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George Will: Bill Weld, and Maybe the Libertarian Party, Are 'Ready for Prime Time'

Nation’s leading conservative columnist argues that the L.P. could be the only viable party in 2020 for “limited government, fiscal responsibility, free trade, the rule of law, entitlement realism and other artifacts from the Republican wreckage.”

Election night, 2016. ||| Matt WelchMatt WelchTwo years ago, conservative commentator George Will left the Republican Party over Donald Trump. Today, Will hinted strongly that he will give preference to the Libertarian Party if it endorses Bill Weld.

"Can this libertarian restore conservatism?" asked the headline on Will's Washington Post column. (The erudite Cubs fan is frequently described as the most syndicated newspaper columnist in the country, so these words will be relayed from coast to coast.)

Will's basic argument: Weld embodies "what a broad swath of Americans say they favor: limited government, fiscal responsibility, free trade, the rule of law, entitlement realism and other artifacts from the Republican wreckage." Therefore, "If in autumn 2020 voters face a second consecutive repulsive choice, there will be running room between the two deplorables. Because of its 2016 efforts, the Libertarian Party will automatically be on 39 states' ballots this fall and has a sufficient infantry of volunteers to secure ballot access in another nine. So, if the Libertarian Party is willing, 2020's politics could have an ingredient recently missing from presidential politics: fun. And maybe a serious disruption of the party duopoly that increasing millions find annoying. Stranger things have happened, as a glance across Lafayette Square confirms."

This positive publicity for the L.P. does not arrive without a couple of elbows. The party "sometimes is too interested in merely sending a message (liberty is good)," Will writes, and maybe the 2016 ticket should have been switched: "Gary Johnson...was too interested in marijuana and not interested enough in Syria to recognize the name Aleppo. Weld, however, is ready for prime time."

The column certainly blows some wind in the sails of Weld, an always-controversial figure within the party who has nevertheless been busy laying the groundwork for a 2020 presidential run, though he has not yet officially declared. "I think that's a race that has some real potential to go the distance, and the sooner we all wrap our minds around that, the better," he told me in an interview seven weeks ago. It will be interesting to see what kind of enthusiasm for and blowback against Weldmentum emerges at the June 30-July 3 Libertarian Party national convention in New Orleans. (I'll be moderating some debates and panels, including a post-mortem on the 2016 election that Weld will participate in.)

It's a sign both of the Libertarian Party's steep growth curve and of the weird major-party political moment we're living through that respectful mainstream attention is being paid to the L.P.'s presidential considerations more than two years before the election. (So far the most well-known declared candidate for the job is the in-your-face libertarian political activist Adam Kokesh.)

Will's column also comes at a moment when other Trump-averse conservatives are agonizing openly about whether to stay in the GOP. Longtime Republican campaign strategist Steve Schmidt (a senior advisor on the John McCain campaign in 2008), announced this week that he is bolting to become an independent, rather than see his party go the way of the Whigs. This is also a favorite analogy of Weld's—last November he told me, "As you recall, I spent a lot of last year predicting that the Republican Party was going to split in half like the Whigs in the 1850s. And it didn't quite happen then, but you could argue that it's kind of happened with the Republican Party this year, in that you have the party of the president and those who follow him, and then you have many people who are Republicans who differ with the president, either on program or on style."

Both Weld and Will have been tacking more libertarian in recent years—Weld on issues like guns, drugs, and foreign policy; Will on nation-building, judicial engagement, and the liberty movement. You can read conversations Nick Gillespie and I had with Will from 2016 and 2013, and watch the latter one below:

Photo Credit: Daniela Kirsch/NameFace/Sipa USA/Newscom

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  • Modus Pwnens||

    Barf.

  • Libertymike||

    me out.

  • Eidde||

    Gag me with a spoon.

  • rocks||

    Trump is the most libertarian president we've had since Hoover.

  • NashTiger||

    Hoover was in no way Libertarian. You probably mean Coolidge

  • aajax||

    But neither is Trump, so it's moot.

  • SparktheRevolt||

    Smoot*

  • rocks||

    Hoover was not a libertarian, but he was the very last President to resist the calls for the government to "do something" during a crisis. Every single President since Hoover "does something".

  • John C. Randolph||

    he was the very last President to resist the calls for the government to "do something" during a crisis

    Nope. See here.

    -jcr

  • aajax||

    If he manages to return to free trade, stops trying to choke off immigration, I'll agree. I'll even give him a pass on his support for anti-abortionists.

  • Chereth Cutestory maritime aty||

    He's trying to improve free trade by not leaving our industries at the mercy of a deck stacked against them by countries like China. He's all for immigration, the legal kind. Libertarians are pretty evenly split on abortion. So don't start claiming that baby murdering abortion mills are totes libertarian.

  • SRoach||

    He believes in using Eminent Domain to forward private enterprise, that is using the club of the State to take property from one person, at a "market rate"*, to sell to another because maybe they can earn more tax money in the long run, a stance he has defended in his run-up to the election at a time when doing so could have hurt him.

    I don't hold the abortion stance against him, because I believe a child, not yet born, still has the inalienable right to life, same as anyone else, although I'd prefer some way to evict that citizen from the woman's womb, if she doesn't want to have anything to do with it, in a way that doesn't subject that child to certain death.

    * Even when the market rate is fair, it ignores other qualities that might make a person unwilling to sell their land. The land may have sentimental value that exceeds its monetary value by a wide margin. The land may hold practical value that is only useful to the original owner, such as proximity to work. And, frankly, if the owner wants the moon for the property, because it's the hold-out in a major development, that's their property right.

  • John G Chase||

    Trump was never fit to be president. He has no moorings, so the idea that he could have attached to ANY political ethic is laughable.

  • buybuydandavis||

    "I have no real arguments against Trump, so I'll wallow in my personal hatred for Trump and pretend it's politics"

  • rocks||

    Trump is a born US citizen, of age, and won the most electoral college votes.

    That is the definition of "being fit" to be president.

  • Johnimo||

    You make a succinct point, and I commend you for your brevity.

  • Architect of Liberty||

    No body is espousing the idea "that he could have attached to ANY political ethic", so your comment is a total red herring.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Bill Weld is NOT a Libertarian [period]

  • I can't even||

    Neither is George Will.

  • John||

    George Will isn't even a conservative.

  • CE||

    Compared to whom?

  • MJBinAL||

    Compared to any rational meaning of the word conservative.

    Though he has always dressed like an old school, stiff necked, new england, old fart. Even when he was young.

  • perlchpr||

    It'll be Bob Barr all over again. Just no reason at all to vote for anyone.

  • Juice||

    And you are?

  • loveconstitution1789||

    I try to be.

  • Brandybuck||

    And Abraham Lincoln was not an Abolitionist. Nevertheless the Abolitionists' party selected Abe to be their candidate, and he is now considered to be the one of only two saints in that party. That party being, of course, the Republican Party.

    Lincoln was not a purist abolitionist. A rather poor abolitionist in fact. Yet he accomplished the Abolitionists goals.

    Bill Weld might not be a purist libertarian, but if on the ballot he will definitely be the most libertarian person to have a chance to garner enough electoral votes to win. And if elected he may very well accomplish the goal of changing the direction of government growth, legalizing marijuana, getting back to real civil liberties, freeing up swaths of the economy, and getting the government out of our daily lives.

    Adam Kokesh might be more pure, but Adam Kokesh has no chance in hell of getting a single electoral vote.

    Given a choice between Dumbocrat, a Trumplican, or Bill Weld, I will definitely pull the lever for Bill Weld.

    I'm too fucking old to continue waiting for the pure libertarian messiah. It's not going to happen. At least let me vote for an imperfect good instead the lesser evils.

  • John||

    Bill Weld might not be a purist libertarian, but if on the ballot he will definitely be the most libertarian person to have a chance to garner enough electoral votes to win.

    He doesn't support the 2nd Amendment. He flat out said in so many words that no one has a right to own any kind of weapon other than one that holds less than five rounds and is not a semi automatic." What possible position could he hold that would make up for that such that he would be the most "libertarian" option?

  • DJK||

    And you expect a principled support of gun rights from Trump or whoever the Dems nominate?

  • Chereth Cutestory maritime aty||

    So far Trump has largely walked the walk on 2A. I would put that above someone like Weld.

  • John G Chase||

    Trump is an empty vessel, waiting to be filled by the most persuasive person he last talked with, or by one of the several so-called 'strong men' he admires.

  • buybuydandavis||

    "Every good thing Trump does I'll credit to others. Because I hate Trump, and my hatred is more important than public policy. "

  • dchang0||

    Re: "So far Trump has largely walked the walk on 2A. I would put that above someone like Weld."

    Agreed, although I am still VERY wary of Trump due to his position on bump stocks. Gun rights advocates know that giving even a thousandth of an inch to the gun control freaks ends up becoming a mile.

    If the NRA hadn't sacrificed full-auto firearms long ago, we wouldn't be fighting to defend so-called assault weapons and semi-automatics now.

    Weld has already ceded 500 miles on gun rights in his mind. I'll never vote for him.

  • John C. Randolph||

    I sure as hell expect it from anyone who claims to be a Libertarian.

    -jcr

  • NashTiger||

    He doesn't support the 1st Amendment either, not if you say/don't say things certain favored groups don't like/like

  • ThomasD||

    "Given a choice between Dumbocrat, a Trumplican, or Bill Weld, I will definitely pull the lever for Bill Weld."

    There is only one Trumplican. I suppose that could change, but I really doubt it.

    That said, Weld would seem the least worse choice of anyone foreseeable today.

  • John||

    Sure because gun rights mean nothing to the wokatarians.

  • DJK||

    Trump has been a strong gun controller for most of his life. He has shown over and over that he does not give a shit about the 2nd Amendment.

  • Chereth Cutestory maritime aty||

    So exactly what has he done as President to infringe on 2A?

  • dchang0||

    Google "bump stocks Trump executive order"

    You'll see the leftist news media crowing about how Trump did the right thing by taking the first step towards "sensible gun control."

    That's the real danger, not that we lose the fairly-useless bump stocks but that every small win excites the gun control freaks.

  • ThomasD||

    ??? Calling me a woketarian? Ok.

    Never said Weld was perfect, Obama was worse on guns and all he managed to do is sell more than any President in history.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Trump is more Libertarian-ish that Weld could ever hope to be.

  • Johnimo||

    Despite his MANY, MANY faults. Trump has given us the most libertarian supreme court justice in Gorsuch. He may do so again with his impending choice. That counts for a little bit of support for the poor boob in the White House.

  • Robert||

    Lincoln accomplished the goals of abolitionists the way Hitler accomplished the goals of atomic energy promoters.

  • Johnimo||

    That's bullshit and you know it. Hitler got his enemies to build the bomb, out of fear of Hitler. Lincoln actually signed the Emanicpation Proclamation -- willingly -- because he realized the war had to be about something bigger than just getting the South back into the Union.

  • Merl3noir||

    That's an internal debate I have been having since even thinking that Bill Weld could be the Libertarian party Nominee. I am more than willing to except a less than perfect libertarian. Unfortunately I fear he would be more likely a less than perfect republican, let alone a poor libertarian. By that I mean it is rare that I find a republican that talks about libertarian ideas, AND once elected votes for policies that are inline with those ideals. I see to much of a republican in Bill Weld, that just wants to get elected and play libertarian, rather than fight for real reforms.

    I do agree that he may be one of the most electable candidates that the libertarian party could nominate, but is it worth it, if he ends up just being another republican that supports bigger more intrusive government. Putting forth a bad Libertarian candidate while maybe good for the party in breaking barriers, may be bad to Libertarianism, and no real solution to the country.

  • ||

    Yeah - I have the same debate with Weld. He's less libertarian than Gary Johnson, but considerably more charismatic. Really, he's just a very socially liberal Republican, and the world would probably be best served by his running as a Republican, since as several here point out there are currently a number of card-carrying Republicans who are more libertarian than Weld (i.e. Paul, Amash, Massie). OTOH, he probably can't get nominated as a Republican, and he may at least get the LP's foot in the door so that going forward more actually libertarian candidates can get platformed.

  • Ersatz||

    Have been tempted to sign up here many times... odd that this subject at this time pushed me over the edge.

    Will is an anti-Trumper and I think he believes he can make the libertarian party his band of useful idiots so as to drain enough republican votes to deny Trump a second term.

    As to Weld being more charismatic than Johnson - I disagree. Johnson was a disaster but at least he HAS a personality. I didn't detect one in Weld. Weld's spirit animal is the Clinton toady...
    Weld does not have any force of personality - certainly not enough to move the electorate. What the libertarian party needs is a guy who has for his spirit animal a snake that wears an eye patch. One who wants to escape the poison politics typical of a city like New York

  • Chipper Morning Baculum||

    The GOP is dead, so let's kill the LP as well. Weld it shut!

  • Echo Chamber||

    Nice word play [golf clap]

  • An Owl Named Dur||

    If Bill Weld is a libertarian, I'm a wingless, yellow-scaled ken-dragon ... and an ornate house.

  • SRoach||

    I don't think anyone is arguing he is a libertarian, just that he may be a Libertarian who has a ghost of a chance in a presidential run. The capitalization is important.

  • Johnimo||

    As I said above, if Trump nominates another Supreme as libertarian as Gorsuch, I won't mind him being President for a second term. Supremes last years and years after Presidents are long gone. I agree with Trumps actions as President bout 40% of the time, though he is a total asshole, personality-wise. On the other hand, Bill Weld's not going to garner many votes unless he changes his thoughts, his rhetoric, and his (lack of) forcefulness.

  • aajax||

    He's as close as any electable person I've seen in the party. The only pols that might be more libertarian are afraid to leave the Republican Party.

  • SRoach||

    You might be correct that Bill Weld is not a libertarian, but if the Libertarian Party ever becomes strong enough to even be a threat in national politics, it will attract non-libertarians to the Libertarian Party. And to becomes strong enough to be a threat in national politics, it must first attract a large contingent of non-libertarians.
    The Democrats include many who aren't all that democratic. The Republicans include quite a few people who aren't all that republican. The names may indicate their founding principals, but they don't accurately reflect the current makeup of the parties.
    If you want the Libertarian Party to reflect true libertarian principles, you should accept that that can only happen if the Libertarian party stays small enough to only encompass those who actually hold libertarian principles. At that size, I doubt it can ever win the White House, or even a sizeable number of seats in Congress.

  • Eidde||

    The phrase "ah, hell, no" is too mild to describe my reaction to Weld running, especially to his running as a Libertarian.

  • Chipper Morning Baculum||

    Ah, Weeeeahld to the no!

  • Eidde||

    Weld looks like a more clownish version of Leslie Nielsen.

  • Leo Kovalensky II||

    Surely this article can't be serious.

  • Eidde||

    Don't call me Shirley.

  • Shirley Knott||

    You rang?

    Joining the Libertarian Party to promote freedom is like fucking for chastity.

  • BestUsedCarSales||

    In my case it works. As once they get a load of me it tends to kill all sex drive of all but a rare person.

  • Just Say'n||

    Look at Sarwark gloating over here

  • Chipper Morning Baculum||

    That's because no man can ever again fill that crater you left behind.

  • Ariki||

    Maybe no man can fill the crater he has?
    It is better to give than receive after all.

  • BestUsedCarSales||

    There's a lot of abscesses in my life, this is known.

  • Echo Chamber||

    George Will is trolling. NFW Weld gets the LP nomination

  • ThomasD||

    If all the disaffected Never Trumpers have no place else to go?

    It could happen.

  • raj43||

    And the Libertarian Party will be the country's only salvation.

  • Chereth Cutestory maritime aty||

    No, Trump will.

  • buybuydandavis||

    "If all the disaffected Never Trumpers have no place else to go?"

    Ben Shapiro informed the world that for the "muh principles" crowd, "Never" meant "until Trump got power".

    For the Trump crowd, Never means Never, at least for those clearly treasonous to the party. Buh bye.

    But the Libertarians shouldn't fear too much. Most of the NeverTrumpers seem content to whine "muh principles" with a "I'm too good for this world" pose, and ride off into the sunset after doing what they can to sabotage the Republican party.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    George Will, the neocon, peddling more non-Libertarian nonsense.

  • damikesc||

    Reason, the "home" of "libertarianism" is totally ecstatic about it as well.

    Woke Libertarianism might be the dumbest thing in the history of the world.

  • Sometimes a Great Notion||

    There is no such thing as bad press. Just ask Donald Trump as he made his way to WH. They should be happy they are getting some mention, less so about Bill Weld but hey press is press. And the only time they got any in 2016 was for the stripping conventioneer and the Aleppo moment.

  • Earth Skeptic||

    Maybe a stripper convention in Aleppo?

  • ThomasD||

    I'm more ok with Weld than I am with Will being comfortable with Weld in the LP, or with Will in the LP.

  • Libertymike||

    Plus, both John and I know more baseball than Will.

    Perhaps you do as well, lc.

  • Just Say'n||

    Hey, Bill Kristol re-tweets Reason now. And Matt Welch, who is pro-NATO, wrote this article. This isn't the non-interventionist and small government brand of libertarianism

  • Modus Pwnens||

    I propose changing the name to Vichy Reason.

  • Just Say'n||

    Well then I propose nominating the reanimated corps of Marshall Petan for the Libertarian Party nomination.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Reason has surrendered pretty fast to wokeness. The French would be proud.

  • Just Say'n||

    Zombie Petan versus Bill Weld will be a good match-up

    Weld: Not baking a cake is literally what a Nazi would do

    Petan: Governor Weld, I served with Nazis. I knew Nazis. Nazis were friends of mine. Governor Weld, you're no Nazi.

    McAfee: WTF, happened to this party?

  • damikesc||

    Technically, it was Petain. Not Petan.

    Otherwise, solid.

  • Chipper Morning Baculum||

    May be y'all should migrate over to Lew Rockwell. Why, just the other day, they had an article about how individualism is destroying this country. Sounds right up y'all's alley. Oh, what's that, they don't allow comments? Oh, well.

  • Just Say'n||

    ^ The pro-war brand of "libertarianism". What a joke

    "Don't mock Weld for supporting war and opposing freedom of association, we're only suppose to employ that selectively."

    - Chipper Morning Idiot

  • Earth Skeptic||

    When is the Libertarian Casablanca moment?

  • Chipper Morning Baculum||

    "You had me at 'Weld? No.'"

  • buybuydandavis||

    I propose "Feelz", but I know that now that they've gone Progressitarian, truth in advertising, or truth of any kind, is out of the question.

  • buybuydandavis||

    Get on the Trump Train.

    The Globalist Uniparty is all interventionism all the time.

  • Leo Kovalensky II||

    I think this is George Will's newest brand of #NeverTrump. Scare the Republicans to picking an establishment Neo-Con in 2020 to primary Trump.

    But why does he have to pick on us?? And why did he have to pick Weld??

  • John||

    They couldn't beat Trump in 2016. It takes a special breed of delusional idiot to think they could primary him as a sitting President.

  • Leo Kovalensky II||

    It takes a special breed of delusional idiot

    We are talking about George Will and Bill Weld here.

  • John||

    Touche.

  • ThomasD||

    They are not doing it to win the next Presidential election, they are doing it to build a new home.

    That said Weld is an easy way to vote 'not Trump' while also changing nothing.

  • MarkLastname||

    Happened to Johnson in 68.

  • John||

    Sure. That was after Johnson pissed off most of his own party. Trump isn't doing that and garners more support from Republicans today than he did when he won the election.

  • Johnimo||

    As I said above: "Supreme Court." And .... that's a good thing.

  • BYODB||


    They couldn't beat Trump in 2016. It takes a special breed of delusional idiot to think they could primary him as a sitting President.


    It depends if the primary is just a fractured as it was this last time around, which...it probably will be.

  • NashTiger||

    George Will is not a neocon. Is it too much to ask people understand the buzzwords they throw around?

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Neoconservatism (commonly shortened to neocon when labelling its adherents) is a political movement born in the United States during the 1960s among liberal hawks who became disenchanted with the increasingly pacifist foreign policy of the Democratic Party, and the growing New Left and Counterculture, in particular the Vietnam protests. Some also began to question their liberal beliefs regarding domestic policies such as the Great Society.

    It fits George Will perfectly.

  • BYODB||

    *laugher sign illuminates*

  • damikesc||

    BWA HA HA HA!

    Really?

  • Just Say'n||

    If there were such a thing as a "libertarian" party it probably would have a chance at replacing the Republican Party, but instead what we have is the 'Libertarian' Party that is more pro-state than libertarian leaning Republican representatives.

    I enjoyed the joke where you called Bill Weld "libertarian", though. That was adorable.

  • Guy Montag||

    This insane love affair with Weld by Reason is beyond delusional.

  • CE||

    Reason: But he doesn't embarrass us, and he wants lower taxes. maybe.

  • jcw||

    This article does not read like an insane love affair to me. There's very little opinion here from what I can gather. Mostly just fact reporting.

  • DJK||

    The commentariat's love affair with the no true Scotsman fallacy is beyond delusional.

  • Modus Pwnens||

    Your new LP: supporting liberty via assault weapon bans.

  • raj43||

    Or see a democrat elected and guarantee an assault weapons ban.

  • Just Say'n||

    www.youtube.com/watch?v=nQfQ3V3hsJw

    For some reason this tone deaf article reminded me of one of Dave Smith's comedy bits at the Soho Forum

  • Lucius Junius Brutus||

    Weld served rapist-in-chief bolshevik clinton as an ambassador and is thus disqualified form being supported by the Right. Also he does not uphold Freedom of Association and it's implied Freedom of Dis-Association.

  • Eidde||

    I'd rather see the LP nominate Person-of-Interest guy than crawl back to Weld after his public make-out session with Hillary.

  • AlmightyJB||

    Yeah, I'm not sure how anyone can get past that revolting display.

  • ThomasD||

    I'm ready to vote for the next picture on a milk carton.

  • Conchfritters||

    "She's a good kid"

  • Ron||

    So george Will is now out to destroy the libertarian party by joining it.

    but as long ans the LP is open borders it will never go anywhere beyond its margins

  • buybuydandavis||

    Is that why they're so open borders? Desperate that someone will want to invade theirs?

  • $park¥ The Misanthrope||

    Oh for crying out loud. There are no libertarians.

  • El Oso||

    There must be! I think that I am one, maybe...

  • PDL4288||

    I'm sure someone can come up with a libertarian litmus test that makes you Satan incarnate.

  • PDL4288||

    I'm sure someone can come up with a libertarian litmus test that makes you Satan incarnate.

  • PDL4288||

    I'm sure someone can come up with a libertarian litmus test that makes you Satan incarnate.

  • buybuydandavis||

    Libertarians are a tiny minority in the country with the greatest density of libertarians. And they're as hard as they can to decrease that density by flooding the country with people from less libertarian countries.

  • Headache||

    Bingo! We have a winner.

    with people from less libertarian countries

    Being polite, I see.

  • damikesc||

    I must assume "libertarian-leaning" Jeff Flake, Bob Corker, and Mark Sanford must be hurt that their reach arounds were trumped by Weld's swallowing act for the Reason editors.

  • Juice||

    Bob Corker? No.

  • Robert||

    Where'd the meme come from even that Weld was more libertarian than the avg. American? AFAICT it's from the same heuristic operating several decades ago that dubbed LaRouche libertarian: He said stuff about politics & couldn't be easily fit into a known partisan mold. Weld was a Republican who could win statewide elections in Mass., & he pissed off the Bush I admin. enough (re willingness to consider pot legaliz'n IIRC) to have his app't as ambassador to Mexico canceled. So that makes him a maverick politician, which means he must be a libertarian because that's the only category left, right?

  • Longtorso, Johnny||

    I'm writing in MacAfee.

  • Leo Kovalensky II||

    You should probably learn to spell his name correctly then.

  • damikesc||

    Former SF 49'er and later dentist Ken Macafee is likely a better Libertarian than Billy Weld.

  • Leo Kovalensky II||

    I'm writing in Ken Norton. His anti-virus software is the best!

  • Citizen X||

    I'm writing in Jim Norton. That way it won't matter if he drives a glass-sided bus full of topless women down a route reserved for the presidential motorcade!

  • Chipper Morning Baculum||

    You want the Oval Office to smell like urine?

  • BestUsedCarSales||

    A white house filled with feminine penis is the best we could hope for.

  • El Oso||

    I am writing in MacOso...

  • ||

    I'm writing in MacAfee.

    I actually hope Ron Paul keeps getting a single electoral vote long after he's dead.

  • MarkLastname||

    I'll be writing in Windows Defender.

  • DenverJ||

    Kaspersky for president!

  • buybuydandavis||

    I wrote in McAfee for Dos Equis' Most Interesting Man in the World.

  • damikesc||

    I guess the LP is looking to commit suicide.

    "You know what we need? A big statist Republican as our Libertarian standard bearer!"

    LP 2016: We can't find a worse candidate than Gary Johnson
    LP 2020: Hold my beer

  • buybuydandavis||

    Didn't George Will come out with an anti libertarian, pro big government screed a few years ago?

    I think it was a "government enforces values, so screw you libertarians". Basically throwing out the bathwater, much like Progressives. "Government enforces some things, so why not all things?"

  • ThomasD||

    It's Welch, the only ideological consistency he's looking for is 'whoever at hand can be rhetorically wielded to beat down any opposition to my favored candidate or position.' Doesn't matter if it's Flake, or Corker, or Will.

  • Headache||

    Here is the slogan "Weld, he never saw the bottom of a bottle he didn't like".

    Willy Willy

  • AlmightyJB||

    Lol

  • Rebel Scum||

    The same Bill Weld that could not stop shilling for Her Shrillness during the last election? Pass.

  • SchillMcGuffin||

    Even if his record and talking points were acceptable, his performance in that regard would thoroughly disqualify him in my eyes.

  • OpenBordersLiberal-tarian||

    At a time where the Republican Party has been fully taken over by white nationalist Kremlin puppets, the last thing we libertarians should be doing is thinking about third parties. There are two major parties in this country, and the Democrats are so much better on the issues most important to us (unlimited immigration, unrestricted abortion, transgender bathroom access) that it doesn't make sense to throw our votes away on a candidate with zero chance of winning.

    As a libertarian, I'll proudly vote for whoever the Democrats nominate in 2020, and I urge the rest of you to do the same.

  • Just Say'n||

    Hey, look, Bill Weld is already working on his talking points

  • Leo Kovalensky II||

    Wait, is OBL a Bill Weld sock? That would explain SO much!

  • Headache||

    Is libertarianism a mental illness as well?

  • buybuydandavis||

    " and the Democrats are so much better on the issues most important to us (unlimited immigration, unrestricted abortion, transgender bathroom access)"

    Bwahahahaha!

  • Aloysious||

    Weldmentum?

    This is a thing?

  • CE||

    Hey, if you're going to run a fusion candidate, it makes sense that his name is Weld.

  • ThomasD||

    Weldocity.

  • lap83||

    Old guy no one cares about endorses other old guy no one cares about for pres, news at 11

  • JFree||

    I was thinking kind of the same thing. 2/3 of the registered Libertarians in my city are ages 20-35. And re the changes in registration over the last couple years, L's are already the 2nd party in that age group.

    Tough to get that age group to vote - but for the L's, they are clearly the present not the future. And the last thing they need is to reach into the past for names that aren't even recognized by the ACTUAL L base.

  • BestUsedCarSales||

    Okay, I'll run.

  • Echo Chamber||

    and blow off Phoenix?

  • BestUsedCarSales||

    I can be president of both the USA and Phoenix. There's no law against that.

  • lap83||

    I don't get it. If they don't feel constrained by having to pick candidates with libertarian views, why not choose someone more interesting?

  • Qsl||

    Because at the moment, Weld is probably the best spokesperson to sell the libertarian point of view (albeit libertarian-lite) to someone other than embarrassed republicans.

    I mean it's not like there is a silent majority of ancaps just waiting for the perfect moment to make their presence known. Most people loath the libertarian aesthetic, including most libertarians. The flagrant polemics resemble college socialist whining that the democratic party isn't radical enough. And every knows what a joy those people are to be around.

    Think of it as a test (as the LP probably has no chance in hell of winning regardless of who runs): if Weld does better than average, then it's apparent the holier-than-thou libertarians are self-defeating to their own aims.

    If he does about the same (or worse), I'll be the first to concede fellating the corpse of Rothbard is indeed The One True Libertarianism.

    I just ask some of you brush your teeth more than one a week.

  • Echo Chamber||

    That card got played last cycle. Two two-term governors re-elected in anti-polarizing manner couldn't move the needle past 3%.

    I think that this situation absolutely requires a really futile and stupid gesture be done on the LP's part.
    Anybody but Weld

  • Qsl||

    Hmm, must have been a different election than the one I was watching.

    The one I saw had the LP covering the spread between the GOP and the Dems (I believe the first time in its history), making it a true spoiler vote, with the highest percentages in the party's history.

    It actually had enough votes to secure ballot access, which I believe was also a first in some states.

    Of course, I could be mistaken.

    Point me to any other LP candidates that got an equivalent percentage?

    Anyone but zealots.

  • BYODB||

    If you're arguing over a 4% vs. 3% or anything like that you've already lost the argument. 5% is what mattered, and the most legit ticket the LP could hope for lost with the general public in an election between two of the most terrible politicians in a long, long time.

    The writing is on the fucking wall, but libertarians are apparently blind. I don't have the answer, but so far all efforts have failed. Liberty is not popular with the people. Perhaps focus on how to change that outside of politics.

  • Qsl||

    Uh, no.

    While it would have been grand if the LP pulled off some Cinderella story, improvement is still improvement, and it has yet to be determined whether it was a fluke, cult of personality, or otherwise, hence test.

    Some forms of liberty are popular with the people, but unfortunately there is no middle ground between modest tax reform and TAXATION IS THEFT within the LP. That gives people little room to change their minds. Beyond the Ds and Rs, most people are centrist and are unwilling to accept such a radical change as private fire departments in a go. They might however be willing to move in a more libertarian direction.

    And the LP could concentrate on a very narrow liberty platform that somewhat achievable and has popular support (like a certain someone).

    When you are debating whether driver's licenses are creeping statism without a plan of how they would even be abolished, you've already lost the argument.

    Again, test. If the writing is already on the wall, you've got nothing to lose.

  • Merl3noir||

    Really we need to focus less on the WH because it is going to take someone that can walk on water to get elected to the WH without a meaningful base. If the party really wants to create a movement we need to focus on electing people at state and local levels first. Once momentum builds there, Congress and the WH will not require the biggest miracle of the last 2 millenniums.

  • Qsl||

    Merl3noir

    While absolutely true, I think you are missing out on a prime component of building a base.

    Libertarian ideas (all flavors of them) need a strong salesman at the moment. While some pockets within the GOP are nice, that only serves to dilute support of the LP proper. And a bunch of autist niggling over some minute detail of monetary policy only serves to attract other autist. While those debates are important in shaping the trajectory of LP many decades on, they have shit to do with the man on the street and his concerns.

    And to pull a page from Hank, the LP making a strong showing nationally probably serves to pull the other two parties closer to the libertarian center. The sting of losing several elections while the LP candidate makes a strong showing garners interest that maybe the LP isn't just some fringe loons.

    But the focus need to be on what is politically tangible now and putting the best possible face on it.

    And some times miracles do happen.

  • buybuydandavis||

    "couldn't move the needle past 3%."

    Against the two most hated candidates in my lifetime.

  • JFree||

    I agree that interesting/skilled is more important than pure. But interesting to who? to which age group?

    I think I'd prefer a candidate who's able to leverage others - maybe by turning the entire 2020 campaign season into a couple dozen regional Freedom Fests or SXSW or something else that isn't a traditional 'Presidential' campaign.

  • JFree||

    Course no candidate can actually do that as long as the LP chooses its candidate IN 2020. That would require choosing the candidate in 2019 so they can plan/organize the events that occur during the D/R primary season.

  • ||

    The LP? Thinking ahead? I think you've forgotten who were dealing with here . . .

  • Headache||

    It's that modern weed. Powerful stuff.

  • CE||

    Weld doesn't need the LP vote. He just needs the LP ballot line. Libertarians turn out about 0.5 percent of the vote every 4 years. Gary Johnson got six times that running a Dem-lite platform.

  • JFree||

    Yes. And he prob got 6%+ among younger voters (say under 45 or so). Some of whom are the L registered just mentioned. That's the group of voters to build on.

    just needs the LP ballot line

    That's all any candidate needs from the LP and it's a very valuable thing. But what is the candidate going to give to the LP in return? Gary imo gave the LP something long overdue - a serious candidate who remained with the LP. Weld seems to be doing the same - but it is only that next generation who can take the next step - to view the LP as the means to achieve a libertarian end and be elected as say a Gov or a Sen as an L.

    re its registered voters (at least in my city), LP has already transitioned to the next voting majority. That's the advantage that needs to be hammered home cuz the D/R's CAN'T do that. They have incumbents and an establishment and older voters and a big tent- so younger voters are gonna be seen merely as an interest group to be given cookies until places open up for them.

  • Headache||

    And Bernie got the rest.

  • DJK||

    And? There are about 500,000 people in the US registered as Libertarian. That's a rounding error. It also doesn't take into account that many registered Libertarians don't bother to vote. George Will's circulation is well over 10,000,000. Those are numbers that could actually matter in an election.

  • JFree||

    I understand that and agree. But the LP can never get anywhere playing the same macro numbers game as the D's and R's. Because older voters as a rule have already voted for the D/R's so many times and bought the lesser evil stuff and the demonizing other stuff and can repeat all the blipverts that the D/R want them to repeat and have had their votes bought for life. Again as a rule, that is depleted soil for anything new or different. Gary Johnson prob didn't even get 2% among over-45's.

    I agree that LP can benefit a lot from any small-l libertarian figuring out if they are/aren't really a big-L Libertarian - esp publicly. Whether that's George Will or Bill Weld or a ton of others. But the real target audience for those stories is the under-45's not the over-45's.

  • ThomasD||

    Weld is not frightening. Will talking about acquiring the LP like it was a shell corporation and making it the new home for the Never Trump establishment crowd could be worrisome.

  • UCrawford||

    I think 10,000,000 is a pretty optimistic estimate of Will's circulation considering in the last five years he's been dumped by the Washington Post and Fox News and is now shilling on MSNBC.

    Will's been heading for the outs with the GOP for awhile and his move towards the Libertarian Party is more reflective of the reality that he hasn't been considered a wise elder for them in a very long time. He's just trying to stay relevant and to mask his Trump hatred in principle, when the reality is he just hates Trump, the party picked Trump, Trump doesn't care what Will has to say, so now Will is searching for a new fanbase.

  • Headache||

    2/3 of the registered Libertarians in Sun City are ages 20-35.

    And you are the other third? :)

  • BenjaminTheDonkey||

    When your brand is so dead it gets hijacked by a coked-up whoremongering reality TV clown and a bunch of cartoon frog loving neo-nazis, I imagine the banks who run both parties might be looking to spin off the GOP brand and reinvent the right-flavored centrism inside the party that ran the first openly gay candidate and always advocated for weed. My crystal ball says in 30 years the LP will be supporting centralized banking and perpetual war for a younger, less Jeff Sessiony electorate. Like once a restaurant starts getting popular, it gets bought out by a conglomerate and then the food starts to suck like everywhere else.... the LP of the future.

  • Citizen X||

    Are you saying Bob Barr was ahead of his time?

  • SRoach||

    I'm SRoach, and I support this prediction.
    (I don't LIKE this prediction, let's be clear.)

  • lap83||

    Similar to how many people only vote for LP candidates as protest votes, I feel like the LP candidates themselves serve mainly as protest votes from the LP establishment against actual libertarians. So it's protest votes all the way down.

  • buybuydandavis||

    Keeping the Party pure by making sure that no one ever joins it.

  • Just Say'n||

    Just vote Green Party. At least they're better on foreign policy than Weld or Will

  • MasterThief||

    To an extent. They get points for wanting to reduce our military around the world but lose it with their advocacy for handing out more aid money. The former is one of the few issues with which I was mostly on the same page as the communist (sorry, Green) party

  • SRoach||

    The Watermelon party?

  • ||

    There also was a time, a long long time ago, when the Green Party was also about decentralization and local control. That ended in the early 2000s and they are now indistinguishable from Peace and Freedom. I seriously don't understand why those two parties don't just merge.

  • ||

    But to speak to the issue at hand, I have to agree with Gilmore's general stance that the "pacifism" of the Greens and the P is simply naive conflict-avoidance, not an actually thought-out approach to real-world things.

  • ThomasD||

    Better on foreign policy does not outweigh them being wholehearted collectivists on domestic policy.

    I live here. And that matters a lot more than most any foreign policy fiasco short of total thermonuclear war.

  • John||

    Shit you can't make up

    http://www.dailywire.com/news/.....ly-zanotti

    Portland's foundational feminist bookstore, and the inspiration for Portlandia's famous "feminist bookstore" sketches, announced Monday that it's going out of business at the end of June because of white supremacy, the Patriarchy, racism, and the decline of modern feminism.

    The store, called In Other Words, opened in 1993 with a mission to "strengthen resistance against a culture of oppression," and "to create a safer space where women, people of color, queer, trans, gender variant folks, workers, and those who live at the intersections of these identities can organize for self-determination and build a sustainable movement for liberation."

    They do mention, in passing, that they also sell books, a capitalistic pursuit of which they are no doubt ashamed.

    According to their statement, they aren't closing as a result of fewer books sold, but because in this woke day and age they couldn't exorcise their own interior demons. Confronted with their own white supremacy and regressive ideas of gender, In Other Words announced it could no longer contribute to the Portland community.

    They faced an "inability to 'reform and re-envision' a space founded on 'white, cis feminism' (read: white supremacy)," they say on their website.

  • Cynical Asshole||

    I wonder if they came to that conclusion after an especially long "struggle session?"

    It's impossible to parody these people anymore. It take's all the fun out of it because no matter how over the top you think your parody of them is, they'll go and top it in real life.

  • John||

    The Portlandia skit apparently could have been a documentary. They didn't need to write a script. They could have just shown up and filmed the store for a couple of hours and edited it down to the best parts.

  • Citizen X||

    That's why Portlandia ended. Too frequently scooped by reality.

  • $park¥ The Misanthrope||

    People believe some bizarre shit.

  • juris imprudent||

    Only thing funnier would have been if they renounced all of their previous gobbledygook and proclaimed their conversion to Mormonism.

  • BestUsedCarSales||

    Huh.

    There's a whole lot of self-loathing going on there. Which I can appreciate, even if their particular reason for self-hate is foreign to me.

  • Aloysious||

    ...they couldn't exorcise their own interior demons.

    Did someone mention... Demons

  • Earth Skeptic||

    HAHAHAHAHA

    Our plan worked!

    -signed, The White Patriarchy, West Coast Region

  • Juice||

    opened in 1993 with a mission to "strengthen resistance against a culture of oppression," and "to create a safer space where women, people of color, queer, trans, gender variant folks, workers, and those who live at the intersections of these identities can organize for self-determination and build a sustainable movement for liberation."

    Making money was way down on the priority list.

  • SusanM||

    "Now I don't see anything evil in a desire to make money. But money is only a means to some end. If a man wants it for a personal purpose—to invest in his industry, to create, to study, to travel, to enjoy luxury—he's completely moral. But the men who place money first go much beyond that."

    Ayn Rand

  • Headache||

    And the fact they couldn't get along. Can you imagine the verbal minefields?

  • Ron||

    so they closed because they realized their BS doesn't sell and they need to make real money to retire on

  • buybuydandavis||

    "white, cis feminism' (read: white supremacy),"

    Hey, white feminists! Turns out the crocodile won't be eating you last after all. Tough luck.

  • Cynical Asshole||

    I think it's going to be a serious uphill battle for Weld to overcome the "I'm here to vouch for Hillary Clinton" shit he pulled on Rachel Madcow's show. The one thing you can't do if you're any party's VP candidate is come out and all but endorse a different party's presidential candidate. That should make him persona non-grata in the LP, I don't care how "ready for prime time" he is."

  • John||

    You would think so. But I can't remember any of the reason staff being upset by that. So, Weld will get their support.

  • Cynical Asshole||

    But I can't remember any of the reason staff being upset by that.

    I seem to remember it at least raised some eyebrows, but the commentariat was far more upset about it than they were. I know a lot of people who had been planning on voting for Johnson said they wouldn't after that. It's hard to say how many votes Weld cost them with that stunt, but it was greater than 0.

    Of course the reason staff =/= the LP (and neither does the reason commentariat). It'll be interesting to see if Weld can make enough mea culpas to convince enough delegates to nominate him in 2020. It would be nice if a "real libertarian" who's just as "ready for prime time" as he is would throw their hat into the ring so that they wouldn't have to sell their soul for some sort of "legitimacy" but I'm not sure if anyone like that exists. Who else is there? Kokesh? McAffee? Starchild? What's her name, the pornstar who sounded like she was closer to a Bernie Sanders style Socialist than a Libertarian? That guy who did the strip tease at the LP convention in 2016?

    Whatever happens, I guess stock up on popcorn.

  • BestUsedCarSales||

    Here's a whole article of Shikha, of all people, shitting on Weld for the Hillary incident.

    Here's another of Shikha calling him an apostate

    Looks like there are a couple of others of Matt commenting on it. But I was delighted how pissed off Shikha was so I'm linking to those.

  • Cynical Asshole||

    Perhaps they were more upset about it than I remember. I did remember them running a couple of "WTF is he thinking" articles, but some of the commenters here were ready to light some torches and sharpen up their pitchforks over that.

  • Just Say'n||

    Not Reason staff, but Kennedy trashed Bill Weld pretty regularly and yelled at Gary Johnson for his running mate basically endorsing Hillary during the election. The whole time Johnson was just trying to remember where he left his hitter.

  • Social Justice is neither||

    Wasn't Shikha one of the reason staff that flat out said she was voting for Hillary? seems odd to trash the man giving your girl a boost.

  • MJBinAL||

    Oh come on! It is SHITMA! What do you expect?

  • BestUsedCarSales||

    Who are you voting for? There has never been a time when the Libertarian candidate has been so superior to the two sordid mainstream offerings. But this time I am seriously contemplating going with Hillary Clinton (provided she gets no worse) for the simple reason that there is no more important task than defeating Donald Trump.

    Which major-party candidate do you find most alarming? Trump is the closest thing to a tyrant that America has seen, given his open contempt for all forms of checks and balances: Congress, courts, media, basic norms of human decency. Trump has the soul of a Third World potentate, just with less discipline and finesse. If Hillary digs the soft tyranny of the regulatory state, he has a taste for the hard tyranny of the police state. Both are bad, but he poses an imminent threat to the republic. She is like a slow advancing cancer, and therefore holds out some hope for a cure.

    Who did you vote for in 2012? I penciled in Gary Johnson because I could not bear the thought of voting for Obama or Romney.

    What will you miss most about the Obama years? Obama's good looks and personal charm, since his brains are overrated (especially by him) and his public policies wrongheaded.

  • buybuydandavis||

    Shikha, self proclaimed "progressive libertarian", and the Voice of Reason.

  • ThomasD||

    OBL, is that you?

  • ThomasD||

    Oh, and BUCS, Hillary is indeed like a slow moving cancer.

    Only, it is aggressive fast growing cancers that give better hope for cure. They are usually found sooner, and also - due to their rapid and heavy biologic activity - respond better (die) to chemo or radiation.

    The slow growing ones are often detected later, and are more resistant to treatment.

    So you were right about her, only you just didn't know it.

  • John||

    Come on Libertarians, don't you want to take in the neocon refugees? Doing that worked out so well for the Republicans.

  • ThomasD||

    Will is not neo-con. He is exceedingly establishmentarian though.

  • ||

    "She's a wonderful public servant."

  • John||

    The tragic-comic thing is is that both Weld and Will honestly believe that.

  • juris imprudent||

    I'm guessing that Matt is treating Will as the French do Jerry Lewis.

  • Citizen X||

    "We weel just tell ze stupid Americains zat zey do not understand heem!"

  • NoVaNick||

    Never understood the French obsession with Jerry Lewis, or Weld's obsession with the LP.

  • Scarecrow Repair & Chippering||

    The column certainly blows some wind in the sales of Weld

    Nice Freudian slip there.

    Aside from that fun, Weld is both as non-libertarian as you can get in the Libertarian party, as as libertarian as any "mainstream: politician can get. Ugh to both. I'd still vote for him, if I were going to vote, over any of the other likely chumps.

  • Cynical Asshole||

    Yeah, if 2020 comes down to a choice between Trump, Sanders (or Lizzie Warren, or [insert name of any other far left nutjob here]), or Weld for the LP... I don't know, I guess I'll look into some of the other third party candidates, and then just stay home and watch a movie or something on election night.

  • John||

    Just don't vote. I never understood why people feel some compulsion to vote. If you like a candidate, by all means, vote for them. But, if there is no one you like, why bother? I don't understand why anyone would show up to make a protest vote for a candidate that had no chance to win much less show up and vote for a candidate they didn't even like.

  • Cynical Asshole||

    Just don't vote.

    I probably won't, at least not for president.

  • DJK||

    This line of comments says everything that anyone needs to know about the LP's abysmal electoral record.

  • ThomasD||

    The LP is not going to leap to prominence by winning the Presidency. It's going to have to play spoiler first.

    Not that I think Weld is going to be the person to do that, much less that he could do it to Trump. But I'm ok voting for him as a see vote for something that could grow later.

    I'm less comfortable with it if the LP gets invaded by GOP establishment locust looking for a place to be not-Trump.

  • ||

    Just don't vote. I never understood why people feel some compulsion to vote.

    Because not voting is pretty much the same thing as voting for the "lesser of two evils" who wins. Your vote will be interpreted as meaning that you 100% support the whims of whatever jackass gets elected. Trump barely scraped by and yet acts like he has a Reagan-1984-level popular mandate.

    The only way to signal your disapproval is to actively vote for someone else.

  • Scarecrow Repair & Chippering||

    That's my plan. I realized after I posted it that some will go out of their way to think I endorse Weld, but all it really means is that Trump vs Lizzie is such a bad choice that I'd vote for Weld. If Rand Paul was the GOP choice, I might even register GOP, but I can't see the GOP picking anyone else unless Trump had been impeached.

    Since I don't vote, and live in California, it wouldn't make any difference anyway. All it would do is make it easier for the LP to get on the ballot next time.

  • Echo Chamber||

    Trump might pull a Jesse Ventura and decide not to run for a second term. That's my call

  • ||

    Even if that were his plan, someone will suggest that he's afraid he'll lose if he runs again, and he will therefore run again.

  • Gaear Grimsrud||

    Wish I could let by gones be by gones and vote for Weld if by some miracle he's the nominee. But he's gonna have to give me one hell of a tingle up my leg. So far all I'm feeling is something like a burning rash.

  • ||

    "If there's an unemployment crisis among young black men, government needs to act, libertarian or no libertarian."

  • CE||

    If in autumn 2020 voters face a second consecutive repulsive choice, there will be running room between the two deplorables.

    There was running room in 2016 between two deplorable candidates. Gary Johnson ran pretty much straight down the middle and got 3 percent of the vote. Weld comes across as "more presidential", so maybe he can up that to 5 percent, but teams gotta team.

  • John||

    Unless it is your team and then that is different? Serious question, why would anyone from either party have voted for Johnson? He didn't offer either of them anything. To the extent Johnson agreed with the Democrats on some things, Democratic voters could get those things and a lot more they liked from Hillary. The same can be said about Republicans and Trump. The idea that the LP can win all of these votes by running down the middle of the two parties is a fantasy.

  • Napoleon Bonaparte||

    Welcome to the LP.

  • MJBinAL||

    Gary Johnson is not presidential because he goes to interviews without being prepared and can't think on his feet.

    Bill Weld comes across as "more presidential" because he is actually a progressive.

    Yep, knee deep in winners here.

  • ||

    There was running room in 2016 between two deplorable candidates.

    From where I sat, it looked like there was less interest in third parties in 2016 because both candidates were deplorable. I can't tell you how many conversations I had along the lines of "yes, well I like Johnson/Weld and think their policies would mostly be best, but they have no chance and I have to stop Demon x by voting for Demon y."

  • NoVaNick||

    Weld is an old orange dope, there already will be one of those running in 2020.

  • Merl3noir||

    Yes, but you'll have your choice of which old orange dope you want running your life. it's called Democracy!

  • Brandybuck||

    The Reason commentariat is insane. If Trump announced he would be running under the LP banner half of you would be out dancing in the streets that LP finally has a twue libertawian.

  • Just Say'n||

    Yup. This definitely would not be the response. Keep defending the anti-gun pro-war guy who is virtually no different from Liz Warren or Trump

  • ||

    Absolutely. Total all out line dancing.

    As Cassidy once said, 'who are those guys?!

  • Modus Pwnens||

    I don't know that I've ever danced in a street.

    I did bust a move in a parking lot once but it took six months to recover. Not worth it.

  • Merl3noir||

    I mostly agree with many of the comments about the thought of Bill Weld as the libertarian candidate for President. Especially in being reminded of his love affair for Hillary. On the other hand with about 20 some candidates looking to run for the democrats (all trying to go further left than the other), and Trump likely to get handed the nomination from the republicans, Bill Weld, seems like a choice that won't leave me completely sick to my stomach. Is avoiding the fall out of the 2 runaway train wrecks full of toxic waste worth turning the libertarian party into gop 2.0? As much as the fear of what Bill Weld backed by a bunch of drop out republicans would do to make the libertarian party, the anti-libertarian party, it seems like it might be better for the country in the end? On the other hand I'm not sure after 2020 there will be enough left of the country to bother sticking around for, and probably too far gone for anyone to save. So maybe send up a true libertarian, and watch the 2 sides destroy what is left as we say, told you so!

  • Freddy the Jerk||

    Not buying your argument for voting for Weld -- it'd just encourage our LP betters to continue to push squishy center-left LINOS to the front of the line.

    Me...if it comes down to Weld, Trump and some leftist nutjob straight of Tony's wet dreams (the ones featuring jackboots and door-kickings), I'm staying home and getting really drunk.

  • ThomasD||

    Our LP betters are dead set on pushing squishy permission granting left of center collectivists, much like many of the contributors here are as well.

  • ||

    In fairness, I've been watching the LP since 1988, and they've only run maybe two or three libertarians for president in that time.

  • MJBinAL||

    "Bill Weld, seems like a choice that won't leave me completely sick to my stomach."
    .
    Clearly, you have a stronger stomach than I do.

  • ||

    Well, there's "sick," and there's "completely sick."

  • Ornithorhynchus||

    I can see the case for a candidate with actual political experience and mainstream respectability, but Weld still seems like a pretty weak choice. I'd think someone like Amash, for even Flake, would be a bit more Libertarian while still being mainstream enough to be taken seriously by the press.

    But Weld is still a better choice than Bob Barr was.

  • colorblindkid||

    Amash is my fav
    He should run for speaker.

  • ||

    Flake doesn't have it. Amash is too young. I'd save Amash for 2024.

    But Weld is still a better choice than Bob Barr was.

    ^ This. But I couldn't bring myself to vote for Barr.

  • colorblindkid||

    Republicans who switch to Democrats are fucking morons who don't actually have principles. The libertarian party is obviously the best match for most of them. They'll learn to be more libertarian, like Weld.

  • MJBinAL||

    "They'll learn to be more libertarian, like Weld" That was tongue in cheek humor ... right?

  • colorblindkid||

    Every time he comes out and says something, it sounds a little more libertarian. Yeah, he's not perfect, and I would prefer a focus on somebody like Sharpe, but FFS I'm a realist.

  • JFree||

    I agree with you. He's certainly a lot more libertarian than the commenters here who are constantly pretending that Trump is libertarian

    If the choice is:
    a)a candidate with serious skills who can get attention while publicly becoming libertarian or
    b)a true Scotsman who can't get attention without stripping down to tightiewhities

    I'll pick a every time.

    And Weld is doing valuable post-election stuff for the LP - https://www.lp.org/boldness/

  • Jayburd||

    What if Weld picked MacAfee as his running mate?

  • MJBinAL||

    Soooo, what if the progressive Weld picked the insane lunatic MacAfee as his running mate? Un.... NO.

  • NashTiger||

    Hopefully McAfee would then vouch for Trump

  • Matt Ross||

    Weld is way too comfy with gun control and he described Hillary Clinton as someone he "deeply respects". He's not a libertarian, he's a Democrat plant. If the LP runs Weld, I'll vote for Trump.

  • MJBinAL||

    yep

  • ||

    He's not a libertarian, he's a Democrat plant.

    Considering he's spent his entire political career up until two years ago as a Republican, that's a pretty deep plant. Impressive, really.

  • MJBinAL||

    Bill Weld is not a libertarian and George Will is not a conservative. They go together as comrades-in-fraud.

  • NashTiger||

    In what way is George Will not a Conservative?

    He's petty and butthurt over Fox News and their audience heckling off their air over being mean to Trump, but he's definitely a Conservative

  • ThomasD||

    Will is establishment conservative, often characterizing himself as a 19th century liberal. But that is not remotely as libertarian as a classical (18th century) liberal. He was a strong proponent of Reagan, especially Reagan's line about how 'he didn't leave the Democratic party, but instead the Party left him.'

  • Agammamon||

    If you wanted to say that the LP, under Weld, would be ready for primetime as a 'Republican-lite' party and 'better-than-nothing' - I could see that.

    If you are looking for

    . . . "limited government, fiscal responsibility, free trade, the rule of law, entitlement realism . . . "

    That ain't Weld. You don't get to be governor of a NE state if you're anything close to a genuine libertarian. Look at Romney.

  • ThomasD||

    What I'm looking for is not going to be matched to any likely candidate next time around.

    So I'm going to settle for the 'most libertarian' of the bunch.

    Right now that would be a choice between Weld and Trump. There is no liberty in the Democratic, or Green Parties - Sure they might grant some permissions, but the false freedom of permission only masks the spread of more government.

    Do Not Want More Government.

    Trump has done some positive things, and could do more. I also fear he will do some negative things before he's done. Weld would be different in detail, but overall maybe no worse.

  • Dadlobby||

    I wouldn't go with Weld, but a guy like Sharpe could make an impact (wiht or without a NY win). In NYS the republicans are on the verge of losing the state senate and the state will be fully Democrat (all major statewide offices and both chambers of the house). Larry Sharpe is ahead of others running and has higher numbers than the Republican and Green Party combined. When the Republican Party snuffles out, where will the "not a Democrat's" go? https://www.larrysharpe.com

  • colorblindkid||

    Seriously, where are the Koch's when you need them? Sharpe could win NY. Everybody hates Cuomo. The Republican has no chance. God forbid the worst Sex in the City character wins. Even getting the polling companies to add him to their fucking polls will up his exposure. It is infuriating how brainwashed everybody is by the two parties, and how beholden the press is to them.

  • Gaear Grimsrud||

    Yeah Sharpe is the only logical LP nominee at this point in my opinion.

  • AJ_Liberty||

    In 2016, the LP strategy was soooo ill conceived. Too much pot legalization....too much applauding Hillary....too little discussion of how an LP President would actually govern a country that is not very libertarian and work with a Congress that doesn't have the stomach for extreme change or the willingness to make a truly outsider President look good. If you just want someone to go on stage and preach the libertarian testament...that's fine....and will get you 1% of the vote....again. The LP candidate must avoid Aleppo moments...but also must come up with liberty-leaning policies that have a chance to win over some Republicans...say favoring economic liberty....or some Democrats....say favoring individual liberty....while making Executive Branch decisions that won't scare the shit out of most of us (like, eliminating all federal agencies or cutting 90% of the military). A big swathe of voters were looking for a reasonable alternative in 2016....and Johnson/Weld had some plausibility and governor experience....yet the LP made virtually no progress because they simply did not make the case why Clinton was unacceptable and that LP policy was not too extreme. I'm not sure if Weld is the guy to walk that thin line....it would be nice to hear his autopsy of 2016...and see what he actually learned.

  • buybuydandavis||

    "too much applauding Hillary"

    The Left will love us any day now! You watch!

  • ||

    The LP candidate must avoid Aleppo moments

    The "Aleppo moment" was pretty much the only media attention Johnson got. Trump and Clinton both had many, many, many "Aleppo moments" that were 100% ignored.

    It's not about the candidate, it's about the coverage, and it's no coincidence that third parties are doing better as the MSM loses its stranglehold on all political coverage.

  • option31||

    So now Will is now supporting a Marxist gun grabber as will the LP. Have we reached bottom yet?

  • ||

    Weld? A Marxist? Go home - you're drunk.

  • Jayburd||

  • Rockabilly||

    In 2016, I voted 3 times for Gary Johnson and he still lost.

  • buybuydandavis||

    Chicago voter?

  • GILMORE™||

    If a vote for the LP was a protest vote against how retarded the mainstream candidates were in 2016...

    ...who is the protest vote against how retarded the LP candidates are in 2020?

    looks like its going to be Vermin Supreme again.

  • aajax||

    Libertarians are split on abortion, immigration, legislative strategy, safety net, international relations, and by now, probably strategic tariffs. This disunity I suspect is going to put an upper limit on the enthusiasm quotient of anyone they nominate. Weld should be a more viable candidate than Johnson, but that's not saying enough. What is needed is a kind of explicitly Fabian libertarian party, whose members adopt liberty as a regulative ideal but do not insist on a standard of purity that excludes more than is politically viable.

  • NashTiger||

    Fabian Strategy - that is exactly how we got here. 120 years of Progs taking whatever incremental gains they could

  • JFree||

    This disunity I suspect is going to put an upper limit on the enthusiasm quotient of anyone they nominate.

    That's not disunity. It is the sort of tolerance that follows directly from people who are serious about the one thing that unifies those who join the LP - I certify that I oppose the initiation of force to achieve political or social goals.

    You want jackboot discipline and a base that can be riled up into a fever of emotional disturbance on issues in order to throw people they disagree with under the bus? Stay in the R's (or D's). If you think that liberty is not just the ideal but also the only possible means to achieve it, well that's what the LP thinks too.

    By personality I'm more a pragmatist than a radical and I've found most of my local LP to be the same - but have also found a lot of pragmatic value in thinking about stuff with radicals who keep their eye on a prize. If your local LP is different - well the only way that can change is via you.

    A Fabian strategy is either an initiation of force or an initiation of deceit (the original logo was a wolf in sheep's clothing).

  • Imissbuckley||

    The title of George Will's article "Can this libertarian restore conservatism?"

    Can a liberal former Republican from Massachusetts restore conservatism? Nope. He could destroy libertarianism as we know it though. Which I guess could be a good thing for those folks who are merely looking for a pro-cannabis centrist who will push gun control.

  • dxh@yahoo.com||

    How to lose the vote of this loooong time registered libertarian(in a close primary state no less).

    Step 1. Nominate Bill Weld as the libertarian candidate in 2020, and listen to this massive neocon

    Step 2. there is no step 2

  • dunce||

    Conservatives had no party, just a few republicans claiming to be conservatives and most often just lying. Trump is the closest conservative politician we have and these never Trumpers are trying to peel off some of his supporters so democrats will win and the republican party can return to ineffectual blathering and posing.

  • Deplorable Victor||

    Will degenerated into a sour cunt but I could go along with this.

  • buybuydandavis||

    The Bow Tie Republicans hate Trump for rendering them irrelevant to political power.

  • jdd6y||

    I'm still trying to figure out what Trump is doing so wrongly. I hear a lot of whining about tariffs but those are not tariffs for the sake of protectionism but instead an attempt to get a more fair balance of trade rules. Other than that, where is the beef? That he isn't open borders? That ship has sailed. The open borders crowd had their chance and they blew it. See, e.g., Copland. There is the possibility of increasing legal immigration if you combined it with the wall and a zero bullshit policy. Pussy ass Weld is going to get anything accomplished? His endorsement of Hillary should have made clear, beyond his gin blossom nose, that he's a clown.

    Reason is really circling the drain. I don't think I'm going to re-up my donations.

  • buybuydandavis||

    Trump is the most libertarian President since at least Reagan. Probably for as long as anyone here has been alive but the resident commentariat loon "George Washington Was a Friend of Mine" Hihn.

  • vek||

    The problem with GayJay and Weld is not that that aren't pure enough... I'm a HUGE proponent of non purist libertarians running. It's the only way to get anything done, since almost nobody is a purist libertarian, hence not enough votes.

    My problem with them is that they're purists on ALL THE WRONG THINGS, and totally willing to throw ALL THE RIGHT THINGS under the bus.

    Also a lot of it is simply how you communicate things. It's not that tough to say after being asked an interview question "Well ya know Bob, it is true that our party favors legalizing all drugs. It's not that drug use isn't bad, it's that prohibition in fact ruins more lives and makes things worse than simply having the stuff be legal and treating addiction as a non criminal issue. But that said, we're not trying to legalize crack here this election. I pledge to push for federal marijuana decriminalization. Nothing more, and nothing less."

    You give people the correct answer, then explain you're not going to go overboard, and tell them what you will do. This is how I've sold libertarian leaning stuff to tons of people.

  • vek||

    Whatever. It doesn't matter anyway. No Big L will be winning anytime soon anyway, especially not Weld.

    My only big question for 2020 is whether or not I should vote for a REPUBLICAN for president for the first time in my life, instead of a Libertarian, which is who I have voted for in every single election of my life. I'm kinda wanting to vote for Trump just as a fuck it vote. It won't matter in my state either way. I'm just wondering if I want to be able to honestly say I didn't vote for the guy or not... At this point I almost wish I had just for his shit stirring abilities alone!

  • shane_c||

    Weld can solve the gun issue by just releasing a list of supreme court nominees. That could solve every issue purists have with him.

    Also at least Weld believes the 2nd Amendment applies to the states even though he has a somewhat narrow personal interpretation. Ron Paul doesn't believe it applies to the states at all and purists worship Ron Paul. Shows how ignorant they actually are about the issue.

  • buybuydandavis||

    " George Will: Bill Weld, and Maybe the Libertarian Party, Are 'Ready for Prime Time' "
    i.e.,
    "The condescending bow tied elite no longer have a gig on the Right. Who will listen to me now?"

    The right wing of the Globalist Uniparty has a big problem. They have no future on the Right. The jig is up. Time to find a new partner for the next dance.

    RINOsaurExtinction2018

  • JunkScienceIsJunk||

    And maybe a serious disruption of the party duopoly that increasing millions find annoying.

    One thing that Weld has been very forthcoming about is that they don't stand a chance to crawl into the public spotlight without the debates. The commission will again prevent any third party (and especially the libertarians) from gaining access to the debates. Therefore, none of this is a serious conversation.

  • JFree||

    The CPD will certainly prevent an L from participating in the debates - unless the L is actually disadvantaged by agreeing to appear in the debates (as Ross Perot was). And even if access is allowed, the debate will be entirely structured on D/R terms and with a D/R agenda. That's 100% true.

    And is why the L's should, at this point since the lawsuits failed, be diminishing the debates not elevating them by trying to get in. Which probably means getting a message out via new media - to an audience that either doesn't watch the current debates or is willing to watch the L's/others at a different time.

    IMO THAT is the sort of questioning that the LP should ask a candidate in 2020. What is your strategy for getting attention during the campaign? During the debates? Not their opinion on drivers licenses or WW1.

  • hpearce||

    Another drugs of a famous "libertarian" to buy the votes with ?
    It would be a disappointment not to vote libertarians 2 times in a row

  • Anastasia Beaverhausen||

    "the 2016 ticket should have been switched"

    Yeah, with the 1980 ticket.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Longtime conservative columnist George Will is making a case against voting for Republicans in November's 2018 midterm elections, arguing that House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and other GOP members of Congress "have become the president's poodles."
    In a column published Friday in The Washington Post, Will lamented "Republican misrule," and criticized lawmakers for "hav[ing] no higher ambition than to placate the president."
    "The Republican-controlled Congress, which waited for Trump to undo by unilateral decree the border folly they could have prevented by actually legislating, is an advertisement for the unimportance of Republican control," Will wrote.

    More lefties hiding among Libertarians and LINOs like Matt Welch lauding them and trying to destroy the Libertarian movement for Democrats.

  • PG23COLO||

    Bill Weld is no libertarian. If the Libertarian Party keeps pursuing accomplishment through compromise of libertarian principles, it will come as no surprise. Politics is about the pursuit and exercise of power. If the LP ever becomes relevant in politics, it will have first betrayed its principles.

    The idea is to discredit politics and politicians, not to succeed there. Liberty and politics are incompatible.

  • Praveen R.||

    My problem with many self proclaimed libertarians is they are conservatives first. What is so libertarian about letting big corporations run unchecked? Once a big corporation becomes huge, they act like a defacto government in many areas because of the power they wield and guess what that squashes individuality to some extent in those industries and regions. I have libertarian tendencies though I dont call myself libertarian. I am for indviduality first. And that means check on not just government overreach but big corporation overreach(and let's face it, no matter what laws you pass, big corporations will usually abuse their power when they can get away with it. I don't see that sentiment among many american libertarians.

  • ThomasD||

    Well, this certainly explains Matt's new found respect for Will.

    George Will Endorses Nancy Pelosi For Speaker Of The House

    https://tinyurl.com/yd6nyvnz

    It would be pathetic if it weren't so characteristic. Matt Welch, waterboy for the beltway establishment.

  • tlapp||

    If Weld is what the Libertarian party has, I will say the party has left me.

  • guitargeek76||

    If Weld runs, will it be to win the election, or just act as a shill for his opponent again? Perhaps he could've spent more time keeping Johnson in line, and less time telling people to vote for Hillary during the last election. I think step one towards being taken seriously as a party is nominating candidates who take the party seriously.

  • Cloudbuster||

    Bill Weld?

    BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

    Even Welch can't believe that. Does he cry at night when he thinks about what he's getting paid to write?

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