The title of this post is a famous line in the Ford-Carter presidential debate in 1976.
President Ford was asked a question about the Helsinki agreement, which according to the moderator, recognized that “the Russians have dominance in Eastern Europe.” Now, outside the Baltics, the moderator’s claim was false! The agreement did not admit that Moscow had the right to govern the Warsaw Pact countries. In fact, the agreement did exactly the reverse, by disavowing both armed intervention and the use of economic sanctions as means of coercion.
President Ford started to say, “I can’t under any circumstances believe ... that by signing the agreement ... 35 nations have turned over to the Warsaw Pact nations the domination of Eastern Europe. It just isn’t true!” And that would have been a fine answer to a loaded question. Unfortunately, he went on to add, “There is no Soviet domination of Eastern Europe and there never will be under a Ford administration.”
Man, that was a gaffe. President Ford knew exactly what he was talking about, he just said something stupid and then refused to walk it back. (If you watch the clip, you can see him beginning a good recovery, and then blowing it by saying that he did not think that the Poles considered themselves dominated by the Soviet Union.)
Well, yesterday, Gary Johnson made a much more serious gaffe in an interview on MSNBC. The transcript:
Mike Barnicle asked Johnson: “What would you do if you were elected, about Aleppo?”
“About?” asked Johnson.
“Aleppo,” replied Barnicle.
“And what is Aleppo?” asked Johnson.
“You’re kidding,” responded Barnicle.
“No,” said Johnson.
Uh. That boggles the mind. Stunning. Ford made a gaffe, Johnson just admitted to total political malpractice and disqualifying ignorance. I stand in slack-jawed amazement ... and now I understand why Mitt Romney has refused to endorse.
Anyone who wanted the Libertarians to become a real third party force in America should be very angry at Gary Johnson right now. As should anyone who believes that running for President of the United States is, you know, a serious thing.