Why Gary Johnson Is the Hero We Need

Greatest hits from the man who brought us "What is Aleppo?"

Gary Johnson

By Taylor Smith

Going strong at 7.3% in the polls, Libertarian presidential hopeful Gary Johnson may not have earned a spot on the debate stage or in the public consciousness, but his interviews are nothing short of magical. As the quadrennial circus roars on with late-night tweet storms and tax scandals galore, the buzz around the major party candidates has largely overshadowed the inevitable also-ran, who’s been a delightfully persistent source of comic relief in the post “Jeb!” days. Below we celebrate the greatest gaffes of Gary Johnson, American hero.


1. “What is Aleppo?”

When Morning Joe’s Mike Barnicle dared to confront him with confusing jargon like “Aleppo” and what he would “do about it,” Gary asked the tough questions, earning his campaign some much-needed, if damaging, press coverage.



2. “Who’s Harriet Tubman?”

Sadly, there’s no video evidence of this one, but after speaking at the Pasadena Convention Center for Politicon in June, Johnson asked the obvious question when led into the Tubman Room: “Who’s Harriet Tubman?” Personally, I can’t think of a better way to follow up a discussion of the lack of racial diversity within the Libertarian party.


3. “Who’s my favorite foreign leader?”

Hardball, indeed. When MSNBC’s Chris Matthews asked Johnson to name his favorite foreign leader at last Thursday’s town hall forum, the 63-year-old former New Mexico governor was understandably nonplussed. He struggled to recall the name of former Mexican president Vicente Fox and finally declared the snafu an “Aleppo moment.” Johnson later shared campaign manager Ron Nielson’s Facebook post accusing Matthews of “gotcha-ism at its finest.”



4. “In billions of years, the sun is gonna actually grow and encompass the earth, right?”

Scientists are divided on the “sun will swallow the Earth” hypothesis, but suffice it to say this 2011 gem is not the strongest argument for the laissez-faire approach to climate change policy Johnson’s been unwisely touting for years. His more recent argument for moving to other planets, though? Sounds like a winner.



5. “I’m just grateful that nobody got hurt.”

That was Johnson’s response to the explosion in Chelsea that injured 31 New Yorkers.