Friday Links


You know, I actually like Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson. I would never want him as president, but I wouldn’t mind having a beer with the guy. He seems smart, compassionate, and honest. Most of all, he asks questions that are good for the national dialogue.

“What is Aleppo?” was not one of those questions.

Maybe he really didn’t recognize the name Aleppo, which is a major city in Syria and (for better or worse) a focal point of U.S. foreign policy decision-making. Or maybe he just misunderstood the question and stumbled on national TV, as anybody might. Either way, it was a Bad Day.

Or, as the Washington Post put it:

It would be easy to describe Gary Johnson’s appearance on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” on Thursday as having doomed his third-party candidacy for president were it not for the fact that his candidacy was already doomed. The English language lacks a good way to describe something that was already in very bad shape and then, somehow, becomes far worse rather dramatically. Like if the Titanic had begun sinking but then blew up.

The English language is a vast and variegated creature, and I’d like to think that somewhere in its myriad chambers is a phrase (or, better still, a word) that hits just that note. But if not, the Titanic image should do nicely.

Of course, as WaPo elsewhere explains, it’s still better to have one major blunder, like Johnson did, than to stitch an entire campaign out of nothing else, like (ahem) a certain other candidate I could name.

Stay thoughtful, my friends.

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