The following is yet another update on The Donald’s Presidential campaign. Make sure to keep yourself on the ball!:
Well, he got the “it’s a mess” part right.
Libertarians might pride themselves on turning their backs on the foreign policy activism of the major party candidates, but the party’s candidate for president did himself no favors during a spot quiz on foreign affairs Thursday morning on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” program.
The question is, who he might have helped when he clearly hurt himself.
The key moment came when former newspaper columnist and regular “Morning Joe” contributor Mike Barnicle asked the former New Mexico governor: “What would you do, if you were elected, about Aleppo?”
Granted, it’s an open-ended question, and there probably aren’t too many Americans – whether they’re running for president or not – who’d have an answer right handy about the Syrian city that’s been a slaughterhouse of the country’s civil war since 2012. (It’s sometimes called “Syria’s Stalingrad,” or the “Mother of All Battles.“)
But the candidate’s deer-in-the-headlights response demonstrated sheer ignorance…not only of the significance of the Syrian city, but also of how to handle a question for which you don’t have a clue of an answer.
“What is Aleppo?” asked the man who would be president, clearly clueless as to whether it was a strain of the Ebola virus, or maybe one of the forgotten Marx Brothers.
— Morning Joe (@Morning_Joe) September 8, 2016
Johnson’s answer wasn’t much better. Once he heard the key word of “Syria,” he switched into the kind of pap restive Libertarians claim to hate when they hear it from more mainstream candidates.
“The only way that we deal with Syria is to join hands with Russia to diplomatically bring that at an end,” Johnson said. “But when we’ve aligned ourselves with — when we’ve 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.”
At least he didn’t think we were on the same side as Hamas.
The debacle predictably gave birth to a trending Twitter topic — #WhatIsAlepppo – full of scathing remarks about the moment when Gary Johnson may have tripped up his own candidacy, but this one summed it up the best.
“A three word sentence meaning, ‘end of campaign’”.
Johnson: “what is Aleppo?”
Trebek, sighing: “that is correct, Gary”
— Bugs Mathis (@maneatscereal) September 8, 2016
Whatever faint hope Johnson might have had of cracking the 15 percent ceiling in poll support he needs to take part in the presidential debates probably died in that moment. (Though it did give new life to questions about whether Johnson really had suspended his marijuana use for the duration of the campaign.)
The sad fact, though, is that Johnson’s self-immolation was probably a rare piece of good news for a Hillary Clinton campaign that has been buffeted lately by well-deserved blows, including the CNN/ORC poll released Monday that showed Republican Donald Trump actually leading Clinton nationally by 2 points.
The problem for Trump with Johnson’s “Beavis and Butthead” moment is that Johnson is actually more a thorn in Clinton’s side than Trump’s. The white, college-educated, generally stoned types that found themselves adrift after Bernie Sanders’ conceded defeat to Clinton are most likely to have defected to the Libertarian side.
And the Libertarian candidate has actually won a few, albeit tepid, endorsements from politicians and publications who one might anticipate would back the Republican in the race.
According to the CNN/ORC poll:
Support for Johnson seems to be concentrated among groups where Clinton could stand to benefit from consolidating voters. Although direct comparison between the poll’s two-way, head-to-head matchup and its four-way matchup doesn’t suggest that Johnson is pulling disproportionately from either candidate, his supporters come mostly among groups where a strong third-party bid could harm Clinton’s standing: Younger voters (particularly younger men), whites with college degrees, and independents, notably.
That means Johnson’s moment of televised ignorance is going to hurt him and will likely help Hillary (especially since it happened on MSNBC, which Trump fans are not known for patronizing anyway.)
For Trump supporters, the one bright side about Johnson’s face-plant is Trump’s foreign policy forays now – including that whirlwind visit with Mexico’s president – make him look like Henry Kissinger by comparison.
But for Johnson?
“It’s a mess” all right.
Just keep in mind, never believe the mainstream media’s bells and whistles and do not let them prevent you. Make America Great Again!