Johnson advocates severe near-term fiscal and monetary policy austerity. When we talked at (or rather, outside of) the Republican National Convention, he told me he would cut Medicare spending by 43 percent in the short term. He repeatedly insists that “we are in the midst of a monetary collapse” and says he favors returning the United States to a (deflationary) metallic currency standard. He says he would have opposed TARP and allowed systemically important banks to fail.

In other words, if Johnson had been president in 2008, he would have allowed the U.S. financial system to collapse and the country to fall into depression. And if he became president now, he would do his best to strangle the tepid recovery we are enjoying and turn it into another severe recession. …

I understand the desire to look for somebody different. I am seriously underwhelmed by President Barack Obama’s economic policy performance, and I don’t trust Mitt Romney. I understand Friedersdorf’s moral outrage over drone strikes, which he says are a “deal-breaker.” But I think sparking a severe (and entirely voluntary) economic crisis would be far more outrageous.