Clinton or Trump? I truly have no idea which candidate would be worse. Either nominee would take the oath of office in the face of angry partisan foes itching for payback. Either nominee has ample self-destructive impulses likely to empower an army of detractors.
When I tell people I’m voting for Johnson, wags invariably respond: “You mean the guy who doesn’t know where Aleppo is?” (When an MSNBC talking head asked Johnson what he’d do about Aleppo, Johnson responded, “What is a leppo?”) My quick rejoinder: Running mate Bill Weld, the former GOP Massachusetts governor who won re-election in a blue state, can be in charge of foreign policy.
My more serious answer: Johnson doesn’t answer snap questions well in part because he doesn’t have a staple of canned sound bites he endlessly repeats. When I interviewed Johnson this summer, I asked him to name the first three regulations he’d work to eliminate. He drew a blank — he couldn’t name three. He instead said, “I’ll bet that we’re able to do away with hundreds of regulations in a matter of weeks.” Later he mentioned he would get rid of the federal Department of Education and Department of Housing and Urban Development. He’s not afraid to push for smaller government. He has been a strong critic of the failed federal war on drugs. He supports legalizing recreational use of marijuana. That is, he understands where the federal government should pull back.
Johnson doesn’t like being called an isolationist; he sees himself as a “non-interventionist.” He told me he believes U.S. troops should work to defeat the Islamic State because “ISIS has attacked us.” I fear that he will reduce America’s military footprint abroad, but at least he has little appetite to send U.S. troops in harm’s way for unclear objectives.
Is he ready to be president? No. Neither is Trump. And Clinton isn’t ready to be the kind of president who works within simple rules. From Day One, Trump or Clinton will sow chaos. So I’m going with the no-drama candidate who actually means what he says.