Gary Johnson is no Ron Paul
© Moriah Ratner

I miss Ron Paul in the presidential campaign.

The former Republican congressman from Texas always added depth, insight and ideas to presidential politics. Sometimes I might agree with Dr. Paul, other times not, but he was always informed and knowledgeable.


The Libertarian nominee for president in 2016, Gary JohnsonGary Earl JohnsonWeld drops out of GOP primary Weld bets on New Hampshire to fuel long shot bid against Trump The 'Green' new deal that Tom Perez needs to make MORE, is no Ron Paul. Johnson has made one embarrassing gaffe after another. Some of Johnson's gaffes are so ludicrous, and his lack of knowledge on key issues so extreme, and so obvious, it would still not surprise me if his vice presidential nominee, Bill Weld, were to drop out of the race and endorse Democratic nominee Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonFormer Obama adviser Plouffe predicts 'historical level' of turnout by Trump supporters Poll: More Republican voters think party is more united than Democratic voters Whoopi Goldberg presses Sanders: 'Why are you still in the race?' MORE.

How can any person who aspires to be commander in chief not even know what or where Aleppo is? The great humanitarian crisis of our age has received saturation news coverage for a long time, with the people across the nation and around the world moved by it. Johnson's knowledge level must be very low for him to not even know about the Syrian city.

How can any person who aspires to be commander in chief not be able to name even one foreign leader he admires? Where does Johnson receive his news? Does he ever convene foreign policy and national security briefings?

Defining ignorance as a lack of knowledge and facts, Johnson is just as ignorant as GOP nominee Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump fires intelligence community inspector general who flagged Ukraine whistleblower complaint Trump organization has laid off over 1000 employees due to pandemic: report Trump invokes Defense Production Act to prevent export of surgical masks, gloves MORE, who often makes wildly inaccurate statements that are easily and often debunked.

Recently Johnson tried to make being ignorant a virtue, suggesting Americans would be safer with a president who won't send troops to a country be could not find, against a dictator he could not name. Would Britain and America have been safer if President Franklin Roosevelt and Prime Minister Winston Churchill did not wage World War II because they did not know where Germany is on the map?

Recently, Johnson refused to name the dictator of North Korea in an interview with The New York Times. He claimed he knew the name, but would not say it.

Even worse, in The New York Times interview, Johnson — who did not know what Aleppo is, remember — now incredibly equates the United States with the murderous regime of Bashar Assad of Syria as responsible for the killing of large numbers of innocent civilians in Syria. This statement is so false, so ignorant, so lacking in knowledge and facts that it disqualifies anyone from seriously considering him as a potential commander in chief.

It is Syrian dictator Assad and Russian strongman Vladimir Putin who engage in massive bombing deliberately intended to kill masses of civilians. The United States does not do this. Johnson should hang his head in shame for equating America with Assad in any way.

Paul spent an entire career advocating intelligent and important libertarian policies with a command of the facts and a deep knowledge of the issues. Paul could conduct deep and thoughtful conversations about monetary policy and world finance, about civil liberties and macroeconomic policies, and about the problems created by big government and big business.

Whether I ultimately agreed with Paul or not, I always listened to him carefully, and often learned something from hearing his views.

While Gary Johnson is a very decent person, he often says things so weird and bizarre, and so factually false or uninformed, that far too often when he speaks he reveals that he just doesn't know what he is talking about.

It is no surprise that Bill Weld speaks highly of Hillary Clinton's qualifications and experience for the presidency, while Gary Johnson seems to have an "Aleppo moment" at regular intervals.

Budowsky was an aide to former Sen. Lloyd Bentsen (D-Texas) and former Chief Deputy Majority Whip Bill Alexander (D-Ark.). He holds an LL.M. degree in international financial law from the London School of Economics. Contact him at

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