Bill Weld

Johnson/Weld: The Libertarian Key to Republicans' Hearts? Johnson Already Polling 10 Percent from Fox News

Or is Johnson's social liberalism anathema to many would-be Republican #nevertrumps? And do Republicans like Weld anyway?

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William Weld, a former Reagan administration Justice Department official (bonus points for having resigned in protest in 1988 over Edwin Meese's behavior) and two-term governor of Massachusetts (he resigned from that in 1997 before his second term ended, seeking to be named Clinton's ambassador to Mexico, which did not happen thanks to opposition from Jesse Helms) is seeking the Libertarian Party's vice presidential nomination in alliance with another two-term GOP governor from the west, New Mexico's Gary Johnson.

Johnson for President facebook

This Weld news is making some from the libertarian world outside the L.P.'s orbit happy. Cato Institute executive vice president David Boaz said in an email regarding the news that "across a range of issues, economic, social, civil liberties, I'd say Weld was the most libertarian governor in memory, except for Johnson…I think this is a huge coup for Johnson and the LP."

Posts here at Reason by me and Jesse Walker take a more critical look at Weld's libertarian bonafides.

There's a good chance the thinking behind the Weld pick had nothing to do with Libertarians or libertarianism. (Do note that the assembled 1,000 or so delegates expected at the L.P.'s national convention over Memorial Day weekend have to pick, by bare majority, both their presidential choice and then separately their vice president, so Johnson-Weld is not a done deal.)

Likely it has more to do with crafting an unassailable "serious" ticket that both national media and voters (and donors!) can't reject for being organically incapable of governing, even if the specific names of Johnson and Weld don't mean too much. (My own cynical suspicion is that merely being a third party, not to mention being libertarian, might be sufficient for vast swaths of media and voters to discount the L.P. despite the pedigree of its nominees.)

Even prior to the Weld news breaking, a new Fox News poll from a survey conducted from May 14-17 shows Johnson getting 10 percent, with Trump getting 42 and Clinton 39.

A column today by Philip Bump in the Washington Post presents a close to best-case scenario for what a Johnson-Weld ticket might win for the L.P. Bump's thoughts appear under the headline "Did The Libertarian Party Just Stumble Upon a Viable Stop-Trump Ticket?"

Bump has a complicated and to my mind not terribly likely scenario to lay out, but the fact that such a story is appearing pre-nomination in the Washington Post at all is more significant than the specifics of Bump's analysis. 

But to sum up that analysis:

But the [Johnson-Weld] ticket also accomplishes another goal of the third-party effort: It could shift the vote in some states that otherwise might be easy wins for Hillary Clinton…….

If Johnson and Weld capture their home states (an "if" that should be in 89-point type, as we'll explain in a second), and if Trump manages to capture, say, Florida and Pennsylvania or Ohio, suddenly we end with no one having a majority—and we're off to the House.

The last time a non-major-party candidate won a state was in 1968, when George Wallace captured most of the Deep South….

So could a Johnson-Weld ticket snag some states? Well…

Bump then goes on to, unintentionally, lay out exactly how unimpressive a public political figure William Weld in 2016 should reasonably be expected to be:

Weld served as the governor of Massachusetts for six years, resigning in 1997 when Bill Clinton nominated him to be ambassador to Mexico. (The Senate rejected his nomination.) He moved to New York, his home state, where he ran for governor in 2006, losing the nomination to John Faso (who himself lost the race in a landslide).

On the bright side for the Libertarians, though, says Bump:

What Weld brings to the equation, then, is something of a base in the light-blue Northeast to match Johnson's something-of-a-base in the Southwest. He offers an opportunity to eat into Clinton's advantage to some degree in two northeastern states—though probably not in any meaningful way in New York—as Johnson could help eat into her lead in New Mexico. In theory.

In reality, it's probably not that simple. In the Fox News poll, Johnson pulled evenly from Democrats and Republicans—about 8 percent of the vote among each—while winning about a fifth of the independent vote.

Bump wonders/hopes/predicts that a Johnson/Weld ticket could propel themselves in awareness and polls via imagined big money from Republican donors very unhappy with Trump. Such a story rose and fell this morning, with reports proven false of David Koch (who is on the board of trustees of the Reason Foundation, which owns this publication) being willing to give Johnson big bucks.

I've been asking Johnson since March and including this week if any of this imagined big disenchanted GOP donor money has come his way or seems to be, and the answer is always the same: not as far as he knows, but wouldn't it make sense?

Weld himself spoke to The New York Times today in his first press since the Libertarian VP news broke, and said some interesting things, including the very strange declaration that while he hears echoes of Kristallnacht in Trump's immigration pronouncement, a guy planning to run for office that kind of depends on winning the support of #nevertrump folks says clearly that he's not one!

He's "not horrified" by everything about Trump, though he thinks "some of the positions" Trump takes are "way out there." Weld said some decently anti-interventionist things to the Times, admitted he just loves running for office, and waxed mistily about the glory days of working in Congress for Republican New York Sen. Jacob Javits, back in the days before partisan gridlock when "it was wonderful to be in Washington…things absolutely got done." (For some reason, this is all making me dream of a Doonesbury sequence about Weld as Libertarian. All that '70s political nostalgia I guess.)

For those into delicately protecting GOP amour propre, Weld has been a sore spot with some of them for a long time for being not properly dedicated to the Republican Party as Party; see this Steve Kornacki column from the Observer in 2008 for the angry Republican's bill of indictment against Weld as a treacherous RINO.

National Review, also strongly anti-Trump but speaking for a different Republican perspective than Bump and the Post, ran a profile today of one of Johnson's leading opponents also seeking the L.P. nomination, Austin Petersen, which implies he will likely have more appeal to Republicans.

Although he's unmistakably libertarian on foreign policy, Petersen falls somewhere closer to conservatism on one social issue in particular: He's pro-life. Petersen tells National Review he believes the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness begins at conception.

Petersen tossed his hat into the ring after Rand Paul dropped out of the Republican race and the Republican field began to winnow, when he says he realized there would be no constitutional, pro-life candidate on the ballot…. On almost every other social issue, Petersen is staunchly libertarian. "I want gay couples to be able to protect their marijuana fields with fully automatic rifles," he says — a line he often uses to sum up his domestic policy. "That might terrify some people," he says. "If you're terrified of freedom, you might be better off with Bernie or Hillary."

 Petersen views 2016 as a "breakthrough year" for the Libertarian party….a third-party candidate might be the only option on the ballot for "Never Trump" and "Never Hillary" voters. If it's Petersen, he says he's running on conscience, "damn the consequences."

Kyle Sammin at The Federalist also echoes Petersen's concerns about Johnson's willingness to embrace anti-discrimination law as something that will cost him potential Republican votes, especially in an age when such culture war and identity concerns seem more and more dominant and likely played a big role in Trump's rise. "On questions of religious liberty," Sammin writes, "Johnson's instinct is often to take a position more like that of a secular Democrat than a Republican."

Federalist publisher Benjamin Domenech in his daily newsletter The Transom quoted extensively from Sammin's piece, and framed it even more negatively with the headline "The Libertarian Party Remains Useless."

NEXT: EgyptAir Plane Wreckage Found, Oklahoma Lawmakers Criminalize Abortions, Oscar Isaac Is Not a Libertarian: P.M. Links

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  1. Heard Republican Talk Radio (Howie Carr) mocking this as I drove home today. You gotta remember that Libertarians are both irrelevant and the worst enemy at the same time. They’re irrelevant in that they can’t win elections, and they’re the worst enemy because they draw votes away from Republican candidates which results in Democrats winning elections.

    Statistically insignificant and statistically significant, at the same time.

    Go Gary! I plan to pull the lever for your Johnson.

    1. Libertarians are like federal funding for NPR.

  2. We should nominate Petersen, to really solidify the “GOP Minor Leagues” stereotype.

    1. Of course, nominating a Johnson/ Weld ticket will also solidify the “Socially Liberal Republicans Who Smoke Pot” stereotype while nominating McAfee will solidify the “Un-serious Crazy Guys” stereotype. No matter what, we’re spawns of Satan as far as the two TEAMs are concerned

      1. At some point, the party gets too small to fracture any further, right?

        1. It can only be fractured 8 times.

        2. Quantum politics?

          Seriously, aren’t we already subatomic?

          The libertarian moment, like Schrodingers cat is both there and not there.

          1. There is no there there.

            1. Don’t you need to look first?

      2. Let’s be fair to start with. The two teams are now the spawn of satan as far as the two teams voters are concerned.

  3. (bonus points for having resigned in protest in 1988 over Edwin Meese’s behavior)

    Ie, he wasn’t going to work for George W. Bush?

    1. Good thing the timing was such as to preclude any suspicion that he was trying to position himself to run for office in Massachusetts without being embarrassed by the Meese baggage.

  4. How accurately predictive are polls at this point in the race? Fox polls, particularly.

    1. Started looking this up out of curiosity but so far the best I could find is:

      http://www.politifact.com/trut…..ercent-su/

      Takeaway quote:

      “It’s common for third-party candidates to poll higher months out from the election date,” he said. “Eventually folks decide to vote for a candidate with a serious chance of winning.”

      1. Eventually folks decide to vote for a candidate with a serious chance of winning.

        What is, the definition of a self-fulfilling prophecy?

      2. No Republican has a serious chance of winning New York, so why not vote your conscience?

        No Democrat has a serious chance of winning Mississippi, so why not vote your conscience there, too?

        1. I mentioned to the wife the PA is supposed to be in play this election and therefore we can expect torrential political advertising on TV from Labor Day to Election Day.

          Her response was we will watch more HGTV.

      3. “It’s common for third-party candidates to poll higher months out from the election date,” he said. “Eventually folks decide to vote for a candidate with a serious chance of winning.”

        Well, he’s not going to win, but it’d be nice to see him in the debates.

        1. Why? So he can blather on about how he was a small businessman a lifetime ago, climbed some mountains, likes weed, and can express Prog solidarity with Hillary on aspects of social policy?

            1. Cool. Just making sure.

          1. and his VP can express solidarity with her VP on gun control. It will be as if Jeb Bush won.

            1. Lol. Harsh but true.

          2. So he can stick his small businessman’s dick in a democrat/republican’s ass for once!! *old man fist shake*

            1. “small businessman’s dick” is good

  5. RE: Johnson/Weld: Johnson Already Polling 10 Percent from Fox News

    Here’s an idea.
    Tell the ladies in the audience Johnson is over six feet tall.
    All women like a big Johnson.

    1. It’s not like he’s interested in women. Come on. Well, he would like their votes, but that’s about it.

    2. But will they like a small Willy too?

    1. Agreed. It seems like every party is suffering from schizophrenia this election.

  6. I’d say Weld was the most libertarian governor in memory, except for Johnson

    I do know that Johnson vetoed the shit out stuff while he was governor.

    1. Weld was the most libertarian governor in memory, except for Johnson

      “Americans need never fear their government because of the advantage of being armed, which the Americans possess over the people of almost every other nation.” – Gone but not forgotten. Except by that Boaz asshole, apparently.

    2. He was certainly the most libertarian governor of the state of Massachusetts — but that’s pretty low bar.

      (Still better than Hillary or Trump, though, because that bar is buried six feet under the ground.)

  7. So what’s Weld bring to the table, again? The few times I heard his name mentioned in the 90s, it was in reference to a type of upper-class northeastern Republican technocratic politician who has only become less popular since then — both in the region they hail from and across the rest of the country.

    How’s this shrub supposed to be an improvement on the Romney model, and why would someone disinclined to vote Johnson flock to him now that Weld’s his heart attack insurance?

    1. I guess it’s supposed to make the LP look serious, or something. Cuz they have an establishment politicrat on their team? in an election cycle where basically everyone is rejecting that sort of thing.

    2. They aren’t targeting libertarians who support McAffee or Peterson, they’re targeting #neverTrump Republicans and #neverHillary Democrats.

      1. they’re targeting #neverTrump Republicans and #neverHillary Democrats

        …by having a moderate Republican squish as the bottom. Yep, got that. Just don’t see how it’s supposed to work out for the people who want the Libertarian Party to be a… libertarian party, or the people who want libertarians to win elections. “We’re the party of freeze-dried ex-Republican governors” isn’t exactly lining up the people to go vote, dontcha know.

        1. Well? I’ve been told that the priorities of voters only revolve around maybe being able to smoke a little weed here or there, and they like the idea of balanced budgets. Why bother getting any more Libertarian than that? It’d be too much for them. And then maybe after the LP reaches enough voters they can be eased into it more, or something.

        2. I think they’re targeting the Mitt Romney type of “NeverTrump” Republicans more than the Ted Cruz type.

  8. Anyone who thinks that ANY of the possible LP tickets this year are going to pull more than 5 – 10% of the vote is just crazy and the odds of them winning even a single electoral college vote are too small to reasonably consider. That said, polling at 10% and winning 5% of the popular vote could be a game changer from a fund raising and respectability standpoint and the only possible LP ticket that is getting anywhere near there is Johnson/Weld

    1. Except the LP could easily vote down this choice of VP.

      And we still don’t know if Johnson will get the nom anyhow.

      Still think McAfee is the best option.

      1. McAfee should break off and form the Hookers & Blow Party.

          1. Sheldon Adelson has that covered.

        1. No, commodious – we’re just going to have hookers and blow without blackjack…Stop asking stupid questions.

    2. LP lucky to get 2%.

  9. That’s an awful lot of words to say ‘libertarian moment.’

  10. Good evening mammals! I’m back from riding one of your cattle ships that serve endless food and expensive drinks

    1. Welcome back!

      Were the insects fresh? How were the lounges?

      1. Meh they were ok. I also won a trophy for 90’s music trivia.

    2. did you spread the norovirus around sufficiently?

  11. Weld the key to Republican hearts?

    Sure what republican doesn’t love them some gun control. Did he ask Micheal Bloomberg first? Maybe the Northeast republicans. That and a dollar will buy you pretty much nothing.

  12. When does the 2020 election season start?

    1. And how in the fuck is almost 2020

      1. Jesus fuck that’s gonna start making me feel old if I dwell on it.

        1. Yeah, it’s kinda crazy really. I’m going to party like it’s 1999:)

        2. Makes you wonder how many decades the government can milk 9/11

          1. You still remember the Maine don’t you?

            1. Worked out really well

            2. Every time I pay a phone bill. Which, thanks to my job, is about three times a day.

  13. Had this already been decided? Is it going to be Johnson again? Why all these stories about Johnson and his VP?

    The Libertarian Party has a wide open opportunity for a breakthrough election. Is Gary Johnson really the best we can come up with?

    Are there really no libertarians with charisma, political savvy and relevant resumes in America?

    1. Lol. I was thinking the same thing. Gary Johnson reminds me of the principal from Eastbound and Down. The guy who Kenny Powers clowned for being the best at exercising.

      To break through the libertarians need someone who is an exciting person.

      1. McAfee is exciting

        1. leg tingling exciting?

        2. I’d vote for McAfee. But I’m afraid a nation of cowardly suburban pussies would decline to join me. =(

    2. Is Gary Johnson really the best we can come up with?

      Of the people who are running? Yes, easily. He was actually a good governor. The other figures in the race have given us no reason to think they could do the job.

      1. You realize none of them are going to be doing the job, and that this is only about getting a greater share of votes, right? What you want is some charade of respectability when what the libertarian party needs is a salesman.

        1. “He isn’t going to win” is not a valid reason for voting for someone who, in the vanishingly unlikely event that he DID win, would likely do a shitty job.

          Johnson is the only Libertarian candidate this year about whom an honest and informed voter could say “he would probably make a good President”. Is he ideologically pure? No. The party is full of ideologically pure people I wouldn’t trust to run a car wash, let alone an entire branch of government. 🙂

          1. Johnson is the only Libertarian candidate

            Well, he’s a candidate for the Libertarian party at least

            I find it sort of remarkable, the comparative absence of support that Rand got throughout 2015 for merely “being a republican” with libertarian leanings….

            …while everyone seems so ready to brush aside gay jay’s shortcomings for a mere ‘symbolic’ vote. Imagine if the same enthusiasm and willingness to compromise for the sake of “moving the needle” had been put behind an actual *viable* candidate from day one?

            1. I don’t think there are enough libertarians who vote to have made Rand viable this year. Even if everyone who voted for Gary Johnson in 2012 was behind him, he still wouldn’t have come close to being a serious contender.

          2. Why are you looking at me?

    3. I’d run but you know google porn history and shit. I don’t even want to see that.

    4. libertarians with charisma, political savvy and relevant resumes

      Think about those concepts in the same sentence, as you wrote it. You have your answer.

      1. (see my 7:42 post below)

    5. “Are there really no libertarians with charisma, political savvy and relevant resumes in America?”

      Sure. Are any of them crazy enough to run for President (as a third party candidate)? Nope.

  14. I think Weld was nominated because he’s Steve Wynn’s lobbyist and that will bring money. And knows all the good bars.

  15. People interested in a johnson weld are too small a demographic for this ticket to thrust meaningful change unto an uninterested electorate.

    1. Keep banging away on that theme, see where it gets you.

      1. Lonely, drunk, misanthropic?

        1. Someone find this man a proper cult!

          1. Don’t make me read Atlas Shrugged.

            1. How about you watch Asses Shagged where Hank Hardon rails Dagny Tagged right in her main line?

              1. This porn is 15 hours long? Not interested.

        2. “Lonely, drunk, misanthropic?”

          Buddhist call that Nirvana

          1. I’ll wait for Heroic Mulatto to appear and confirm this observation.

            1. Is he a Buddhist? I thought he had his own cult of twerking disciples.

              1. The two options are exclusive?

                1. I suppose not:)

    1. Please let this be the case. Not to mention all the other incoherent stances he’s taken.

      1. Not to mention all the other incoherent stances he’s taken.

        Which were?

  16. So Weld resigned from the Reagan administration and then resigned as governor of Massachusetts. He sounds like a quitter to me!

    1. Her speech starts at 1:50

  17. News was the other day average Venezuelans were reduced to eating cats. Venezuelan prison hipsters were doing it long before it was cool. Don’t click! (Rated NF for Nightmare Fuel.)

    1. Thank you for the warning, but by now I’ve learned not to click on your cat videos.

      1. C’mon man that was a dog video!

    2. Somebody really ought to be plastering this all over Bernie-libtard social media.

      1. Change begins with one man, or one cat, or one cell block’s dinner.

  18. After today’s doodle I found a Chrome extension to hide it.

    Fuck you and your commie apologist corporate logo, assholes.

    1. …actually, even better, you can instruct AdBlock to hide it.

      Fuck your commie apologist corporate logo AND your ad revenue.

      1. Nah, that only worked once.

  19. Fuck the Reps and the Dems! Go after the Independents. If we get 60% of the 40% of Independents we win.

    1. Most independents are independents in polite company and straight-ticket party members behind the curtain.

      1. I think that’s generally right.

        I think the big error of the ‘libertarian moment’-logic is the assumption that people who merely identify as “independent” must somehow be ‘ideologically’ independent rather than simply ‘non-affiliated’

        Its sort of like that OG-definition of “3rd World” i often crow about. being part of it simply meant you what you were NOT – neither “fish nor fowl” -… it said nothing about what you *actually* were… which could range from an impoverished african dictatorships, to a filthy-rich middle-eastern kingdoms, states, to comparatively wealthy, modern tourist destinations.

        I imagine in the future a very-large chunk of the so-called “independent” vote will actually be proper “Social Conservatives” who don’t seem to get a lot of love anymore from either of the major parties.

    2. 60% x 40% = 24%

      So, no.

      1. OK it’s actually 62%. Obama was elected last time by 25% of eligible voters. If the faithful don’t come out in droves for Hillbillary or Dump we have a shot.

  20. OT: The two stories trending the most right now:

    1) What Trump thinks about EgyptAir Flight 804

    2) Details about the investigation into EgyptAir 804

    The media in this country is a fucking farce.

  21. If the LP goes with Johnson/Weld I’m voting Trump in protest. At least he’s anti-interventionist and pro-drug legalization unlike GayJay and the gun-grabbing drug warrior ex-fed DA

    1. But what about his problem with women

    2. Trump hasn’t been pro-drug legalization in 25 years. I will give him credit for saying that marijuana policy should be decided state-by-state, but he also indicated he doesn’t support states legalizing it, let alone hard drugs.

      1. Trump made public statements in favor of drug legalization as recently as 2011. In the campaign he has said “it isn’t something he wants to do right now” but that it should continue to be “studied”. That’s more pro drug legalization than GayJay’s position

  22. MacAfee should draft Judge Napolitano for veep. And when they don’t win, they could do a Jake and the Fatman kind of TV show, having adventures and solving crimes.

    1. What if they do win? And what if they win and still do the TV show? Will there be hookers and blow? Will there be a first hooker? Will they paint the white house purple?

      1. All of this shall pass, and more. And Johnson will nominate Jesse “The Body” Ventura to the supreme court.

        1. That should go over well

      2. I think I’ve got the name: Johnson and the Judge

        1. They should drive around in the General Lee

          1. Yes, yes they should.

        2. Oh that won’t work, I said McAfee not Johnson.

          1. I got it: The Judge and the John

            1. McAfee’s catch phrase should be “You are the virus, I am the anti-virus”

              1. I am the vindow viper.

      3. Will there be blackjack?

        *flinches from Brochettaward*

        1. The blackest, jackiest blackjack that your coked out hookers have ever seen.

  23. I must try to follow these points and also share others. Mate this is a very nice blog here

    1. Hey, Vital Stories, share this.

    2. STFU and VOTE McAFEE, ‘bot

  24. Count on the Libertarian Party to do the right thing at the right time. Just as voters are most vociferously expressing their frustration with open-borders globalists, they nominate their most cosmotarian ticket yet.

    The biggest mistake the libertarians ever made was letting the cosmotarians define them. If Ron or Rand Paul had told the Reason/Cato crowd to shove it and ran on an aggressively pro-national libertarian platform, they’d have what Trump has. But when you already have a choice between globalist conservatives and globalist liberals, what does a globalist libertarian bring to the table?

    The one issue where voters have expressed a craving for an alternative, any alternative, and the Libertarians offer to give them more of the same, only harder.

    1. W

    2. Count on the Libertarian Party to do the right thing at the right time. Just as voters are most vociferously expressing their frustration with open-borders globalists, they nominate their most cosmotarian ticket yet.

      The biggest mistake the libertarians ever made was letting the cosmotarians define them. If Ron or Rand Paul had told the Reason/Cato crowd to shove it and ran on an aggressively pro-national libertarian platform, they’d have what Trump has. But when you already have a choice between globalist conservatives and globalist liberals, what does a globalist libertarian bring to the table?

      The one issue where voters have expressed a craving for an alternative, any alternative, and the Libertarians offer to give them more of the same, only harder.

      So much truth in this post, tbh.

  25. WTF are you babbling about….stormfront is thataway.

    T

  26. WTF are you babbling about….stormfront is thataway.

    T

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  30. “I want gay couples to be able to protect their marijuana fields with fully automatic rifles,”

    Libertarians seriously need some marketing classes.

  31. I will challenge the contention that being “pro-life” is a conservative, rather than a libertarian, position.

    The abortion debate was and remains skewed by bad language from the Court. No one seriously can doubt a fetus is alive or that, from the moment of conception, genetically, it is human. What the law requires, however, is legal “personhood,” potentially a more complex concept. The pro-abortion position, properly stated, denies “personhood” to the unborn child while the anti-abortion position does just the opposite.

    It is this presence of the third party that makes a difference. No good libertarian doubts that a woman “owns” her own body; but, if she makes choices which create third parties, the “ownership” question becomes quite complicated. I’ve looked at it for 30 years and don’t have a completely satisfactory answer yet. To simply state that the issue is settled for “libertarians” exhibits more hubris than political acumen.

  32. If Weld becomes the VP nominee, I think I might finally be pushed over the edge to sitting out this election. GJ was already making some horrid mistakes that strengthened my reticence. Now he choose some Republican-lite dude as his running mate. Game, set, match. Good luck to all you LP supporters. I cannot in good conscience get excited for a third party when it’s basically just a republican splinter group now.

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  35. From the perspective of a classical-liberal conservative NeverTrumper, this ticket actually sounds really interesting (to both me and some other disenchanted Republicans who I know). I agree with the idea that there the far-off chance of getting the election to the House, but mainly it’s about gaining momentum to hit 5% for FEC status in funding and ballot access for 2018 and 2020 races: recall how Perot’s numbers above the threshhold for the Reform Party in 1996 (even if not hitting his independent 1992 levels) paid dividends for the likes of Jesse Ventura in 1998; taking advantage of the situation on the ground in 2016 with a ticket that appeals half to True Libertarians and half to crossovers like me could actually get the LP in the debates and get them in a position to compete far more strongly for down-ticket races over the next few cycles (especially with Trump and Clinton installing proxies in the RNC and DNC as part of the campaign process, appealing to disenchanted liberty-friendly former Republicans and Democrats over the next few down-ticket cycles to join a strengthened LP is likely the gambit that Johnson is playing with choosing a figure like Weld (who’s more ‘presidential’ than ‘true believer’).

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