Gary Johnson

Trump-Hating Bush Speechwriter Attacks Libertarians for Being Soft on Drugs

'Jesse Helms was right about Bill Weld,' Marc Thiessen writes for AEI, inaccurately, without disclosing that he was Helms's spokesman at the time.


The face of serious conservative Washington. ||| AEI

Marc Thiessen, former speechwriter for George W. Bush and Donald Rumsfeld, and current Washington Post columnist and American Enterprise Institute resident fellow, is so repulsed by Donald Trump's lack of moral fitness for the White House that he recently analogized voting for the Republican to pulling the lever on a runaway train to save five innocent nuns but kill a beloved family member in the process (no really, he did). Thiessen has called Trump a 9/11 "truther" and a liberal pretending to be conservative, and made jokes after Trump sealed the GOP nomination about going to Canada.

So what's a proud member of the Trump-hating conservative establishment to do? Why, slam Libertarian vice presidential nominee William Weld for being soft on drugs!

Over at the AEIdeas blog, Thiessen has written a post with the headline "Jesse Helms was right about Bill Weld." In it, the columnist recounts—accurately—that the former Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman opposed the then-Massachusetts governor's 1997 nomination as U.S. ambassador to Mexico largely on grounds of what Thiessen characterizes as "Weld's abysmal record on drugs." That record included supporting medical marijuana and needle-exchange programs for heroin addicts, as well as (in Helms's view) obtaining too few drug convictions during his stint as U.S. attorney.

Such a record, then or now, is anything but "abysmal." Half of U.S. states currently allow medical marijuana, three out of four Americans think medicinal pot should be legalized, and more importantly, they're right: It is neither wise nor conservative to put law enforcement between individual adults and their non-lethal medicine. As for needle-exchange programs, there is substantial evidence that they reduce the spread of such blood-transmitted diseases as HIV/AIDS.

Jesse Helms was right! ||| Wonkblog

What's more, Thiessen's preferred prohibitionism has been particularly godawful for Mexico. The Mexican Drug War, which somehow raged despite the world dodging the bullet of a Weld ambassadorship, has killed scores of thousands of people. About the only U.S. policy shown to have affected the behavior of the Mexican drug cartels is—wait for it—legalizing marijuana. And don't just take libertarians' word for it; here's a headline from Thiessen's own newspaper: "Legal marijuana is finally doing what the drug war couldn't." You can find similar coverage in such non-hippie venues as The Daily Caller,, and, uh, Partnership for Drug Free Kids.

Thiessen goes on to quote from articles showing that Weld has had his mind changed by Gary Johnson in favor of legalizing recreational pot, and then concludes, "Jesse Helms was right."

But why go after the obviously less-enthusiastic drug legalizer on a Libertarian ticket headed by a former cannabis company CEO? Probably because of a wee little fact that the author left out of his prohibitionist rant: Marc Thiessen, you see, remembers the Helms-Weld spat particularly well, because back then he was the spokesman for Jesse Helms.

Thiessen was mad, then as now, that Weld waved off Helms's drug-policy objections as a smokescreen for broader "ideological extortion" over abortion, gay rights, and other social issues. "Weld is using his appointment as a tool to start an intra-party battle for the soul of the Republican Party," Thiessen complained to The New York Times back then. "And he's using Jesse Helms as his foil. That's an abuse of the confirmation process, and an abuse of the U.S. Senate." Some contemporaneous accounts support Thiessen's interpretation.

But even if Thiessen was 100 percent right on tactics and tact, he continues to be 100 percent wrong on the underlying policy dispute. Weld's "record on drugs makes him unqualified for the post," he told the L.A. Times in 1997. Now, nearly two decades and 100,000 Mexican drug-war deaths later, Thiessen would rather settle old parliamentary scores and dissuade people from entertaining an alternative choice to this "train wreck" (his words) of a presidential election, than admit that he's dead wrong.

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    1. #VileLivesMatter

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    3. Which one, Weld or Thiessen? /sarc

  1. You know instead of binge posting you guys could save some articles for the weekend.

    1. Something on food maybe? I’m feeling a bit peckish.

    2. I think they are trying to tell us to get a life.

  2. You know instead of binge posting you guys could save some articles for the weekend.

    1. You know instead of reposting the same comment twice in the same thread you could just repost it over the weeekend.

      1. I still can:)

        1. Winning 🙂

  3. “Thiessen’s preferred prohibitionism has been particularly godawful for Mexico.”

    They’re brown and they don’t vote, so why should he care?

  4. Do you think Theissen wears that same smile when he’s cruising for rentboys in Dupont circle?

    1. They have daycare centers in Dupont circle?

    2. Even for pay those rentboys would deserve better than this guy.

    3. He looks like he just crop-dusted a brunch for gay, Hispanic men.

      1. That’s called “Trumpin’.”

      2. This is disappointingly pedestrian. For you and, I think, for him as well.

        1. I guess I’m not getting paid tonight.

  5. If you want people to care what you think, you’d better name check someone other than Jesse Helms.

  6. Jesse Helms had the same foreign and trade policy views as Donald Trump.

    1. So they were shitty and retarded?

      1. They had the same supporters.

  7. From the 1997 Slate article:

    “While Helms has the more popular position on drugs, Weld has the more popular position on abortion.”

    Maybe that was so in 1997, but now it’s changed.

    Medical pot, and even recreational pot, is more popular than doubling down on the prohibition.

    Meanwhile, the public consistently tells pollsters it supports stricter regulations on abortion than the status quo.

    This doesn’t mean the public is ideologically prolife, but that they tend to support parental consent, restrictions on late-term abortions, etc.

    Of course, the only time the public has a chance to act on its beliefs is if the prolife movement actually puts forward some “moderate” prolife laws, in which case the choicers say that the latest moderate regulate is the worst thing ever and prolifers are icky.

    1. (there’s also the possibility that one of these principled centrists will come up with their own moderate abortion laws, but somehow the question never comes up unless the prolife movement raises the issue)

  8. Thiessen thinks Weld is “soft on drugs.” Is Thiessen “hard on drugs” or just a hard-on?

    1. He’s just mad ’cause he did so much coke in the ’80s that his nipples turned into scabs and fell off.

      1. Marc Thiessen’s nipples look like Ann Coulter’s nipples.

        1. She had hers removed surgically. Well, seven or eight of them, anyway.

          1. *fights down rising gorge*

            1. They grew back, and they were mad.

          2. Marc Thiessen’s nipples are Ann Coulter’s nipples.

  9. It’s like people don’t want to believe that more laws means more criminals.

    And attacking Weld on victim-less crime prosecution is fanatical. “Your record shows that you don’t think drug users are hardened guerrillas, you Young Turk! Where’s my truncheon?”

    1. It’s not that some people don’t believe that more laws means more criminals, it’s that they don’t care. “I wouldn’t choose to do those things, so nobody should!”

    2. The Young Turks would support anything you could convince them was a blow against Teh Patreearky ™.

  10. Marc Thiessen, you see, remembers the Helms-Weld spat particularly well, because back then he was the spokesman for Jesse Helms

    That’s how you become our moral authority.

  11. I don’t understand why the AEI can be libertarian on most things economical but they lose their goddamn minds on other subjects.

    Doesn’t make sense to me.

    1. Because…Jesus.

      1. Existential dread has a strange way of warping rationality.

        “What happens when I die?”
        “That’s it.”
        “What do you mean? I never see my family again, all those dicks aren’t getting punished forever?”
        “I can’t accept that. I willfully choose to believe a Jewish carpenter inspired a collective of homosexuals to commandeer the emotional well-being of Europe’s populace through fear of eternal punishment and the desire to instill compliant pacifism in the masses. Deus Vult, ave maria. Pascal’s wager, fuckboi.”

        1. +1 Non nobis, Domine, non nobis, sed nomini tuo da gloriam!

    2. I never thought AEI very libertarian.

  12. Though I can’t say a bad word about Hillary (I love her and she can do no wrong in my eyes), I am shilling for Jill now. She understands that drug addiction is disease. Whereas Weld will let people die in the streets.

    1. -1/10. I bet your time is valuable.

    2. You’re a middle child, aren’t you.

      1. Is it that obvious? And yes I’m a Leo too.

      2. If you mean the meat in a chickenhawk sandwich, then yes. Yes, he is.

        1. For some reason that made me think of him getting pegged by Foghorn Leghorn?

          1. “Ah say, ah say, ah say, squeal like a pig, boy!”

          2. Oddly enough, I was thinking of that before SF made his comment.

          3. I do a pretty good Foghorn Leghorn.

            1. Foghorn Leghorn was inspired by radio’s Senator Claghorn , from The Fred Allen Show. He represented South Carolina, and probably would have considered Helms a near-Yankee for hailing from Nawth Carolina.

  13. Scores of thousands of deaths undersells how destructive the Mexican Drug War has been. It’s 150,000 to 200,000 deaths over the past decade, which makes it one of the bloodiest civil wars in human history.

    1. Not to mention the corruption that it’s created at nearly every level of Mexican society. Even the Mexican Army — once the proudest and least corrupt institution in the country — has succumbed to galling corruption during its civil war.

  14. I found it interesting that both Pat Buchanan and John McLaughlin were speech writers for Richard Nixon and both were trained by the Jesuits. A time gone by.

    1. Apologetics are apologetics, homeboy.

  15. I have had the conversation so many times I know it word for word before it even starts.

    Me: “Self ownership. My mind, body and conscience belong to me exclusively. I won’t have someone else tell me what I can or cannot ingest into my body that I own and they fuckin’ don’t.”

    Them: “Well, that’s a fine libertarian argument but…”

    *I cut ’em off*

    “Yes, it is. And you are forgetting the ‘but rule’. ”

    Them: “The what rule?”

    1. Try an indica. Will help you relax.

      1. +1 Hindu Kush

    2. I’m also fed up with any “but” crap when it comes to self ownership.

      No, it’s completely fucking immoral to punish someone for using or abusing their own body in a way you don’t approve of. The end. If you think the social costs of drug use are too high, find a way to address it that isn’t evil.

      Locking anyone up for using, selling or possessing drugs is the exact moral equivalent of my locking someone in my basement for no reason at all and regularly subjecting them to rape, beatings and humiliation.

  16. Fuck those warmongering idiots at AEI.

  17. “”Weld’s abysmal record on drugs.” That record included supporting medical marijuana and needle-exchange programs for heroin addicts, as well as (in Helms’s view) obtaining too few drug convictions during his stint as U.S. attorney.”

    I didn’t like this Weld guy before.

    But now he’s a confirmed monster. /sarc

    1. Measuring on the scale of Mass. politicians and US Attorneys, Weld’s a pretty decent guy. Not that that is terribly high praise.

  18. “Thiessen has called Trump a 9/11 “truther” and a liberal pretending to be conservative”

    Just for the record, neither of those two things are false.

    I won’t vote for Trump, but I hope hope he beats Hillary because she’s a crook–and putting a crook in the White House is the worst case scenario in this election.

    That being said, Donald Trump was a truther, and Donald Trump is not a conservative.

    Donald Trump is not a conservative in the tradition of Barry Goldwater and Ronald Reagan.

    Donald Trump is not a conservative in the tradition of Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson, either.

    Donald Trump is not a conservative in any tradition.

    Donald Trump is not a conservative.

    1. Donald Trump is to the left of Bill Clinton.

      1. Donald Trump is orange.

        1. He wants to crack some Tim skulls? Or he’s a Dutch monarchist?

    2. I don’t think Trump is a conservative. But I also don’t think he’s a progressive. I don’t think he has any actual political ideology; he’s an opportunist demagogue.

      I also think he’s a crook; just one who hasn’t actually been indicted for anything.

      1. Do you have any evidence that he’s a crook?

        What are you talking about?

        1. Not all crooks are people who break the law:

          1. the hooked staff of a shepherd.
          2. (informal) a person who is dishonest or a criminal.
          synonyms: criminal, lawbreaker, offender, villain, delinquent, felon, convict, malefactor, culprit, wrongdoer; More

          You yourself pointed out that Trump makes agreements with an eye towards renegotiating them later in ways that benefit him personally where he uses the threat not to fulfill his obligations to bring people back to the table.

          That’s dishonest. The people who do that are crooks. Even if they aren’t breaking the law.

          1. “You yourself pointed out that Trump makes agreements with an eye towards renegotiating them later in ways that benefit him personally where he uses the threat not to fulfill his obligations to bring people back to the table.”

            I don’t recall making any such point. Maybe you’ve got me confused with someone else?

            Regardless, when I say Hillary Clinton is a crook, I’m talking about something other than a re-trade.


            Hilary Clinton set up a partnership that defrauded taxpayers by way of the RTC. The RTC sent money to reimburse proverbial “widows and orphans” for the savings they’d lost in a failed, non-FDIC insured S&L, and Hillary set up a real estate partnership at Rose Law to divert those funds from depositors at Madison Guaranty to her bogus real estate deal by way of a loan that was never expected to be repaid.

            That the money ended up in Bill Clinton’s election campaign was never disputed by Bill Clinton or Hillary Clinton. They just claimed they had no idea how it got there.

          2. Defrauding taxpayers and stiffing people who lost their life savings is fundamentally different from underhanded negotiating tactics. Checking and then raising is dirty poker, but then poker is a game of deception. Yeah, everybody tries to re-trade in commercial real estate, and it’s hard to tell between someone who’s just re-trading and someone who has legitimate issues with whatever they found during due diligence. But re-trading just to re-trade is deceptive and an underhanded way to do business.

            It’s not like defrauding the taxpayers to stiff “widows and orphans”.

            It’s not like using your office as the Secretary of State to enrich yourself and your family–regardless of what that means for the foreign policy interests of the United States of America.

            Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are exactly the same in that they’ve both fallen short of the righteous example set by Jesus of Nazareth.

            But if Donald Trump has ever been dishonest, it ain’t like the way Hillary Clinton has been dishonest and abused her public office.

            1. Why is it whenever I point out that Donald Tump is a scumbag on a libertarian or conservative site, people are in a hurry to point out that Hillary is worse?

              AM I talking about the Hilbot? Is there some conservation of scumminess that my comments are violating?

              Donald Trump is a weasel who breaks his word (and yes he stiffed a bunch of contractors in the NY area with one of his strategic bankrupcies – those guys did a lot of work for which they didn’t get paid a dime and you would think that if Trump had any honor, he’d find a way to repay those people instead of leaving them with only what the court forced the company to pay them).

              Yes, his dishonestly doesn’t hold a candle to the naked influence peddling engaged in by the hilbot. So what?!? A petty crook is still a crook, even if he’s standing next to Bernie Madoff himself!

              1. Why is it that every time I shred Donald Trump, I get a response from people saying I’m wrong because I’m not being hard enough on him?

                This subthread is about me denouncing Donald Trump as a truther and a fake conservative.

                I said I wouldn’t vote for him.

                I said he’s the next worst thing to putting a crook in the White House.

                Why isn’t that enough?

                Is it because you prefer Hillary to Trump?

                Well, I don’t.

                Abusing your public office is a disqualification. One of them has done that. The other one hasn’t.

                1. Which has nothing to do with the question I was answering Kenny.

                  You asked:

                  Do you have any evidence that he’s a crook?

                  To which I replied that the definition of crook includes someone who is habitually dishonest.

                  Admittedly, I can’t find who it was who observed that Trump doesn’t keep his word, but enters into contracts planning on not upholding his end of the bargain until he gets more concessions through a strategic “renegotiation” once he has the other party by the short and curlies. I thought it was you, but I guess it wasn’t. I cited it because I thought it would be a shortcut to convincing you that Trump is a crook.

                  But nothing I said was in any way a denial that Hillary is a crook too – and a much worse one at that.

                  1. I conceded that re-trading is a real thing in commercial real estate. I even gave you a link to make sure I knew what you were talking about.

                    I believe that abusing public office is a disqualification for holding further public office, and Hillary has abused her public office on numerous occasions going back to the time when her husband was the Governor of Arkansas, when her husband was President, and when she was the Secretary of State. She even continued to take money from foreign governments while she was running for President!

                    I understand what you meant by saying that Donald Trump is also a crook, but I hope you understand that even if how both Trump and Hillary act can be described as crooked by the dictionary definition, my objection to Hillary is about her abuse of public office–going back decades, numerous offices, abuse still ongoing, . . .

                    Ultimately, if you’re not persuaded by my answer that abuse of public office is different from using hardball, re-trading tactics in commercial real estate deals, that doesn’t mean it wasn’t an answer.

                    1. No. I agree with you on the hierarchy of crookedness, Hillary Clinton:Donald Trump = Bernie Madoff:Larry King.

        2. Donald Trump is an opportunist.

      2. Based on his record at failing to actually make a lot of money, I doubt he is too much of a crook.

        Abusing ED makes him scummy, but not a crook.

  19. Theissen is a Republican establishment cock-sucking hack; literally everything that comes out of his mouth (or is written by him) is fact-challenged “my team is the best team” garbage. I’m honestly shocked he isn’t actually supporting Trump.

    1. I don’t have a problem with his calling out Weld. Thiessen is a Repubican and Weld was a Republican at that time. Why should we get involved in Republican party problems?

      A wise person doesn’t get involved in a GOP grudge-match.

  20. Marc Thiessen slammed William Weld – one “libertarian”, Matt. When William Weld was a Republican .

    Correct your headline, please. It seems like a grudge match within the Republican party. And not against ALL libertarians.

  21. Note to Matt – Numerous Republicans have no problem with the drug war. So why did you expect something else?

  22. I’m looking at the US Constitution and trying to find the section where it says the government is allowed to tell us what we can or can’t put into our bodies.

    Can you help me Mr Marc Thiessen who claims to be in favor of a small limited government ?
    Well – punk – can you???

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