perot had a clear claim on being in the 1992 debate. He had actually led in June, 1992 with 35% of the vote.

GJ is not going to be the next POTUS. His best hope is to be a spoiler. The rules shouldn't be relaxed to give a spoiler a better shot at being a spoiler. Especially as he seems more likely to help Donald Trump.

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