Gary Johnson is Losing It—Or Maybe He Never Had It

Posted: Sep 24, 2016 4:00 PM

Editor's Note: This piece was authored by our new contributor Erika Haas.

The former Governor of New Mexico and the Libertarian presidential candidate was once seen as a potentially viable alternative to Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. Fiscally conservative, socially liberal; not a perfect candidate, but it seemed like a medium voters in the upside down could deal with. However, then he went and bit his tongue—literally.

During an interview with MSNBC’s Kasie Hunt, Johnson was asked if thought he could pull even with Trump and Hillary if he had the opportunity to join them on the debate stage. Johnson started out with a rather professional response.

“I do,” he responded. “And it wouldn’t have anything to do with my debate performance, either. It would just be that people would recognize that there’s another choice and that there would be an examination of me and Bill Weld as who we are and what we’ve done and not based on that.”

But then things got weird. At first, you may have thought Johnson got stung by a bee, trying his best to carry on as his tongue swelled out of his mouth. “I think I could stand up there for the whole debate and not say anything,” he managed to mumble. And then, as Kasie Hunt struggled not laugh, you realize he’s just being odd. Really, really odd. 

The fumble didn’t come at the best time, as Johnson is still trying to recover from the Aleppo blunder earlier this month. During another interview with MSNBC, Johnson was asked what he would do about Aleppo to which he responded, “What is Aleppo?” Johnson was utterly clueless about the war-torn city, which has become the focal point of the Syrian conflict. Foreign policy is clearly not Johnson’s area of expertise. Then again, neither are environmental issues. 

Mother Jones resurrected a video of Johnson at a 2011 National Press Event in which he discusses his “long-term view” on climate change. A very long-term view. “In billions of years the sun is going to actually grow and encompass the Earth, right? So global warming is in our future.” In other words, why worry about climate change when the Earth is going to end in a few billion years anyway?

It seems Johnson has taken the Bobby McFerrin approach to politics—“Don’t worry. Be Happy. Cause every little thing is gonna be alright.” 

Well, Johnson may want to start worrying because his campaign may no longer be alright.