Politico: Libertarian ‘dream ticket’ in peril as Weld bombs in Orlando

“Party activists could reject the two-term Massachusetts governor as ‘Republican-lite’.”

By Shane Goldmacher, Politico.com, May 27th, 2016:

 

ORLANDO, Fla. — It was supposed to be a stroke of genius: Gary Johnson, the 2012 Libertarian nominee for president and the party’s leading contender in 2016, announced that William Weld, the two-term former Republican governor of Massachusetts, would serve as his running mate.

The idea was clear and appealing. The pair would comprise a powerful two-governor ticket just as the leading Democratic and Republican contenders, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, rate as historically unpopular. The hope was they could emerge as a true third-party alternative.

But here in the corridors of the Rosen Centre Hotel and Resort at the Libertarian National Convention in Orlando, it could all fall apart as anti-authoritarian Libertarian Party activists, loathe to be defined as “Republican-lite,” are increasingly and loudly critical of Weld, who joined their party only weeks ago.

Johnson seems to sense his dream ticket could be in trouble. The former two-term governor of New Mexico was booed at a convention forum on Thursday for calling Weld “the original libertarian.”

“A big hurdle for us is surviving this weekend and being the nominees,” Johnson told POLITICO in an interview on Friday. “Anything is possible. Bill is the first one that recognizes that.”

Read the rest of the article here. 

51 thoughts on “Politico: Libertarian ‘dream ticket’ in peril as Weld bombs in Orlando

  1. AMcCarrick

    And the LP will be forever irrelevant. You’ll see a completely new third-party start up and be elected before the LP will find a single seat in a state legislature because of all these die-hard “purists”. Have fun bitching among yourselves for the next 35 years while you go no where. Bye Bye LP.

  2. langa

    “A big hurdle for us is surviving this weekend and being the nominees,” Johnson told POLITICO in an interview on Friday. “Anything is possible. Bill is the first one that recognizes that.”

    Translation: “We’re starting to worry that the sheep…err…delegates may see through our bullshit.”

  3. Dave

    Interesting they mention the debate and not the straw polls results afterwards that showed Weld performing better than Johnson. If anything that should suggest he has more to worry about.

    Though I am curious how many people roughly participate din the voting, and how many of them were delegates.

  4. Bondurant

    @AMcCarrick

    Anyone is free to form their own party aligned on authortarian and big government. Weld can start said party if he so chooses.

    We would like more in our fold but on our terms. We’re not GOP Lite.

    Adios. You won’t be missed.

  5. AMcCarrick

    So you’re going to throw away a viable ticket solely because the VP has a stance on gun control that is exactly the way it is right now? So you’re pissed nothing would get worse or better, but stay the same? And therefore feel the need to oppose him, because he won’t do anything in either direction? Do you not seriously see how asinine that is?

    See take this for example…. say I have a car with a chip in the wind shield and a broken door lock. So should I worry about the chip or the lock? The chip here is gun control…. it’ll be the way it is in a day or in a 3 months. The lock is like the 4th amendment, the 1st amendment, taxes, and foreign interventions. Which should you fix?

    No other ticket is a viable sell to more than 3% of the electorate. You will remain a completely irrelevant party. Combine that with the fact that the LP will dissolve within the next 4 years.

    Oh and by the way I was talking about me starting a new party. I a complete nobody can start a new party from scratch and make it in to state legislatures with in a year… 100% guarantee you that. And I guess my check writing won’t be missed at all either….

  6. Root's Teeth Are Awesome

    AMcCarrick, if you want to vote for a “viable ticket,” why don’t you vote Republican or Democratic? Those parties are far more “viable” in terms of ability to get votes.

    Me, I don’t see the point of supporting a non-libertarian “viable ticket.”

    The goal is to nominate the most viable libertarian ticket. Not the most viable ticket, period.

  7. Root's Teeth Are Awesome

    AMcCarrick, And I guess my check writing won’t be missed at all either….

    Do you imagine you’re the only one writing checks?

    I don’t know who you are, but the LP is some 45 years old. It’s been around long before you started writing checks for it. I’ll be here for decades more after you stop writing checks for it.

  8. langa

    So you’re going to throw away a viable ticket solely because the VP has a stance on gun control that is exactly the way it is right now? So you’re pissed nothing would get worse or better, but stay the same? And therefore feel the need to oppose him, because he won’t do anything in either direction? Do you not seriously see how asinine that is?

    So I guess you would have supported a pro-slavery politician in the 1850s? You know, a guy who just wanted to keep the status quo — that’s your guy, right? Now, let’s see… Who’s being asinine again?

  9. Darcy G Richardson

    Well said langa, Dave, Bondurant and RTAA.

    Here’s hoping for a magical convention in Orlando, a long Memorial Day weekend in which the Libertarian delegates defiantly ignore their party’s establishment and boldly reclaim the party’s soul by courageously jettisoning the heavily-indebted and vastly overrated former governor of New Mexico and his washed up vice-presidential running mate, Bill “Big Dig” Weld — a staunch supporter of the most expensive highway project in U.S. history and a guy who never met an infrastructure project he didn’t like, especially if his law firm and its clients had a chance to profit from such taxpayer-funded largesse.

    C’mon folks, this clearly isn’t the year to run a governor or former governor, let alone two of them. Democratic and Republican primary voters resoundingly rejected eleven — count ’em, eleven — of them earlier this year.

    The late Eugene McCarthy, a guy I knew pretty well, once said that governors and former governors make the worst presidents. He was right. At least that’s been the case in my lifetime.

    From Carter to Reagan and from Clinton to the younger Bush — each one worse than his predecessor and all of them presiding over the country’s tragic economic decline and the rapid rise of authoritarianism — every governor and former governor in my lifetime who has occupied the White House has been a disaster.

    Gary Johnson is no exception. Playing to the law-and-order crowd, those willing to give up their individual liberty in a heartbeat, he, too, has demonstrated an unmistakable, if not villainous, authoritarian streak, as evidenced by his assertion as governor — you know, when he actually held public office and it really mattered — that the state had the right to execute children as young as thirteen.

    As McCarthy poignantly observed, we’re not electing the “governor of the United States.”

    It was a point that Paul Grad, a self-described “Libertarian Minarchist” and the Libertarian candidate for governor of Oregon in 2014, cogently reminded us of in a recent blog post.

    “Governors,” wrote Grad a few months ago, “if successful, feel they can run the country. They think, if they’ve balanced the budget, and called out the National Guard to quell the student uprisings, that that qualifies them to balance the Federal budget and control the military-industrial complex, which invariably ends up controlling them.”

    The American electorate is hungry for something different. As the Democratic and GOP presidential primary results attest, they’re clearly not looking for an ex-governor — or, in the case of a Johnson-Weld ticket, some sort of two-for-one “blue light special.”

    The LP, if it was really smart, would try to satisfy that craving.

    Imagine how cool it would be to have a genuine libertarian alternative again — as opposed to a couple of half-baked Republicans — in November.

    It’s time to create some Disney-like magic in Mouse Town.

  10. Bondurant

    Weld’s stance on gun control is not exactly the way it is now. I am fortunate enough to live in a state where the second amendment is alive and well, where even Democrats leave it alone, where a police officer will temporarily seize a weapon during a traffic stop and then return the gun to the owner and inform him that if he’s going to carry then a round should be in the chamber.

    This is not what Weld supports. Not even close.

    Funny that you want actual libertarians to bend on our party over the VP slot when you won’t vote for the ticket unless it includes Weld. Maybe you should practice what you preach. Then again, you’re a Republican. That would be too much to ask.

  11. Some guy who has been through all this before

    LOL! Of course the purists are going to fuck it up.

    Ironically, most of them were raging Paultards, willing to vote Republican and jettison purism on a whole host of other issues just a couple of election cycles ago.

    If they manage to fuck up this golden moment, then the LP deserves what happens to it.

  12. Root's Teeth Are Awesome

    I guess Johnson/Weld supporters are engaging in counter-programming.

    Mainstream voters are rejecting corrupt, hackneyed, backroom-deal, establishment politicos. So the Johnson/Weld team wants to offer voters who like corrupt, hackneyed, backroom-deal, establishment politicos a place to go this November.

    Miss those old school, business-as-usual, wheeling-dealing politicians? Can’t find them on your Republican or Democratic ballots? Don’t despair! Political hacks never go out of style. They’re not gone. We have them for sale — and ready to sell out! — at the Libertarian Party!

    “They’re not less popular. They’re appeal is becoming more selective.” — Ian Faith, manager, Spinal Tap

    [youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UZ6JxAgmxXg?rel=0&w=640&h=480%5D

    Johnson/Weld, from GOP elected officials, to LP candidates. The Spinal Tap of American politicians.

  13. robert capozzi

    Some feedback:

    * On governors, politics — as opposed to political theory — is about optics. Former governors very often get elected president. Whether they are more prepared by their experience than former senators is a fair question, but governors win more than senators. The optics are that governors make stronger candidates. That validates Johnson/Weld as a potentially strong ticket.
    DGR may be correct that a more-outsider L candidate might be the better option is a fair point, but that outsider has not revealed him or herself. If Mark Cuban or Judge Napolitano were candidates for the nomination, it’s possible they might be the better choice. They are not in the field.

    * Johnson and Weld both have taken positions that could be construed as unaligned with the LNC’s platform. But looking at that document in context, it is a kluge that very few Ls think is an optimal document. It instead is a placeholder that few take seriously.

    * Johnson and Weld are certainly both lessarchists who — overall — want to roll back government. The press coverage they have gotten PRE convention is unprecedented, and that press coverage has been fantastically positive.

    * A plain-text reading of 2A leaves room for interpretation. What “arms” are protected? Where can these protected arms can citizens “bear” them? Can a citizen carry a bazooka into the White House, is THAT protected, for example? Common law recognizes the “reasonable man” standard, and I submit that the reasonable man (and reasonable woman) would answer the question, “No.”

    * WW should consider saying from here out that — as the VP candidate — he would defer to the Prez candidate’s positions for this campaign, in keeping with the tradition.

    * In the 1850s, there were a range of views on the slavery question. Because there were many extremists on both sides of the question, the matter was settled with over 1MM casualties, over 600K deaths, and much destruction of property. And it was one issue — surely the most important one of the times. We have no single issue now. Langa continues to employ a poor analogy that for me undercuts his or her point. This is more a conversation about overall direction rather than holding high the most extreme positions on all relevant national issues. Johnson/Weld is a vehicle that potentially advances the conversation in the direction of liberty best. Not even close.

  14. Darcy G Richardson

    Miss those old school, business-as-usual, wheeling-dealing politicians? Can’t find them on your Republican or Democratic ballots? Don’t despair! Political hacks never go out of style. They’re not gone. We have them for sale — and ready to sell out! — at the Libertarian Party!

    Johnson/Weld, from GOP elected officials, to LP candidates. The Spinal Tap of American politicians.” — Root’s Teeth Are Awesome

    That’s one of the best comments I’ve ever read here at IPR.

  15. pej1812

    I am a recent convert to the LP. I firmly believe that libertarian ideas represent the moral high ground. My hope is that the convention would nominate the most electable candidates. It is troubling that so many of voices coming out of the convention seem more concerned about points on relatively small issues. Is there any doubt that a Johnson/Weld ticket would have the most electoral impact given name recognition and unlike the other candidates a track record in politics? If delegates want to make the LP a meaningful party nominate Johnson/Weld. Nominating any of the other candidates represents a wasted opportunity.

  16. Root's Teeth Are Awesome

    Robert Capozzi: “This is more a conversation about overall direction rather than holding high the most extreme positions on all relevant national issues.”

    Extreme suggests bad. It’s a loaded word, rather than a purely objective descriptive. I prefer terms such as consisten or principled rather than extreme.

    Johnson’s support for fewer wars (“lessarchism” as you might phrase it) seems to me more extreme than support for no wars, in the sense that going to war is a very extreme position.

  17. langa

    The press coverage they have gotten PRE convention is unprecedented, and that press coverage has been fantastically positive.

    That alone should tell you all you need to know. Newsflash: The MSM is not even remotely libertarian!

    In the 1850s, there were a range of views on the slavery question. Because there were many extremists on both sides of the question, the matter was settled with over 1MM casualties, over 600K deaths, and much destruction of property. And it was one issue — surely the most important one of the times. We have no single issue now. Langa continues to employ a poor analogy that for me undercuts his or her point. This is more a conversation about overall direction rather than holding high the most extreme positions on all relevant national issues.

    Irrelevant deflections. Do you or do you not agree with AMcCarrick that unconditional support for the status quo is the libertarian position on guns? (Of course, I know your answer, but I seriously doubt you have the guts to admit to it.)

  18. Darcy G. Richardson

    “DGR may be correct that a more-outsider L candidate might be the better option is a fair point, but that outsider has not revealed him or herself. — Robert Capozzi

    Thanks for the feedback. Robert. I don’t necessarily disagree with your statement. Given the current Libertarian field and preferring the party to lean to the left, I suppose I would support Darryl Perry in the early balloting if I was a delegate in Orlando, but I think a candidate like John McAfee could be the “outsider” the party needs.

    He’s smart, endlessly colorful, and something of an original thinker, the kind of unexpected Trump-like, poke ’em in the eye candidate who could catch fire in the current antiestablishment political environment.

    A former Republican governor, especially one who has been out of office for nearly fourteen years, is a recipe for disaster in 2016. Just ask Virginia’s Jim Gilmore.

    Unlike Johnson, a candidate with little or rarely anything new to say, McAfee is a quick read, seems to understand libertarianism, and is quite quotable. He’s also pretty savvy and profoundly articulate; every TV and radio talk show host in the country will want him on his or her program. He’ll also keep bored reporters, those already beginning to yawn at the prospect of another Johnson candidacy — the LP’s remedy for sleeplessness who says the same unimaginative things over and over again — thoroughly engaged and entertained between now and November.

    The Libertarian Party ought to take a chance on him.

    Gary Johnson, after all, had his shot and — to be perfectly honest — only has a pile of debt to show for it. A debt, incidentally, that he and his campaign manager tried mightily to conceal from LP delegates and donors in the days immediately prior to the party’s 2012 national convention.

  19. George Whitfield

    I note that John McAfee has been campaigning actively for the Libertarian Presidential nomination and has rarely been on TV and radio talk shows. However, Gary Johnson has received record amounts of national media coverage as a Libertarian Presidential candidate so far. I don’t think that will suddenly end if he is nominated.

  20. Darcy G Richardson

    “However, Gary Johnson has received record amounts of national media coverage as a Libertarian Presidential candidate so far. I don’t think that will suddenly end if he is nominated.” — George Whitfield

    Give it time, George. The mainstream media will get bored with Johnson faster than you can spell l-i-b-e-r-t-a-r-I-a-n.

    Sorry, but your candidate of choice is not interesting or well-informed enough to hold their attention, particularly in a campaign featuring The Donald.

    The LP needs to nominate a dynamic personality if it wants to sustain any long-term interest in this year’s presidential campaign.

  21. George Whitfield

    Darcy, with The Donald and Hillary running, a “boring” candidate like Gary Johnson will be a welcome contrast.

  22. Darcy G Richardson

    Maybe so, George, but most voters still want a reasonably well-informed candidate — not somebody who comes across time and again as a guy simply winging it, someone who obviously hasn’t even taken the time to study and understand his own party’s philosophy, let alone the myriad complex issues facing the country.

    We’re talking about the presidency.

  23. RaiderDuck

    Gotta love it when posters like AMcCarrick “guarantee” hypothetical scenarios that cannot be actually tested, i.e. “I guarantee I could start a third party tomorrow and have state legislators elected in a year” when he is not actually going to start a third party and thus prove his ridiculous statement.

    Oh, and BTW: Please explain to Andre Marrou, Don Gorman and others how the LP has never elected a state legislator. I’m sure they’ll find it amusing.

  24. Sean Scallon

    ” The late Eugene McCarthy, a guy I knew pretty well, once said that governors and former governors make the worst presidents. He was right. At least that’s been the case in my lifetime.”

    Interesting you McCarthy. 20 years after his brilliant campaign in 1968, he was irrelevant to politics as fellow Minnesotan Harold Stassen running as a non-major party candidate. Perhaps you should think long an hard about that.

    However, having made that point, it’s clear Johnson may well have goofed up by naming Weld as his VP nominee. It’s clear anyone from major party politics wanting the LP nomination has to keep party unity in mind by putting a more traditional, ideological Libertarian on the ticket. Bob Barr would have done himself a world of good by running with Steve Kubby for example. Instead he picked someone like himself in Wayne Allyn Root. Well, we saw how that worked out. It may well be the delegates, in accepting Johnson again, decide Weld may be too much Republican for their tastes.

  25. robert capozzi

    Rtaa: I prefer terms such as consisten or principled rather thanextreme.

    Me: Yes, I hear that. However, in the real world, people come to differing conclusions about what is “principled.” For ex., the CSA felt it was the “principled” party, while the Abolitionists thought they were. What happens then? If both/all sides refuse to acknowledge the other side’s position, you have warfare, leading to a lose/lose outcome.

    Adults OTOH are open to having an adult conversation, seeking the win/win situation.

    By letting go of the sanctimony, I believe Ls are well positioned to assume the mantle of adults in the room.

    Dgr: lean to the left, I suppose I would support Darryl Perry in the early balloting if I was a delegate in Orlando, but I think a candidate like John McAfee could be the “outsider” the party needs.

    Me: ADR, but neither Perry nor McAfee “leans to the left,” if we use the term in its common usage. Gun absolutism and tax abolition are deal-breakers for any left-leaner I’m aware of.

    Dgr: Sorry, but your candidate of choice is not interesting or well-informed enough to hold their attention, particularly in a campaign featuring The Donald.

    Me: We’re watching a different movie, then. The MSM loves conflict, and they would also like to see HRC win. They spur on the Never Trump movement, and since it shows all signs of failing, a L ticket of 2 former R guvs should be more than enough to suffice.

    DGR: not somebody who comes across time and again as a guy simply winging it,

    ME: Sounds like an accurate description of DJT!

  26. paulie

    Gotta love it when posters like AMcCarrick “guarantee” hypothetical scenarios that cannot be actually tested, i.e. “I guarantee I could start a third party tomorrow and have state legislators elected in a year” when he is not actually going to start a third party and thus prove his ridiculous statement.

    Oh, and BTW: Please explain to Andre Marrou, Don Gorman and others how the LP has never elected a state legislator. I’m sure they’ll find it amusing.

    Excellent point.

  27. Be Rational

    “… most voters still want a reasonably well-informed candidate — not somebody who comes across time and again as a guy simply winging it, someone who obviously hasn’t even taken the time to study and understand his own party’s philosophy, let alone the myriad complex issues facing the country.” – Darcy G Richardson.

    The uninformed candidate you are describing here is Donald Trump. He appeals to a wide swath of uninformed voters.

    However, most voters do want “a reasonably well-informed candidate” which fits Gary Johnson. He is boring and needs a lot of help with messaging … And he MUST dump his current campaign manager and get someone the LP can trust.

  28. paulie

    It’s clear anyone from major party politics wanting the LP nomination has to keep party unity in mind by putting a more traditional, ideological Libertarian on the ticket. Bob Barr would have done himself a world of good by running with Steve Kubby for example. Instead he picked someone like himself in Wayne Allyn Root. Well, we saw how that worked out. It may well be the delegates, in accepting Johnson again, decide Weld may be too much Republican for their tastes.

    Agreed! Preferrably Will Colley in the event Johnson is nominated (or otherwise, but that is a separate point) as that will send the same point of rebuke against Gov. Johnson’s position on Sharia as nominating Kubby would have sent about Congressman Barr’s record on the drug war and continued support for Plan Colombia at the time of his nomination.

  29. Be Rational

    …. And he MUST dump his current campaign manager

    …. Won’t happen.

    Unfortunately, I agree it’s very unlikely. However, for me it’s the final deal breaker on a Johnson / Weld campaign which I could otherwise support both in voting and financially.

    The LP must demand a campaign finance structure that is open to us to see where the money is going, as it happens, and we should expect, in a significantly backed campaign as in 2012, more than half of every dollar raised to go toward targeted, major network broadcast TV advertising.

  30. RaiderDuck

    IIRC, there were also complaints about Harry Browne (LP nominee in 1996 and 2004) also not disclosing where his campaign money had been spent. Jacob Hornberger blew a ton of hot air about how this supposedly cost the LP votes, as if the average voter knew or care what “Optopia” was or whether party money had been spent on it.

  31. RaiderDuck

    NewFederalist: I meant that Harry Browne was the nominee in 1996 and 2000. I was typing too fast. Browne, however, did attend the 2004 convention as a Gary Nolan supporter, and succumbed to ALS in early 2006.

  32. RaiderDuck

    Thanks! I still remember the last TV show he did before ceasing production due to his advancing illness: He was in a wheelchair by that point and had gained a lot of weight (probably due to the medication), but he talked about a Hurricane Katrina “emergency funding” law that included stuff like new post offices in New Jersey and statues in Minnesota. He also said (paraphrasing) “When the government tells you that a new law will help you or make you more free, DON’T TRUST THEM. DON’T BELIEVE THEM. The only thing it will do is give them more power.”

  33. paulie

    The LP must demand a campaign finance structure that is open to us to see where the money is going, as it happens, and we should expect, in a significantly backed campaign as in 2012, more than half of every dollar raised to go toward targeted, major network broadcast TV advertising.

    I agree.

  34. Be Rational

    Yes, it does seem a bit harsh, RC, but it’s necessary.

    It’s hard to regain trust once it has been lost.

    This can be done in a reasonable manner, but Johnson / Weld have little time and they’ll only get one shot at presenting their made over campaign for approval or rejection by the convention.

  35. Mike B.

    Just a quick poll:

    Q: If Gary Johnson is our LP presidential nominee, our you going to vote for him in the fall?

  36. Be Rational

    I plan to vote for and donate time and money to the LP and as many candides as possible if we have a reasonably principled Johnson / Weld ticket.

    After more than 40 years as a Libertarian, if the LP implodes again and pulls a Bergland – again – I’m ready to throw in the towel and take a long, long, long vacation from all things political.

  37. NewFederalist

    I joined the party in 1974. I disagree with your Bergland analogy. Ask Gene why he pulled out at the last minute.

  38. Be Rational

    Gene Burns passed away in 2013. He claimed to have dropped out when he realized that there was very little money available for a campaign – especially pre-nomination.

    The LP should have gone with Larry Smiley at the 1983 convention. But the Crane machine and the Berglandistas were more interested in control for their faction than a successful, unified party.

    There were no candidates at the time who also had the cachet of having held a major political office.

  39. Mike B.

    I voted for Johnson in 2012 but I’m really not sure I can hold my nose and pull the lever for him in 2016. Although he (and his VP running mate) would be a little better than 2008 Bob Barf/Wayne Root canal.

  40. langa

    No. I grudgingly supported Barr in ’08, and somewhat cheerfully supported Johnson in ’12, but I won’t vote for (or support in any way) any ticket that includes either Johnson or Weld. Enough is enough.

  41. Mike B.

    Langa

    I feel your frustration. We’ve had eight years of mainstream/moderate libertarian presidential nominee’s to vote for, libertarian newbies in my opinion.

  42. robert capozzi

    enthusiastically, yes, I’d vote for that ticket.

    I’d probably also vote for McAfee or Peteren or Friedman.

    Perry is certainly an articulate, earnest candidate for NAPsterism, but I would not go to the polls to support a moribund, unworkable philosophy, despite its good intentions.

  43. NewFederalist

    langa- I agree that this is a lost opportunity. As things shaped up this year it could have been wonderful. Now it turns out to be just another major frustration. Oh well… I’m getting old enough that I don’t have to worry about this crap all that much longer. At least I’ve got that going for me!

  44. George Whitfield

    I will support whoever we Libertarians nominate but I hope it is Gary Johnson and William Weld. I have been an LP member since 1979.

  45. From Der Sidelines

    Well, the whiners can shut up now–Johnson and Weld got the nod.

    You can either help them do well or simply go away.

    Bitching and moaning is as useless as you are at the moment.

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