Listen, Bernie Fans: Gary Johnson Ain’t Your Friend

Gary JohnsonOne of the most amazing things in this election cycle is that Gary Johnson is taking more votes away from Hillary Clinton than from Donald Trump. This makes no sense. I can see Republicans who don’t want to be associated with Donald Trump getting on the Johnson Train. But how can liberal people?

I fear that this has a great deal to do with the “Bernie or Bust” types who just can’t vote for the neoliberal dragon lady. I know: most of them are voting for Jill Stein. That bothers me, but at least it makes sense. Jill Stein is, after all, liberal. Gary Johnson is not. Until 2011, Gary Johnson was a Republican. And it’s not like he has “seen the light.” He’s like Ron Paul: he’s a Republican or a Libertarian depending upon what is in his best political interests at any time.

Gary Johnson: The Good Stuff

It’s a really good idea to see where Gary Johnson actually stands on the issues. And the best place to research this is On the Issues. And of course: Johnson comes out well in a number of areas. People like that he is pro-cannabis. But he isn’t pro-drug. He doesn’t think that what drugs a person takes are their own business. So just like Rand Paul, Gary Johnson thinks that you should have the right to take drugs that he thinks are okay. How this makes him any different from any Republican, I can’t say.

Libertarian Party: Just Kidding, We're Republicans!But he’s libertarian-ish, so he must be good on issues of crime, right? Not really. As governor of New Mexico, he vetoed a bill that granted early release of prisoners because of overcrowding. He’s for the death penalty, even though he is big on talking about sentencing disparities and DNA exoneration. You know: he likes to come off as a liberal guy, but when it comes to policy he is — Oh, what is the name for it?! — a Republican.

On foreign affairs, Johnson sounds best. He also sounds ignorant. And I’m not talking about Aleppo. He thinks we need to “divorce” Pakistan. Well, I agree. Just the same, it isn’t the simple matter that he makes out. And that’s true of pretty much everything that Gary Johnson thinks about regarding foreign affairs. He also seems to think that we spend a huge amount on foreign aid. And then — dunce that he is — thinks that we do it because we’re just such kind people.

Gary Johnson: The Bad Stuff

Note that those are the issue that Gary John is best on. On everything else, he’s a catastrophe. He doesn’t believe that insurers should have to provide birth control coverage. And he doesn’t believe the federal government should fund stem cell research. He does now seem to be pro-choice. But think about what kind of judges he would put on the Supreme Court. Pro-choice judges? No. He would put pro-corporate judges on the Supreme Court, and they would naturally be anti-choice.

On economic issues, he’s just crazy. He’s suggested that we abolish the Federal Reserve. He didn’t think the Debt Ceiling was any big thing. In 2012, he called for the Federal budget to be cut by 43%. You know: we couldn’t raise taxes. He said the 2009 stimulus was a failure. Of course, even conservative economists disagree, but given libertarianism is a faith, it’s not surprising that Johnson doesn’t care.

He doesn’t believe in affirmative action. And of course, he thinks that not taxing corporations would create millions of jobs. He falls for myth of corporate taxes being “double taxation.” (Companies become corporations because they believe it in their interests; they don’t need to be corporations; that’s their choice.) He’s for school “choice.” By that, he means he’s for destroying public education. And he wants to eliminate the Department of Education, just to make it really clear.

He believes in global warming; he just doesn’t think that the government should do anything about it. But even that’s too nice to him. He’s in favor of fracking and coal mining and nuclear power. He similarly supports renewable energy, as long as the government isn’t involved. This is again, his trying to look liberal while having policies that are no different than those of any other Republican.

Gary Johnson Is a Bad Guy

I could go on. Gary Johnson thinks that having more people carrying guns will reduce mass shootings. He thinks that government-managed healthcare is “insanity.” (Apparently, he doesn’t get out of the country much.) He wants to know why we were in Libya at all, because, you know, why would different countries have ambassadors? Most of Johnson’s ideas are vile. When he is on the right side of an issue, he’s hopelessly naive.

To make matters worse, if he were president, the things he would get accomplished would be the things that liberals most hate. He would savage aid to the poor. But Congress would never send him a bill to cut the military. So when Johnson talks about cutting the federal government by 43% — including the military — what we would get is everything else cut. And if you vote for him, it is this practical Gary Johnson who you would be voting for.

If you are a Republican, voting for Gary Johnson makes a lot of sense. But if you are a moderate — much less a liberal — you are crazy to vote for Gary Johnson.

Odd Words: Auto-da-fé


I was feeling pretty ignorant as I perused page 17 of The New York Times Everyday Reader’s Dictionary of Misunderstood, Misused, and Mispronounced Words: Revised Edition. But you know how it is: words clump. But I found a great word that all my atheist friends will like: auto-da-fé.

I’m finding putting these posts together easier since I started using a highlighter. In general, I treat books very well. Truly, I think there is something sacred about a book. But this one is in very bad shape. It was clearly left in the sun for a long time, because the pages are crumbling. What’s more, they are dark, and so hard to read. Interestingly though, the binding is great. As a result of that, I originally didn’t want to soil it with marks. But that seems absurd now considering that I’ve been using the brittle cover for a bookmark from the start.

Burning for Words Beside Auto-da-fé

As I said, there were a number of words I didn’t know. There was “attrahent” — which means attracting or drawing toward.

I suppose I should have known “attrite,” given the word “attrition.” But who thinks in these ways? But I really should have known “austral” — which means relating to the south. I think we get words like Australia and Australopithecus from the same root. I just never thought about it.

On the other hand, I don’t blame myself for not knowing “auscultate” — which is listening to internal organs via a stethoscope. Who would have thought there would be a word for that? The same goes for “autochthonous” — which describes people who are native to a region rather than migrating there. Just the same, we are all migrants. It’s just that we like to have words to describe the people who got wherever earlier.

But I’m sure you are on fire to get to today’s word, auto-da-fé:

Au·to-da-fé  noun  \ô-tō-də-‘fā\

1. the public burning of heretics condemned by the Spanish Inquisition.

Date: early 18th century.

Origin: Portuguese, ato de fé, which means, “Act of faith.”

Example: But the day came when the powerful arm of the Inquisition caught up with him, and he was accused of living as a Jew. He was summarily tried and sentenced to death by auto-da-fé.Menachem Posner