Honestly, how many voters care what a leppo is? Republicans and Democrats can promise as many leppos as they like, but Gary Johnson, a strict constitutionalist, won’t let a leppo distract him from the business of shrinking the federal government.

The Libertarian candidate’s failure to recognize the name of the Syrian city doesn’t seem to have done him any harm. All third-party candidates struggle for airtime and, all of a sudden, Gary Johnson is getting plenty of it. People who hadn’t heard of Governor Veto are now looking him up: His social media numbers have spiked, and he seems to be holding up in the polls.

It doesn’t hurt to be condescended to by comedians or patronized by pundits. Especially when those pundits are ignorantly trying to look clever. Here is a delicious snippet from the New York Times:

“Correction: Sept. 8, 2016: An earlier version of this article misidentified the de facto capital of the Islamic State. It is Raqqa, in northern Syria, not Aleppo, the Syrian capital.”

Gee, thanks, you clever liberals, for correcting us ignorant rubes. But hang on, what’s this?

“Correction: Sept. 8, 2016: An earlier version of the above correction misidentified the Syrian capital as Aleppo. It is Damascus.”

If this election has taught us anything, it’s that voters and columnists have very different ideas about what constitutes a gaffe. Donald Trump has been evasive, self-contradictory, bullying, narcissistic and foul-mouthed, and it doesn’t seem to have done him any harm. A media pro, he recognized early on that the key thing was to get people talking about him.

As gaffes go, Gov. Johnson’s is pretty minor. Hillary Clinton appears to have dissembled about the destruction of her emails. Trump insulted the grieving mother of a man who died fighting for America. Next to those offenses, an inexact grasp of Levantine geography seems a pretty minor peccadillo.

In any case, for a gaffe to be damaging, it has to wreck the candidate’s image. Remember how all the experts used to say that George Bush’s failure to serve in Vietnam was worse than the allegations made by the swift boat veterans against his rival, John Kerry? Those experts were missing a key point: The supposed basis of Kerry’s appeal was being a war hero.

Obama statement on bomb incidents coming 'relatively soon'

Also from the Washington Examiner

“I think the president will have an opportunity to address this later today,” Earnest said.

09/19/16 9:14 AM

George Bush’s life story, as presented to the electorate, was that of a rich kid who did some dumb things, found God, stopped drinking and pulled himself together. The fact that he had sat out the war in Indiana didn’t contradict that story.

Kerry, by contrast, was meant to be the man who had volunteered for danger when other pampered kids dodged the draft. If he hadn’t been as brave as he claimed, that was a serious problem.

What is Gary Johnson’s shtick? It’s that America has meddled far too much in foreign countries, thereby making them less stable and itself less safe. Now you can agree or disagree with that analysis. But it’s hard to see how not knowing the details of a foreign civil war undermines a candidate whose basic appeal is non-interventionism.

The same is not true of allegations that the Clintons have benefited from their foundation, or that Hillary is too close to K-street. When your pitch is that you’re going to stand up for the little guy against the wealthy, that hurts you.

Nor is it true of the many stories about Donald Trump’s business failures. If you’re the candidate who hasn’t held office, but who knows how to get things done in the private sector, your private-sector past matters a great deal.

Obama has nothing to say on NYC bombing

Also from the Washington Examiner

Late Saturday, the White House released a statement saying only that Obama was aware of the bombing.

09/19/16 8:58 AM

In the end, what counts in a presidential candidate is not expertise but character. A president gets the best technical advice in the world. He is surrounded by people with up-to-date information. How he uses their analysis comes down to his personality, his instincts, his judgment.

Up against two candidates who seem to have problems with the truth, Gary Johnson again showed himself to be utterly guileless. He didn’t try to talk over the interviewer or bluff his way out of a corner. He admitted candidly to not knowing something.

He is equally artless about the policies he wants to pursue, making no effort to sugarcoat the unpopular ones. And remember: The centerpiece of his candidacy is the promise to reduce a federal debt of nearly $20 trillion — a debt that everyone else seems to have become inured to. That, in my book, makes him the only moderate in the race.

Dan Hannan is a British Conservative MEP.

Police name Ahmad Khan Rahami in connection with N.Y. bombing case

Top Story

New York Police Department spokesman J. Peter Donald announced the development on Twitter.

09/19/16 7:51 AM

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