Bill Weld

The Libertarian Party Moment

Taking the naked leap from the margins to the mainstream


It was the Libertarian National Convention's moment of truth. After selecting Gary Johnson as the party's presidential nominee on the second ballot, skeptical delegates—riven by a decades-old third-party conflict between purity and pragmatism—were now voting for a second time on whether to hold their noses and accept as their veep Johnson's pick, the internally unloved but externally impressive former Massachusetts Gov. William Weld.

Weld, distrusted and openly booed by many of the assembled for his 1990s support of an assault weapons ban, his 2016 endorsement of Ohio Gov. John Kasich for president, and his 2006 broken promise to run for governor of New York as a Libertarian, had fallen a tantalizing eight votes short of the vice presidential nomination on the first ballot. Now the simmering conflict between the radicals and realists had burst out into the open, clogging the noisy convention floor aisles with sign-waving argument and prompting futile calls from the podium for decorum and quiet.

"Please, just look at this objectively," Johnson begged voters from the stage. "If it is Bill Weld there is an actual opportunity to take the White House.…Please! Please! Please!" Representing the loyal opposition was Johnson's vanquished presidential opponent, the fist-thumping avatar of the "Libertarian Party wing of the Libertarian Party," Darryl W. Perry. "If we nominate two Republican governors as our ticket, and we compromise what we believe to take a federal handout," he warned, referring to the possibility of the L.P. receiving money from the federal presidential election campaign fund should Johnson draw 5 percent of the vote in November, "THIS. PARTY. WILL. DIE!!!"

Since it was taking a while for the ballots to be counted, and since the convention still had other business to conduct before delegates could fly home, organizers decided to allow the four candidates running for the less sexy post of national committee chair to present their cases for 10 minutes apiece while Weld's fate was being decided.

That's how we ended up with the striptease heard 'round the world.

As the C-SPAN cameras rolled and an unprecedented throng of journalists waited tensely for the Weld denouement (the convention had issued more than 250 press credentials, up more than tenfold over 2012, according to party officials) a chubby young man with a wild red beard took the stage, turned on some music, and told delegates it was time to loosen up and put their hands together. I took that as my cue to go catch the last Sunday flight to New York, thus missing the most viral episode of the Libertarian Party's biggest-ever moment in the spotlight.

As I walked out of the hotel on my way to the airport, I passed two professional-looking young organizers near the exit, their faces beginning to curl with rage and incomprehension. "Who the fuck," one of them yelled, breaking into a jog toward the convention hall, "let a naked guy on stage?!"

The headlines wrote themselves. "The Libertarian Party Barely Takes Itself Seriously. Why Should We?" asked The Huffington Post's Eliot Nelson. From the right, The Blaze's Matthew Holloway seconded the notion: "An Open Letter to the Libertarian Party: I Really Tried to Take You Seriously, For About a Week." The freakshow atmosphere was exacerbated by the fact that the gathering took place right next door to MegaCon, a huge annual gathering of people dressed as characters from Harry Potter and other fan faves, who were constantly walking back and forth among the L.P. delegates. Instagram is filled with replica Hagrids hugging third-place presidential finisher John McAfee, and Johnson talking earnestly with the actor who played Draco Malfoy.

But the those freaks blew it narrative contains a fatal analytical flaw: The radicals and free spirits lost. Ten minutes after James Weeks II's man boobs and freedom jockstrap beamed into America's living rooms, the delegates nominated Weld. The 45-year-old party of anarchists and signature gatherers, Bitcoiners and sex workers, managed to select what The Washington Post described as "the most politically experienced minor party presidential ticket in recent history."

There are moments when marginalized movements stumble blinkingly out into the sunlight of the mainstream. Sudden breakthroughs of national acceptance, or at least tolerance, for once-outré ideas can be disorienting to activists who nurtured the lonely flame in the long darkness. Accustomed to brandishing their marginalization, their otherness, like a defiant and colorful shield against a hostile world—think gay pride parades in 1970s San Francisco—these frontline revolutionaries sometimes feel conflicted about the very success they've longed for. It's like the marijuana activists who felt upstaged when California dispensary owner Richard Lee jumped the gun on fully legal recreational marijuana with Proposition 19. Hey, who's this newcomer? Why is he discounting our decades of experience?

I heard many similar sentiments at the L.P. convention, and not only from the radicals. John McAfee, the antivirus software mogul who impressed many delegates with his most-interesting-man-in-the-world charisma, 10-foot-tall butterfly gals, and insanely compelling campaign art-videos (put together by his vice presidential pick, libertarian movement glamour photographer Judd Weiss), nonetheless ruffled feathers by only embracing the Libertarian Party after announcing his presidential ambitions. Weld may have described himself as a libertarian for much of his long public life, but he only joined the party two weeks before the convention.

Aside from institutional history, many activists want to be reassured that the values they've fought so long to maintain—adherence to the non-aggression principle and to the notion that taxation is theft—will survive being represented by leaders who have more experience governing than fighting for ideas.

All of these concerns are normal and even commendable. If anything, by barely losing the fight over Weld, radicals have issued a bracing challenge to the victorious pragmatists: If this is well and truly the Libertarian Party's moment, you damn well better show some results.

There is ample reason for optimism on that front. Not only do Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton have higher unfavorable ratings than any major-party presidential nominees in modern history, they each represent the most statist wings of their parties. Trump is an authoritarian, collectivist bully who wants to preserve the welfare system, boost military spending, and create an unprecedented police state to enforce his protectionist trade and immigration policies. Hillary Clinton is the poster child for nanny-state liberalism, is bought and paid for by teachers unions, and might be the single most hawkish Democrat in national politics.

The two candidates are not only repellant personally, but they also run counter to the growing small-l libertarianism in American life. For almost two decades, Gallup has been asking Americans whether they think government does too much or too little, and whether it should be used as a tool to promote certain values. Based on the answers, the polling agency sorts people into four categories: conservatives, liberals, populists, and libertarians. Earlier this year, for the first time since Gallup has been asking those questions, the libertarians came out on top, with 27 percent (one point ahead of conservatives). That's up from 18 percent in 2000.

The pool of potential voters who describe themselves as "fiscally conservative and socially liberal"—the explicit sales pitch of Johnson and Weld—is even deeper: up to half of American adults, depending on how you frame the question. Those voters currently have no political home. It's no wonder that Johnson has hit double digits in several national polls.

With the worst big-party nominees since at least 1968, many traditional Democratic and Republican voters will be faced with a long-overdue challenge to their tribal loyalty. The Johnson-Weld 2016 ticket deserves to be taken seriously as an alternative, naked fat guys or not.

NEXT: Does Classifying Food as 'Healthy' or 'Unhealthy' Miss the Point?

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  1. Yeah, Matt! What are you going to trust? A poll result from this year, or one from ten years ago?!

  2. As a Libertarian purist, I have to stand on principle and reject these LINO’s seizing the LP mantle and instead vote for Trump. That’ll show ’em. When Trump wins the Presidency by one vote and all the world’s media shows up at my doorstep wanting to know why I chose Trump to lead this great country instead of Johnson, I’ll lay the blame squarely at the feet of you guys. I hope you’re happy, you bastards.

    1. But are you as stylish a drunk as John Barrymore?

  3. This libertarian moment feels more like a bowel movement.

    1. Perhaps you may find some of Hihn’s brown sugar coated prunes useful, no? I seem to recall something about a, “…spoon full o’ sugar..”

  4. There is no libertarian moment. There cannot be one, because that’s not how tribalism works.

    Look at what has happened in the last several months. We have gay marriage by judicial fiat – something libertarians have been supportive of for decades, and that Obama and Clinton specifically opposed. Yet Obama grabbed the credit, and just like Bill Clinton’s balanced budget, he’ll manage to abscond with the credit in posterity.

    And then we have #BLM. Late to the party that has long been manned by libertarians fighting for criminal justice reform and ending the “rise of the warrior cop”, the #BLM folk have managed to take the whole thing sideways. Now it is 100% about racism, with barely any chance of really addressing the training, accountability and legal reforms necessary. But reliably pushing all of that potential libertarian support over to team Hillary, who has been reliably pro-state and pro-police for 20 years.

    There can never be a libertarian moment, because libertarians don’t exist. Only donkeys and elephants. And everyone who is interested in politics just checks their team identifiers to see who they support. (for very large values of everyone)

    1. I did manage to convince a few disaffected Bernie Bro’s to vote for Johnson/Weld. I do this because I think it’s funny,and if someone else is going to make me eat a turd sandwich I am going to convince them to pick the one that has the least amount of turd in it.

      “Johnson/Weld Turd Sandwich Now with less turd !!!”


    2. Well, then Libertarians need to pick an animal.

      And a theme song:

      1. Nice Rufus. I got a good chuckle from that. =D

      2. I think the LP’s gonna end up with the porcupine, thanks to some random informal crowdsourcing efforts (translation: people putting stuff up on their own).

    3. The reason Libertarians/libertarians don’t get credit is because even when things go their way, it’s incidental, not causal.

      That is to say… sure, Libertarians have been quietly advocating for gay marriage for a long time. But in the end, it wasn’t their legal or social arguments that swayed people, legislatures, or the judiciary. And anytime you see a libertarian/Libertarian “victory”, that’s what you find.

  5. But the those freaks blew it narrative contains a fatal analytical flaw: The radicals and free spirits lost.

    What party isn’t judged by its opposition based on the worst elements of its membership? The problem with the Libertarian Party is that everyone is its opposition, and the only way to change that is to rewrite the somewhat false narratives being pushed. But the visual of some asshole who had lost being still allowed to strip down and hijack the proceedings is something even the Trump and Hillary circuses would be able to avoid. Anyone who didn’t know what the party stands for after that now has the impression of something a step down from the dueling clown cars of the Democrat and Republican parties: an LP freakshow.

    1. I guess they all need a Fist of ?nema.

    2. The LP has been winning consistently by repealing idiotic laws since 1971. That is what we are about. The looter parties are about getting their machine politicians into government jobs whatever the cost. The cost is that they have to survive our spoiler votes. This is an ancient strategy, as effective as pawn power in a chess game, and as inexorable as a mile-wide steamroller. If we get a windfall vote hike, say, 8%, that will enable us to repeal the personal income tax and free individuals from thought police harrassment.
      May the best platform win… in the long run.

    3. Huffington Post and The Blaze were just looking for reasons to dismiss the LP as wacko, even though it is their preferred D and R parties that are running the wacko candidates this time around.

  6. If you are forced to eat a turd sandwich pick the one that has the least amount of turd in it.

    If we were allowed tag lines here I think this one would be mine. =)

  7. Even if Johnson/Weld don’t reach the 15% thresh hold all is not lost I reckon. Perhaps this is all part of the maturation process for libertarians before it potentially seizes actual power. Maybe a Hillary or Trump presidency is the final nail in the coffin for people to realize maybe it really is time for something else. After all, if they’re bad as they seem, it can be a messy four years; worse than Bush and Obama. Which, from what I’ve observed, is not impossible.

    As for Johnson seemingly not being libertarian enough. I say get your first libertarian elected. You need to get your foot in the door. Even if he’s not ‘100% pure’ anything above 1% is better than the status quo. Once people see libertarians in action maybe it will attract more voters moving forward. I hope Johnson is just playing nice but once in control, he does what he has to do – even if it means being cut throat.

    1. What’s so disappointing to me about Johnson/Weld isn’t their lack of purity-a bit libertarian is better than not libertarian at all. What gets me is they are both inarticulate and poor communicators who do a terrible job of conveying their message. They’re both bad salesmen but maybe that’s just because they don’t really believe in the product. I’ll vote for them because they’re the least bad alternative.

      1. I was there until about two weeks ago. I will always vote along ideological lines but so far I haven’t seen much out of them to identify with. I don’t think the “least bad alternative” is going to get me inspired enough to bother taking the time out of my day to wait in line to vote.

        1. Libertarians are gonna have to learn to be deliberate and calculating in their message. They will have to construct it like the progressives of the 20th century did.

      2. I’ll vote for the LP platform despite those lame impostors in the top slot. There are really good LP candidates elsewhere, in other races for seats that write and repeal laws. All Gary and Whutzisname need do is smile, wave and brag about our platform. Gary failed utterly to brag about our platform last time he had the chance. Let’s keep reminding…

      3. It’s not even just being incompetent campaigners. That’s been true for most libertarian candidates, including Johnson four years ago.

        They completely sold out libertarianism on issues that are in play in the current political environment (praising Hillary’s evasion of FOIA, forced service of gay weddings, etc)

    2. Johnson had zero chance of getting elected from day one, though he did have a chance to make some noise in the campaign due to the terrible major party nominees. His strange embrace of Hillary, coupled with his overall suckiness as a spokesman or campaigner, has ended that chance.

      Voting for the lesser evil only makes sense if it prevents the greater evil from winning. A protest vote for the lesser evil is just stupid.

      1. ^Very much this. The tragedy I see in all this is, while I never in my most fevered delusions imagined a LP win, I thought to myself…..well a 10-15% voting block its still a 10-15% voting block….it will have to get some recognition and may lead to some real momentum to break up the “choose dictator A or dictator B” farce that we have now.

        1. 5% would get federal funds. At least they would finally be going to a good cause.
          10% would cause all the serious pundits to shake in their boots and have to explain it.
          15% would put the LP in the debates.
          35% could save America from Trump-Clinton.

          Don’t give up yet. Johnson is barely libertarian, but he’s a thousand times more libertarian than Trump or Clinton. Weld isn’t even libertarian really, but he’s a hundred times more libertarian than Trump or Clinton.

      2. Observe that this whiner cites no precedent and has not a clue of how spoiler votes force looters to change the laws. It has nothing to do with protest. Winning is that strategy that repeals moronic laws.

  8. The LP has taken their chance for a monumental libertarian moment……and wiped their ass with it. Rather than using the opportunity of the nomination of two of the least popular presidential nominees in the history of either major party to spread the ideology of libertarianism, a message of plurality that could have grabbed huge swaths of the thinking right and even possibly a significant minority of the left, Johnson and Weld have decided to act as fawning center/left stooges who ‘like weed’ in the hopes that somehow socialist millennials will deem them ‘cool’ enough to vote for now that Bernie seems to be out of the picture. It’s got to be one of the most inane political strategies ever conceived.

    If Johnson would grow a pair and stand up for 2A, vocally and clearly, he would instantly have the unequivocal support of the “nevertrump” crowd. From there he could begin to pick away at Trumps base by continually pointing out his big Gov’t/anti-civil liberties tendencies and win even more. Instead we are hearing all about what a “wonderful public servant” Hillary is.

    Johnson and the LP seems to think their future lies in wooing the left. Since socialism/progressivism is a product of an individuals fundamental inability to come to terms with reality, I doubt their “libertarian moment” will come from that direction. Congrats on the opportunity you’ve ruined GJ.

    1. You’re correct here-they’ve made terrible tactical decisions. And good luck appealing to the big govt left who’ll consider voting Libertarian sometime after hell freezes over.

    2. We had the LNC chairman on the “Hillary cleared of charges” thread a few days ago saying that even if we disagree with Johnson, we should vote for him because TEAM. That put the final nail in the coffin for me and the LP.

      Fuck the LP.

      1. Fuck tha LP and aftertouch said it with authority
        because the Libertarian Party on can’t get an electoral majority
        A political party, is with whoever I’m stepping
        and the motherfucking weapon is kept in
        a stash box, for the so-called law
        Wishing aftertouch was a nigga that they never saw
        A fat naked guy starts flashing behind him
        But they’re scared of a Hit and Rum commenter so they mace him to blind him
        But that shit don’t work, he just laughs
        because it gives em a hint, not to step in his path
        For the LP, he’s saying, “Fuck you punk!”
        Reading his natural rights and shit, it’s all junk
        Pulling out a silly club, so you stand
        with a fake-assed convention floor badge and a party membership card in your hand
        But take off the tie so you can see what’s up
        And they’ll go at it punk, and he’ll fuck you up!
        Make you think he’ll kick your ass
        but drop your act, and aftertouch’s gonna blast
        He’s sneaky as fuck when it comes to crime
        But he’ll smoke ’em now and not next time
        Smoke any motherfucker that sweats him
        or any asshole, that threatens him
        I’m a sniper with a hell of a scope
        Taking out a LP candidate or two, they can’t cope with him
        The motherfucking villain that’s mad
        With potential, to get bad as fuck
        So he’ll turn it around
        Put in his clip, yo, and this is the sound
        [BOOM, BOOM] Yeah, something like that
        but it all depends on the size of the gat
        Taking out the LP, would make his day
        But a nigga like aftertouch don’t give a fuck to say…

        1. Right about now Reason court is in full effect. Judge H.M. presiding.

      2. Fuck the LP.

        You’re right. A protest vote for Trump or Clinton will certainly extend the cause of liberty.

        1. It will if Trump’s elected. See my 2:52 P.

        2. Nixon promised freedom, right? That worked, right?

          1. It’s not about politicians “giving” us something. It’s about starting a movement. It’s about introducing people to the benefits liberty brings them.

            1. By voting for a candidate who praises the most corrupt candidate in history and opposes freedom of association (not on theoretical issues but issues that are in play in current politics) on national TV.

              1. 1. Respectfully, to say Gary opposes freedom of association is borderline mendacious. He opposes one aspect of it (wrongly) through his support of public accommodation law. If you have and can cite an example of him opposing FoA that doesn’t have to do with PA, I’ll gladly eat my words.

                2. To answer your question…Yes.

                In a democratically elected republic, you will NEVER see anything approaching “Libertopia” until the vast majority of Americans accept libertarian ideals. So the goal needs to be to make more libertarians, which means changing the mindset of current Rs and Ds.

                I didn’t, and I’d be willing to guess that you or anyone else ever has, become a principled libertarian overnight. It happens incrementally. One small step at a time. You are not going to convert Rs and Ds by clubbing them over the head with a radical departure from their normal like legalizing heroin, consensual incest and dog fucking or eliminating social security. GayJo isn’t a large departure from their normal, yet he’s vastly more libertarian than any of the current alternatives or than any of our current/past elected officials for that matter (with maybe a couple exceptions). He has the potential to drag statists in the direction of liberty. New heads under the tent.

                You can be a very principled libertarian in your personal life, and still believe, politically speaking, that the most efficient way to expand the libertarian ranks is an incremental approach.

        3. But a protest vote for a guy who praises the most corrupt presidential candidate in history, and argues against basic libertarian principles on national TV would?

          Of course, I was never suggesting voting for T or H.

    3. His problem is that he knows he can’t win…and he’s fine with that, because he doesn’t want to win anyway. His credentials are top notch (from a mainstream point of view), but he’s not interested in running a “real” presidential campaign. If he were, who knows what could happen in a year like this?

    4. “Johnson and the LP seems to think their future lies in wooing the left …”

      Rand Paul tried to woo the right, the “conservatives” who were supposed to be for individual liberty, limited government, the US Constitution. They all lined up behind big government authoritarian Trump.

    5. Johnson has pretty clearly backed the Second Amendment, coming out vocally against the no-fly/no-buy craziness. You’re not paying attention.

  9. I am the one true libertarian. Kneel before me!

    1. *inserts Crusty’s theme music*

        1. *Sasquatch played no part in the creation of this video. Sorry.

          Wow! Even STEVE SMITH! gets a shout out (of sorts)…

          1. I like my music like I like my women: arrogant, funky, and unquatched.

    2. This euphemism isn’t about masturbation, is it?

  10. “If we … compromise what we believe to take a federal handout,” he warned, referring to the possibility of the L.P. receiving money from the federal presidential election campaign fund should Johnson draw 5 percent of the vote in November, “THIS. PARTY. WILL. DIE!!!”

    Now this is stupid. You play the game by the rules that exist. Does this guy think the LP must never have candidates appear on PBS because libertarians don’t believe in federal funding of broadcasters? The “federal handout” represents a tiny fraction of the taxes that libertarians have paid, taking some of it back is hardly immoral.

    1. That 1971 Nixon anti-libertarian election bribery law was intended to defeat us. That failed; every bad law we oppose and repeal with spoiler votes is a victory. Plan B in the Nixon law is to turn us into whores for pelf. That too is failing because of the internet. We are beating the looters badly where it counts. If we weren’t, there would not be half the looters and birth forcers here wailing about our “helping” Trump or Mrs. Clinton.

      You can’t have it both ways. If we’re insignificant losers, there’s no point to pestering us for votes and support we lack. So why the endless stream of impostors, fakes, saboteurs, false flags, anarchists, mystics and whack jobs trying to change our course? Spoiler votes for a platform change laws–always have, and always will.

    2. Well actually, taking a share of stolen loot is immoral.

  11. Taking a leap to the margins? That’s the moment? C’mon Matt.

    It’s a moment that was missed and isn’t coming back soon. You’ve waited for this moment for years, and no one grabbed it.

    All it took was Rand Paul leaving the GOP and seeking the LP nomination. It’s about time libertarians realize there isn’t a home in the GOP. It thinks Trumpism is better than Libertarianism. I don’t care if Paul is only libertarianish. “Ish” is a start. He would have given voice to a whole host of libertarian issues that Johnson won’t have the gravitas to do.

    Paul would have been taken seriously by the media (he is a sitting Senator), he probably would have made the debates, and all he had to do was get the election thrown to the House. Imminently doable this year. And he would have galvanized the never Trump movement. He actually could have won. It wouldn’t have been playing at the margins, because he wouldn’t have the negatives earned by both Clinton and Trump.

    Alas, no one thought big. All anyone did was think marginally. If your goal is the margins, you’re gonna stay there. Truly a missed opportunity.

        1. Oh right. I have the temerity to suggest Rand won have to work to do even better. You want it handed to him.

          1. Stroke that narrative. Tell me what I was really thinking all along. Pontificate for us all on your expertise with the inner thoughts of strangers. Stroke!

        2. Oh yeah. Then CNN even changed their own rules to insure…insure…. That Rand made the debate.

          Yeah. The media ignores him.


          1. Paul would have been taken seriously by the media

            Yeah. The media ignores him.

            Ok, students. Who can tell the class what informal logical fallacy Jack engages in here?

            1. Poor heroic. Needs to call in his posse.

    1. I too was disappointed to see how things worked out with Rand Paul. I have however come around on my thinking about him not running on the LP ticket and his endorsement of Trump. I was nauseous when I read that he would back Trump as the nominee. However he did promise prior to the debates to not run on a 3rd party ticket and to back his parties nominee. I have to hope that these decisions have everything to do with him sticking to his word rather than playing R politics. Even though it leave a pretty bitter taste I can respect the man for doing what he said he would do. That’s my na?ve hope anyway.

      1. But here is the thing. It’s amazing to watch all these Repubs pulling their hair out about Trump, and working hard still to see he first doesn’t get the nomination, and second that if he does, he doesn’t win. It’s not a small thing. But they don’t have a path. It’s not going to happen at the convention, and no one will form a third party.

        Rand has allies in the GOP Congress. Certainly more than Trump does. No one ever hands you the keys, you first have to take the risk, and then work for it. There truly was a path this year. No one who would have a real chance at winning as a third party has taken it.

        1. Very true. He may have missed his moment in history and by proxy so did the LP. Maybe that makes his refusal to step away for the Repubs that much more admirable…..or stupid depending on one’s perspective. Then again, if he did, he might have been disavowed by the left side of the LP as a conservative masquerading as a libertarian and had the movement die on the vine….

          1. Maybe. Who knows. But nothing is ever gained without taking a risk. Yes, there was one for him. Goodbye Senate.

            But nothing wrong with dreaming big. Who knows. Maybe “hello Oval Office.”

            1. I’m just waiting for Bernie Sanders to take your advice and in as an independent.

              You know: so no opportunities are missed at the margins.

              1. Oh, Brian, Brian.

                You see, Bernie can’t win the general election as an independent. And neither can Rand.

                But both could force the election to the House. But alas, Bernie can’t win there either. But Rand could, most certainly over Trump. He just has to work at convincing what are currently his GOP colleagues. A doable task for him, never for Bernie.

                But I know… You’re not to quick on the uptake.

                1. Dude, there hasn’t been a contested election in almost 150 years. You’re engaging in a carefully crafted argument based on a fantasyland in your own head.

                  Neither Bernie nor Rand are running as independents because they want to maintain party loyalty for a try on another day, and not risk being labeled “the one who ruined the 2016 election.”

                  So Bernie will sit down a be a good boy, like everyone else.

                  But, if you insist, we can pretend it’s all about contested election fantasies and go from there, filing it under “shit that will never happen.”

                  Have a great day, Jack!

        2. I’m withholding my judgment of Rand Paul until after the election. Maybe once his Senate seat is secured for six more years, he’ll make a major announcement that he’s switching to the LP. It’s an ever-so-slight chance of that happening, but you can’t blame him for not wanting to make any disturbances until after November 8th.

      2. Ron, Rand and Trump are all Republican birth-forcers absolutely opposed to individual rights for women. Every moaning anonymous troll the GO-Pee plants here convinces several women the LP is another “right-wing” gang of Lebensborn Hitlerjugend recruiters. That cowardly abortion straddle plank where we once had female Veep candidates with pro-choice defense of rights is proof of how desperate the mystics are to tarbrush us with their own coercive superstition.

        1. Trump has no “pro-life” nor “pro-choice” principles. He said what he thought needed to to get the nomination. He’ll say something different if he thinks it will get him elected. Ron is an Ob/Gyn. He was “pro-life” when he ran for Pres in 1988. I suspect Rand is an apple fallen not far from the tree, but he was also making a play for at least some of the GOP gawd squad.

          I don’t, but some people really believe that stuff! I have no wish to purge believers from the LP, nor to keep any from joining the greater freedom movement. Pulling a godwin on those you disagree with on that issue won’t win converts. I’m in the pro-choice (at private expense) camp, myself.

    2. Rand Paul voted for one of the no-fly/no-buy bills. Gary Johnson spoke out against them.

  12. Progs want to know if Johnson is elected, who will pave the roads and arrest people for smoking reefer?

  13. The libertarian moment is like Samsquamptch. It’s a myth.

    1. STEVE SMITH hates you, Rufus.


  14. Again, the real way to measure the libertarianesqueness of a society would be things the govt “allows” you to do over the total number of things that are physically possible. The denominator does keep getting bigger, despite the government,s best efforts, and since there is some lag between something being invented and being regulated, which does get bigger as technology accelerates its own development. So maybe there is a tiny bit of something to the libertarian moment idea, but it’s just an artifa ct of this disparity, not peoples attitudes changing.

    1. When you said again, you were not kidding.

    2. People’s attitudes are changing though.

  15. Again, the real way to measure the libertarianesqueness of a society would be things the govt “allows” you to do over the total number of things that are physically possible. The denominator does keep getting bigger, despite the government,s best efforts, and since there is some lag between something being invented and being regulated, which does get bigger as technology accelerates its own development. So maybe there is a tiny bit of something to the libertarian moment idea, but it’s just an artifa ct of this disparity, not peoples attitudes changing.

  16. Again, the real way to measure the libertarianesqueness of a society would be things the govt “allows” you to do over the total number of things that are physically possible. The denominator does keep getting bigger, despite the government,s best efforts, and since there is some lag between something being invented and being regulated, which does get bigger as technology accelerates its own development. So maybe there is a tiny bit of something to the libertarian moment idea, but it’s just an artifa ct of this disparity, not peoples attitudes changing.

  17. Again, the real way to measure the libertarianesqueness of a society would be things the govt “allows” you to do over the total number of things that are physically possible. The denominator does keep getting bigger, despite the government,s best efforts, and since there is some lag between something being invented and being regulated, which does get bigger as technology accelerates its own development. So maybe there is a tiny bit of something to the libertarian moment idea, but it’s just an artifa ct of this disparity, not peoples attitudes changing.

  18. Again, the real way to measure the libertarianesqueness of a society would be things the govt “allows” you to do over the total number of things that are physically possible. The denominator does keep getting bigger, despite the government,s best efforts, and since there is some lag between something being invented and being regulated, which does get bigger as technology accelerates its own development. So maybe there is a tiny bit of something to the libertarian moment idea, but it’s just an artifa ct of this disparity, not peoples attitudes changing.

  19. Again, the real way to measure the libertarianesqueness of a society would be things the govt “allows” you to do over the total number of things that are physically possible. The denominator does keep getting bigger, despite the government,s best efforts, and since there is some lag between something being invented and being regulated, which does get bigger as technology accelerates its own development. So maybe there is a tiny bit of something to the libertarian moment idea, but it’s just an artifa ct of this disparity, not peoples attitudes changing.

    1. Maybe should have left out the “again”.

  20. The two candidates are not only repellant personally, but they also run counter to the growing small-l libertarianism in American life.

    I actually had to go back and read it a second time to realize he was referencing Donald and Hillary, and not, you know…. “our guys”

    1. The description fits Johnson/Weld to a “T”

  21. As a member of the LP (that and a buck will get me a Popsicle at the corner store across the road), I am not particularly happy about the Johnson/Weld ticket but will be holding my nose and voting for them. I’d love to see the LP turn its focus to getting a few people into Congress. Even one or two Senaotrs and/or a handful of Reps would be fabulous, and you could even start to call it a libertarian moment.

    1. Why not just vote LP in all the downballot state races? You don’t have to vote for a presidential candidate

      1. That is exactly why I am taking a precious 7 or 8 minutes out of my life to vote. Voting for the President is silly anyway.

    2. “focus to getting a few people into Congress. ”

      Won’t this be a bit easier to do if said “few people” can tell the voters, “Look, 10% supported our candidates for Prez/VP in 2016. We are no longer marginalized and, as many of you previously believed, unworthy of your vote.”

      1. Summary: “Sure our candidate sucks, has no chance to win, and you disagree with him/her on basic issues, but you have to support the TEAM”

        Sounds familiar.

        Maybe the LP should have nominated a decent candidate, and not the same guy who stunk up the room four years ago?

    3. Holy Crap! Dude where do you live that you can get a Popsicle for a buck?

    4. Yeah, you just need to find a state where the majority of voters don’t want the government to give them anything or do anything to other people for them. Good luck.

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  23. The real world is not ones and zeroes. You have to use analog judgement. Johnson/Weld may be too libertarian “light” for my tastes, but they could represent a great opportunity to advance the cause.

    The LP and the greater libertarian movement need both the purists and the pragmatists. The purists remind us what we are fighting for as the pragmatists get a little dirty trying to move the ball forward (yeah, mixed metaphor, sorry )

    1. Johnson/Weld isn’t an opportunity to advance the libertarian cause. But they’re a great opportunity to stop Trump-Clinton.

  24. For some reason libertarians seem to focus their energy on things other than federal politics.

    1. What I mean is that someone who really believes in a smaller government is always going to be at a political disadvantage when the debate questions are always framed in terms of what are you going to do to solve this problem?

      In real life, we all know the guy who is always bitching about the boss’s ideas but never has his own. That is the LP.

      Now you and I might know that what the libertarians really want is for the government to stop ducking things up, but what people want to hear is that a better government will do the right thing. They don’t want to hear that government is fundamentally the problem and that they will be better off if they take control of their own lives.

      Mostly because most people are incompetent and don’t want to make their own decisions.

      1. True.

        People who “believe” in the power of government will always be at an advantage in effecting the government.

        I like the analogy of libertarians as political agnostics, and everyone else adheres to some religion. They argue about what religion is best, but the need for religion is never questioned. So when we question religion itself, it does not compute to them. Plus, we don’t want to “go to church” to reform it.

      2. A way to frame the argument : “First, do no harm “.

      3. WSJ assures us the federal government is shrinking in headcount, but state and local asset-forfeiture looters are increasing like Norway rats in a Population Biology textbook problem.

        A LOT of libertarian party members know math. This sets us apart from the looter collectivists and birth forcers.

      4. Ronald Reagan said government was the problem, and he is the most popular president in recent history.

  25. You’re missing the big picture & big story: Trump’s election will make it far easier for all insurgents to be taken seriously, even as prez candidates, for the next 50 yrs., & not only in the USA. That includes anti-establishmentarians of all kinds, certainly including radical libertarians. You have to knock the walls down before you can storm the castle, & Trump is that battering ram.

    1. True. But Trump is also reciting the GO-Pee platform at every whistle stop. The nearest thing to a deviation was not arresting pregnant women, but mugging their doctors instead–but even that is a hardy GO-Pee perennial. READ the GO-Pee platform–50 pages of Mein Kampf carpet-biting, then take a look at the LP Platform, available in Spanish and English, Portuguese and… and… any volunteers?

      1. It’s Geo-Pee, dummass.

      2. But this is not about platforms or policies. It’s about the people saying, we don’t need no stinkin’ professional politicians, law review editors, think tankers, etc. Once that point has been made, then you can get down to arguing policy over the coming century.

    2. Trump is not an insurgent outsider. He is the ultimate northeastern elite political/media insider; friend of Bill & Hillary, NY/NJ crony capitalist, rich kid who plays a successful mogul on television, big government-loving authoritarian. People who project their hopes and dreams on this con man are pathetic.

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  27. The “reformers” have been screwing over the LP since 06. I should have thought we heard the last of em after Barr/Root. But nooooOOOooooo.

    I don’t hate Johnson, but he’s such weak sauce at a time when we need a big gun. Rand was the same disappointment. Where was the radical Rand Paul when he was vying for POTUS? What was the point of running as a moderate? BAH!

    Now the LP has Gary as our spokesman and he’s making the rounds on talk shows in his tennies and slouching his way through interviews with a big “Golly Gee” delivery. That’s not going to inspire anyone.

    Who the fuck does he have around him? Why do his staffers let him out of the house dressed like that. And he keeps harping on getting into the debates. Let me tell you something Gary, if by some miracle you do get into the debates (increasingly unlikely as his poll numbers are dropping as America gets to know him) Hillary and Trump will chew you up and spit you out if you bring that Aw Shucks game. You claim you gave up pot months ago so you could “stay sharp”, well you’ve been about as sharp as a Nerf Ball so far. Start studying up, get your ducks in a row, have the facts at your fingertips and learn some public speaking skills. Nobody’s going to vote for a limp dick. Get a backbone for crying out loud!

    1. Maybe nobody will vote LP because of Gary. But they will vote AGAINST the DemoGOP, and for that Gary need only exist, and not spout legalize-murder anarchism or enslave-the-babes nationalsocialism.

      Although it couldn’t hurt if he were to MENTION the LP platform once a week or so… during bouts of lucidity.

      1. I doubt it. They’ll stay home or vote for Jill.

      2. Just because it’s Turd Sandwich vs. Giant Douche, that doesn’t mean people will rush to the polls to vote for Used Barf Bag who has no chance of preventing TS or GD from winning. Not to mention that Johnson is not the only third party candidate.

    2. He was awful in debates in 2011, so much so that they started asking him demeaning Qs. But that’s not the point of getting into the debates. Most people won’t pay att’n to anything he says, they’ll just notice that he’s there, & conclude, huh, he must be pretty good or he wouldn’t’ve been invited.

      When I ran for assembly in 1988, some friends who didn’t know I was running heard my ad on the radio, & said, wow, I know him. I asked them how they thought I was, they couldn’t remember a thing about it other than that I was on, which was the most important thing. Why do politicians use sound trucks? “Vote for Shmoo!” No reason, but if they didn’t think it at least somewhat effective, they wouldn’t use it. Why do they advertise perfume? Other than in scratch & sniff, nobody can smell it, so what difference could anything they say about it make?

      1. But none of that matters in the prez race in 2016. Bizarrely, a vote for the LP nominee is a vote for the establishment. Trump is the insurgent. Doesn’t matter what policies he promotes. He doesn’t care what they are, he doesn’t even know what they are, neither do his voters care or know. What it’s about is saying that even in as big a place as the USA, running the country is not some arcane study best left to experts, but is something anyone can understand the basics of, & that anyone in good faith can do something about. If you want to turn trends sharply towards increasing liberty, that‘s the 1st thing that people need to understand. All the bad policies exist for 2 reasons: (1) there’s a small minority who truly benefit by it; (2) the vast majority think it’s too complicated to understand. Once people are disabused of #2, it’s pretty much over regardless of #1. So elect Trump, & run up the score even if he’s winning.

    3. Seriously: what big gun? You can’t nominate an ideal who doesn’t exist, you have to have an actual person. Sure, I’d be happier with Gary if he’d find some energy and stop being nice to Hillary, but who else did we have who could have gotten the press to at least take them somewhat seriously? Johnson/Weld got on CNN because of their resumes as former governors, not simply because of the LP nomination. The Nutcase Fugitive would have been laughed at, and they would have patted Twitter Kid on the head and told him to come back when he grew up. Ron Paul’s a has been, and Rand Paul is sticking with the Rs and Senate.

      What Big Gun?

      1. It’s true Darryl W. Perry doesn’t have any qualifications, and someone needs to slap that smirk off his face. But at least he knows how to articulate a position. I’d sooner have him bitching about not getting in the debates than Gary having his ass handed to him in the debates.

  28. I’m inventing a machine that will flip a public bus (empty) and set it on fire at the same time.

    1. What does it do to private buses?

    2. Do you then use it to light that giant cigar?

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  31. So where is Gary Johnson on the police shooting race mess?

  32. “The pool of potential voters who describe themselves as “fiscally conservative and socially liberal”?the explicit sales pitch of Johnson and Weld?is even deeper:”

    They’re not big enough to take down the two parties, and many of them will end up voting for one of them.

    Most of the country is obviously not fiscally conservative. We’re certainly not “liberal” in the classical sense of the word. We’re barely liberal by the modern definition – the left is becoming VIOLENTLY intolerant of speech and expression. Sexual orientation and identity politics just happen to be cause celebre.

    This “silent majority” simply does not exist in any meaningful number. The country’s going down the wrongest of paths and extreme discontent among disparate groups is taking it to even worse places.

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  34. his 1990s support of an assault weapons ban, his 2016 endorsement of Ohio Gov. John Kasich for president…

    Now the simmering conflict between the radicals and realists

    Yea, sounds like you have to be a “radical” to oppose this guy. That ignoring the 2A and a Kasich endorsement, who cares if he is ideologically a libertarian, as long as he has the L next to his name, amirite?

  35. Why would a Leftist vote ‘Democrat Lite” (Johnson) when they can vote full on socialist (Clinton). And why would any Conservative consider voting ‘Democrat Lite’ rather than just not voting. Epic fail by the Libertarian Party. Enjoy another 1% showing. And when that happens, I think all the faux libertarians that are really just libertines who are too hip to call themselves Democrats, should be purged (bye bye Gillespie, Weld, Johnson, Chapman and the rest).

    1. And if Johnson/Weld gets 6%?

      1. If that unlikely situation occurs, then obviously Johnson and his backers are right: people don’t want ‘liberty’ they just want squishy moderates.

    2. Hrm… I don’t accept the label, but I’ve been called things like “progtard” ’round here, so I’ll speak up.

      I plan to vote for Johnson, and will tell any pollster that calls me so, because I really really want a third, distinct voice in the fall debates. And to top it off, the things I disagree with Johnson on aren’t pressing enough to make me regret the choice should he win.

  36. Grab freedom by the Johnson is it, Mr. Welch?

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