Weld-Nader '08

As David notes below, Republican William Weld is seeking the Libertarian Party's endorsement in his campaign to be governor of New York. He isn't the only candidate of another party seeking the Empire State Libs' support: Steve Greenfield of the Greens wants them to back his run against Sen. Hillary Clinton. I don't know how much support Greenfield has -- too bad he isn't named Libertarianfield -- but it's at least possible that the party will emerge on the other side of this weekend with both a Republican and a Green on its ticket, which if nothing else should puzzle anyone who's wondering whether the group belongs to the "left" or the "right."

Update: Weld got it, Greenfield didn't.

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    Greenfield has not been what I would call an ideal candidate for the Libertarians. He wrote an open letter in which he basically said "I'm not going to make any concessions to you, but I'm the best chance you've got, so you should overlook that." That did not exactly endear him to me. He's not bad on a general philosophical level, which was the point he was trying to make in his letter, but I really do not think he is any prize for the party. He might as well have said, "I'm not a Libertarian, but I'm better than a Republican or Democrat, so you should vote for me instead." It would have been more honest.

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    The question I can't resolve is, if the LP is so unfocussed and irrelevant that a repub AND a green could seek its endorsement with straight faces, why would ANYONE bother seeking its endorsement?

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    He might as well have said, "I'm not a Libertarian, but I'm better than a Republican or Democrat, so you should vote for me instead." It would have been more honest.

    And, sadly true.

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    that a repub AND a green could seek its endorsement with straight faces

    Because they want more votes? That's just the way it works in New York. You'll commonly see a front-runner like Pataki carrying all of the three or four major 3rd parties, e.g. the Liberal, Conservative and maybe Right-to-Life parties, regardless of actual policy.

  • Gene Berkman||

    Steve Greenfield has run for local office with both Green & Libertarian nomination. Now he is challenging Hilary Clinton in the primary as a Democrat, while seeking Green & Libertarian support.

    He probably won't emerge as a coalition candidatee. The Libertarian Party has an active Senate candidate - Jeff Russell - and the Green Party has two other candidates seeking their nomination.

    Bill Weld is a better bet, since he is closer to Libs on economic issues, and can help pay for the petition drive. And the LP needs 50,000 votes for Governor to get ongoing ballot status.

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    John - Although we could just as well turn it around and say "Are the Republicans and Greens so vague and meaningless that members of either party could describe themselves as libertarians?" Someone did make the point (here on H&R?) that wherever you go, at least in America, the Greens are heavily colored by the local character: in New York, the Greens resemble liberal Democrats, but in Wyoming, they look much more like Republicans. Then again, in New York the Republicans look like liberal Democrats...

    BTW, the 'D' in my name stands for DeWitt, too!

  • James Anderson Merritt||

    JD says, "Then again, in New York the Republicans look like liberal Democrats..."

    And here in Caul-ee-FOW-nyah, the GOP Governator has run up a budget (admittedly with the Demo-heavy state legislature's cooperation) that outdoes the excesses of his Democratic predecessor at the time the latter was recalled.

    Meet the new boss, same as the old boss. Or worse.

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    There are factions in the Libertarian Party that see substantial common ground with factions in the Green Party. There is substantial overlap with issues like the drug war and the war in Iraq. While there is a huge divergence on economic policy between more moderate Libertarians and Greens (reflecting the difference between Milton Friedman and Ralph Nader,) there is more commonality on the extreme fringes of both movements. Counter-culture leanding anarchists in the libertarian movement (and Libertarian Party) often have an attitude that the free market they favor is nothing like the capitalist status quo. This allows them to feel some connection with the more extreme decentralist elements of the Greens.

    Other factions of the Libertarian Party are very supportive of Republicans who are "moderate" on the social issues but reasonably good on the economic issues. Getting such people to join the LP, or having the LP propose policies like such people support, or having Libertarians support such people in the majors, are all views with some support.

    There are still other factions within the LP who would be equally horrified by having the LP endorse a Green or a Weld-type Republican.

    To summarize, few, if any, Libertarians could support Nader. And few, if any, Libertarians could support Tom Delay (or Pat Robertson.) But some Libertarians see common ground with some Greens. And other Libertarians see common ground with some Republicans. (And most would support a true outlier Republican like Ron Paul.)

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    In countries with parliamentary systems, it's common for two parties with little in common to join forces in a coalition government. Even if they have only a small area of commonality, by agreeing to focus on that, they can often pull off a fairly successful, active legislative term or two.

    Were the Libertarians and Greens to sit down and agree to play nice, setting aside their areas of disagreement for a time, they could probably come up with a decent-sized list of issues to work on.

  • James Anderson Merritt||

    Joe says, "Were the Libertarians and Greens to sit down and agree to play nice, setting aside their areas of disagreement for a time, they could probably come up with a decent-sized list of issues to work on."

    We saw a good preview of this, in the cooperation between LP Presidential candidate Michael Badnarik and Green candidate David Cobb in the 2004 election. Perhaps C-SPAN still has archive video of debates that included the two candidates. If so, I recommend checking them out. IMHO, the third-party debates were far more entertaining and substantive than the major-party presentations.

  • Robert||

    Just to add some confusion, contending for the US senate nomination with Steve Greenfield is a Mark Greenstein.

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    For at least two-and-a-half decades (in other words: since the onset of "cultural Reganism"),
    I have become extremely disillusioned with those politicians as well as mainstream journalists who believe that the ONLY issue standing between "libertarian" vs. "reactionary" Republicans is the abortion issue. I wonder if William Weld would agree with President Jimmy Carter's 1977 statement: "Penalites against possession of a drug should be no more damaging to an individual than the use of the drug itself" (irregardless of whether the substance has any medicinal benefit or not), or would he merely dimiss it as "outdated 1970's pro-hedonistic rhetoric"?
    I also quote a recent statement by Reformed Jewish Rabbi Eric Yoffie: "Yes, we can disagree about gay marriage. But there is no excuse for hateful rhetoric that fuels the hell-fires of anti-gay bigotry". He also mentioned that (in addition to confiscating privately-owned firearms) one of the first non-anti-Semitic things Adolf Hitler did was to ban "gay clubs".
    Would Mr. Weld also wholeheartedly agree with Rabbi Yoffie on that one, or cave-in to the whims of the Religious Right?
    Finally - and putting the cultural "wars" aside -what is he going to do about "Appalachia Nova ...
    uh ... Yorka"? Is he also wholeheartedly behind bills that would give the most generous tax breaks to those companies who keep industries within the state? Why is Burlington, Vermont Lake Champlain's gem of a mini-metropolis, but
    Plattsburgh a dump? And with sky-high gas prices now, what about those Thruway tolls that were supposed to end back in the 1990's ... how come other states have "free" U.S. Interstate access? These questions are important because I'll be Goddamned if I throw my vote away to another Pataki-with-a-Hitler-moustache to boot!

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