Gary Johnson

Former Massachusetts Gov. William Weld Being Considered for Gary Johnson's Libertarian Vice President Slot

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Former Massachusetts Republican Governor William Weld was for a moment there in the 1990s the darling of more establishment-minded libertarians looking for successful politicians with a roughly fiscal conservative/socially liberal bent. 

Weld/Mintz Levin law firm website

This morning the Daily Caller first reported he is being seriously considered by Gary Johnson for his vice presidential slot, quoting an unnamed campaign source as saying that "vetting is ongoing" on Weld. (The Libertarian Party chooses its vice president in a separate election from the president, but the presidential choice's choice could be expected to influence them, at least.)

Joe Hunter from the Johnson campaign confirmed this in an emailed statement: "For a former Governor and well known public figure, 'vetting' is not the operative word, nor necessary. But yes, Governor Weld is being seriously considered." 

I've reached out to Weld by phone and email but have not yet received a reply. If I do, will update this post accordingly.

This would be the kind of vice presidential pick doubling down on the presidential candidate's own qualities with no attempt at widening appeal: two ex-Republican governors for the Libertarians.

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  1. Republicanism is the soul of the Libertarian Party.

    ~Reagan

    1. But statism isn’t.

  2. Weld is a Boston Brahmin who is related to Tuesday Weld. He is also a registered lobbyist. He is also painfully boring.

    1. And he looks like the coiffured hellspawn of Donald Trump and Anderson Cooper.

      1. He looks exactly like how you’d think he would look.

    2. Introduce me to that big blonde
      She’s got a touch of Tuesday Weld
      She’s wearing Ambush and a French twist
      She’s got us wild and she can tell
      She loves to limbo, that much is clear
      She’s got the right dynamics for the new frontier

      1. According to Wikipedia, she was Born: August 27, 1943 (age 72). Weird. I guess she’s like Benjamin Button.

  3. William Weld did not have a Libertarian record as governor of Massachusetts. He was a statist who appointed anti-free-speech, pro-political correctness, anti-gun, pro-big-government judges. Mitt Romney appointed much better judges than Weld did as governor.

    After endorsing tax limits in his first campaign for governor, Weld basically sold out to the Left while in office. Despite having more conservatives in the legislature than Romney did (Weld increased education spending more than he had to, for example).

    Weld compared unfavorably to even some of his democratic predecessors like Ed King in terms of budgetary policies. Although Weld was not as bad as Michael Dukakis.

    1. Well, hopefully the LP will select someone else for VP then, regardless of whether Johnson gets the nom for president.

    2. Exactly. Another indication that Gary is too deeply rooted into establishment ideals with establishment people.

    3. Any Republican Governor of Massachusetts is going to be fighting rear-guard actions his entire term. I remember Weld doing a decent job of it, but nothing about him was particularly libertarian.

    4. CATO Institute ‘grades’ –

      1990-1992 – http://object.cato.org/sites/c…../pa167.pdf – Weld has been cutting the Massachusetts budget, reversing a decade of spending growth under his predecessor Michael Dukakis. In the wake of the “Massachusetts miracle’s” collapse, last year Weld cut general fund spending by an enormous 6 percent. Massachusetts will thus spend less money in nominal dollars in 1992 than it did in 1991. Per family spending will fall by roughly $400. In contrast with the governors of other deficit-plagued northeastern states, Weld has not pumped up taxes in response to the recession. In fact, he reduced a sales-tax-broadening measure signed by Dukakis in his final days. Tax revenues will fall by 1.5 percent of personal income in Massachusetts in 1992. For
      1992 Weld has already called for continued growth-oriented fiscal reforms including a reduction of personal income tax rates and elimination of the state’s capital gains tax. If Weld continues on his present course, Massachusetts may cease to be “Taxachusetts.” Grade – A

      1. 1992-1994 – http://object.cato.org/sites/c…../pa203.pdf – Weld has demolished the myth that it is politically impossible to cut government spending. Except for a brief “sophomore slump,” Weld has a stunningly successful fiscal record in Massachusetts. His supply-side fiscal conservatism has reversed a decade of uninterrupted budget growth during the “Massachusetts Miracle” years under predecessor Michael Dukakis. Inheriting a $1-billion deficit, Weld balanced the budget in his first year by slashing state expenditures by $600 million–a 3 percent real cut–by shunning all new taxes, and by repealing a sales tax on services that had been enacted in December 1990. Since then the budget has grown by a modest 2 percent per year, with most of that growth occurring in his slump year, fiscal 1993, when he increased funding for “investment” and environmental programs. In addition to balancing what had been perceived as a hopelessly imbalanced budget, Weld has had several other noteworthy triumphs. He has cut taxes five times, slowed the growth of Medicaid and welfare spending, proposed eliminating the state tax on long-term capital gains, and engineered a triple up-grade in the state’s bond rating in just three years. His latest bombshell was a pronouncement that he will seek a $300-million income tax cut to offset the impact of President Clinton’s federal income tax increase. Weld is on the way to creating a genuine Massachusetts miracle. Grade – B

        1. 1994 – 1996 – http://object.cato.org/sites/c…../pa257.pdf – Weld’s combination of fiscal conservatism and social liberalism seems to be a popular brand of Republicanism in what is arguably the most Democratic of states. Weld took office in 1991 in the midst of a severe regional depression and an $800 million state deficit that the Boston Globe described as a “fiscal Beirut.” Weld began to engage in a whirlwind of government downsizing. In his first two years in office, the state budget actually declined in nominal terms–an astonishing achievement given the pro-spending inclinations of the legislature. Weld privatized state services, slashed the public payroll, and cut general welfare assistance for employable adults. Weld has also been a supply-side tax cutter. His 1991 income tax rate rollback was the first of eight tax cuts he pushed through in his first term. He also canceled several Dukakis tax hikes. Yet in recent years his fervor for spending restraint seems to have waned; he has approved budgets that are far more accommodating of the Democrats in the legislature than was his first budget. He trumpets big spending increases for schools, the environment, and child care. Conservative critics in the state complain that after six years of Weld, the state still overspends, overtaxes, and overregulates. True, but there is no denying that the fiscal health and livability of this state have improved since Weld took over. Grade – B

          1. My own recollection of the time is that he got worn down by a 90% Dem legislature. He was elected to be a ‘fall guy’ – ie take the blame for the cuts necessary in a crisis. And once the economy recovered, the Dems got their partisan knives back out and wanted ‘business as usual’. Which if I recall is why he really started paying attention to stuff beyond Massachusetts (tried but failed to beat Kerry for Senate). Maybe there was some element of ‘sellout’ – since he did get nominated by Clinton to be Ambassador to Mexico – but OTOH he was rejected for that by Republicans who didn’t like his views on pot and gays and abortion and Iran-Contra.

            I remember him as a)boring and b)pretty much a libertarian and c)more a Type B than a take-no-prisoners Type A. Personally I think its a pretty good choice for voters who distrust both Trump and Clinton – and who haven’t already drunk Libertarian Party koolaid.

            1. If I recall, Weld’s greatest accomplishment was probably getting Billy Bulger out of politics. Bulger was more powerful than any governor – ran a serious old-fashioned machine – at the height of his power – and (for those who were suspicious of his power) had a mobster brother. Getting Bulger out of Boston is kind of like getting Boss Tweed out of NY or Daley out of Chicago.

    5. Live Free, or in Massachusetts.

  4. Two LP articles in one day? Must be a slow news cycle.

    I kid (not really…but keep them coming)

    1. WHERZ MAI TRUMP?

    2. I guess Trump hasn’t said anything vaguely authoritarian or retarded yet today. The key word being “yet.”

  5. I don’t know anything about him, but my first reaction to that picture was “Whitest white dude that ever whited.”

    1. I know I was triggered.

    2. -1 Whitey Bulger

    1. Better that a thousand stock markets collapse than one state-sponsored attack on America be swept under the rug.

    2. I feel pretty OK with this

      1. Me too. But I moved some money around.

    3. The senators pressed back against criticism that the legislation targets Saudi Arabia, noting that the legislation only allows a lawsuit.

      “Look, if the Saudis did not participate in this terrorism, they have nothing to fear about going to court,” Schumer said. “If they did, they should be held accountable.”

      I am not surprised that impressively breasted filth is leading this charge.

      1. What’s all this love for duplicitous Wahhabis?

        1. I have no love for them.

        2. “MUH CHEAP OILZ!!!!!11!!!!!!111!!!!”

        3. What’s all this love for duplicitous Wahhabis?

          A distaste for mind-rending distortion of the legal system doesn’t equal love.

    4. The Senate on Tuesday approved legislation that would allow victims of the 9/11 terror attacks to sue Saudi Arabia, defying vocal opposition from the White House.

      I’m sure Obama will veto it. And then, crickets.

  6. Apropos of nothing: “During World War II, there was a bridge connecting Germany and Switzerland, and on the German side, there was a sentry tower with a guard in it. He would come out every three minutes to check on the bridge, and he had orders to turn back anyone who tried to get into Germany, and shoot anyone trying to escape without a pass. There was a woman who desperately needed to get into Switzerland, and she knew she didn’t have time to get a pass. It would take her at least six minutes to cross the bridge, but she managed to do it. How?”

    1. Blew the guard.

      1. Shot the guard.

    2. The moment he goes in the tower start walking across the bridge. At 2:45 turn around and head back towards the tower, as if trying to enter Germany from Switzerland. Get “turned back”. Problem solved.

      1. Makes sense.

      2. But then he realizes that it would have taken more than three minutes for her to make it as far as she did, ergo she started from his side. Bullet to the head.

    3. Is this one of those Common Core math problems I’ve been hearing about?

    4. She entered from France?

      1. There was a German guard on that bridge, too.

    5. Go halfway, then pretend she was trying to go the other way.

    6. “anyone who tried to get into Germany…desperately needed to get into Switzerland”

      So what’s the problem? Who desperately wants to escape *from* Switzerland to Germany? It says the woman wanted to get into Switzerland, so the German guard wouldn’t be a problem.

      And it doesn’t say anything about the *Swiss* guard. So maybe she could wait for an opportunity to escape the Swiss guard.

      Though I know from history that the Swiss were careful about who they let it, to put it mildly.

      1. “shoot anyone trying to escape without a pass.”

        Oh, I see. Well, she could wear a bulletproof vest, then.

    7. Paddle a boat across the river?

    8. Duh, forged pass, why didn’t I think about that?

    9. Tell The World’s Funniest Joke, as developed by British intelligence, and while the guard is laughing to death, cross the bridge in safety.

    10. Tell the guard, “I have a Renoir painting in my backpack which I’m supposed to put in Goering’s secret Swiss bank account, and Goering gave strict instructions that anyone who shoots holes in the painting will be handed over to the Gestapo.”

  7. Weld did stick it to the Registry of Motor Vehicles. For a short time, you only needed to register your car once, instead of paying the fee every two years. That didn’t last, but in return, the RMV staff became much friendlier and attentive.

  8. I’m just surprised that, given how snarky most libertarians I’ve met are, no one is making plans to make Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump the libertarian running mate just for laughs.

    “Well, Mr. Trump, I know I’m not as tough on illegal immigration as you, but you know who is? My future vice president, Donald Trump.”

    1. Prediction: Trump will name Hillary as his running mate and vice versa.

  9. The Libertarian Party chooses its vice president in a separate election from the president, but the presidential choice’s choice could be expected to influence them, at least.

    That’s true of all the parties. The difference in the major parties is that the delegates are selected mostly for their favoring certain candidates for prez, so of course they’re going to consider their candidate’s preference for running mate more strongly than the mostly independent delegates of the small parties do.

    Trump might not get his choice, though, when you consider the large proportion of “his” delegates who are bound to vote for him only because of assignment by party rules.

    1. Rosie O’Donnell for VP!

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  11. Back in the day, Weld had the reputation of being a drunk. Has he switched to marijuana?

    1. I was thinking the weed and scotch ticket.

  12. Why do I look at him and think, “Bob Barr”?

    1. Bob Barr was/is more pro-liberty no matter how you measure it. Weld is for bigger bureaucracy, gun bans and affirmative action.

      1. Bob Barr was/is more pro-liberty

        Bob Barr? The Georgia congressman who was somewhat more authoritarian than Reagan? And ate Borat’s titty cheese? BOB BARR? LIBERTY?????

  13. GayJay is running as the most statist Libertarian Party candidate ever. There’s no way he gets the nomination now.

  14. Guy running for Congress posts a pic on Facebook with a shot of his computer. The tabs for the porn sites he was visiting was clearly visible.

    http://www.ijreview.com/2016/0…..-still-up/

    1. So, he’s human?

  15. I hope the LP convention in Orlando this summer does not continue the watering down of what it means to be libertarian. I’ve been waffling on whether or not this will be the year I quit voting. A Johnson/Weld ticket will certainly make my decision easier.

  16. Honestly this is about the best thing that can happen for the future of the LP.

    Either way they aren’t going to win but the combination of Weld and Johnson could net the LP enough votes from disaffected anti Trump Republicans that they have to include them in the debates next time around. Then they just need to come up with someone who is both ideologically pure enough to keep the libertarians happy and sane and charismatic enough that they could in theory win.

    1. ideologically pure enough to keep the libertarians happy

      Like John McAfee?

      and sane and charismatic enough that they could in theory win.

      Oh.

    2. Anything short of a post-election headline Anarchism wins the 2016 Presidential election is a disappointment

  17. I like it just for the publicity and possibility of getting Johnson on the debate stage. But, actually, Weld is not much of a libertarian. A better choice would be someone like JC Watts, who at least endorsed Rand Paul and no longer identifies Republican. Or why not just Ron Paul?

    1. Hey, he was a hell of a football player too! /Sooner fan

    2. JC Watts would be an excellent pick for Veep. I like Bill Weld, but he does almost nothing for Johnson in regard to pulling in disaffected voters. Disaffected Bernie supporters will likely stay home or vote Jill Stein, most of them are not gonna vote Libertarian, and disaffected conservative voters could be open to voting Libertarian (in fact many of them are) but there is no way any of them are gonna find Bill Weld appealing. Hell most of them barely find Johnson appealing, a guy like JC Watts would appeal to them, he’s a social conservative type (like the Pauls) he’s African American which would contrast well with Donald Trump’s divisiveness, and he’s a former Congressman which brings in that political experience in D.C.

      Weld is a “low tax liberal” from Massachusetts who was disliked by conservatives in the 90s because of his social liberalism and his compromises with the Democrats. I could see how Weld would perhaps be a good pick for Petersen or McAfee, but Johnson….no. Two “low tax liberals” on the same ticket with a reputation for leaning to the left on issues that conservatives care about (public accommodation laws, EPA, etc.) doesn’t sound like a balanced or compelling ticket to me.

  18. THAT’LL SHOW ‘EM!

  19. I see Weld endorsed Kasich, who was probably the least libertarian of the Republicans (except for Trump).

  20. Weld wrote a murder mystery called Mackerel by moonlight in which [SPOILER ALERT] the narrator/protagonist is a lawyer and ex-prosecutor [like Weld] who has an affair with a woman married to a Chinese guy, and during one of their dates he takes note of the apples lying on the ground near an apple tree. Turns out the narrator’s dad was some kind of bad guy and the narrator himself is the murderer, because of the symbolism of the apple not falling far from the tree.

    1. And I don’t know how relevant this is, but here’s from Wikipedia: “Weld’s first wife, Susan Roosevelt Weld, formerly a professor at Harvard University specializing in ancient Chinese civilization and law and then General Counsel to the Congressional-Executive Commission on China, is a great granddaughter of Theodore Roosevelt. They married on June 7, 1975, and had five children (David, Ethel, Mary, Quentin and Frances). They divorced in 2002. “

      1. Great for attracting the Establishment Republican vote so coveted in this election cycle.

        1. One branch of his family tree has Theodore Dwight Weld the abolitionist, so there’s that.

  21. Less libertarian, more appeal. What a great formula.

  22. He may not “widen the appeal” but with The Donald having the highest unfavorable rating in history and Hillary a close second, having a platform of two nice stable adults while the Great Orange Hope and the Shrieking Harpy hurl insults at each other might be a path to victory.

  23. Frankly, the entire Libertarian VP candidate search should be conducted inside the borders of Utah.

    Why?

    1) Utah is the worst state for Democratic presidential candidates in America for the last forty years. (Worst state for Obama in 2012, third-worst for Obama in 2008, worst state for Kerry in 2004, worst state for Gore in 2000, second-worst state for Clinton in 1996, worst state for Clinton in 1992, worst state for Dukakis in 1988, worst state for Mondale in 1984, worst state for Carter in 1980, worst state for Carter in 1976.)

    2) Utah is the worst state in the Union for Trump among Republicans – he came in dead last in a field of three with only 14% of the popular vote in this year’s primary, lower than his popular vote percentage in any other state.

    Which means it’s the best available ground in the country for a third party to make a splash this year, and nominating a local of some prominence — somebody who could make a round of the local media interviews and the like — could actually attract some attention there.

    1. MITT ROMNEY !

      I know he’s not from Utah but he’s the secular King of the Mormons.

      Mittens would complement GayJay well with them both being moderate centrist ex-Republican governors with failed presidential campaigns. Putting Mitt on the ticket isn’t much more of a compromise in principles than Weld or even Governor Johnson himself. Better yet, put Romney at the top of the ticket and make GayJay the VP.

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  25. Let’s fine someone with less personality than GJ and balance out the ticket. This was seriously the best guy available?

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  27. JC Watts would be great. Or Camille Paglia. Someone who is not boring for VP.

  28. As they say in New Hampshire: Live Free, or in Massachusetts.

  29. My mom loved Weld, and she was your standard Massachusetts proggie who voted dem across the board. Perhaps his biggest accomplishment was merging three state police divisions into one. He said he wanted to get rid of tolls on the Mass. Turnpike until he decided to keep it alive in perpetuity to fund the Big Dig. He also tried many times to reinstate the death penalty in Mass. (another less than libertarian qualification). I could go on here but, while he is not the worst VP pick, he is far from the best.

    I guess you could say that he helped the business climate a bit. If Mass. had continued on the Dukakis path, it would probably be more like Illinois, CA, or Detroit.

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