John Guardiano weighs in on Gary Johnson’s recent comments to the Weekly Standard about defense spending. While I disagree with Guardiano on a number of issues concerning foreign policy and defense — especially the idea that those of us who do disagree with him on these subjects “dream of a conservative movement without its messy insistence on defense and foreign policy issues” — he’s right on his main points. Defense cuts of the size Johnson raises casually would be detrimental to U.S. national security and thinking about such spending in a way directly proportionate to population size makes no sense.
Finally, Jack Ross says I misrepresent “totally” his post on Johnson when I write that he believes Johnson could win. Even if Ross isn’t predicting a Johnson win, I’m not sure why you would bother to write about a hypothetical path to the Republican nomination for Johnson — or even write the phrase “Obama-Johnson general election race” — if you don’t think there is at least some theoretical possibility he could be successful. But Ross is rather straightforwardly arguing that there could be a set of circumstances that allow Johnson to be a major candidate, competing on something approaching even terms with putative frontrunners like Sarah Palin. (“It is therefore quite conceivable that Palin could win Iowa, Johnson New Hampshire, and the battle joined.”)
Nevertheless, I’ll point out for the record that Ross says Johnson could lose even in this favorable set of circumstances: “It bears emphasis, however, that none of this is to suggest that for Gary Johnson to become the moderate or establishment choice would secure him the nomination, far from it in fact.” You can wade through the whole thing here if you care to. My only point was that to believe Johnson can be more successful than Ron Paul, you must believe that Paul would have been more successful had he been pro-choice, pro-open borders, and a relatively recent pot smoker. Unless Johnson soon demonstrates some quality as a campaigner not currently in evidence, I find that implausible.