It appears Gary Johnson is really good at not knowing things.
The Libertarian candidate, poised to etch his name in history books for being the first presidential candidate from his party to poll at 10 percent nationally, has drawn a lot of flak recently for being in the dark about a number of significant international events, places, and personalities. Sadly, however, it appears the criticism has not sprung Johnson into more awareness, as the third-party candidate continues to flounder through interviews when asked about foreign policy matters.
According to the Huffington Post, Johnson’s latest bout of no-awareness happened when the New York Times asked him if he knew the name of North Korea’s leader. Johnson replied in the affirmative, but when he was pressed for the name, the Libertarian candidate reportedly said, dryly, “You want me to name… Really.”
In the end, the newspaper confirmed that Gary Johnson could not come up with the name of Kim Jong-un.
Now while it would be acceptable for an average citizen not to be so blissfully ignorant about the name of Kim Jong-un, it certainly does not bode well for a politician with presidential aspirations not to know the name of North Korea’s leader.
This is, of course, not the first time that Gary Johnson has embarrassed himself during an interview. Last week, during a town hall appearance on MSNBC, when host Chris Matthews asked Johnson to name his favorite foreign leader or diplomat, the Libertarian candidate could not come up with a single name.
“Go ahead, you gotta do this. Anywhere. Any continent. Canada, Mexico, Europe, over there, Asia, South America, Africa. Name a foreign leader that you respect,” Matthews asked him.
“I guess I am having an Aleppo moment,” Johnson said.
His response was a reference to an earlier blunder that Johnson had made last month. In early September, when Johnson was asked about Aleppo, a critical city in Syria’s civil war, he had responded with the question: “What is Aleppo?”
While these repeated lapses certainly seem to suggest that Gary Johnson needs to brush up his knowledge of foreign affairs, the Libertarian candidate has lately insinuated that his ignorance should be treated as a positive attribute and an asset. Speaking to MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell on Tuesday, Johnson suggested that knowing a lot of things about other countries is a bad quality to have in a future president because it means one is more likely to launch foreign wars.
“The fact that somebody can dot the i’s and cross the t’s on a foreign leader or a geographic location then allows them to put our military in harm’s way,” Johnson said.
Now, while libertarians have traditionally been known to be non-interventionist in their approach to foreign affairs, the very fact that Johnson believes that the future Commander in Chief of America should not know about foreign countries and leaders is absurdly frightening. Ignorance is not a virtue in a president, but despite that, Johnson has attempted to dig deeper into his mistakes, and not once attempted to own up to them and actually start to learn more about foreign affairs.
It is a real shame too, because voters, especially young ones, had started to look at Gary Johnson as a possible alternative to the two major-party candidates. Johnson’s conservative fiscal policy combined with his aversion to foreign wars seemed to have helped him woo millennials tired of America’s overt military presence in the Middle East and elsewhere, but his sheer ignorance, coupled with his almost incessant effort to make a virtue out of it, is certain to drive them back into either not voting at all, or looking for a clearer way to express their disillusionment.
[Featured Image by Bill McCay/Getty Images]