Bill Weld

Bill Weld: Libertarianism Is Not Centrism

Former L.P. veep pick says 2016 emphasis on the "six-lane highway" down the middle of the road "might have been a fundamental error."

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Bill Weld speaks, Caryn Ann Harlos listens. ||| Matt Welch
Matt Welch

Bill Weld has become such a prominent fixture at Libertarian Party events over the past year, while also doing the party-building work of endorsing candidates and raising money, that most of the drama has been drained from the former Massachusetts governor's interactions with activists still miffed at his November 2016 pre-election character-vouching for Hillary Clinton.

So it came as little surprise Saturday at the Massachusetts state Libertarian Party convention in Springfield that Weld's lunchtime talk did not include any mea culpas about his campaign conduct. But what did come in the sharpest focus I've seen yet from the possible 2020 presidential candidate is an admission of fault, not on behavior but on strategy and messaging.

"When Gary Johnson and I ran," Weld said, "I think we may have overestimated how easy it was going to be to make our case. I can remember Gary saying on day one, 'Well, you know, we're socially welcoming and we're fiscally responsible, and one of the other two parties is not socially welcoming and the other one is not fiscally responsible, so we've got a six-lane highway right up the middle!'…I think that might have been a fundamental error."

This, mind you, from the candidate who told me a year ago that he had no regrets about the comportment of his campaign, not even the late-breaking Clinton business. (He did say in July 2016 that "there are a couple of answers [about Clinton] I have given in the media appearances that we've done that I would like to have back.")

But the six-lane repudiation is part of an ongoing messaging evolution and/or belated ideological realization that the Libertarian idea is not moderate, not pragmatic, but instead its own distinct, sometimes radical ideology that nonetheless has the best practical policy answers to the problems people care about.

"I think the mistake that Gary and I may have made is we would say, 'OK, here is red on the right, here is blue on the left, and we're purple.' Well, the truth is, we're not purple," he said. "In the eyes of other people, if they looked at our positions, my positions certainly, they would say I was a right-winger on fiscal issues and a soft-hearted super-liberal on social issues. But if you break it down issue by issue, I think our positions are more than defensible against either of the other parties."

Weld since 2016 has been tacking noticeably more libertarian—on guns ("I think that anyone who says, 'We have to do something about gun ownership, including AR-15s,' is just going to be dead meat, because their position doesn't make any sense," he said Saturday), non-interventionist foreign policy ("I'm there with bells on"), and drug legalization. But he also seems to be groping his way toward a group identity that's more self-confident, less reactive to where Democrats and Republicans stand.

"I'm suggesting that we should never say, 'You have to vote for us because we're in the middle, you have to vote for us because these two parties are awful,'" he said. "We should say, 'Well, a third way might be a handy way to go if you're not absolutely satisfied with the status quo in Washington.' Nobody is satisfied with the status quo in Washington, so that's an easy entry point."

Weld has been up-front in trying to organize Libertarian thinking around a serious 2020 presidential run, whether by him or some other higher-wattage contender. So far the only candidates to officially announce are radical Adam Kokesh, controversialist Arvin Vohra (currently running the 17th best campaign among 17 Libertarian candidates for U.S. Senate), and perennial stunt candidate Vermin Supreme. (You can watch Kokesh interview Supreme at this link.) The widespread presumption/hope is that soon after next month's midterms some prominent pols and business tycoons will start sniffing around the nomination.

You can listen to the Reason Podcast interview with Weld from July right here:

NEXT: Calls for Revoking Susan Collins' Honorary Degree Over Kavanaugh Vote Show How Sad Politics Have Become

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  1. I can’t take anyone who sings the praises of Hillary Clinton seriously. Bill Weld is no Libertarian.

    -jcr

    1. There were only two choices.

      -T

      1. and yet H strikingly still the wrong choice

        1. Because…. work emails on a private account? Spending less money than Republicans on stuff? Less global embarrassment?

          1. because criminal.

            1. “Innocent until proven guilty! But let’s not even do a real investigation before we make him one of the most powerful people on earth!”

              You about Kavanaugh, no doubt.

              1. You’d have a point if we were proposing to lock her up without a trial. We’re just pissed that it never reached the point of a trial, because the fix was in.

                1. You’re pissed because society has rejected backwardness and bigotry. You’re pissed because you lost the culture war. You’re pissed because you live in a depleted backwater. You’re pissed because you are on the wrong end of bright flight. You’re pissed because you can’t stand all of this damned science, reason, progress, education, liberty, tolerance, and modernity. You’re pissed because it’s no fun being a spectrum-inhabiting, stale-thinking, anti-social, backwater yahoo. You’re pissed because a black guy was president and too many Americans don’t believe you when you tell them he was a Kenyan Muslim communist. You’re pissed because America’s electorate becomes less religious, less rural, less backward, less white, and less intolerant, and you know what that means for the political prospects for your preferences.

              2. From Director Comey’s statements:

                “Eight of those chains contained information that was Top Secret at the time they were sent; 36 chains contained Secret information at the time; and eight contained Confidential information, which is the lowest level of classification.

                “Although we did not find clear evidence that Secretary Clinton or her colleagues intended to violate laws governing the handling of classified information, there is evidence that they were extremely careless in their handling of very sensitive, highly classified information.

                “For example, seven e-mail chains concern matters that were classified at the Top Secret/Special Access Program level when they were sent and received. These chains involved Secretary Clinton both sending e-mails about those matters and receiving e-mails from others about the same matters. There is evidence to support a conclusion that any reasonable person in Secretary Clinton’s position, or in the position of those government employees with whom she was corresponding about these matters, should have known that an unclassified system was no place for that conversation.

                “To be clear, this is not to suggest that in similar circumstances, a person who engaged in this activity would face no consequences. To the contrary, those individuals are often subject to security or administrative sanctions. But that is not what we are deciding now.

              3. The evidence on Clinton storing classified info on her private server is incontrovertible. She was rebuked by the IG.

                So…. apples and oranges.

                Did you hear that funny story about DiFi’s Chinese spy / driver? Or their operatives doxxing republicans?

              4. The law is very clear even to liberals or shitheads (but I repeat myself). If the date is left insecure, it is a crime. “Intent” doesn’t enter into it. Much like if you discharge a firearm and kill someone (Unless you’re an illegal alien in CA).

                FBI has documented over 100 incidents. They are crimes. Ergo, she is a criminal.

                In fact, people were put in jail for that exact crime AFTER she was ignored.

                They refused to bring a case because it would only take one Tony to let her walk.

                But she remains a federal criminal.

                1. We need a real AG. One who knows it’s their job to put democrats in prison.

              5. The FBI report on Hillary detailed everything necessary to send her up the river for a couple of centuries for violations of the Espionage Act. Try again, rent-boy.

                -jcr

                1. You people are fucking insane and should not be permitted to go in public.

              6. Tony, the way you continually twist reality in such a disingenuous way is breathtaking. You are truly vile.

                I wonder how fearful you will become when real Americans around you have had enough of progtards and finally do something about it? Where will you slither off to? Or perhaps you will finally do the might thing and drink your Drano.

            2. LOCK HER UP! = redneck mating call

              1. neither of you will ever find those words attached to me.

              2. Buttplugger and Tony really teamed up to drown us in tears on this thread.

              3. PB, can’t wait to lock you up. Feel free to resist, maybe we can finally get a trigger happy cop in the right o,ace and they’ll put you down.

            3. Why are you arguing with an NPC?

              1. Non player character?

          2. Yes that is the only conceivable reason someone might not vote for Hillary

            1. Anyone who thought Trump should be president is a fucking idiot, period, and as evidence I present… his presidency.

              1. So you think 60 million people, minimum, are “fucking idiots”, because you can’t conceive how anyone smart might think Clinton was at least marginally worse?

                It must feel good to be so confident and wrong.

                1. Oh I think way more than that are fucking idiots, but some of them can clamp their meat claws onto a pen and randomly mark the obviously right candidate’s name.

                  1. That’s kind of a depressing way of understanding things.
                    Or at least an arbitrary benchmark for considering others to be less than yourself.

                  2. Tony, Tony, Tony.

                    She’s never going to let you suck her cock.

                    You can stop with the worship.

              2. I think he should be president Tony. And I have at least 40 IQ points on you. Probably much more. I am also far better educated. You are also a weak, pathetic bottom feeder, of no character and integrity.

                So you see, I am your better. This is why I supported Trump, and not Hillary. Hillary is supported by lowlifes. That’s why you support her. Deep down you know everything I’ve said is true. That’s why you vote for Hillary. You’re more comfortable with a piece of garbage, as you are one yourself.

              3. Not voting for Hillary =/= voting for Trump.

            2. “The Supreme Court is wrong on the Second Amendment,” said Hillary, with respect to Heller decision.

              “You know, the NRA’s position reminds me of negotiating with the Iranians or the communists,

              “I will also work to reinstate the assault weapons ban.

              “If it is a constitutional right, then it, like every other constitutional right, is subject to reasonable regulations.”

              If!!???

              I believed that she believed that. And Bill Weld agreed with her at the time on guns. And Johnson agreed with Bernie on 73% of things.

              That was enough for me to dump Johnson/Weld (and not vote Libertarian for the first time since Reagan), and definitely NOT vote for Hillary. I voted for Trump STRICTLY so he could hopefully appoint a decent replacement for Scalia and the list he circulated before the election looked pretty good. Everything else was just noise.

              1. Bill Weld is trash. His 11th hour support of Hillary shows he has no loyalty or integrity. He is a sellout to the progtards.

          3. No, because she’s the most profoundly corrupt politician in American politics. Because her state department had the CIA arm a bunch of psychotic jihadists in Syria and Libya. She’s a neo con psycopath masquerading as a liberal so she can use political correctness as a tool to silence her enemies. She’s the worst of the Democratic and Republican parties rolled up into one double dealing package.

            Pissing off the Euro trash is a small price to pay for saving the country from her corruption.

            1. You are so right, Matt.

            2. Hillary was corrupt yes. I hate to do a “what about” here, but I really think Trump is going to earn the record for the most profoundly corrupt politician in American politics. Just wait. Time will tell.

          4. Obama added $9 trillion to the debt, more than all the other presidents put together.

            “Spending less money than Republicans on stuff”

            Okay Tony.

      2. Once you exclude changing bad laws by voting with integrity, yes, the two remaining choices are equally cowardly and counterproductive.

    2. I can’t take anyone who sings the praises of Donald Trump seriously. Anyone who does is, without question, no Libertarian.

      1. You disapprove of reducing the bureaucracy and the number of regulations?

        I may be doing libertarianism wrong, then.

        1. Fred aint libertarian. Hes the latest troll with TDS.

          Trump could get all nations to agree to free markets and fred would still deny trump credit.

    3. I can’t take anyone who sings the praises of Hillary Clinton seriously.

      And I can’t take the kind of people who support Trump seriously.

      Which is why my preferences have prevailed in America’s culture war, and right-wing goobers are left with muttering bitterly about all of this damned progress.

      Carry on, clingers. More faux libertarianism, please. I get a kick out of those unconvincing, silly costumes you masquerade in.

      1. Arty, what you want means nothing. You and yours will be forced into sun,ission or driven off our shores.

    4. Amen brother!

  2. “ideological realization that the Libertarian idea is not moderate, not pragmatic, but instead its own distinct, sometimes radical ideology”

    You’d never figure that if your only exposure to libertarianism was Johnson’s 2016 campaign and Reason magazine

    1. No kidding. If you’re the establishment, libertarians are the kind of opposition you pray for.

  3. “The widespread presumption/hope is that soon after next month’s midterms some prominent pols and business tycoons will start sniffing around the nomination.”

    Weld/ Flake 2020

    That will really show people that the LP offers a legit radical alternative, if “radical” is being defined as hopelessly status quo and unoriginal

    1. if anyone had doubts about Weld his pick of Flake will seal the deal. Flake more than lives up to his name. He is the consummate POS!
      If Libertarians support this ticket I will find a new party.

  4. “a soft-hearted super-liberal on social issues”

    There’s nothing soft about compulsory nazi cakes.

    That’s where “social liberalism” is today and, sadly, it’s where the Johnson/Weld campaign was in 2016.

    1. Yep, nothing says libertarian quite like the attitude that, once you try to create your own wealth via private enterprise, the state controls your free association choices.

  5. I’m wondering if this thread should just be a place of silent reflection.

    1. Nah. I say we argue about the 2016 election again.

      1. How about the civil war or deep dish “pizza”?

    2. *reflects, silently*

    3. 4’33”

    4. that brought a smile to my face

  6. …one of the other two parties is not socially welcoming and the other one is not fiscally responsible…

    Technically I suppose this is not also a fundamental error, in the vein of that riddle: “I have two coins totaling thirty cents and one of the coins is not a nickel.”

    1. When *was* that old cliche true, if ever?

      1. When Barry Goldwater made it up to explain away why he wasn’t popular with voters anymore?

    2. The R party is actually MUCH, MUCH more socially welcoming than the Ds, unless your sole criteria for social interaction is genderfluid bathroom rules.

      Neither party is anything approaching fiscally responsible. Again, the D/Socialists put the Ds far behind the Rs

      1. A complete rejection of fiscal responsibility is the one position both parties share and the one area that Libertarians could stake out as their own, especially if they are willing to say the government has a spending problem instead of the Peter Suderman “deficit financed tax cuts” nonsense.

        1. Devils in the details. Everyone agrees that cuts need to be made except when it comes to their own little pet issue. Then it’s to hell with the budget.

          1. Goes back to my point below that there is no such thing as a “socially liberal fiscally responsible voter”. Socially liberal means everyone gets to do what they want provided I like it and fiscally responsible means we need to cut all spending that I don’t like or doesn’t benefit me.

            1. Truth.

            2. It costs taxpayer money to boot gays out of your bakery too, yo.

              1. No it doesn’t. What costs money is the government putting a boot on everyone’s face so you never feel any disaproval for your perversions.

              2. It costs taxpayer money to boot gays out of your bakery too, yo.

                Did it?

                There weren’t necessarily any gays in Memories Pizza and my understanding was that the gays who were in the Masterpiece Cakeshop left peacefully.

                Even then, those were local policing dollars that don’t count towards federal spending and don’t mean bubkis with regard to federal spending even if they did.

                Fuck your pet cause.

                1. It’s your pet cause. Jesus-based wedge issues with a minority scapegoat is the entire rightwing playbook and has been for decades.

                  1. Yes Tony, we are trying to prevent you and the vicious mob from ruinging the lives and businesses of religious minorities.

                    1. There it is. “Vicious mob.” Mr. talking points police. Pathetic rightwing poodle.

                    2. The GOP thinks “religious freedom” is forcing their silly superstition onto others via mandatory school prayer, making contraception illegal or difficult to obtain, blue laws, etc.

                    3. And shreek arrives to lie and tells us what the voices in his head say. I think you might actually be a good case to test the existence of demonic possession.

                  2. You seem confused on which side is manufacturing the cake and bathroom issues.

                    It was lefties who saw bathrooms as a wedge issue and began passing legislation in Charlotte and Houston.

                    1. They saw it as a civil rights issue and passed the laws because they thought it was good, and the Christian Republican freaks were only too happy to make a national shitshow out of it.

                    2. Tony’s God (the State) conflicted with their God. It offends his religious piety for such an affront to occur against his faith.

                  3. It’s your pet cause. Jesus-based wedge issues with a minority scapegoat is the entire rightwing playbook and has been for decades.

                    Wow. Clearly I set my expectations too high when I expected something other than “I know you are but what am I?” in response.

                    There are plenty of democrats, progressives, and socialist who invoked Jesus to keep down women, brown people, and homosexuals. There are plenty of democrats, progressives, and socialists who didn’t invoke him to keep down women, brown people, and homosexuals. Only one side is going to continue to try to demonize the other team with it unilaterally despite the complete lack of logic and well past the point where the wheels have fallen off and the engine has run out of steam.

                2. Suing the living fuck out of someone who won’t endorse your lifestyle.
                  “the gays who were in the Masterpiece Cakeshop left peacefully”
                  Lol.

                3. I think legal fees especially government based cost do cost taxpayer dollars

              3. I’ll bet it’s not as much money as it costs Social Security to pay survivor benefits to gay married couples.

              4. More like, it costs taxpayers money *when* you boot gays out of your bakery.

        2. The voters don’t want fiscal responsibility.

      2. And the reason you’ll find almost no minorities at a Trump rally is…

        1. You find more minorities at a Trump rally than you do at an Antifa rally. Meanwhile.

          http://www.usatoday.com/story/…..013212002/

          And black and hispanic unemployment is at an all time low. That keeps up and minorities might not need white people like you to do their thinking for them.

          1. And you hope–nay, believe–that they’re stupid enough to credit Trump.

            1. Are you saying 35% of black people are stupid? I always knew you were really a racist. Nearly every white Democrat is. But, that is being a little bold about it don’t you think?

              1. You just implied that blacks and hispanics owe their success to a white man. Well, orange.

                1. I love when you and John play the “who has the larger, yet still minuscule support of minorities?” game

                  1. I don’t think 35% is exactly minisucle ther Just Say’n. And if there is one place on earth whiter than an Antifa rally, it would be an Libertarian rally. This might be one you want to sit out there champ.

                    1. 35% of black people what? Not support Trump, that’s for damn sure. What are you lying about now?

                  2. He’s done more for them than that traitor Obama ever did. But you don’t really care about anyone other than yourself, do you Tony? Fucking sociopathic narcissistic buggerer of schoolboys.

            2. And you hope–nay, believe–that they’re stupid enough to credit Trump.

              Credit trump or not, the Jews never had it so good under Hitler nor freed black slaves under the Klan.

              Keep punching yourself in the nuts and screeching about how the other side’s worse. It’ll work this time.

        2. Larry Elder is exposing that the media is ignoring black folks leaving the Democratic Party in droves.

          Larry Elder

          1. I don’t know how many of them are running out to register republican, but they are definitely leaving the democrats at a good pace.

            1. Voters leaving the demoncrap party is what won the presidency for the Republicans, even before Trump came along.
              0blama 2008 – 52.86%
              0blama 2012 – 51.01%
              HiLIARy 2016 – 48.02%
              But Artie says the country is moving in his direction.
              Delusion is strong in that one.

  7. Photo Caption: “Here we see Reason Magazine’s Katherine Mangu-Ward asking Governor Bill Weld why he bothers.”

      1. What’s the difference.

  8. Bill Weld has become such a prominent fixture at Libertarian Party events over the past year, …

    It’s as if the Libertarian Party is trying to become even more irrelevant than it already is.

  9. Good for him for having a epiphemy on guns. I would love to know what ‘being super liberal on social issues” actually means and how that squares with a commitment to religious freedom and other rights.

    Beyond that, Weld is right about the uselessness of trying to be centrist. Cherry picking various issues from each othe major parites just ensures Libertarians appeal to no one. If you really care a lot about gun rights, you can vote Republican for that or vote Democrat if open borders and gay wedding cakes are your thing. If the LP ever wants to appeal to a broader audience, it will have to come up with issues of its own that are popular with a broad audience. Being Dem or Republican light will never cut it.

    1. Being Lizzie light cost Scott Brown the 2012 election.

      1. Libertarians can’t seem to comprehend that if your biggest issue in life is men being able to use the women’s showers or open borders, you can vote Democrat and get all of that and more. We have the most judgemental and fiscally irresponsible society maybe in history. That didn’t occur because everyone is secretly a “social liberal and fiscal conservative”.

    2. vote Democrat if open borders and gay wedding cakes are your thing

      That’s what I do. And I encourage all adherents of Koch / Reason libertarianism to do the same.

      #BlueTsunami

      1. http://www.nytimes.com/2018/10…..polls.html

        Even the Times is starting to break the news to the faithful. Keep your talking points up to date dude.

        1. I’m still convinced Democrats will take the House and Senate. I have never seen my progressive friends as fired up as they are now. Plus I’ve even seen several Beto lawn signs and bumper stickers ? and I don’t live in Texas!

          1. Check your email. The talking points have changed.

            1. Have they just gone ahead with calling for the assassination of their opponents?

                1. Don’t tell me that nasty Ellison is going to win the Minnesota AG race.

                  1. This is Minnesota. He has an even chance.

                2. Good, now we can say we were…….provoked.

          2. “Plus I’ve even seen several Beto lawn signs and bumper stickers ? and I don’t live in Texas!”

            Really subtle… and really good line.
            A+

        2. “Democratic prospects in these suburban areas are bolstered by the expectation of strong turnout among college-educated voters, who typically represent a larger share of the electorate in midterm elections and this year are poised to back Democrats by a wide margin”

          Election day sounds like a good day for some all day keggers starting before the polls open. Kegs and eggs.

          1. What about legs?

            1. all about legs.

      2. How do idiotic nitwits find their way to this website…shouldn’t their totalitarian social media algorithms be driving them to Huff Post and Mother Jones?

    3. Cherry picking various issues from each othe major parites just ensures Libertarians appeal to no one.

      If the LP ever wants to appeal to a broader audience, it will have to come up with issues of its own that are popular with a broad audience.

      And own and stand by them. No more of the “Militarization of police and abuse of power is intrinsically bad but BLM is more popular so we’ll frame our position in that (fading) light.” or “Criminalization of sex work robs women of their agency unless men on the team we don’t like may know someone who once paid for underage hookers.” song-and-dance.

      Stand for something or stand for nothing.

    4. People are single issue voters, and for any single issue, they already have a political party.

    5. “If the LP ever wants to appeal to a broader audience, it will have to come up with issues of its own…”
      It has, if what you read, here, is any indication.
      I’m just trying to figure out what lane on that six lane freeway “eliminate all police” is.
      That’s an issue the LP has all to itself.

      1. That isn’t even remotely true.

      2. That isn’t even remotely true.

  10. most of the drama has been drained from the former Massachusetts governor’s interactions with activists still miffed at his November 2016 pre-election character-vouching for Hillary Clinton.

    Despite the decades-long right-wing smear campaign against her, Hillary Clinton if nothing else has exemplary character. I mean, she has an incredibly impressive education that she could have used just to enrich herself. But what did she do instead? She devoted literally her entire life to helping the less fortunate, specifically women and children. And she always did it by the book, avoiding even the appearance of wrongdoing or conflicts of interest.

    I have often explained why I think the Libertarian Party is pointless at best when libertarians should always vote Democrat. But vouching for Hillary Clinton is the best thing Weld has done.

    #StillWithHer

    1. ^Excellent.

    2. For the love of Pete .. read your post out loud to yourself in the mirror.. have you no shame? Do you even understand the concept of critical thinking? The Clinton’s are pigs who enriched themselves in the hundreds of millions at the expense of US taxpayers and exploited the poor in Haiti. They both deserve a very unhappy ending.. you know the one where it is suddenly uncomfortably warm.. that goes for all their idiot lemming enablers. Have a nice day!

  11. I am glad Weld has twigged on to the notion that libertarianism is not a moderate ideology and trying to market it as such is a Procrustean task.

    I hope he also learns that the press will manipulate your words to say whatever they want them to say given significant motivation to do so. You cannot trust them to transmit your message without bias.

    1. Its why trump uses Twatter.

      Straight from his fingers to the World.

      The media hates it.

  12. Looking forward to the LP nominating a politician who has supported every foreign intervention for the past twenty years. That’s what an alternative to the two major parties looks like.

    1. Nothing says “fiscal responsibility” like “Team America World Police”.

    2. Not just supported every foreign intervention for the past twenty years, supported them, botched one election as the VP, and *then* decided he might have to read up on the whole ‘libertarianism’ idea.

    3. I thought they did that already with Bob Barr.

  13. >>>and one of the other two parties is not socially welcoming and the other one is not fiscally responsible

    perpetuating (D) and (R) as separate entities perpetuates (L if there is such a thing) in 3d place. Toronto Blue Jays forever.

    take the (D-R) establishment on and pull people away from there. quickest way to numbers imho wtf do I know?

    1. The LP has never figured out what it wants to be. Does it want to be a major party of its own or does it want to be a minor party that serves as an ideological beacon that draws the major party towards libertarian positions. If it wants to be a major party, then it needs to be willing to compromise and figure out a way to kill off and take the place of one of the major parties. If it wants to be the later, then it needs to be as ideologically pure as possible but also willing to throw its weight behind major party candidates when those candidates give something that LP wants.

      The LP and Reason seems to not understand the choice it faces much less how to accomplish either option.

      1. exactly. why I just be me.

      2. I think they understand the choice, they reject with horror that that is the choice they are faced with and want to pretend another option is available.

      3. “”The LP has never figured out what it wants to be. Does it want to be a major party of its own or does it want to be a minor party that serves as an ideological beacon that draws the major party towards libertarian positions.””

        this is exactly right

        as far as getting people elected and effecting some sort of tangible change that way, its useless, and in practical results, probably worse than than – damaging the reputation of the ideas

        too often its this bi-polar mix of squishes like Weld …. or crackpot ideologues who drone on about pet-libertoid issues but are illiterate on bread & butter politics. I’m a fan of ending the drug war, legalizing prostitution, radically fixing immigration, etc. but i’m not so stupid as to insist they be the flagship issues that non-libertarian voters should care about.

        If the LP functioned more like a caucus where they grouped a bunch of D-s and R-s together from time to time and discussed policies where they could make some tangible headway for liberty-promoting issues, i’d be giving them piles of money annually.

        as it is, they’re a fucking joke that i want nothing to do with and i disparage them at every possible opportunity.

        1. It seems to me that the Freedom Caucus in Congress is about a thousand times more effective at promoting freedom than the LP.

          1. Yes, the Aborto-Freaks in the “freedom” caucus.

            When did they start promoting freedom?

            1. When did they start promoting freedom?

              Whenever they did it, it was before the libertarians in Congress did, that’s for sure.

            2. Nothing says babies like murdering children. Does blood drip out of your mouth when you comment on here? You are such a sicko I am starting to feel guilty laughing at you.

            3. Hey Buttplug, since abortion is all about choice, and a woman’s choice confers personhood on the fetus…
              What if someone chooses to have an abortion but carries the fetus for nine months and has the abortion via c-section leaving it intact. Because the choice has been made to abort, does that mean it has permanently aborted fetus status. Can I buy eightieth trimester aborted fetuses to work in coal mines or for sexually servicing clients?
              Can we eat them as a delicacy?

          2. You mean the Freedom Caucus that lives for cruel, authoritarian, bigoted immigration policies?

            The Freedom Caucus that promote statist, superstition-laced womb nanagement?

            The Freedom Caucus full of enthusiastic gay-bashers?

            The Freedom Caucus that loves government micromanagement of ladyparts clinics?

            The Freedom Caucus that supports the drug war?

            The Freedom Caucus that endorsed attacking the wrong country, torture, and endless detention without trial?

            The Freedom Caucus that supports tariffs and protectionism?

            The Freedom Caucus that loves race-targeting voter suppression?

            The Freedom Caucus that is the authoritarian, backward right-wing fringe of the authoritarian, intolerant Republican Party?

        2. See the essays linked from the bottom of http://users.bestweb.net/~robgood/political.html .

          Hey, Tulpa, you think I (Mike Hihn) went back 15 yrs. & put this on Robert’s Web site?

      4. The LP is full of Democrat rejects like anarchists.

        Anarchists dont want Libertarianism to work because then Anarchy-land will never happen. The status quo leads to financial meltdown and out of the ashes Anarchy-Land will rise.

        Its why the anarchists are coy assholes. They know whats up. This is one of the few websites that tolerates them shitting on the reason this website is here (supposedly Libertarianism).

        Lefties are here to keep Libertarianism from being the major party that replaces the Democratic Party.

        1. “”Lefties are here to keep Libertarianism from being the major party that replaces the Democratic Party.”‘

          the idea of this amuses me, mainly because it posits that libertarianism’s core-problem is the ‘mechanizations of enemies of the cause’… rather than the core-incompetence of libertarians themselves.

          i mean, it is probably reassuring to imagine that the real obstacle is “entryist sabotage”. But its certainly not going to make you ever improve your messaging or your political strategy if you’re always attributing to malice what is more-easily explained by stupidity.

          1. Look at the LP. Its not a party of Libertarians.

        2. It’s been that way for 40 years. At least the an-cap position has a moral footing. “Limited government” is what the Constitution started out describing.

          1. I get the an-cap position. I just think its funny that they hide in the LP instead of starting their own an-cap society.

      5. It’s amazing. The Ds are disintegrating at a rapid pace, opening up the space for a replacement party, but all the LP wants to do is suck up to them.
        Fuck Weld.
        Fuck the LP.

        1. Libertarians have a real opportunity here.

          As the Democratic party implodes, the Libertarians can take back the LP from LINOs and challenge the GOP and the Socialist Democratic Party and beat them to get elected. As long as libertarians run on libertarian principles, not anarchist, republican or socialist principles.

        2. Here’s a question: with millions of violent angry progtards out there, what are we going to do about them? They aren’t going away on their own.

          Look at Portland. That city needs Trump to bring in the National Guard and take control from their communist subversive mayor.

      6. it needs to be willing to compromise

        Like nominating Gary Johnson and Bill Weld for the presidential ticket?

      7. You can do both (which is what the LP is currently doing, albeit poorly). In fact I kinda say you need to do both.

        One of the main problems with the major parties is they have strayed from their roots in an attempt to become more centrist, which mean beyond a few wedge issues there is little difference between them. They routinely ignore their own intelligentsia and see just how far they can bend to maintain a dime’s worth of difference from their opponents.

        For as much as I grumble about purist, they do keep the party honest in terms of ideology and direction. In terms of policy however, they are a trainwreck, and as long as the LP’s policies are generally moving in the right direction, they should quit clutching their pearls at ignominy of it all.

        The LP could easily stake out their own policy prescriptions to address the concerns of the day, with concrete examples of what is to be done (i.e.- instead of a vague “cut spending”, they could list entire departments to be gutted with a 5% cut across the board).

        Will it satisfy the purist? No. Is it workable enough to attract voters and possibly be enacted in some form? Maybe.

        1. If libertarians would discuss something for everyone it would work.

          Get rid of roe v wade, since courts should have never created that protection
          Cut restrictions on religion to be privately practiced
          Get rid of drug war
          Cut govenrment budgets by magnitudes of 10%
          Cut military budget
          Cut overseas committments
          Cut regulations
          Cut taxes

          1. make that 10 a 20 and you have my vote good sir

  14. I don’t get why Bill Weld should apologize for not endorsing Donald Trump.

    1. Nobody has said he should?

  15. Weld said, “I think we may have overestimated how easy it was going to be to make our case. I can remember Gary saying on day one, ‘Well, you know, we’re socially welcoming and we’re fiscally responsible, and one of the other two parties is not socially welcoming and the other one is not fiscally responsible, so we’ve got a six-lane highway right up the middle!’…I think that might have been a fundamental error.”

    Socially welcoming? I don’t think Weld or Johnson have read the Reason comment section.

    That said, Weld and Johnson both seem to be under the mistaken notion that Republicans are “fiscally responsible”, something that they have repeatedly disproven every chance they get.

    Leading me to think that Weld may not be fully aware of the world he lives in.

    I mean, if he’s the Libertarian ticket in 2020, chances are I’ll vote for him again?, but dude is not connected to the real world.

    1. “I don’t think Weld or Johnson have read the Reason comment section.”

      I don’t think they read their own policy positions. “Bake the Cake” and “burka bans” is the opposite of “socially welcoming”, unless “socially welcoming” just means being tolerant of “the right people”.

    2. I don’t think Weld or Johnson have read the Reason comment section.

      The Reason comment section =/= Libertarianism either.

      1. comment section =/= *L*ibertarianism

        Yes, very much this.

      2. Unlike Hihn, I don’t assign labels to folks.

        So y’all say you’re libertarians/Libertarians? I’m gonna believe you.

        1. Nobody gives a fuck, Escher

    3. No way. Trump is more libertarian-ish than GayJay/weld.

      1. Trump is roughly as libertarian as is the average right-wing clinger.

        1. Learn to obey you brainless bitch.

  16. Johnson lost me as a libertarian (I still voted for him, but not enthusiastically) with his weird stance on guns and his just general inability to make libertarian arguments and points in his speeches and debates.

    Weld always was better at that, in 2016.

    (Ref above, “socially welcoming” should probably be taken as “not culture warriors trying to make people live how THEY want”, rather than “super nice people in every respect”.

    Likewise, the Republicans aren’t “fiscally responsible” as a Party, but they both at least pretend it matters and actually have some base members that actually care; I know because they won’t shut up about how much they hate the way the Party acts in Congress.)

    1. Neither party is fiscally responsible but the GOP is worse. Democrats at least attempt to pay for their big spending programs. The GOP doesn’t even try to pay for theirs.

      1. The RINOs are Lefties and refuse to cut gov. Some republicans are kind of fiscally conservative.

        Democrats are huge spenders.

        Neither party are as fiscally conservative as Libertarians.

      2. You and your faggot friends don’t lay for shit. Instead you devalued the currency to cover for what you couldn’t borrow.

        So fuck off with your revisionist bullshit.

      3. Like they paid for the 1.4, 1.3, 1.3, and 1.1 Trillion dollar deficits of Obama’s first 4 years?

  17. I will not vote for Bill Weld no matter what.

    1. Where’s BUCS to tell us that if you squint your eyes and ignore everything Bill Weld has ever said or stood for the past twenty years you can totally see how Weld really is an alternative to the two major party candidates, even though logic and common sense says otherwise?

  18. I think messaging really needs to tackle how libertarianism handles social trust.

    A lot of the issues the LP runs into in the messaging department stem from that. You can’t just say “deal with it” when someone ballyhoos about unfair discrimination with freedom association maxxed.

    Same goes for certifications, licensing, a lot of deregulation, etc.

    And the theory of rational actors in a free market may need to be challenged on the face of it and some messaging around that in light of the market irrationality that is virtue masturbation.

  19. Fuck you Bill Weld! You are not a Libertarian and dont know shit about Libertarianism.

    Socialists on the Left
    Conservatives on the right
    Libertarians in the Center (where social liberties and tiny government merge)

  20. Weld was willing to work for Cuntlin I as ambassador to Mexico. He therefore already sold his soul and is unacceptable to right-thinking proponents of liberty and constitutional government.

    1. I meet lots of you Trump rednecks here in Georgia.

      1. Poor buttpluggers vote does not help any Democrats.

      2. You probably grovel before them, lest they slap you around like the bitch that you are.

  21. Sure, that makes sense: Run as a Libertarian VP candidate, and then learn about libertarianism a couple years later…

  22. Organizing libertarians is like herding cats. I do not see any hope of serious political victories because we insist on ideological purity which is not possible in politics and never was. The cake thing is over but many are not over it.

    It is also not possible because you are promising people less, not more. Everyone wants lower taxes but the want more stuff from the government. They want to have a military 10x bigger than everyone else. They want to trade freedom for the illusion of security. They want more medical care and education so long as someone else is paying for it. So far as they are concerned there are two political parties and a few fruitcakes out there.

    I am done with Republicans and Democrats. I will vote libertarian if I can and vote on local ballot issues. Now Get Off My Lawn!!

    1. “The cake thing is over but many are not over it.”

      Well, think about it: The Libertarian Party candidate was officially *less* socially-liberal than the Republican candidate. Trump would let people bake their cakes.

      Objecting to that isn’t purism.

      Purism is insisting that the LP candidate demand immediate legalization of heroin vending machines on street corners.

      It’s not purism to ask that the LP candidate be at least as socially liberal as Donald *&^%ing Trump.

      1. Turn the tables and imagine a Libertarian candidate saying, “of *course* the federal government should put people in prison for smoking pot, what do you think I am, some kind of extremist?”

        Would we still be hearing supporters of the candidate make dismissive noises about “purism”?

      2. I can’t think of an issue more trivial than the cake thing.

        For the record I am on the side of the bakers who want to refuse service to the gay couple.

        1. Smoking joints is trivial, too, in the broad scheme of things.

        2. what gay couple would seek out a homophobe to bake their fucking cake? It’s about the dumbest fucking think I can think of. If anything I’d want to know who the homophobic bakers were so I could avoid them at all costs, and encourage everyone I knew to do the same thing.

          1. “what gay couple would seek out a homophobe to bake their fucking cake?”

            I’d suspect that only a minority of gay couples would deliberately seek out a “homophobic” baker – but that small minority has as much right to sue – and threaten the baker’s business – as if they represented all gay people.

    2. “”we insist on ideological purity which is not possible in politics””

      sure, but that’s not the problem

      the problem is rank stupidity….

      compromising on things you DONT need to compromise on (eg. 1st or 2nd amendments) while holding stupidly rigid opinions on things you SHOULD compromise on.

      libertarian purists will certainly dispute what these respective things are, but polls don’t lie (much)

      what you don’t do is choose politically-unpopular ideas as a hill to die on, while being flexible on the core things libertarians believe.

      e.g. throwing 2nd amdt under the bus, while talking up open-borders

      1. ” throwing 2nd amdt under the bus, while talking up open-borders”

        LOL. Gun control and no borders, it’s so crazy it just might work!

      2. “compromising on things you DONT need to compromise on (eg. 1st or 2nd amendments) while holding stupidly rigid opinions on things you SHOULD compromise on.”

        THIS is exactly the problem I have with Cosmotarians in general. They seem to be willing to throw the best and most important things under the bus, but won’t allow an inch of compromise on stupid, more or less irrelevant side issues… That all happen to line up with en vogue lefty social justice BS.

        1. Cosmotarians … seem to be willing to throw the best and most important things under the bus, but won’t allow an inch of compromise on stupid, more or less irrelevant side issues… That all happen to line up with en vogue lefty social justice BS.

          I had a series of comments in 2017 where i outlined a similar grief. not quite so much abt ‘social justice bs’, but more about the =

          ‘flexibility/squishiness on important things where taking a hard-stand would otherwise be politically useful’
          combined w/
          ‘inflexibility on bullshit that has obvious political downside and no obvious benefit gained from it’

          1. Just read your post, and pretty much agree completely.

            I think what it boils down to is feelz.

            Left-libertarians, which is most of Reason writers, are overly swayed by feelz just like regular leftists. It’s the angle from which they approach libertarianism. Whereas right-libertarians fundamentally approach it from a more rational/logical approach. Honestly, from all the reading I’ve done on psychology/brain science, I think it is literally the type of brain wiring people tend to be born with.

            Some are thinkz and some are feelz. They take the squish approach on things that are most appealing to logical thinkers, but since those issues don’t tug at the heart string as much, they’re willing to squish. The stuff that causes ones heart to bleed… That kicks the feelz into overdrive, so one MUST stick to the purist principled position or you’re literally Hitler!

            That is my best guess anyway. This is why Cosmotarians have become so cozy with progressive stuff, and completely anti conservative values on many fronts, despite conservative values overall lining up with libertarianism on more positions.

  23. Realistically, elections come down to votes. If you don’t even have enough votes to influence one of the major parties in your direction, you sure as hell don’t have enough votes to win as a minor party.

    I don’t even buy the proposition that minor parties act as spoilers. If the Libertarians aren’t on the ballot, most of their voters would just vote for another crank party or write in Mickey Mouse. The list of people showing up at the polls to vote for the Libertarians after sober deliberation is a short one indeed.

  24. I am done with Republicans and Democrats. I will vote libertarian if I can and vote on local ballot issues.

    He gets it.

  25. Gary Johnson had the right idea. Trump and Clinton were historically weak candidates. A libertarian leaning centrist with enough funding and good screen presence could have cleaned house on them. Johnson was more qualified than either one, but didn’t come across as “presidential”, or have enough cash to earn a seat at the table like Ross Perot did.

    1. “or have enough cash to earn a seat at the table”

      Bingo.

  26. Anyone who disagrees with me on anything, no matter how large or small, is no libertarian.

  27. Bill Weld is a politician looking for a home. Hope the LP doesn’t work out for him. That would be sad.

    1. Woke up this morning, can’t believe what I saw
      A hundred million Bill Welds washed up on the shore
      Seems Weld isn’t the only one needing a home
      A hundred million superannuated hacks, gnawing on political bones

  28. I’m glad Bill Weld has come around. It’s good that he’s raising money for LP candidates – I don’t see how this can possibly be a bad thing. But if he runs for President on the LP ticket, I’d vote for just about any other candidate.

    RIP Dennis Hof

    1. Weld thing
      You make my heart sing
      You make everything
      …opportunistic

      Weld thing, I think I’ll vote for you
      But I wanna know for sure
      Ha ha ha
      Just fooling

    2. Pretty much. If he ends up being the presidential nominee, it just gives me one more reason to NOT vote for the Libertarian candidate for the first time in my life!

  29. “Weld since 2016 has been tacking noticeably more libertarian”

    He always does that between elections.

    Runs for governor as a small-government Republican. Wins. Grows government.

    Runs for governor as a smaller-government Republican again. Wins again. Grows government again.

    Runs for the Libertarian Party’s VP nomination as “the original libertarian.” Wins. Calls for suspending the gun and due process rights of people on secret government enemies lists.

    He’s all for rule of law and the Constitution and all that good stuff, except when he’s covering up for the Iran-Contra conspirators and Whitey Bulger as a US Attorney, signing public calls for renewal of the Patriot Act, etc.

    He’s fooled the Libertarian Party twice (the first time when he publicly promised the New York LP he’d stay in the race as their gubernatorial nominee even if he didn’t get the GOP nomination, then dropped out hours after not getting the GOP nomination, the second time when he slimed his way to the VP nomination). Will he fool us again? I’d like to say no, but give our track record I can’t be confident about that.

    1. He a,so appears t be obsessed with holding public office. That makes me be,wife he is too talentless for the private sector.

      Can you imagine Hillary trying to earn a living without her husband, political clout, connections, and other people’s money backing her? She would starve.

  30. 40 YA, Inquiry mag tried to sell libertarianism as centrism?either a hip or patriotic form of it.

  31. Weld and Libertarians need some new narratives. One party is the party of hate and the other is glutinous spending whore. At least one is supplying jobs for now though. That same old rap doesn’t cut it.

    1. One party is the party of hate and the other is glutinous spending whore.
      Yeah, the Republicans are pretty spendthrift.

  32. I can’t believe that the leopard has changed his spots! Bill Weld is still really a RINO, CFR member. After he was chosen as VP candidate, I did not renew my Libertarian Party membership, having lost what little faith I had left at that time!

  33. Bill Weld is not a Libertarian. Stop trying to sell me on this crypto Democrat gun grabbing Clinton loving jackass.

    1. “Democrat” and “Jackass” are redundant (just ask Andrew Jackson and Martin van Buren).

  34. Yay, more articles about people who aren’t libertarians talking about libertarianism…

    1. Its Reason which is run by anarchist editors and some of the writers. Some of the other writers are lefties.

  35. True. Just like Bill Weld isn’t a libertarian.

  36. The establishment Democrats are centrists.

  37. Libertarianism, and what it means, is pliable. It needs a nationally electable occupier of the mantle. If there’s a relevant national candidate, it may take on a different meaning. Matt is right to the extent that people who identify as Libertarian are not purple…that we often have strong identifying factors that can’t be defined by picking the center. Personally, I’m majorly US-left on immigration, but as a scientist, I’m opposed to the activist agenda surrounding global warming. That means I tick everyone off, depending on the topic. Changing my opinions is always based on facts.

  38. BUT… Libertarianism is perforce centrist. Extremist “wing” movements need powerful coercion to achieve their social engineering goals. We libertarians, by eschewing broad and overweening government, paint ourselves into the middle.

    Tell Mr Weld to borrow a dollar and rent a clue about what he is pretending to be.

  39. Vermin Supreme is the kind of 3rd Party candidate I could, in good conscience, vote for. Bill Weld would inspire me to send $500 to an incumbent real estate developer and then just watch the 2020 election on the TeeVee.

  40. The thing is if Bill Weld were the worst politician in the world it would be a FAR better world. He’s very not good on a million fronts. Sadly he is probably still better than the overwhelming majority of politicians in office. However I don’t think I can vote for him, even as a Fuck You vote like I have done every single other time for president… Here’s hoping somebody better comes along in the next couple years to steal that 1-3% of the vote from the duopoly!

  41. I thought the Johnson/Weld message was spot on and irrefutable. I would advise them not to get too pedantic on precisely what it means to be a Libertarian. We are not looking to convert the country to Libertarianism in a single election, we are simply trying to get a Libertarian elected. The Johnson/Weld message had mass appeal. The only problem with the ticket is that it should have been Weld/Johnson. Sorry Gary, love ya, but the Aleppo moments were simply overwhelming. Like Howard Dean’s scream, which ended his presidential aspirations for a generation if not forever. Weld has the political polish we need to market this message.

  42. How do you square “Fiscally Conservative v. Socially Liberal”, especially when all you want to do is fund social programs?

  43. I may be totally wrong but most Libertarians, Independents and main stream Republicans could probably fit under the umbrella of Conservative Democrats. The Democratic Party has been hijacked by the Progressives and the Republican party has been hijacked by the Neoconservatives. With an annual approval rating for Congress of between 30 to 40 percent it appears most people are voting against someone rather for someone. Has it ever cross anyone’s mind that the Republican and Democrat parties have been running this country for over 150 years and they haven’t been doing a very good job. Seriously they stuck their collective noses into education in the 1960s and we went from 1st then to 27th today. We use to be considered by the world to be the most free country on earth now according the Freedom Index there are 20+ ahead of us. We are 21,000,000,000,000 dollars in debt with absolutely no way to pay it off. Some of our greatest allies are dictators and tyrants and their citizens have no rights. Banks and Multinational Corporations write our laws and regulations. Does anyone out there actually believe that by electing the same people that got us into this mess over and over again is going to get us got of the mess they created. That is total insanity. I don’t care what your political views are but you really need to vote for anyone but a Democrat or Republican, that is unless you truly enjoy the mess they have made out of OUR country.

    1. If talking about how things might have been defined 30-40 years ago, then yes I think lots of people are Conservative Democrats from that era. This is why Trump, who is basically a Conservative Democrat from the 1970s, won the ticket for the Republicans.

  44. As long as Weld is reinventing himself, he should get a sex change.

    That right there would net her a lot more votes and suck the wind out of the identity warrior wing of the Democrats.

    He might even pick up some of the vagina vote.

  45. Selecting Bill Weld as a running mate was Gary Johnson’s second greatest mistake after not smoking a joint on national TV.

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