William Weld Responds to Libertarian Party Member Concerns

Weld speaks out on gun control, support of Kasich, and abandoning the party in New York's 2006 governor race.


It is almost certainly the case that when former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson (R) chose former Massachusetts Gov. William Weld (R) as his running mate choice in his bid for the Libertarian Party's mantle in 2016, he was mostly thinking about presenting an unassailably serious full ticket for the average disenchanted Republican, Independent, or Democrat in November, as I wrote the other day.

Weld Facebook

Still, before the Johnson-Weld team can face Clinton and Trump in the general election, they have to convince at least around 500 or so Libertarian Party delegates to pick them. To pick both of them, in separate presidential and vice presidential nominating votes at their National Convention being held Memorial Day weekend in Orlando.

Thus, Weld took to his Facebook page today with an interesting message to the Libertarian Party and its members and delegates, tackling head on some of the issues he has already detected they might have with him.

Highlights, after summing up his career before becoming governor of Massachusetts in 1991 as  U.S. Attorney for Massachusetts and as head of the Criminal Division of the Justice Department:

much of my career prior to serving as Governor was devoted to fighting corruption, protecting taxpayers and ending abuses by financial institutions. Those experiences make it even more infuriating to me as I watch corruption and abuse continue today…

Then Weld addresses the controversy over his previous gun control positions:

I am a lifelong hunter and gun owner. In 1993, however, as Governor of Massachusetts, I went along with some modest restrictions on certain types of firearms. I was deeply concerned about gun violence, and frankly, the people I represented were demanding action. Sometimes, governing involves tough choices, and I had to make more than a few.

Today, almost 25 years later, I would make some different choices. Restricting Americans' gun rights doesn't make us safer, and threatens our constitutional freedoms. I was pleased by and support the Supreme Court's decision in the District of Columbia vs. Heller—a decision that embraced the notion that our Second Amendment rights are individual rights, not to be abridged by the government.

He also knows some Libertarians were peeved that he endorsed John Kasich in the Republican presidential race, who is not only not very libertarian but a particular enemy of the L.P. in ballot access fights in Ohio:

When Governor Kasich was in Congress, serving as Chairman of the House Budget Committee, I worked with him to stop deficit spending and balance the federal budget. He succeeded, as no one has done since. I was asked to help because I had done the same in Massachusetts, a heavily Democratic state.

Based on that work with Governor Kasich, I believed him to be the best choice among the many candidates for the Republican nomination.

At the same time, I am now aware that Gov. Kasich has taken actions to make ballot access in Ohio much more difficult and costly for Libertarians. At no point did I have any knowledge about efforts to restrict ballot access. Of course, we all need to fight for ballot access in every state, including helping to raise the funds necessary for that effort. You have my word that I will help ensure ballot access—and I'm a pretty good fighter.

Libertarians are also, some of them, peeved that in 2006 Weld jilted them at the altar after promising to run a "fusion" ticket for governor of New York along with the Republicans:

New York has a unique system in which candidates often assemble "fusion" tickets in order to achieve a winning coalition. As part of such an effort, I was honored in 2006 to earn the Libertarian nomination for Governor. Unfortunately, the larger effort failed, and we were not successful in making the Libertarian ballot "line" part of a coalition that could win. I am grateful to the Libertarian Party for the work we did, and disappointed that the strategy simply couldn't be executed.

Weld wants Libertarians to know that "since law school, my bibles have always been The Constitution of Liberty, and The Road to Serfdom, by Friedrich Hayek" and that if the L.P. sees fit to choose Johnson/Weld, that:

of the three tickets who will be on the ballot in all 50 states in November, the Libertarian Party has the potential to have candidates whose experience and proven leadership exceeds that of the two other parties combined. That credibility and leadership, matched by a firm commitment to the principles of Liberty, will be a powerful combination.