Gary Johnson vs. Sean Hannity

Saturday, May 28th, 2011

Johnson is really impressive. In just the last year or so that I’ve been watching him on these shows, he has become much more articulate, charismatic, and convincing.

Hannity remains as dense as he’s always been.

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46 Responses to “Gary Johnson vs. Sean Hannity”

  1. #1 |  B | 

    He is unequivocally wrong about monetary policy:

    a) Money should not be considered a store of value. It is a medium of exchange to facilitate trade. Only hold as much money as your liquidity needs require. If you want your savings to hold its value against inflation, put in interest bearing accounts, e.g. CDs.

    b) When unemployment is high, a weakening dollar increases costs of imports, giving a boost to domestic production which helps job growth. When unemployment is low, a strong dollar is icing on the cake. But that’s not the case now.

    c) Comparing the dollar against the yen ignores the Japanese central bank’s role in that relationship. Japan has been notoriously tight with monetary policy, evidenced by their mild deflation for the past 20 years. How has mild deflation worked out for them? Pretty awful.

    d) The dollar has been sliding for DECADES. That’s simply a fact of a globalizing economy. Foreign countries are becoming more confident in their regional economies and holding fewer dollars in reserve.

  2. #2 |  JS | 

    There are so many ideas that were considered lunatic fringe just a few years ago that are now embraced by mainstream people since Ron Paul ran in 2008. That’s why Gary Johnson running is good too. Running for president gives libertarians a platform to get ideas that are taboo or not normally allowed in public discussion out there.

  3. #3 |  JS | 

    oh yea, and Hannity’s stil a douche.

  4. #4 |  shecky | 

    Fox and the likes of Hannity are the biggest obstacle to libertarianism ever gaining any kind of foothold in American society. And Hannity tells us why in this piece. Pragmatism, Johnson’s and libertarianism’s greatest strength, loses to Republican conservative ideology.

  5. #5 |  rmv | 

    #1 B

    a) money not being a store of value = inflation. inflation = (implicit)taxation.

    b) artificially inflating the money supply does not solve the problem of high unemployment, at least not in the long run. short run phillips curve vs long run phillips curve. you can have high inflation and high unemployment. 1970’s stagflation

    c) japan is not a case for debasing our money. japan is a case for not funneling vast sums of money into public works boondoggles.

    d) not a bad thing in and of itself. The federal govt will have to, in reaction to less dollars held overseas, stop borrowing so much or pay higher interest rates.(or default)

  6. #6 |  Bart | 

    RMV – you addressed B’s points better than I could have. Well done.

  7. #7 |  BillC | 

    He seems intelligent and competent, two qualities that will be quite an obstacle in his quest for the Republican nomination.

  8. #8 |  B | 

    a) Money not being a store of value = don’t act like money is a store of value. Mild inflation is good monetary policy. Protect yourself against inflation by keeping your savings in investments, not cash. You can’t have your cake and eat it too. Money is liquidity, not a savings vehicle.

    b) We’re artificially inflating the money supply because money velocity is in the toilet. The goal being stable NGDP growth. What happened to NGDP in the great recession?

    c) The public works boondoggles of the Japanese government doesn’t erase the lousy monetary policy of the Japanese central bank. Every time Japan has injected money into their economy, they’ve yanked the rug out soon after.

    d) Yes, less dollar demand from overseas will mean our government will be under more pressure to balance their budgets as borrowing becomes more expensive.

  9. #9 |  RBM | 

    Why bash fox? They gave Gary Johnson 20 minutes of Prime time. Hannity disagreed but let Gov. Johnson get in a lot of very good points.

    Fox is doing a lot for the libertarian movement (Freedom Watch and John Stossel’s program).

  10. #10 |  Michael Chaney | 

    Hannity’s dense, but he’s also your normal conservative Republican. Johnson does well to bring these ideas in front of Hannity and his base, and he can learn and grow from the experience.

  11. #11 |  rmv | 

    #8 B

    a) well, im a fan of larry white and george selgin, but if i were in favor of a central bank, stability and consistency = good monetary policy.
    protecting oneself against inflation by investing is a good idea, but this isnt an investment forum. (institutionalized) inflation is still a tax, especially on the poor who are less able to save in investments.

    b) why has velocity slowed down? id argue because of the financial reform and obama’s incredibly vocal anti-market sentiments leading up to it. once the rules of the game are set(if ever), velocity will pick up and the effects of expansionary policies by the fed will finally be felt.

    c) two blades in a pair of scissors. id argue the fiscal “stimulus” was much more harmful.

  12. #12 |  Darwin | 

    Another Republican who goes straight to screwing the poor and elderly to solve everything. Nothing about making corporations actually pay some tax let alone anywhere near the 35% tax rate they whine about but don’t pay. Nothing really about cutting the out of control military industrial security complex. So he and Hannity agree to keep licking the boots of the wealthy and powerful at the expense of very one else. Nothing different here. Nothing to see. Move along.
    Oh and his idea to let the states handle things with federal money is laughable. The level of corruption and incompetence at the state level is ten times worse than federal and thats saying something.

  13. #13 |  Radley Balko | 

    Nothing really about cutting the out of control military industrial security complex.

    What interview were you watching? He’s calling to end the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Libya. On his website, he calls for bringing home a significant percentage of the troops stationed in Europe and Asia.

    Those positions alone put him ahead of 90 percent of the Democrats in Congress.

    He wants to end the federal drug war. He’s pro-immigration and favors giving undocumented aliens a path to citizenship. Again, find me five Democrats in Congress who hold those two positions.

    Seems your main beef is that he wants to end the corporate income tax. Fine. Criticize him for that if you like. But the fact that he doesn’t agree with you on your particular pet issue hardly justifies, “Nothing different here.”

  14. #14 |  freedomfan | 

    Regarding getting the GOP to come around on the drug issue: Johnson needs to acknowledge that this is an issue in which many conservatives (like Hannity) are emotionally invested and they aren’t going to be won over just by the dry “cost-benefit analysis” argument, though that may work well for issues like Medicare. (And, IMO, the “I’ve tried both marijuana and alcohol and the difference is that alcohol is worse” approach isn’t really helping either.)

    I think Johnson actually has a decent angle with the idea that most parents with a couple kids can expect that one of them will try pot at some point. So, which approach to drug policy represents family values better, the government stepping in and giving those kids a criminal rap sheet and possible jail time or letting parents deal with their own kids? I think the idea that parents should be raising their kids and not government will go over well.

    In my view, Johnson needs to point out several things that will be more appealing to primary voters. 1) Keeping drugs illegal is keeping drug dealers in business and tightening the hold of gangs on our children, especially in poor urban areas. Just like alcohol prohibition in the past largely funded the growth of the mafia, drug prohibition for the past several decades has been funding drug dealers and gangs. He needs to make it clear that, for people who don’t do drugs, the reason our children might get shot driving past the wrong street corner is because the high cost of drugs – because they are illegal – makes it worth a dealer’s while to defend his turf with a gun. Why should American tax money be spent to prop up illegal drug trade and give gangs the resources to endanger our children?

    2) One can’t honestly care about the Constitution and limited government (and many on the right think that they do) and still support the idea that the federal government’s job is to criminalize personal vices. And, federal drug policy is anti-federalist: Not respecting states’ own laws regarding drug legality is preventing the “laboratory of democracy” aspect of federalism to work by forcing a one-size-fits-all approach on the whole country. Let the states do what they want and we can learn which approaches work and which do not.

    3) Federal drug policy is an expensive failure in terms of direct costs (enforcement, prisons, etc.) and indirect social costs (erosion of the freedoms of gun owners, disuading addicts from seeking treatment because they have to admit they are felons to do so, etc.) and in terms of actually making drugs difficult to get. It shouldn’t be the American approach to continue expensive, big government programs that don’t work.

    BTW, when talking about other countries’ experience with legalization, Johnson needs to be ready for the approach Hannity took of implying that Johnson want the government to be paying for people’s heroin. He needs to make it clear that he is not proposing that taxpayers pick up the tab for drugs, but instead that taxpayers don’t pick up the tab for imprisoning non-violent drug users. Moreover, treatment will be much more likely path for addicts when it’s more like it is for people who have an alcohol problem: they won’t have to worry about getting thrown in jail for admitting that they have a problem and they can get the support of their family and friends without dragging them into an underground drug culture.

    Anyway, I think Johnson did very well overall in that interview. He has a great resume and his accomplishments in New Mexico will play well in light of the current focus on government spending. But, if he can take his message on that one social issue and tailor it a little more to the people whose vote he must get, he will be a lot harder to ignore in the primaries. I am glad he doesn’t back down on the issue, but if he must come up with a way to talk about it that seems more common sense and mainstream, or he will be relegated to the sidelines as a “fringe” candidate.

  15. #15 |  Fred Mangels | 

    JS wrote, “Running for president gives libertarians a platform to get ideas that are taboo or not normally allowed in public discussion out there.”.

    That may be true but I’ve been hearing that ever since I joined the Libertarian Party back in ’92 and am getting a bit tired of hearing it every election season only to have any decent Republican nominees lose their primaries and the LP candidates get their .4% of the vote.

    But at least we got our message out!

  16. #16 |  supercat | 

    #11 | rmv | May 28th, 2011 at 6:16 pm “once the rules of the game are set(if ever), velocity will pick up and the effects of expansionary policies by the fed will finally be felt.”

    Markets function well when they are subject to good rules. Markets function less well when everyone is subject to bad rules; in many cases, they adapt by figuring out how to do good things the bad rules tried to prevent, not quite achieving the performance they would under good rules, but doing pretty well anyway. The worst situation for a markets is to have a participant who isn’t subject to any rules, which is unfortunately the situation in today’s financial markets. When a market participant is allowed to make up rules on the fly, there is no real market–just a kleptocracy. Unfortunately, that’s what we’ve had in the financial markets ever since the bail-outs of 2008, and the corruption in the financial markets infects other markets as well.

    For a market to be stable, there’s an important requirement: those who buy high and sell low must not be able to disproportionally foist losses upon others. If someone can engage in speculation secure in the knowledge that he’ll be able to bank 100% of any profits but only have to pay 50% of any losses, the most profitable strategies may well be those which are expected to lose money. People who engage in such strategy profit at the expense not only of those who are forced to cover their losses, but also at the expense of other market participants who had to pay more for goods that were in high demand, and received less for goods that were in low demand, than otherwise would have been the case.

  17. #17 |  FTP | 

    Although he mentioned that he no longer uses either marijuana or alcohol, Gary Johnson may be the first Presidential candidate I’ve seen admit to past marijuana use without then going through that ridiculous catechism of A. claiming not to have liked it and
    B. using his own past experience as a reason for continuing to impose (often draconian) penalties on those who use it today.

    He seems like a decent person.

  18. #18 |  rmv | 

    #16 supercat

    we were just talking about velocity of money

  19. #19 |  LivingPre911Still | 

    A Republican Congress and a Republican Senate??? sounds good if they fight the monetary issues in sincerity… however.. the problem is the arrogance they bring via insistance upon adding their social agenda to each and every bill… god forbid either party attack a real issue in ernest without their petty social agenda in tow..

  20. #20 |  perlhaqr | 

    I’ve been hoping Johnson would run for President ever since he had to step aside as Governor. Goddamn, I wish we could have swapped his tenure with Richardson’s. Johnson, the fiscal conservative, held sway when the economy was booming, and ran up huge surpluses. And then Richardson, the Machine Democrat fiscal profligate, got the reins of power while the economy was crashing and spent us back into a huge fucking hole.

    I just wish I had money to donate to Johnson.

    And, as ever, I am disappointed in Paul for not living by his promise to step aside for and support Johnson if Johnson chose to run.

  21. #21 |  perlhaqr | 

    #19, LivingPre911Still: A Republican Congress and a Republican Senate??? sounds good if they fight the monetary issues in sincerity… however.. the problem is the arrogance they bring via insistance upon adding their social agenda to each and every bill… god forbid either party attack a real issue in ernest without their petty social agenda in tow..

    I urge you to look at Johnson’s record. Fully a third of the bills he vetoed were Republican sponsored. He runs as a Republican, but he’s an old school Republican, not one of these “Family Values” Republicans. He’s serious about fixing the real problems with our country.

  22. #22 |  TomG | 

    Gary Johnson is the only Republican in the race who I respect. I sure hope he gets more coverage in the media.

  23. #23 |  paul | 


    Since pretty much every position Johnson has is completely opposite to every position most journalists hold dear, they are going to do everything they can to avoid giving him more coverage.

    First, they will just ignore him. If he catches on, they’ll pull out the stops to smear and mock him to and ensure a boring, unelectable moderate republican is the winner in the primaries.

    In the off chance their boring moderate actually wins, at least he’ll have pretty much the same views and policies as the rest of the Democratic hacks they so love to support.

    Trouble is, I agree with Johnson that we’re headed for a financial calamity of the first degree. The moderates are going to stay the course, but unless something is done while we still have some measure of control over the situation, we’re going to go over the cliff.

  24. #24 |  jeebus | 

    Sean Hannity is an effing douchebag of epic proportions. Gary Johnson is the only Republican I would vote for. Best of luck to Governor Johnson.

  25. #25 |  Ben | 

    God, Hannity is such a dink.

  26. #26 |  Appletony | 

    Hannity is a vile tool. He is absolutely unable to listen and seems to be unable to genuinely think.

    I may contribute to Johnson for the good work he’s doing in preaching to the hard line right wing, but I’ll vote for a Dem president until the Repubs come around on individual liberty issues re: gay marriage and the drug war.

  27. #27 |  BoscoH | 

    Hannity’s son will probably be straight as an arrow. His daughter will be in porn the day she turns 18. “Hannity’s Vanity: A Behind the Mirror Look at a Wild Girl”. Write it down.

  28. #28 |  shecky | 

    Why bash Fox? Because Fox (and Hannity)are about promoting Fox, Hannity and the party line. It’s a clown show for rubes. That a libertarian idea gets airing is a happy accident.

  29. #29 |  flukebucket | 

    I will stoke coals in hell before I will vote for any Republican in a Presidential election again. That does not mean that I will always vote for the Democrat but it does mean that I will never, ever vote for anybody that allows their name to be tied to that party in a Presidential election.

    In my best French, fuck ’em forever.

    And I will spend the rest of what is left of my life begging my children, my grandchildren and anybody else that comes within hearing distance of me not to vote for them either.

  30. #30 |  freedomfan | 

    Appletony (#26),

    I may contribute to Johnson for the good work he’s doing in preaching to the hard line right wing, but I’ll vote for a Dem president until the Repubs come around on individual liberty issues re: gay marriage and the drug war. [emphasis added]

    I don’t really see why. You could just as easily say you won’t vote for a Democrat politician until they come around on gay marriage and the drug war. Despite the popular impression, it’s hard to see how actual elected Dems are functionally different (meaning how the actually vote) from the Republicans on the issues.

    As best I can tell, the Democrats have been very weak on supporting gay rights, deigning to throw an occasional bone to a loyal constituent group, but it always seems to be after they feel certain the only votes it will cost them are votes they had no chance of getting anyway. For example, back when it was created, Don’t-Ask-Don’t-Tell was championed by a Democrat (Sam Nunn) passed by a Democrat-controlled House and Senate, and signed by a Democrat President. In contrast, the charge against it was lead by Barry Goldwater and, after it was passed, the number of folks discharged under DADT increased every year under Clinton and then decreased every year under Bush. The repeal finally passed (but not in effect yet) last year is the bone the Democrats threw to gay folks. But, note that the “brave stand” the Dems took only came at a time when it was perfectly safe for them to do so – polling at the time shows that even the wide majority of Republican voters don’t care about the issue, and the Dems had no chance at getting the votes of the hard-line traditionalists anyway.

    Just to avoid any conclusions based on the bipolar fallacy: I am not saying that the GOP has been good on gay rights; I am just saying that the perception that the Democrats are willing to stand up for gay rights seems poorly justified and more a reflection of their own spin than any tough fights they’ve fought. It’s the same with the GOP and free markets: They talk a nice game, but actual elected Republicans have made more moves against free markets (steel import tariffs, Medicare Part D, TARP, etc.) than moves in the other direction.

    And, don’t even get started on the Democrats being better on the drug war. It’s just ain’t so. Actual, elected Democrats have been as hard-line on drugs as the Republican drug warriors. But the party spin and media stereotype is that Republicans are law-and-order types and the Democrats are free-wheeling hippies. In California last year, when marijuana legalization was on the ballot at the same time people were voting for top state-wide offices like governor and U.S. Senator, guess which side those high-profile Democrats took? I am certainly not saying one can’t find a few elected Democrats who supported Prop 19, but here’s how the Democrat big guns lined up in one of the most liberal states in the country:
    Gerry Brown (ran/won Governor): Against;
    Barbara Boxer (ran/remained U.S. Senate): Against;
    Gavin Newsom (former San Francisco Mayor, ran/won Lieutenant Governor): Against;
    Diane Feinstein (sitting U.S. Senator): Against and chaired the opposition;
    Kamala Harris (ran/won State Attorney General): Against;
    etc. Once again, I am certainly not saying the Republicans are overall better on the issue; I am saying the idea that Democrat politicians are reasonable on drug policy doesn’t really hold water.

    What happens, on both of these issues and on a host of others, is that many people who aren’t in politics identify with one party or the other and they assume (often without much reason) that the politicians from that party share their positions on the issues. And, of course, the spin machine for each party is happy with that situation. But, when it comes to what they actually fight for in office, there is far less difference between them than most people think.

  31. #31 |  Rick | 

    I don’t understand why so many echoes against Hannity…good gosh, get a grip. He is giving Johnson a time slot no one else has. I thought the first rule of Libertarianism is to “Live and Let Live”. He clearly allows Johnson to voice his platform without totally dissecting it.

  32. #32 |  Bill | 

    A problem with Hannity is that he assumes that the war on drugs is really keeping a lid on drug use, as if there are lots of people out there just dying to try heroin, but won’t because it is illegal. My experience has been that most people get hooked on heroin against their will. Often it starts with pain medication after an illness or accident. And most would love to get off the stuff. We can regulate these drugs in such a way as to help people get off them. We can also cut down on terrorism, crime, and disease while doing it.

  33. #33 |  John C. Randolph | 

    ” Mild inflation is good monetary policy.”

    Nonsense. Inflation is theft, which specifically penalizes savings. This hare-brained idea that a little theft is a good thing, is born of Keynes’ failure to understand the benefits of thrift.


  34. #34 |  DoubleU | 

    #4 | shecky (and others) Fox and the likes of Hannity are the biggest obstacle to libertarianism

    Nick Gillespie of Reason magazine appears on Fox and Fox Business. The show Red Eye (with Gutfeld) is libertarian leaning. Everything else…. egh. I don’t watch a lot of Fox, but I do see libertarian leanings in some places. Hannity is an ignorant putz,

  35. #35 |  paranoiastrksdp | 

    It pains me to say this but the way you get more libertarian material on fox news is to watch more libertarian material on fox news…
    Positive feedback and voting with one’s remote would do a lot to show the management at fox that this is more than just a “niche market”.

    As for Hannity – guy is a classic douche. I still remember during the Bush years when some lefty group tracked him down to confront him on an issue ( or some group like that). He turns tail and runs like hell for his car, leaves a petite female assistant of his to fend off the mob all by herself. Doesn’t look back *once* to make sure she’s ok. Shows you how much of a “tough guy” Hannity really is…

  36. #36 |  Jack | 

    “…and that’s in lieu of the fact that we have $14 trillion in debt.”

    Hannity is the only dope.

  37. #37 |  Jack | 

    isn’t not is…

  38. #38 |  yonemoto | 

    I’m tired of hearing this dumb phillips curve bullshit.

    Since a lot of financing is done nominally, you’re better off operating in a strong currency, because the pool of money that you’re using to run your operations will go farther. If you’ve borrowed $100k, and the currency appreciates in value, then you can hire 20 people instead of 17. Or have 20k of cushion room instead of 10k.

    That means you are more likely to keep the jobs you have, more likely to hire new people etc.

    Phillips curve is utter BS.

  39. #39 |  nicrivera | 

    It’s kind of bizarre hearing Hannity oppose drug legalization on the grounds that it would kead the government (and hence taxpayers) to have to pay for the health care of drug users. Just who does Hannity think pays for the health care (not to mention food and housing) for all of the drug users in our prisons?

  40. #40 |  LARRY COOK | 

    Without getting into every issue, what troubles me about Johnson is his repeated proclamation that everything is based upon a “cost benefit analysis”. While that process leads to a correct libertarian result in some cases it does so for the wrong reason. Without the correct philosophical reasoning you cannot reach the right results on a consistent basis.
    The non-aggression principal is the basis for decision making, not the cost benefit analysis.

  41. #41 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    Using terms such as “right” and “wrong” regarding philosophical debates is dangerous.

  42. #42 |  roguepatriot | 

    I’m suspicious of this guy. Johnson might just be a GOP tool to dilute Ron Paul supporters. If RP is the ONLY libertarian candidate, then the GOP would have to rig the results and that comes with risk.

    Ron Paul in 2012!!!

  43. #43 |  roguepatriot | 


    … and Hannity is a douche :-)

  44. #44 |  Tom | 

    Johnson lost all chance of my support when he said he would not close gitmo.

    If he’s so “libertarian” he’d want to close it, not be saying that high profile libertarians are telling him to keep it open.

  45. #45 |  Rob in CT | 

    If GJ won the GOP nomination, I’d have a serious internal struggle, because my position on the GOP is basically stated above by flukebucket (#29). I like quite a few things about Johnson (though I agree with those who think his economics is wacky, since I still think Keynes was right), but he’d be the R candidate, with all that comes w/that. If he ran as an I he’d have less chance of winning the general election but a better chance at getting my vote. Which, come to think of it, might make my position on this a bit silly. Will ponder.

  46. #46 |  V | 

    “People need education on this issue.”

    What a polite way of saying people on the other side of the issue are ignorant of reality. That tickles me in a good way.