Sunday, October 2, 2016

Flap your arms and vote for Gary Johnson

     Traffic can be terrible on Chicago expressways. There are these massive jams, and what do you do if you need to get somewhere quickly and the expressway is at a standstill? This column suggests you simply turn off your engine, step out of the car, flap your arms and fly. Not only will you get to your destination much quicker, but flying instead of driving will be an unambiguous message to those in authority at the highway department that they better get their act together and fix the congestion problem before motorists vanish into the air like so many winged birds....
     What? That's impossible you say? You can't simply flap your arms and fly? Oh right, that's true. So I guess that my suggesting you do so, well, it doesn't help much. At all in fact. Indeed, it's kinda stupid, isn't it? I'm recommending an impossible course of action that, if attempted, would accomplish nothing.
     There's a lot of that going around. For instance, the Chicago Tribune endorsing Gary Johnson. Which is actually worse, because I'm joking and they're not, apparently. Yes, the chances of the Libertarian former governor of New Mexico winning the presidency are marginally better than your becoming airborne by vigorous arm agitation. But not by much, and for all practical purposes it's the same.
     Gary Johnson not only can't win, he shouldn't win. His sole appeal is that he's neither Hillary Clinton, who people can't stand for a variety of hollow reasons, or Donald Trump, who people can't stand because he goes out and works hard to deserve their contempt every single minute of every single day.
     Despite being practically unknown, Johnson still fails miserably—the moment he gawped at the word "Aleppo," drawing a blank at mention of the epicenter of the Syrian war, is really all you need to know. Being aware of the most important international crisis of the past three years isn't just a requirement for a potential world leader, it's a requirement for a responsible resident of the world, and being that unplugged means Johnson deserves nobody's vote.  There's more, but that's enough. The only thing you need to know—and some people don't—is that George W. Bush won in 2000 because independent vanity candidate Ralph Nader drew enough of the thinking vote—the alleged thinking vote— away from Al Gore. If enough people vote for Johnson, it'll happen again and Donald Trump will win.
     That isn't how the Tribune sees it.
     "We reject the cliche that a citizen who chooses a principled third-party candidate is squandering his or her vote," the newspaper wrote Friday, joining the throng this election season rejecting obvious fact. "Look at the number of fed-up Americans telling pollsters they clamor for alternatives to Trump and Clinton. What we're recommending will appeal less to people who think tactically than to conscientious Americans so infuriated that they want to send a message about the failings of the major parties and their candidates."
     Send a message to whom? President Trump? And what would that message be: "you won but it isn't our fault because we voted for a person who isn't you?"
     A message that says, "We sat on our hands and watched people crazier than ourselves elect a bigoted, sexist, impulsive, ignorant, bellicose, tax-shirking fraud whose undeniable bad qualities are so numerous that it becomes tiring just to list them."
     Or should that message be: "We voted for a Libertarian loons who wants to privatize government rather than a former senator and secretary of state who adheres to the admittedly-unpopular notion that the role of the government is to get stuff done"?
     Gary Johnson is the Pontius Pilate, I-wash-my-hands vote. Doing something to make yourself feel good under the illusion that you are making some kind of statement, when what you are doing is holding your own sense of moral purity above that of the country, protecting yourself from consequences by voting for somebody who can't win. Flapping those arms and soaring away, in taking your own fantasy flight, leaving your earthbound fellow Americans to figure out the mess they're in. It's better to stay home.
     How did this happen? How did the Chicago Tribune join the handful of papers in the country—the Detroit News is another— to endorse Gary Johnson? I could offer theories. But I have friends at the Tribune, so won't insult them by speculating what went wrong. I don't know, for certain. But I do know that I used to have to dig into the distant past to illustrate how out-of-touch the paper can be, remembering Col. Robert McCormick wrapping himself in the flag, urging the country to be nice to Hitler under the charmed notion that if we do then maybe he'll leave North America alone. Now I have a much more recent folly to hold against them.


  1. This New York Times article shows that Trump claimed a $916 million loss in 1995, which could have let him avoid $50 million in taxes over 18 years!
    He really doesn't pay any taxes!

  2. When I first saw the Tribune endorsement posted on Facebook, I started chuckling, looking for the "Onion" above or below the post. Realizing the post was for real was jaw-dropping. What particularly insults me is the part stating "What we're recommending will appeal less to people who think tactically than to conscientious Americans so infuriated that they want to send a message about the failings of the major parties and their candidates." Sending a message? Really? Sending a message, which in itself is absurd, suddenly is more important than saving the country and its citizens from an unprecedented catastrophe? No thank you.


  3. I know Hillary has a raft full of experts experienced in winning elections, but I think she would be well advised to shut up. Not entirely, mind you, but just lay off criticizing Trump. It's not necessary -- he damns himself with every word that comes from his mouth -- and it makes her look like a participant in a mud fight. I would tell her not to even bother defending herself from his scurrilous attacks -- and I'm sure they'll get even more scurrilous as panic sets in at Trumpville, Inc. If you're selling a Rolls Royce you don't have to mention that it's better than a Pinto, no matter how loud the clock ticks.


  4. "Send a message." That's what's important, right? Having the last word, when one is falling into a black hole of a Trump term. Someone at TT was having a real bad day.

  5. I've cut back the Trib to weekends... looks like it''s time to cancel altogether.

  6. Libertarian platforms sound similar to Republican ones. One would think voting for them would hurt Trump more, whereas Stein and the Green could siphon votes from the Democrats.

  7. With his "small government" pitch it makes some sense that rabid Tribune readers might go for Johnson, but one wonders if those young Sanders supporters who want the government to pay their college fees realize he's a libertarian, who doesn't want the government to pay for anything. Even conservatives who look into him have had qualms. As a governor he left the state of New Mexico in terrible fiscal shape.

    The morning talk shows were full of Trump supporters trying to defend the indefensible, and a more unattractive gaggle of "surrogates" would be hard to imagine: Rudy Giuliani, who reeks of insincerity, and whose glittering eyes staring into the camera make him seem demented; Chris Christie, who will never be elected for anything again but one hopes doesn't end up as Secretary of Transportation in a Trump administration; and then there's Gingrich, discussing marital infidelity.

    I expect Hillary's advisers tell her not to get in too much back and forth with Trump. Just enough to push his buttons, which she seems good at.

    Tom Evans

  8. I stopped taking the Tribune editorial pages seriously a long time ago. The only question was whether I ever would again. The answer is no.

    Bitter Scribe

  9. So what am I missing here. Why does everybody blame Nader for Gore losing. Go through every state Gore lost and give him all of Naders votes. Except for New Hampshire which I believe is pretty conservative and Gore would have won the election. That is how close it was. Gore even lost his own state of Tennessee and if you gave him Nader's votes he still would have lost the vote. I left out Florida because we know what happened there.

    1. Wrong!
      If not for Nader, Gore would've won Florida & the election!

    2. I do get that. But is only partially true. Don't forget you had to other independent candidate running. Buchanan had 17,000 votes and Browne a libertarian had 16,000 plus votes. If they hadn't run Gore might have pulled enough of those votes to win despite the 93,000 votes Nader received. And as I mentioned Gore could not win his own state. Have to wonder if a loser has ever lost his home state. That would have been more than enough to win the electoral There are people outside of Florida that feel bad that they wasted their vote on Nader. Those votes didn't matter. The question to ask are there Florida voters that feel remorse in voting for Gore. In that case I would hope so. 9/11 might have happened under Gores watch, but I think the actions afterward might have been different. A little blame should go to the Supreme Court and Florida itself for eliminating so many votes. I admire Nader a lot. One can't say in hind site that he would have been a good president. Actually the same would have been the same for Gore. Certainly things could not have gone much worse than what we went through under Bush. I was discussing this with my brother today. In the end there are only two choices and despite wanting to vote your conscious, a third party is never going to win at least not in the system we have today. You shouldn't throw your vote away like that.

    3. 'Gore lost his own state'...
      As opposed to Bush, who lost his own country...

  10. If Trump wins the election I'm sure the Tribune editorial board will blame Hillary, saying her negatives caused this result. The supposed saints in the Ivory Tower never believe their idealogical views are less than perfect.

  11. Seven years later and I still find Gary Johnson's answer to a question about Aleppo to be a classic moment in cluelessness: "What's a Leppo?"

    1. Seeing it written out like that, I have to think that maybe he thought it was teen slang for someone with leprosy. You know...a...never mind...


This blog posts comments at the discretion of the proprietor.

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.