Most politicians don’t speak for themselves. They rely on poll tested answers provided by political consultants and rehearsed speeches composed by professional ghost writers. It’s rare for a candidate to speak from their own heart and by so doing make themselves vulnerable. Gary Johnson takes that risk on a daily basis when he goes into interviews lacking the political apparatus that shields the major party candidates. It’s just Gary out there on television. He hasn’t had decades of security briefings like Hillary Clinton, and he doesn’t have the audacity of a pathological liar like Donald Trump. Gary Johnson is a painfully honest human being and that should be respected.
This was all on display during a recent episode of Morning Joe wherein one of the show’s co-hosts asked the Governor about Aleppo. Now, without Googling that, ask yourself if you know what Aleppo is – and how long you’ve known. Now, listen to Gary Johnson’s response and make up your own mind as to whether he knew what Aleppo was. It appears from the full three minute segment that the Governor did know about Aleppo, Syria and what was going on there. He merely drew a blank at first and benignly asked for some context. Is that so terrible?
Surely Gary Johnson’s honest ask for reprieve should be preferred to a response from one of the other two candidates. Hillary would have begun by explaining her invasion plans for Syria – if she were honest. Trump would have immediately launched into a tirade about how he knows exactly what Aleppo is, he’s always known about Aleppo, and he knows more about Aleppo than the Generals. Taking that into consideration, this really isn’t the gaffe that the media is making it out to be. If anything, it’s a good thing that shows Gary Johnson is a human being.
Shortly after the show ended Gary Johnson put out a short statement to clear everything up:
This morning, I began my day by setting aside any doubt that I’m human. Yes, I understand the dynamics of the Syrian conflict — I talk about them every day. But hit with “What about Aleppo?”, I immediately was thinking about an acronym, not the Syrian conflict. I blanked. It happens, and it will happen again during the course of this campaign.
Can I name every city in Syria? No. Should I have identified Aleppo? Yes. Do I understand its significance? Yes.
As Governor, there were many things I didn’t know off the top of my head. But I succeeded by surrounding myself with the right people, getting to the bottom of important issues, and making principled decisions. It worked. That is what a President must do.
That would begin, clearly, with daily security briefings that, to me, will be fundamental to the job of being President.
If Gary Johnson doesn’t know something, he’ll admit it. If he makes a mistake, he’ll own up to it. Honesty is an oft-overlooked but admirable trait that the people should desire in their President.