John Oliver cannot stop talking about the candidates for the 2016 presidential election. And who can blame him, given how bizarre and hostile it has been on both sides of the political aisle, particularly with the Republican party. This time Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO), John Oliver took a break from covering Donald J. Trump (a.k.a. Donald J. Drumpf). Instead he took a closer look at the two most recognizable third-party candidates: Gary Johnson and Jill Stein. Check the featured video for his take on these 3P nominees. My perspective below is not as vehement or as theatrically comedic as Oliver’s. But in general, we agree.
Gary Johnson is the Libertarian nominee. He is essentially a pot smoking conservative. His candidacy is proof that you should not ingest or inhale marijuana prior to giving TV interviews. It’s why he forgets things like “What is Aleppo?” on Morning Joe. And then there was his recent “I’m having an Aleppo moment” on Hardball: Johnson Town Hall with Chris Matthews when asked to name just ONE living foreign leader of ANY country he respected…Johnson couldn’t name one. It’s why he is prone to say really weird things such as his public personification of conquering Mount Everest: “She lifted her skirt and I got in there and got a peek and it was really cool.” Or his “lighthearted” tongue-out-of-mouth moment during an interview with MSNBC’s Kasie Hunt. Or even his “so in the moment” interview on Full Frontal with Samantha Bee in which he shares his high school nickname “Jaguar Johnson” and kisses Samantha Bee while on a rock-climbing wall. It’s ironic: Gary Johnson was probably high on weed when he came up with his impractical tax revenue proposal, yet he criticized CNN Chris Cuomo of “getting a little too into the weeds here” for questioning his plan. Hey, it’s refreshing to see a fit outdoorsman running for office. That said being a climber and triathlete doesn’t make you fit to be commander-in-chief of the United States. It is fairly clear from the facial expressions and responses of his running mate, Bill Weld, that the VP candidate would prefer to be the lead ticket for the Libertarian party.
And then there is Jill Stein, the Green Party nominee. She has an environmentally friendly platform, but not much else. As with Gary Johnson, Stein does not offer practical solutions for her proposals on education, building a future for the younger generation, or a comprehensive plan for those looking forward to the ‘golden years’ of retirement. But unlike Johnson, she does not seek to abolish the Departments of Education, Commerce, and Housing and Urban Development, or to repeal the Affordable Care Act. And Jill Stein would rather bolster Social Security and Medicare than drastically cut those federal programs (though she does not articulate a strategy on how this will be done). Yes, she was part of a folk band two decades ago, and the music was anything other than lyrical, coherent and transformative. That alone does not preclude her from being a viable candidate for POTUS, but it does cast a cloud of absurdity wherever she campaigns. Jill Stein has claimed to be a vegetarian, and other times she says she’s a vegan who eats fish and dairy. This does not make her a vegetarian. And there’s no such thing as a vegan with exceptions; you are either a vegan or you are not. If you want a vegan presidential candidate then hop on the plant-powered Humane Party caravan with Clifton Roberts.
There are no ideal candidates who meet the criteria for such a diverse U.S. electorate, or for the registered voters who will submit their ballots on or before November 8th. Hillary Clinton is the most viable candidate for this country even though she brings with her over twenty years of political experience and baggage (based on the perspectives of her supporters and critics) having worked in the White House while her husband was president, having served as a U.S. Senator and as former Secretary of State. It sucks to be an insider, unless you’re a “bat sh%t crazy” outsider.
http://www.msnbc.com/transcripts/hardball/2016-09-28 (September 28, 2016)
http://inthesetimes.com/features/lesser_evil_jill_stein_hillary_clinton.html (September 26, 2016)