- The Washington Times - Wednesday, January 6, 2016

The role of outsider candidate is a very popular one. Presidential hopefuls from both sides of the aisle now eagerly flaunt their status as can-do alternatives for voters weary of status quo politics. Now they have competition from Libertarian Gary Johnson, who’s been honing his outsider craft since he ran for president in 2012, when he created a unique campaign culture and nabbed 1 percent of the vote. Denied a spot on the official debate podium that year, he staged his own version at the National Press Club with other third-party hopefuls, broadcast live on RT — a Russian TV network.

Four years later, Mr. Johnson has announced he is running a second time and is ready to rumble. Again denied a spot in sanctioned debates, he has sued the Commission on Presidential Debates, claiming the organization violated antitrust laws and the First Amendment by barring candidates unable to reach a national polling threshold. Mr. Johnson cites traditional party shortcomings.

“On the Republican side, Americans are seeing, with one glaring exception, a battalion of candidates who look, sound and feel like the same Republican presidential candidates voters have rejected in the past two elections. None are instilling any confidence that government would be smaller, smarter or less costly if they were to be elected than it is today,” Mr. Johnson wrote for his Tumblr website.

“In the other ‘major’ party, the choices are equally alarming. Ms. Clinton, their version of ‘been there, done that’, is having her own problems claiming the throne she presumes to be rightfully hers. Never mind the unbelievable lack of judgment involved in storing official, sensitive emails in a private server in a bathroom. We’re looking at a ‘front runner’ who, as Secretary of State, presided over a descent into foreign policy chaos that is virtually unmatched in American history,” Mr. Johnson said.

“Game on! America deserves another choice in 2016,” the new candidate tweeted Wednesday.

WHAT’S BEHIND VOTER DISMAY

“A staggering 75 percent of the American public believe corruption is ‘widespread’ in the U.S. government. Not incompetence, but corruption. This alarming figure has held steady since 2010, up from 66 percent in 2009,” writes Jim Clifton, CEO of Gallup. He suggests that a slowed economy, fewer jobs and small businesses, lower faith in institutions, “citizen disengagement and anger” and greater interest in “nontraditional’ presidential hopefuls like Donald Trump are outgrowths of this belief.

“You don’t have to connect too many dots to conclude that if a government has an alarmingly high appearance of widespread corruption and that same government creates regulations that businesses cite as a leading barrier to growth — then entrepreneurs might be reluctant to stick their necks out to start a business,” Mr. Clifton said.

“Why would they start or boom a business if they think a corrupt government is creating rules and regulations that don’t serve their interests — but rather rules that serve the interests of corrupt officials, corrupt politicians, corrupt insiders and corrupt special interest groups? Any wonder why so many Americans want a candidate who’s outside of that system?”

THE FAILURE OF ‘STRATEGIC PATIENCE’

Following reports that North Korea had detonated a hydrogen bomb, Republican National Committee press secretary Allison Moore reminds voters that as secretary of state, Hillary Clinton promised to end that nation’s nuclear program but instead “championed toothless sanctions and kept them off the list of state sponsors of terrorism while they built more atomic weapons.”

The particulars: Mrs. Clinton “largely ignored North Korea with a policy of ‘strategic patience’ that did not work as the rogue state continued its nuclear testing,” Ms. Moore noted in an analysis. “Clinton opposed calls by U.S. allies in the region and a bipartisan group of lawmakers to place North Korea on the list of state sponsors of terrorism.”

The sole accomplishment was “a largely symbolic U.N. Security Council resolution,” the study also noted.

And one more thing: “While Clinton was Secretary, former President Bill Clinton tried to cash in with a paid speaking event in North Korea.”

PLANNED PARENTHOOD, THE NUMBERS

The national pro-life group Susan B. Anthony List has gone over Planned Parenthood’s recently released annual report to find a “dramatic decline” in the organization’s non-abortion health care services, though its taxpayer funding has risen by 5 percent.

The numbers: Cancer screening and prevention dropped by 27 percent in the last year and by 57 percent since 2010. In the past year, contraceptive services fell by nearly 18 percent, disease prevention and treatment are down nearly 6 percent and “other services” fell by 27 percent. Overall, total services also dropped by nearly 11 percent. The number of patients dropped by 200,000 in one year and by 500,000 since 2010. Planned Parenthood also performed 978,818 abortions over the past three reported years.

“This profit-driven, abortion-centered business is a bad investment for taxpayers, period,” comments Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the aforementioned pro-life group.

“Planned Parenthood, an abortion organization caught harvesting and selling baby body parts, has demonstrated time and again that it does not deserve public money. If he cares about women and children, President Obama should sign this bill that reallocates public funds instead to facilities providing authentic health care for women,” said Dr. Grazie Pozo Christie, an adviser for The Catholic Association.

POLL DU JOUR

65 percent of Americans say House Speaker Paul Ryan “compromises to get things done”; 71 percent of Republicans, 69 percent of independents and 56 percent of Democrats agree.

35 percent overall say he “sticks to his principles no matter what”; 29 percent of Republicans, 31 percent of independents and 44 percent of Democrats agree.

32 percent overall disapprove of the job he is doing; 31 percent of Republicans, 28 percent of independents and 36 percent of Democrats agree.

31 percent overall approve of the job he is doing; 45 percent of Republicans, 24 percent of independents and 28 percent of Democrats agree.

Source: An Economist/YouGov poll of 1,900 U.S. adults conducted Dec. 18-21 and released Monday.

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