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William Weld Isn't a Softcore Libertarian—He Just Isn't a Libertarian At All

If Weld wants the Libertarian Party to nominate him for the vice presidency, he'll have to explain his positions on Iraq, guns, and eminent domain.

Those were the days, my friend.Yesterday brought word that Gary Johnson, widely seen as the frontrunner for the Libertarian Party's presidential nomination, wants former Massachusetts governor William Weld to be his running mate. I think Weld is a terrible choice, but the news did give me a little burst of nostalgia for those long-gone days of 1991, when the man briefly became the poster boy for libertarians who wanted to work within the GOP. Here was a Republican who actually seemed to be holding the line on spending, and what's more, he didn't hate gays! By the standards of the early '90s Republican Party, this was heady stuff indeed.

Then Weld let spending go up anyway, and these days it's a lot less unusual for an elected Republican to be gay-friendly. Meanwhile, Weld turned out to have a bunch of other positions up his sleeve. He had always been a law-and-order guy, and in 1993 that led him to endorse a ban on various "assault weapons" along with other state-level gun control measures. And in foreign policy—not a big deal for a governor, but kind of important in a presidential ticket—he showed his stripes in the 2004 election, when Weld was out of office but still came out for George W. Bush. Appearing on the Charlie Rose show 10 months after the invasion of Iraq, Weld acknowledged that he differed from the president on "some of the social issues" but declared that Bush had proven himself in the global sphere: "we face grave responsibilities, and I think he really has grown in office and risen to the international challenge."

Those are far from Weld's only anti-libertarian positions. But along with his support for the use of eminent domain in the Atlantic Yards land-grab, they're the ones most likely to keep the Libertarian Party faithful from nominating him at the end of the month. (Remember: Even if Gary Johnson gets the party's presidential nod, his VP pick still has to be approved in a separate vote.) Johnson is no one's idea of a hardcore libertarian, but his instincts do steer him in a libertarian direction most of the time. Weld is more of a moderate "socially liberal, fiscally conservative" type, with "fiscally conservative" defined by Massachusetts standards and with "socially liberal" defined in terms a Michael Bloomberg could embrace. That may well be better than the average Republican officeholder of 1991, but when it comes to the 2016 race...well, if I wanted to elect an Iraq hawk for gun control, I could vote for Hillary Clinton.

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  • Uncle Jay||

    William Weld Isn't a Softcore Libertarian—He Just Isn't a Libertarian At All
    If Weld wants the Libertarian Party to nominate him for the vice presidency, he'll have to explain his positions on Iraq, guns, and eminent domain.

    Weld is no more a Libertarian than Trump the Grump, Heil Hitlery or Comrade Bernie.
    He's just another opportunist republican who shoots his mouth off to get attention.

  • Hamster of Doom||

    Weld: "Oh, look! Relevancy!"

  • LynchPin1477||

    To be fair, I don't think anyone is less libertarian than Sanders.

  • Krabappel||

    Is this Bob Barr II?

    Johnson strikes me as pretty damn libertarian.

  • ||

    Huh, apparently, there's a slippery slope between Republican, RINO, Libertarian, LINO, and not really standing for anything at all. Whoodathunk?

  • Crusty Juggler||

    when it comes to the 2016 race...well, if I wanted to elect an Iraq hawk for gun control, I could vote for Hillary Clinton

    Truth.

  • JWW||

    I'm sure Reason's forthcoming "Libertarian case for Hillary" will just gloss over that....

  • mfckr||

    Good article.

    That Johnson's actively seeking this guy as VP is another smoking crater revealing his not-so-Libertarian sensibilities.

  • Jordan||

    Yeah. Looks like I'll be staying home again on election night.

  • JWW||

    At this point I'm beginning to think that THERE ARE NO TRUE LIBERTARIANS!!

    Again, can't have a "Libertarian Moment" if every damn libertarian candidate ISN'T PURE ENOUGH!!

    Trump, Clinton, Sanders, its pretty damn clear that the AUTHORITARIAN Moment is here and Liberty is the big loser.

  • JFree||

    The only true Libertarian is a dead Libertarian.

    Fulfills NAP - check
    Doesn't protest gay Nazis - or bake them cakes - check
    Doesn't give gummint bennies to friends - check
    Tolerates Mexicans and Muslims - check
    Doesn't abort babies - check

  • mfckr||

    At this point I'm beginning to think that THERE ARE NO TRUE LIBERTARIANS!!

    Again, can't have a "Libertarian Moment" if every damn libertarian candidate ISN'T PURE ENOUGH!!

    Nah. There are plenty of actual Libertarians who understand and can communicate basic percepts of Libertarianism. GJ just isn't one of them.

  • nicmart||

    Not so sure anymore. The purist wing of libertarianism has gone gaga for Trump. (Walter Block, Lew Rockwell, etc.) I’m a old purist and I’ve give up on the movement. The libertarian giants, like Szasz, Mises, Rothbard, are dead, and the movement now gets its clues from the likes of Libertarian Girl. It’s a rootless movement of non-readers. (Sure they can wade through a Rand novel, but so could dreamy coeds back in the day.)

  • mfckr||

    Yeah, I was amused/surprised to see Rockwell, Raimondo, and Block being pro-Trump. Though it makes perfect sense why they would be (and a somewhat surreal contrast to the Trump-catatrophism narrative popular on this site).

    Exposure to Mises, Rothbard, and especially Hayek informed my 'conversion' to Libertarianism. Or rather, honed my instincts in that direction. Never could get into reading Rand.

    The rootlessness can be disconcerting—e.g. I might run into a person talking about the NAP, but sense they're just reciting a youtube video they became impressionably enamored with at some point. They enjoy bantering about it, but haven't internalized it implications (disclaimer: I personally dislike NAP as it often seems to engender overly formulaic, reductive explanations of potential real-world Libertarian policy, etc).

    Not that I expect anyone to read themselves into total erudition on the topic (too much isn't worth, diminishing returns kick in quickly). But it's clarifying to have some ideological rearing outside the contemporary whimsy of Libertarian movement jargon & associated internet personalities.

  • MichiganMike||

    Again, Rockwell, Block, and the others at the Mises institute are not pro trump. Anybody who believes that is completely misinformed.

    They may have one or two positive things to say about him on certain issues, but in a recent Tom Woods podcast Lew continually referred to Trump as an evil, repellent person.

    There are plenty of rooted principled libertarians, those at the Mises Instituted and Fee.org are fantastic examples of this vanguard.

  • mfckr||

    Say what you want, but they've made it clear they see Trump as the most desirable practical outcome (given the choices available). They're not pretending that he's a Libertarian, or that they're going to official supporters his campaign. But they do like that he's not a Neocon re: foreign policy, they like his positions against trade agreements like NAFTA/TPP/etc., and that he generally seems to be pissing off many known bad actors in the US political kleptocracy.

    For example: http://www.lewrockwell.com/201.....ans-trump/

  • MichiganMike||

    Absolutely none of the people you listed will ever be voting for Trump in the Presidential nomination. I don't actually have any idea where you got that.

    I listen to Tom Woods every day and pay close attention to Walter, Lew, and the Mises Institute. Walter, with heavy opposition, has stated that we should prefer Trump in the Republican Primaries only since he is purely better than the other Republicans on Foreign Policy. Even though this is debatable, it is FAR from going GAGA over Trump.

    This is a flat out lie and I don't know why you would try to propagate it.

  • mfckr||

    Even though this is debatable, it is FAR from going GAGA over Trump.

    Nowhere did I imply they were going gaga over Trump. That's just some shit you goofily inferred.

  • soflarider||

    I'm unsure why you're chiding MichiganMike, who was responding to nicmart's statement "The purist wing of libertarianism has gone gaga for Trump.", nor why you're stating that he "goofily inferred" anything. Scroll up and you'll see the statement.

  • Citizen X||

    I have had it with these motherfucking statists in my motherfucking party!

  • Rasilio||

    And yet for all of that can you honestly say that you wouldn't prefer Weld to anyone left in either side of the Republican race?

    Either way it doesn't matter, the libertarians won't win. What they could do however with a ticket of Johnson and Weld is pull enough of the #neverTrump Republicans and #neverHillary Democrats to force their way into the debates, and maybe with just a touch of luck get a few actual libertarians elected down ticket, if not in 2016 then in 2020.

  • Citizen X||

    Michael Hihn for President 2016!

  • Crusty Juggler||

    !

  • mfckr||

    Michael Hihn for President 2016!

    Finally, a candidate we can all hate together.

  • ||

    Your second paragraph nails it, Rasilio. The name recognition of the two former governors is going to help draw votes. Again, this is not about winning, so much as preserving ballot access and helping downticket candidates. This is a perfect example of where purity kills us - guy isn't going to be president, ever, so it doesn't matter what his policies are as long as they don't scare off votes.

  • Crusty Juggler||

    It's not about winning, it is about putting forth candidates who have libertarian values so that the libertarian message can be given greater exposure. Weld posses few libertarian values, so what is the point of adding him to the ticket? He doesn't help with the message, and no one takes Bill Weld seriously. He is pointless.

  • Citizen X||

    He is a lot like Winston's mom in that way.

  • mfckr||

    It's not about winning, it is about putting forth candidates who have libertarian values so that the libertarian message can be given greater exposure.

    Was about to type a similar thought, but then saw this. So now I can just be lazy and quote you.

  • Crusty Juggler||

    It is just disappointing. Whomever the lp candidate is is going to receive a decent level of exposure due to the amount of media outlets looking for stories that are not the Trump/Clinton trash-of-the-day, and having a person who can explain libertarianish alternatives to many of the current policy positions could help further libertarian ideas, and potentially influence real change.

  • mfckr||

    It is just disappointing. Whomever the lp candidate is is going to receive a decent level of exposure due to the amount of media outlets looking for stories that are not the Trump/Clinton trash-of-the-day, and having a person who can explain libertarianish alternatives to many of the current policy positions could help further libertarian ideas, and potentially influence real change.

    I'm in disappointed agreement.

    I know some might dismiss it as a politically impractical appeal to "muh Libertarian purity." But I think it's important for Libertarianism be presented for what it is, as a unique alternative to the core assumptions of either party. A repackaged mishmash of Republicrat platform tweaks only keeps people's outlooks locked in the existing framework and won't influentially change minds.

  • Rasilio||

    If the LP puts forth an ideologically pure libertarian candidate then it won't matter what is values and views are because NOBODY outside of those who are already members of the libertarian party is going to hear them.

    However if a Johnson/Weld ticket is polling at 15%- 20%, something it is very likely to do (even though 5% of the vote is about the best they could hope for) then they HAVE to let them into the Debates which in turn will open a relative floodgate of money (note: I said relative, that means relative to the pittance libertarians typically raise) that opens the doors for downstream libertarians to actually be able to be competitive in elections and spread the message of liberty and grow the movement.

    What are the options? Run McAffee? Sure he'll get a little press and he'll be labled a nutjob who probably killed a guy. Run Peterson? The Press will just ignore him, Jill Stein will get more coverage. Run any of the other 13 declared candidates? Lol yeah right, I googled Daniel W Perry and the only results that came up were for a Florida judge by that name who got censured and a sex offender by that name followed by a host of ads for people search services, they are all so low profile that they'd be lucky to pull 100,000 votes in the general election.

  • Rasilio||

    So yeah worry about spreading an ideologically pure message and watch that ideologically pure candidate deliver it at a series of Days Inn convention centers in front of a crowd made up of 2 dozen members of the local libertarian party, half a dozen homeless people who are just there for the free bagels and maybe if you're lucky a reporter for the local college newspaper.

  • Crusty Juggler||

    If by ideological purity you mean supporting property rights and a right to self-defense, then yes, that is what I want, and there is no reason to be a part of a libertarian presidential ticket if you cannot check off those two boxes.

    Those are two pretty simple issues to discuss, and he fails on both.

  • GILMORE™||

    there is no reason to be a part of a libertarian presidential ticket if you cannot check off those two boxes.

    exactly.

  • Rasilio||

    Yep, great, agree with you 100%

    So where is this candidate who is strong on property rights and the right to self defense who is at least reasonably libertarian on other issues, sane, willing to run and really work at a campaign which he is destined to lose and most importantly of all at least has some minimal level of name recognition and is someone that has to at least be taken somewhat seriously as a politician?

    When you find him/her I am sure we'll all agree to support them with all our might, in the mean time those of us living in the real world however are looking at a pair of at least reasonably libertarianish successful former governors at a time when both major parties are running eminently unlikable and unpopular candidates while the parties themselves are basically in open civil war.

    There has NEVER been a better time to get the libertarian brand taken seriously and I'd rather capitalize on that with someone who is only 65% pure than say screw it I'mma hold out till we can get someone at least 80% pure before we make a move.

  • GILMORE™||

    There has NEVER been a better time to get the libertarian brand taken seriously

    You still seem to overlook the point that what they're shilling is NOT "The Libertarian Brand"

    Unless you think its of dire importance that everyone in America should better understand "Libertarian" as "GOP Lite"

  • Crusty Juggler||

    You still seem to overlook the point that what they're shilling is NOT "The Libertarian Brand"

    Yes. I am not looking for a national conversation about how big of a dick Abraham Lincoln was, or how all foreign intervention is a terrible idea every time no matter what, I am just looking for someone who can say "what you put into your body is your business, you have a right to self-defense, you have property rights, and having laws opposed to these rights is wrong."

  • Henry||

    Ah, well, then, Weld fails three out of four of those tests, and perhaps four (I have no idea how he feels about the first one, but I was one of his subjects when he proceeded to crater the latter three).

  • GILMORE™||

    And BTW - what you call "ideological purity"? Isn't that at all. Its fucking basic, bare minimum shit.

    I'm not demanding that Johnson make "End the Fed", "Dissolve X,Y,Z Federal Agencies", overturn every restriction on the 2nd amendment around the country, and on and on and on...

    i.e... what would ACCURATELY be described as 'ideological purity'....

    i'm talking basic shit like, "no, we don't need MORE gun laws", or "no, we shouldn't force people to engage in business against their will" etc.

    simply "NOT" going along with every fucking popular "Government Solution Du Jour". I'm not asking for a fire-breathing Liberty Crusader. I'm asking for someone who at least seems to recognize WTF 'libertarian' means.

    Johnson and Weld are a fucking joke, and there are actual "republicans" who seem more committed to the principles they're throwing under the bus, which should nauseate people.

  • mfckr||

    i'm talking basic shit like, "no, we don't need MORE gun laws", or "no, we shouldn't force people to engage in business against their will" etc.

    simply "NOT" going along with every fucking popular "Government Solution Du Jour". I'm not asking for a fire-breathing Liberty Crusader. I'm asking for someone who at least seems to recognize WTF 'libertarian' means.

    This, please.

  • Foo_dd||

    i give Johnson more of a pass on the "forced to engage in business" point, because i see the situation a little different than some others do (talking about the bakers). won't get into that here, but i otherwise agree with just about everything you just said. Weld completely fails to meet basic requirements. Johnson even considering him, let alone asking for him severely sours my opinion of Johnson.

  • JFree||

    someone who at least seems to recognize WTF 'libertarian' means.

    Here's what it should mean to everyone except card-carrying or registered LP:
    Not a Republican
    Not a Democrat
    Not a Green
    (some states) Not a Whatever Else is on the ballot

    That is certainly easier to remember with a catchy slogan rather than a list of Nots. But even the slogan is gonna be a mnemonic device not the Theory of Libertarianism as Proven in 2016

    We should not be asking voters to make some big grandiose commitment. Because they won't - and they've got better things to do like take care of their families most of the time.

    Keeping the candidate accountable for upholding LP principles is the job of LP members who want to do that. But even that should mostly be about keeping people accountable for what they DO - not about trying to screen for what they promise to do at some point after pigs fly and they win an election.

  • Mike A.||

    What do you think the purpose of Vice Presidential candidates is in modern politics?

    It's always about political expediency, and never about substance. It's usually seen as a way to compensate for perceived weaknesses. In the case of the libertarian party the primary weakness is always lack of coverage and attention.

    Picking a guy who will help draw interest is the right move, full stop. Otherwise, I'll see you at the Days Inn with the other half dozen local LP members.

  • Crusty Juggler||

    Picking a guy who will help draw interest is the right move, full stop

    Bill Weld is going to pack them in!

  • Mike A.||

    RE: Drawing interest. Find me one article in the mainstream press about any other libertarian vice presidential candidate in the last however many cycles?

  • mfckr||

    Seems legit. 'Political expediency', because fuck actually educating voters about Libertarianism and presenting a unique alternative to the duopoly.

  • Rasilio||

    ROTFL.

    Here is the problem, the LP Presidential Candidate CANNOT EDUCATE THE ELECTORATE ABOUT LIBERTARIANISM.

    It simply cannot be done at this time.

    An ideologically pure libertarian will either be parodied as a fringe whacko nutjob or ignored to obscurity. This means no money donated so they can't afford to schedule events with enough of an attraction to draw in voters and get them to listen to the pitch and no press coverage where they can present their vision. The end result is the ideologically pure candidate gets to preach to the choir in front of pathetically small groups of libertarians, half of whom hate him because he disagrees with them on some minor issue and nobody else ever hears the message.

    Preaching to the choir does not spread the message.

    On the other hand, an impure candidate who can at least hit 70% on a libertarian purity test who has been a successful 2 term governor backed by another successful 2 term governor that has often gotten consideration as a vp pick and probably scores around a 50% on a libertarian purtity test is going to do a hell of a lot better job getting that message out there.

  • CatoTheChipper||

    Friedman on the 2016 election: “Only a crisis - actual or perceived - produces real change. When that crisis occurs, the actions that are taken depend on the ideas that are lying around. That, I believe, is our basic function: to develop alternatives to existing policies, to keep them alive and available until the politically impossible becomes the politically inevitable.”

    Unfortunately, the LP is no more ready for the Clinton-Trump crisis than it was for the Obama-McCain crisis. The best it can do is run a couple of limited-government types whose idea of limited-government extends to forcing kosher Nazi gay-wedding cakes on demand. At least Johnson has a real track record of vetoing government expansion ... and it's pretty unlikely that he'd actually order the DoJ to force Goldman's Kosher Bakery to offer swastika-frosted cakes.

    More important than the candidates is the libertarian idea. The crisis of the 2016 election and the proliferation of progressive PC insanity may demonstrate the futility of the statist policies as a vehicle for accomplishing good things, and illustrate the need for libertarian policies that would permit non-coercive innovations and spontaneous order.

  • JFree||

    Count me as one who thinks the LP and libertarians and free market advocates in general are doing a really crappy job if the goal is even simply to 'be the ones standing around with ideas and solutions when SHTF'. See 2008 TARP bailout (when there was little more than a tiny bit of useless squawking) - and our 2016 willingness to simply surrender the issue to the Sanders of this world. Mushrooms and jellyfish have more backbone and consistency and persistence.

  • Foo_dd||

    i typically agree that purity is pushed too hard, and this hurts us.... but there is a limit. there is a difference between being practical and forgetting what you believe completely.

  • Eternal Blue Sky||

    "name recognition"

    Yes, I definitely knew both of these people before they showed up in the Libertarian Party.

    If the LP wants name recognition go Jillette/Teller 2016. People would know them much more than some obscure governors... and the Vice Presidential debates would be highly amusing with Teller just standing there silently.

  • Mike A.||

    It's not about Name Recognition per se. This time around, with truly terrible candidates, its about legitimacy. Libertarians are getting a serious look from a big chunk of the electorate. They need to have experienced folks who can stand up to even scrutiny if they're going to get 15 - 20% of the vote.

    Nominating Ideologically pure Uncle Chuck and his Chuckleheads isn't going to get it done this time.

  • Chipper SQWRLZ of the Wood||

    Drew Carey could be educational and entertaining as well

  • LynchPin1477||

    This is a perfect example of where purity kills us - guy isn't going to be president, ever, so it doesn't matter what his policies are as long as they don't scare off votes.

    You know I'm not crazy about purity, but I'd at least like the guys on the LP ticket to lean libertarian *most* of the time, so that people get a relatively accurate picture of libertarianism.

  • JFree||

    This. My own opinion is that Libertarians have GOT to become less focused on purity in the Prez race - and be comfortable with building an actual bench of candidates who can do more of the proselytizing in their race - and then hold any Prez LP accountable if pigs do fly and anyone actually wins their race. Personally, on economic issues I think the virginal purity of LP is already penalizing us. We don't need to bother much with actual reality as long as theory/logic remains pure - and accountability is solely in the realm of 'practical'.

    And the platform should IMO be less 'purely Libertarian theory' as well. Reducing the size of districts in Congress (ie increasing the number of legislators) is the sort of thing that can help build bridges to other third parties as well as the minority party in bright red/blue states. That's not 'Libertarian' - and probably even unacceptable to the anarcho purists who pin hopes on anarchism winning an election. But it is, kind of, an application of market/competition principles to a purely political question that currently harms the LP.

  • nicmart||

    The LP is a perpetual motion machine. It’s candidates trim their views so they can preserve ballot access for the trimmers to come. The LP couldn’t be more useless.

  • ||

    and maybe with just a touch of luck get a few actual libertarians elected down ticket, if not in 2016 then in 2020.

    At this point, some of the various factions of the GOP are better at this and/or a better option than the LP.

  • GILMORE™||

    force their way into the debates,

    And THEN WHAT?

    You have these squishies on TV presenting a completely incoherent impression of what "libertarianism" is?

    I'm not sure 'more exposure' can be spun as a benefit when *what* they're exposing people to is a retarded mishmash of "cool with weed", "kinda sorta non-tervenshunist, except for that one time", and some contradictory mess of saying "hate speech isn't real" while saying "people should still be forced to make gay-cake"

    and so on.

  • Robert||

    Presumably the answer to THEN WHAT? is that people see, oh, Libertarian candidates are important enough to be included in presidential debates; I guess maybe I'll pay some att'n to LP candidates in the future.

    I'm not saying this is good, I'm just reading the mind of "force their way into the debates".

    I think it was a mistake for libertarians in the USA to have their own political party. They get in each other's way more than anything else. I think libertarian activists who want to do party politics would be much better off in either a major party or a minor party that's not explicitly libertarian. You have your best leverage in a group that's only about 50% on your side, because then you're the balance of power. Possibly the plan of Johnson & Weld is to turn LP into such an organiz'n, but it'd be much better to start a new one or get involved in another old one; LP has too much baggage.

  • Rasilio||

    Pretty much that, plus just appearing on the debate stage will result in at least a doubling of the amount of money libertarians at all levels can raise and as someone else noted it means that most important resource of all, free press coverage.

    Sure Weld and Johnson might not be the perfect ideologically clear candidates to spread a libertarian message but the fact that they have actually had political success and honestly compared to Trump and Hillary will likely look like the only adults in the race even hearing that watered down version of the libertarian message will help shift the national consensus and conversation in the right direction and then in 4 years we can work on finding someone better and attracting a better class of candidate, someone who is better aligned to libertarian ideals and carries the gravitas necessary to be taken seriously as a candidate but who has stayed away becase running a 3rd party campaign was a fools errand.

  • JFree||

    'Making the debates' has a big effect. That is, my guess, also the main purpose of a Weld selection since he is exactly the sort of candidate who will be able to talk to the GOP establishment nevertrumpers and get them to agree to undermining Trump via that method. The lawsuit method is unlikely to work - and the Dem establishment is totally Hillary so they are likely to resist.

    The biggest effect of the debates though is not gonna be about convincing people of ideas. Presence in debates is exactly the sort of thing that will convince the already-committed to put a yard sign up without the nagging concern that neighbors will call in DHS and report you as a domestic terrorist. Which means neighbors can get their proseletyzing from neighbors they know - and the LP then becomes LESS reliant on top-down big-money.

    I'm not a huge fan of Weld either - he seems more like a wastefraudabuse guy than a visionthang guy. And I think that both Johnson and Weld are questionable as to who they pull in for advisors - and even more questionable if the Kochs and big money weigh in (since that WILL have a cost attached). But neither are lesser of two evils to me.

  • NYer||

    "a retarded mishmash of "cool with weed", "kinda sorta non-tervenshunist, except for that one time", and some contradictory mess of saying "hate speech isn't real" while saying "people should still be forced to make gay-cake"

    Don't most voters fall into this camp anyway. Not a big fan of either Johnson or Weld, but most voters would seem to fall into the categories you listed. Non-interventionist until they're scared shitless then "lets bomb someone!" Hate speech isn't real unless (insert offensive language here), I should be able to freely associate with who I want, but (Business should be forced to make a cake for a gay wedding....).

    Most voters are squishes, the question is which part of our "squishy" electorate are we trying to appeal too? I'd say we should appeal more to the Never Trump voters, mostly because they are a little more libertarian than our friends on the Left (Freedom of Association through religious liberty, spending, regulations, etc.). And because our friends on the Left are more likely to hold their nose and vote for Clinton or vote for Jill Stein then switch over to the Libertarian Party. This is kinda why I wish Johnson had asked someone like Tom Coburn, JC Watts, or other conservative to join ticket. They'd likely have more name recognition and they would pull in more votes than Bill Weld ever could. Hell if McAfee or Petersen were smart they'd find a conservative with libertarian leanings that could counter Johnson's Weld pick.

  • Pompey (91% LOLLOLZ)||

    Donderoooooooo

  • CatoTheChipper||

    Things are shaping up for an interesting LP national convention this year. The NAPsters versus the heretics. The old school geezers versus the whippersnappers. Those who prefer McAfee's fried weirdness to Johnson's stoned somnolence. Those who prefer Peterson's pro-life sentiment versus everybody else.

    Until the Fox debate, Johnson had the nomination sewn up. Then he spouts off about kosher Nazi gay-wedding cakes and campaigns for non-libertarian Weld for LP VP. Johnson has been eating too much of his own product, which every drug dealer in history has warned about.

    Now I wish that I had signed up to be a delegate at the LPTexas convention.

  • Foo_dd||

    i liked Johnson up until this choice. i actually agree with the baker thing, but he does a terrible job of explaining it, and I'm not sure i share his reason.

    now i think i have to hope for a McAfee who isn't brought down too much by the past. (i just plain don't like Petersen)

  • nicmart||

    So, you agree that business owners have no property rights.

  • JFree||

    What is the religious basis behind state-granted benefits of limited liability, state-grants of perpetual existence, and such? How is property religious anyway?

  • Foo_dd||

    i believe they have already exercised their property rights in opening a public place of business. when they are filling out the order form, they would not be able to shoot the person in the face, and claim the person was trespassing..... just because they found out they were gay. there are clear benefits to opening a business as a publicly accessible space.... the down side, is that you allow a certain amount of access to the pubic in doing so. it's not coercion, it is expecting them to abide by the commitments they already made when they opened a public storefront.

  • LynchPin1477||

    I've been OK with Johnson so far, but this move does disappoint me. I'll still vote LP, but this makes me a lot less enthusiastic, especially since I had been considering volunteering for the campaign of Johnson (or Petersen, if he gets the nod).

  • Jackand Ace||

    As far as eminent domain, Weld wouldn't have to explain his position anymore than Stossel would, since Stossel is A-OK with "land grabs" by energy companies.

  • Robert||

    If you mean power xmission lines, sure, but that's a lot different from the Atlantic Yards. There's eminent domain abuse, & there's the proper role for eminent domain that helps insure our freedom of movement.

  • Jackand Ace||

  • Jackand Ace||

  • Robert||

    So Stossel is for ED for pipelines? So am I. Your property should not be used to keep others from moving themselves or their goods across it—with just compensation, not economic rent for your being in the right place to block them.

  • Jackand Ace||

    So you, Stossel, Weld, and even Trump are cut from the same cloth. You aren't anymore righteous about eminent domain because you like private oil companies. See what those farmers in Nebraska had to say about Keystone.

    Damon Roots article that Jesse links to complains about the yards not being for public USE. Those pipelines aren't either. They are for the profitability of private oil companies.

  • Robert||

    What I like is freedom of movement.

  • Jackand Ace||

    And taking someone's private property for the benefit of a private company is ok, as long as movement is there. Ok.

  • Jackand Ace||

  • Jackand Ace||

    Pipelines aren't for public use. You can't use the pipeline like you can a road. Many libertarians just like to be selective about their outrage over eminent domain.

  • Robert||

    They're for public use by anyone conveying the same fluid.

  • Rasilio||

    You mean like Winstons mom?

  • Jackand Ace||

    They indeed aren't. They are for private oil companies.

  • Jackand Ace||

    Let's just take Keystone. Note this article titled "Trans Canada becomes sole owner of Keystone pipeline system."

    http://pgjonline.com/2009/08/1.....ne-system/

    Yeah. Let's see you take your barrel of crude and tell Trans Canada that you want to use "their" pipeline.

  • Robert||

    They can own the pipeline, but AFAIK they're a common carrier, the law requiring them to carry oil for anyone who wants it.

  • Jackand Ace||

    Thanks, but all you are doing is supporting the expansion of eminent domain away from "public use" to "public purpose." And sadly that is exactly what SC did in Kelo. You, as a member of the public, can't use that pipeline. As far as common carrier status, in Texas that was achieved by simply checking a box on an application. Even Texas now is trying to undo that travesty. And oil companies are fighting it. But your apologies for big oil are duly noted.

  • Jackand Ace||

  • Jackand Ace||

    By the way, I note above you weren't that happy with transmission lines ED. No common carrier excuse for them, Robert? Why? They're not oil companies?

  • JFree||

    As long as we refuse to tax land location fairly (a la some version of Henry George), eminent domain ends up being a court/legal issue - and NO ONE is credible and consistent on the issue including the most purist LP/Austrian/anarcho.

  • Jackand Ace||

    Yep

  • mfckr||

    As long as we refuse to tax land location fairly

    Fuck a land tax, and fuck any statist pretense about 'fair location'. Worst idea ever.

  • JFree||

    if you have a parking lot and the Empire State Building next to it, the tax on the parking lot should be the same as the tax on the Empire State Building...he(Henry George) believes in only that tax. He believes in zero income tax. William F Buckley

    No income tax on the guys who build or work in the skyscraper. No capital tax on the value the buildings owners create. No involuntary tax (if you don't want to pay the tax then sell the land). The only tax is on what was actually created by God Nature or the Flying Spaghetti Monster - not by humans. The property title and use monopoly to which comes DIRECTLY from government in the form of a land patent. It has worked to create free markets everywhere it has been tried (in modified form - Hong Kong, Singapore, Estonia, Taiwan, Denmark until 1960 (their govt spending was lower than ours back then - and our tax rates were higher than theirs then). It is universally recognized as the tax which least distorts behavior and that deters rent-seeking corruption of government. Yeah - worst idea ever.

    Now let's get back to arguing about eminent domain and exactly how much in principle we should allow one group of people to extort and use force against a different group of people to steal property for private gain.

  • nicmart||

    Another “libertarian” opposed to property rights. Helluva movement.

  • uofmjones||

    So he's a LINO? Having a litmus test for libertarianism is a sure way to shrink the party's appeal. We can't agree on every issue. I personally think that letting citizens own automatic weapons is a bad idea, but am quite libertarian on most other issues. Let's all agree that freedom is important, but that we may need to compromise on some issues in order to be a party with any chance of governing or promoting our views. I think Weld is an inspired pick that could bring the party enough support to get us on the debate stage. Isn't this far more important than a few positions you might disagree with?

  • Crusty Juggler||

    I think Weld is an inspired pick

    No.

    that could bring the party enough support to get us on the debate stage.

    How? Is William Weld held in such high esteem for his professional gravitas that his inclusion on the ticket will cause the nation to immediately respect the Libertarian Party? I am going with no.

  • Rasilio||

    The nation no, certain elements within the Republican establishment who are decidedly anti Trump, yes.

    Nationally no one knows who the hell Bill Weld is anymore, but in Republican political circles he is held in very high regard.

  • Robert||

    Yeah, the Rockefeller-Bush type. Maybe the Stassen-Ripon Society type.

  • Rasilio||

    Who cares who they are or what they think, as long as they tell pollsters that they are voting libertarian and at least a few of them follow through with it enough to donate real money to the campaign.

  • Jesse Walker||

    If I rejected candidates because of "a few positions [I] might disagree with," I wouldn't be willing to cast a ballot for Johnson. But I voted for him last time and I may well do it again.

    Weld is far beyond "a few positions [I] might disagree with."

  • mfckr||

    I think Weld is an inspired pick that could bring the party enough support to get us on the debate stage. Isn't this far more important than a few positions you might disagree with?

    Nobody knows who Weld is, and when they start researching him they're going to uncover stuff like what Jesse has, ergo making the pairing w/ Johnson just seem weird and incongruous. Badly dissonant optics all around.

  • Jackand Ace||

    You make good points. It's best to move the ball forward incrementally rather than not at all. Sadly, you'll be outnumbered here if your libertarian slant is toward the social side over the fiscal.

  • mfckr||

    You make good points. It's best to move the ball forward incrementally rather than not at all. Sadly, you'll be outnumbered here if your libertarian slant is toward the social side over the fiscal.

    I think it's more that the 'social side' of Libertarianism isn't terribly interesting. There's only so many ways one can reiterate the basic point that the state should leave society alone and not meddle in others' lives.

  • GILMORE™||

    "Let's all agree that freedom is important, but..."

    THIS GUY REALLY GETS IT

  • SIV||

    YOKELTARIAN PURITY TEST SINKS JOHNSON

  • mfckr||

    Oh so I am not a 'True Libertarian' now?

    Correct. Go away.

  • deepspeed||

    How you feel about our rights is irrelevant. It's when you try to infringe upon them that it becomes a problem.

  • Drake||

    Weld was about as good a Governor as you can get in MA. He kept the worst of the Democrats' craziness in check and slowed down what he couldn't stop. Weld had to deal with hacks like Billy Bulger who thought government was a gravy train for their extended families.

  • Jesse Walker||

    Weld was about as good a Governor as you can get in MA.

    This could very well be true. But if you want to represent Libertarians, "better than Dukakis and Romney" is just one of the bars you have to clear.

  • Drake||

    I agree. He was never a libertarian, just a moderate who could do math - unlike, say, Dukakis.

  • Notorious UGCC||

    "what's more, he didn't hate gays!"

    Be careful how you deploy that meme.

    We've gotten to the point where "hates gays" means "would permit businesses to decide for themselves what policies to have vis-a-vis gay customers and employees.

    By the definition of the activists, just about everyone here except Tony and Palin's Buttplug hates gays.

  • Robert||

    What's going to be funny is when the mainstream & semi-mainstream media who've been giving Johnson coverage as "the Libertarian candidate" wake up to find he wasn't nominated (partly because of what he revealed by his preference for running mate). That's satisfying in the same way as (just to a lesser degree than) seeing the media presumptions upset by Trump's rise. When Hillary's ousted for the nomination (and Bernie's not it), that'll complete the trifecta.

  • Robert||

    nostalgia for those long-gone days of 1991, when the man briefly became the poster boy for libertarians who wanted to work within the GOP. Here was a Republican who actually seemed to be holding the line on spending, and what's more, he didn't hate gays! By the standards of the early '90s Republican Party, this was heady stuff indeed.


    The irony is that at about the same time, for similar reasons, Trump was attractive to libertarians too. Only Trump a little more so because he was for repealing drug laws, while Weld just wanted them to be more nuanced in the case of medical marijuana, etc.

  • mfckr||

    Would be interesting if Trump started advocating again for ending drug prohibition.

  • mfckr||

    I cynically wonder if some disaffected Neocon #NeverTrump tards are the ones who dug up this Weld guy and talked Johnson into making him VP.

  • Ninja||

    This is another reason why Austin Petersen is really the best choice for the LP presidential nomination this year. Johnson is just not the right choice this year and McAfee is mentally just like Trump. I'd prefer someone who has the correct principles and can communicate them accurately and that is something Petersen can do.

  • BunkerBill||

    He's probably as much of a libertarian as Gary Johnson, which isn't saying much. And just as boring and uninspiring as well. Party establishments like those kind of candidates, Libertarian Party establishment as much as the others.

  • Grant||

    Libertarian is a great party . . . it's just that all Libertarians aren't that hot.

  • nicmart||

    Not a libertarian, but a candidate typical of the LP at state and local levels. Most of them are clueless.

  • TimothyLane||

    There used to be a lot of northeastern Republicans who were socially liberal and fiscally conservative -- for a while. Bu over time they would become down-the-line liberals. William Weld is a good example.

  • NoVaNick||

    I wouldn't say that most were fiscally conservative either. The Rockefeller/Nixon Republicans loved to spend especially on police and the military, the drug war, urban renewal, highways, and public schools. The democrats adopted these in 1992 and the two have been indistinguishable ever since.

  • NoVaNick||

    Weld could not beat John Kerry in '96 for Senate and turds are more engaging than Kerry, so I think that speaks volumes about Weld.

    If you want to raise the profile of the LP, I keep thinking that he is a very strange choice for VP since he has been off the radar for 10 years at least, could there be more to it?

  • mfckr||

    I keep thinking that he is a very strange choice for VP since he has been off the radar for 10 years at least, could there be more to it?

    He might be the only Republican that Kristol & Romney could find to run as an anti-Trump.

  • NoVaNick||

    I thought about this too. That the anti-Trumpers are co-opting the LP. I thought too that Johnson/Weld might even be able to win a few states like CO and NH, not enough to send the election to the house, but respectable for a third party. Think they would cut into Hillary's margin much more than Trump's, since at this point I don't think Trump supporters are going to change their vote, but their are lots of moderates who might have thought about holding their nose to vote for Hillary, and now they have a viable alternative. There aren't a lot of them, but it could be significant.

  • mfckr||

    At this point I think Johnson ends up hurting Hillary most; the more hardcore Libertarian purists out there (Lew Rockwell, Justin Raimondo, etc) are already pro-Trump and don't give a flip about the LP, let alone Gary Johnson. Further, if Trump feels like the LP might be eating into his support, he can easily shift towards more Libertarian-ish policy ideas to draw some of them back. Hillary won't have that kind of flexibility.

    Additionally, Johnson has some soft Prog stances in policy areas that'd likely appeal to some disaffected Hillary supporters (e.g. pro-Choice, likes 'humanitarian' interventionism, okay w/ govt imposing secular mandates on private biz, etc). Most Bernie supporters, on the other hand, will probably be dissuaded by GJ's typical pro-business platform.

  • RoninX||

    I like Johnson, but I'm not a big fan of Weld. That said, he's still better than Hillary or Trump, in the way a very nasty cold is still better than cancer or AIDS.

  • Nick H||

    ughhh, don't think i can even cast a protest vote for GJ anymore

  • Gary T||

    William Weld's betrayal of the NY Libertarian Party should be well broadcast before he gets to come before LP delegates.

    In 2006 he campaigned for the LPNY's nomination for governor of NY, he came to the state convention, made important speeches, made assurances that even if he was not cross nominated by the NY Republican party he would still run as a libertarian, and basically said anything and everything he needed to to get the nomination.
    He in fact did get the LPNY nomination for governor, but when he did not get the cross nomination, he pulled out of the running altogether and refused to continue running on the libertarian line, leaving the LPNY with no candidate for governor of NY.

    This is not well known, but I was there as a party official and saw it all go down. That kind of duplicity is not something we want for a LP vice presidential nominee.

  • spiderduck1985||

    I think a better running mate for Johnson would have been Mark Cuban. That guy has name recognition and the money to help pay for the campaign and be able to buy Air Time for TV ads.

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