Libertarian Gary Johnson: an emerging threat to the status quo?

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He must be getting under their skin

The major media have all but ignored Libertarian presidential candidate, Gary Johnson, until now.

On Thursday (9/8), Johnson flubbed a question from an MSNBC commentator about Aleppo, the besieged city in Syria. After months of repeated exaggerations, lies, and bluster from Clinton and Trump, the media went ballistic over Johnson’s blunder.

All of a sudden, the reliably liberal New York Times, which has done little more to date than report on Johnson’s poll numbers, questioned his fitness for the presidency.

“Gary Johnson, the former New Mexico governor and Libertarian Party presidential nominee, revealed a surprising lack of foreign policy knowledge on Thursday that could rock his insurgent candidacy when he could not answer a basic question about the crisis in Aleppo,” the Times said. “The stumble could be a serious blow to Mr. Johnson’s campaign…”

The Times followed up with, “…Mr. Johnson’s presidential chances appear shaky…And on Thursday, Mr. Johnson’s credibility suffered a blow when he fumbled over a question about the crisis in Syria…”

Media of all stripes have piled on with wall-to-wall coverage, most of it suggesting Johnson proved he was unfit for office, some saying it showed he should withdraw from the race.

“Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson may have just disqualified himself as a common-sense alternative to Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton,” said the Atlanta Journal Constitution.

Reflecting the concern among progressives pols and pundits, on Saturday (9/10), NYT Op-Ed writer Timothy Egan said Johnson doesn’t deserve the votes of people disenchanted with Clinton and Trump.

“A voter of conscience, in a normal year, could go for Johnson and feel O.K. about it,” Egan wrote. “But this year, in a tight election, any vote by an independent or a Democrat for Johnson could burden that citizen with a lifetime of guilt for handing the world over to Trump. His presidency could “lead to the end of civilization,” as his own ghostwriter, Tony Schwartz has said.”

If you want to know why the liberal gang is now after Johnson, just look at the polls.

Johnson is going to be on the ballot in all 50 states and a new Washington Post/Survey Monkey poll shows he’s already in double digits in 42 of them. In 15 of them, he’s at 15 percent or higher, including 25 percent in New Mexico, 23 percent in Utah and 19 percent in Alaska, Idaho, and South Dakota.

Then you have today’s revelation that Johnson is the top choice of respondents in the most recent polling of the military community.  The poll was conducted between Sept. 7 and Sept. 10 via SurveyMonkey.

Johnson was preferred by 37 percent of respondents, which include active-duty, retired and former members of the military, as well as their family members.  Trump came in second, at 30 percent, and Clinton third at 24 percent.

Who would have thought that Hillary Clinton, who expected her march to the White House to be a cakewalk after Donald Trump secured the Republican nomination, would be forced to add Gary Johnson to the equation?

Nothing like a real challenge to their power to get the powers that be all charged up.

 

Monica Wehby: down for the count

Originally positioned by the Republicans as a smart female political newcomer and seen as a credible challenger to Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Monica Wehby has become a damaged candidate with diminishing changes of success.

“I’m not a politician,” she said in announcing her candidacy in January 2014. So, far, that’s pretty clear. A pediatric neurosurgeon at Randall Children’s Hospital, she has been tripped up almost from day one.

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It’s not as though Merkley should be a particularly strong opponent. Winning the first time by just 49% to 46%, he’s a pretty colorless Senator with one of the most liberal voting records and without any significant legislative accomplishments.

With today being the first day of the federal fiscal year, Merkley can also be fairly targeted as a Senator who has done nothing to effectively deal with the burgeoning national debt, now at $17.5 billion and counting, that is going to burden all our children.

Merkley is also running at a time when the country overall is in a pretty sour mood, with 67 percent of registered voters saying the nation is on the wrong track (NBC/Wall Street Journal) and 57 percent of registered voters nationwide saying it’s time to give a new person a chance in Congress (NBC/Wall Street Journal).

But if the polls are right, that doesn’t seem to matter to enough Oregonians to make Merkley vulnerable.

Instead, Wehby has been left defending herself against such things as charges arising out of opposition research that she harassed a boyfriend and her ex-husband. As Joe Pounder, a veteran GOP researcher, told Politico, “There’s the growing intensity of a media cycle fueled by the salacious and voyeuristic.”

Likely opposition research that generated reports on the website Buzzfeed in September that multiple portions of position documents on Wehby’s website had been plagiarized also has slowed any Wehby momentum.

Despite Wehby’s efforts to position herself as a new choice, and the significant support she’s been getting from independent spending, it’s pretty clear at this point that she hasn’t broken out to capture the hearts, minds and votes of enough Oregonians to win.