Gary Johnson may be best qualified to be president
Three words were all it took for Gary Johnson, the Libertarian nominee for president, to finally get his due coverage from the mainstream media. Three words, spoken on a morning talk show helped to awaken the members of nationally syndicated newspapers everywhere from their decades-long third-party hibernation, ears perked up like a bloodhound having just caught wind of a rabbit rustling in the bushes some 300 yards away. The three words, “What is Aleppo,” gave Johnson the attention he’s deserved since the beginning of the election, but not the coverage he would have wanted.
In the simplest use of the word, Johnson blanking on the war-torn city at the center of Syria’s refugee crisis was a gaffe. It was a mistake — a mistake that shouldn’t have happened, but a mistake. Johnson is familiar with Syria. He’s familiar with the refugee crisis, with the constant gas attacks, bombings and civilian deaths that occur within its boundaries. But in just a moment, he forgot the name of the city that has become the symbol of Syrian crisis, opening the door for the media to pounce. It was the perfect opportunity for people to play the “told you” game.
The man who has been largely out of the limelight the entire election was finally thrust into it for all of the wrong reasons.
Johnson himself said there was “no excuse” for his brain cramp. It was a gaffe in the purest sense of the word, and allowed many to point to a seeming lack of foreign policy understanding on his part.
Johnson’s Aleppo moment was called the end of his campaign and offered as proof he wasn’t “deep enough” to run for president. Perhaps unbeknownst to many, though, is how deep and agreeable his foreign policy actually is. The restrained approach that Johnson advocates for closely aligns with not only the current White House policy, but the belief held by 41 percent of Americans that we do too much abroad.
It isn’t necessarily policy that is killing Johnson, nor is it his gaffes — it’s the media firestorm that erupts when he slips, yet remains silent when he cuts Medicaid costs and reduces taxes during his term as governor of New Mexico. For someone trying so desperately to gain media attention through his policies, his experience and his marked lack of scandal and baggage, Johnson threw himself into the ring where the media was waiting to get him in a chokehold.
For some people, Johnson represented the alternate to the popular “lesser of two evils” choice that many Americans feel they’re faced with, forced to choose between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. Johnson wasn’t just the Libertarian nominee, he wasn’t just a third-party candidate and he wasn’t just another nobody trying to play Electoral College spoiler. Johnson’s persona was the antithesis to the main party candidates; he had no private server, he had no Benghazi, no sexism and no xenophobia. But now he has “what is Aleppo,” and to many, that is enough to disqualify him from the running.
The scandals and question marks that surround Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton don’t need to be elaborated on or explained. The Trump tapes and the WikiLeaks emails that are continuously pouring in are just the tip of the iceberg of main party candidate corruption.
The question that surrounds both nominees isn’t if the vitriol is warranted, it’s when more fuel will be added to this dumpster fire of an election. When will more tapes, more paper trails and more evidence of questionable dealings leak to the public? And when, of course, will we accept the fact that Johnson and his Aleppo moments should be the least of our concerns?
Yuri Vanetik is a private investor and philanthropist.
Originally published at www.ocregister.com.