All posts by Anne Butcher

Gary Johnson Sucks at TV, and That’s Okay

Presidential candidate Gary Johnson is not a good television personality. He’s awkward and uncomfortable. He contradicts himself. He’s often non-committal with his answers. While Wednesday’s CNN town hall was an improvement from the one in June, it was Johnson’s running mate, former Massachusetts Governor Bill Weld, who delivered many of the best moments. Johnson’s performance, while passable and even stellar at times, was plagued with indecisive and ambiguous answers. However, this inability to speak fluent bumper sticker should not disqualify him. In fact, some of his weaknesses on television could translate into strengths in the Oval Office.

Being a presidential candidate and being the president are two fundamentally different jobs. Being good at one does not guarantee you’ll be good at the other. In fact, there are some traits that might be assets as a candidate that would be liabilities as a president. A president negotiates with people from different backgrounds, both foreign and domestic. A good candidate doesn’t meet in the middle with their opponents; they instead make a compelling case for why the opposition is unworthy of office. A good president prioritizes the needs of the people and isn’t responsive to special interests. A good candidate schmoozes donors constantly, as their very campaign depends on it. A good president is detail-oriented, understands that complex problems typically require nuanced solutions and makes policy decisions accordingly. A good candidate is able to sum up their positions in easily digestible sound bites.

One of Johnson’s biggest problems on television is his lack of commitment. While other candidates like to say “this is good” and “that is bad,” Johnson prefers phrases like “I’m open to discussion about that,” “it’s a complicated issue” and my new personal favorite, “Perhaps we’re really good at civil liberties.” All this makes it difficult for outsiders to learn what his positions actually are.

A prime example came on Wednesday when an audience member asked Johnson where he stood regarding religious liberty and LGBT discrimination. He asserted that there can be a balance between the two, but didn’t paint a clear picture of what that balance might look like. Since many voters have already picked a side in this conflict, many will have trouble relating to a candidate that doesn’t. “Us vs. Them” makes for good television. “There can be a balance between us and them” does not.

Continue reading at The Liberty Conservative.

Captain America: Civil War Review

So I finally got around to seeing one of the most anticipated movies of the summer, Captain America: Civil War. In general, I’m not that into superhero movies, primarily because I find they’re often over-simplistic for my taste: These are the good guys. Those are the bad guys. Now watch them blow stuff up.

Luckily, Captain America: Civil War does not fall into that trap. There’s two opposing sides, but rather than a battle of good vs. evil, it’s a battle between two different interpretations of good. The conflict is introduced when the UN finally expresses discontent with the Avenger-caused destruction of previous Marvel movies, which is best summed up this way:

Oddly enough, I’ve seen the same meme used to describe U.S. foreign policy.


So the Avengers have a choice. Do they want to give the governments of the world increased control over their operations (#TeamIronMan) or continue to be as independent as they’ve always been, even if that makes them outlaws (#TeamCap)?

Surprisingly, I found myself a lot more sympathetic to the pro-government side than I expected to be. The dispute isn’t necessarily pro-government vs. anti-government. Like I said, Civil War avoids the oversimplifications of morality sometimes found in other superhero movies. No, Team Iron Man is actually quite libertarian in a lot of ways. This is the team that believes we always need to take collateral damage of warfare into account. This is the team that thinks people with the legal authority to kill in the name of safety and security should be held accountable for their mistakes. This is the team that, like libertarians, doesn’t believe the ends always justify the means.

Read the rest at Smash Cut Culture.

Immigrant Could Lose His Business Because It’s Not Fancy Enough for Lawmakers

Hinga Mbogo is a Kenyan immigrant who has owned Hinga’s Automotive Company in Dallas for 30 years. But because car repair shops are inconsistent with the local government’s vision for an arts district, he may be forced to close. Even worse, there is no legal obligation for Dallas to compensate Mbogo for his property.

The saga began back in 2005 with Planned Development District 298. The city rezoned Ross Avenue, home of Hinga’s, and made car repair shops illegal there. All other mechanics in the area have left as a result.

“When I found out about the zoning change, I couldn’t believe that this was something that could happen in America,” Mbogo said in a statement released by the Institute for Justice. “I left a country where something like this could happen, but not here. I thought that America was the land of opportunity.”

The original law gave business owners three to five years to either sell their property or repurpose it as something more palatable to lawmakers, such as a hotel or restaurant. The ordinance did allow owners to file an appeal for a fee.

Read the full article at Reason’s blog, Hit & Run.