Bill Weld: When the Going Got Tough, He Bailed

Bill Weld - 2006 NY GOP ConventionAustin Cassidy is kind of peeved that we’ve been down on Weld for his broken campaign promise to run even if he didn’t get the GOP nod. He points out Weld’s libertarian-leaning track record while he was Massachusetts’s governor — and moves on to chastise “celebrity” candidate cheerleaders:

His campaign implodes, he drops out, and then he’s burned alive by 100 blogging Libertarians who are delighted to be rid of someone so less-than-pure.

[…] So, to be as blunt as possible”¦ there is no way in hell any Libertarian candidate this year is going to get 50,000 votes. Anyone saying “I told you so” must be insane”¦ because Bill Weld was the party’s only remote shot at reaching out to a wider pool of voters and JUST MAYBE becoming ballot qualified.

It didn’t work out, the Weld campaign was torn apart by a half dozen different factors”¦ end of story.

Nominate whoever you want next time and continue to get nowhere. I’m sure you’ll feel all warm and fuzzy inside on election night as your candidate pulls in with his well deserved 0.1% of the vote.

Also, be sure to direct lots and lots of bitter rage toward Bill Weld for dropping out. That way, in the future, those doggone qualified candidates”¦ err I mean”¦ “celebrity” candidates won’t bother you guys for support. (Anyone who’s not a clerk in a pet store or a retired professor is apparently a celebrity.)

Granted, I liked Weld, and I would have loved to see him stay in the race even if it was only as the Libertarian nominee (he’s a good candidate for us, and apparently enough delegates endorsed him that felt the same way). I’m not trying to burn him for being less-than-pure… my anger is directed at his now-blatant political pandering that he displayed just to get our endorsement. If the LPNY means so little to him vote-wise, then why did he court them in the first place? That’s down-right duplicitous.

The whole thing reeks in my view, especially as he ran for the exit at the first hint of trouble after he explicitly promised on video that he wouldn’t leave the LPNY holding an empty bag in November. Frankly if he had said that his campaign was contingent on getting the GOP nomination, there might have been enough hesitation by the delegates to nix the whole deal, as the wariness in the video is apparent.

If there’s any burning of Weld occurring here, it’s not because he wasn’t libertarian enough — it’s because he wasn’t man enough to stand back up after getting knocked down.

Stephen VanDyke

I've published HoT along with about 300+ friends since 2002. We're all Americans who are snarky and love our country. I'm a libertarian that registered Republican because I like to win elections. That's pretty much it.

  1. I kind of have to agree with Austin. While I would have liked him to stay in the race it is probably better off for the LP party that he doesn’t. He was dropping like a rock and had virtually no chance this fall without the republican nomination. While his eminent domain stand does give me some pause other than that he was reasonably libertarian in what he has done in the past.

    Do we as a party really want someone who makes a lackluster attempt at a campaign? He obviously new he was done after getting whipped at the republican convention. This will likely save the NYLP quite a bit of money, effort, and embrassment. After this debacle it is unlikely that he would get the 50,000 votes to get us ballot access anyway. If he can’t get that and if he doesn’t bring the media attention there is no good reason to have him as the candidate any longer anyway.

    I still think, however, with the right person/situation a fusion candidacy can be beneficial to the LP in the future.

  2. No, It’s because he wasn’t libertarian enough AND it was obvious he was pandering and using us at our own expense. One day you will learn to listen to the D. I require candidates to have some fundamental libertarian belief. Weld had none. Need we rehash the eminent domain revelation?

    Enough of this though, really. Let’s move on…. .org

  3. I think it’s always good to point out hypocrisy. The video is clear evidence of that, so there’s nothing mean about reporting it. It’s just “the facts.”

    That being said, we shouldn’t look a gift horse in the mouth. We (libertarians) have gotten more media attention this election cycle than any I can remember (especially in Minnesota, where I’ve seen and heard the word “libertarian” in the media a lot), and we don’t want to put walls around ourselves just when people are knocking on our doors.

    Point out Weld’s hypocrisy, but don’t crucify him for crucifixion’s sake. There’s no value in that.

  4. Given what we knew at the time, Weld was the right choice to make. But our information wasn’t complete, because Weld withheld some from us. He withheld the eminent domain deal, and he withheld that he would drop out.

    It’s not because he wasn’t “pure” enough at all. It’s because he lied.

  5. Given what we knew at the time, Weld’s promise was totally unbelievable. This is the guy who quit as Governor when he got bored with the job. It was obvious that he would do this when he did not get the R nomination.

    Yes, he submitted a balanced budget, that being a _legal requirement_ for the budget. So did all his predecessors, including the ones who left use with humongous debts.

    His other libertarian records were rather modest.

  6. The Eminent Domain issue was known prior to the convention. He did state ( and I realize there’s no currency in that assertion anymore) that he was in favor of ED for public uses according to the 5th Ammendment, but against it when it came to raising tax revenue. The man quoted John Stuart Mill, Richard Nozick and Hayek during his speech and acceptance.

    Fortunately Sam Sloan, whom I’m sure the vast body of you would excoriate if he were the nominee, asked Weld the most pertinent question. The 50K hurdle was enough to make a go of it. The benefits for future local candidates was palpable. My own father, a Vietnam Vet and former Conservative Party chairman in the county, said he’d run as a Libertarian on a local basis next year. That would have been the case all over the state.

    What killed me was how quick everybody was ready to send WELD money. He didn’t need it from us, but our candidates sure did.

  7. DD

    What is the use of a party if candidates aren’t using the party. If they can’t get something out of the party why even bother having parties. In this case, however, the party was using the candidate. We were using him to get ballot access and media attention. Once he lost the republican nomination so badly he probably couldn’t get us what we wanted so there is no good reason to have him on our ticket anyway. IMO it is a good thing that he dropped out. That is the way of the world, people use other people to get what they want. In business and in politics.

    Personally I don’t know why he tried to get the liberatarian nomination unless he believed in at least some of our principles. Our party offered him virtually nothing other than a few votes and a little money freely given from individuals. He offered us quite a bit more: potential ballot access and media attention. Once he couldn’t deliver on that it was good that he dropped out.

  8. Lemme see if I’ve got this straight:

    A) Weld was a good move because he was a celebrity
    B) Weld was not a “real” celebrity, libs think “Anyone who’s not a clerk in a pet store or a retired professor is apparently a celebrity”

    A) Weld was a good move because he might have gotten them ballot status
    B) A lib on the ballot can only get .1%

    I think this Austin fellow is apparently schizophrenic and should seek counseling immediately.

  9. Jon,

    Weld was not a celebrity candidate in the same sense of Howard Stern which is what many people are trying to lump this experience into. A radio personality is a celebrity. Weld is an experienced public official, former US Attorney, and former Governor. There’s a heck of a big difference there.

    Weld was a good move because he was running a real campaign, with a real organization, and real money, and real credentials for holding the office. As opposed to, say, the more traditional LP nominee you normally think of… some guy running a part-time statewide campaign out of his garage on a $5,000 budget.

    LPers in the past have averaged something like 0.1% of the vote and a future libertarian running with the same old strategy will continue to get 0.1%.

    Weld could have appealed to some Democrats, and those Dems MIGHT have been willing to vote for him on the LP line rather than actually voting Republican.

    But what would I know, I mean… I’m mentally ill right? :)

  10. Weld was a celebrity in that he was a has-been former politician who was basically trading on his name recognition.

  11. I was favorable to Weld because of his record, and his apparent commitment to less government. He is not a libertarian in the same way I am, but liberal on social issues and relatively conservative on economic issues.

    If he is a candidate, it would be better to back him than oppose him.

    Weld did the NYLP a favor. He dropped out early enough to enable the New York Libertarian Party to nominate another candidate.

    In 2002, the Liberal Party nominated a Democrat who then lost the Democrat nomination. He refused to remove his name from the ballot, but also refused to campaign, and so the Liberal Party lost ballot status after 48 years. At least Weld did not do that to the LP.

  12. Gene,

    Excellent point and I’m betting if you asked Mr. Weld about his “promise” at the convention it was with the Andrew Cuomo example in mind where he basically destroyed the Liberal Party by refusing to run while still occupying their ballot line. Weld dropped out the race and gave the nomination back to the NYLP to select someone else. You’d swear he had killed and eaten a kitten or something by the way people have been talking about this.