Bill Weld Wins Libertarian Nomination in New York

The Libertarian Party of New York has confirmed former Massachusetts Governor William “Bill” Weld as their gubernatorial candidate for 2006.

Here’s a comment announcing his nomination:

A bit after 3pm, the NY Libertarian Party endorsed William Weld for the Libertarian line for Governor. A committee was appointed to select the Lt. Governor candidate, which needs to be combined with Welds pick for Lt. Governor for the Libertarian votes to count for Weld.

Other candidates endorsed today by the convention include John Cain for Comptroller, Chris Garvey for Attorney General, and Jeff Russell for U.S. Senate.

31 Comments
  1. This is encouraging. Weld has begun a campaign stressing themes of less government – tax relief, opposition to eminent domain, support for Medical Marijuana. He has a record of cutting taxes in Massachusetts, and he is a social liberal at the same time.

    The purpose of the Libertarian Party can be to form the “core” of a new coalition including conservatives and liberals who will support a program of less government.

    And, finally, the New York Libertarian Party can get 50,000 votes and gain ongoing ballot status.

  2. Trevor,

    The vote had to goto a third ballot. The LPNY has setup a 2/3 majority rule in order to endorse a statewide candidate. First round dropped Sam Sloan (who only had his own vote)and the second round had about a 23 to 15 vote (may not be exact). At that point Silberger got dropped and it was either Weld or NOTA. I think it went unanimous at that point.

    I have most if on tape/disk and hopefully I’ll get some uploaded somewhere by the middle or end of the week. Weld was gracious and I had a front row for the camera for his acceptance. We’ll let history and blog-land-sphere-ville judge after that.

    He agreed to run without the Republican nod if that should happen. He also agreed to ‘help’ with our petitioning process.Most importantly the defense of challeges.

    Weld seems sincere about his small ‘l’ creditential. The faithful held him to full ‘L’ account and decided it would take the chance.

  3. Regarding medical marijuana: not as good as we thought. Weld only supports it with FDA approval (we learned at the convention) or under some kind of regimen more strict than just a doctor’s prescription. (?)

    I.e., if a bill like one of the 11 states that have MedMJ arrived on his desk, he couldn’t say he’d sign it.

    Consolation prize? The 10th annual Long Island Libertarian Cookout may be held at his place at the end of August (after the 6-week, ~30,000-signature petitioning season).

  4. Colorado’s medical marijuana measure was an initiative, I believe, so Colorado politicians who oppose it are opposing the majority of voters in that election (sorry, I don’t recall details–it was before I became an activist) and it was not subject to the veto of our governor.

    There will probably be an initiative on Colorado’s ballot this year to legalize small amounts of marijuana, medicinal reasons not required. This initiative is opposed by our law-and-order State Attorney General, a Republican up for retention this year.

    Enjoy the cookout!

  5. Congrats to the NYLP for seeing the forest AND the trees.

    History will show the wisdom of the choice. I think it will be most excellent.

  6. This a great move to get Weld on board, I agree with Tim.

    My google news brought me several stories about Weld and the Libertarians…. (no NYT yet, “all the news fit to print”)

    What shocked me was the extreme bias of the New York press. They treat the LP as some wacky meaningless group.

    Let’s see, an LP candidate gets 400,000 votes = BAD

    Author sells 400,000 books = best seller

    NBA player gets 400,000 votes for All-Star game = STAR PLAYER

    The LP collectively gets a few million votes each election, if you add all the candidate vote totals up.

    Any author who sold that many books would be a superstar.

    Weld and the Libertarians
    http://thepoliticker.observer.com/2006/04/weld-and-the-libertarians.html

    I think ballot access news compiles all our vote totals:

    http://www.ballot-access.org/

  7. Adamson;

    Sold out to who?

    The trial lawyers?

    Big Oil?

    The military-industrial complex?

    Jack Abramhoff?

    If you check campaign contributions, you’ll see the NY LP has sold out to nobody but LIBERTY.

  8. I’m going to contribute to his campaign and let him know that I did so expressly becuase he sought the LP nomination. I suggest all other LP folk who know that a possible 50K votes and ballot access beats another round of 5K votes and no ballot access.

    Political experience DOES matter.

  9. It’s a slap in the face to the dedicated Libertarians of the state who should have been given the chance to fly the Libertarian banner in that state, instead of letting some interloper take it who doesn’t even subscribe to the entire LP platform.

    The day when the LP can’t even run its own candidates and starts glomming on to “fusion” candidates is a very sad day indeed.

  10. Donald Silberger is 76 years old and has been never pulled punches about issues of truth and justice within the context of Liberty. He offered himself at an age that men half his do not do.

    He talked extensively with Weld’s team and understands the value of this new candidacy and the compromise in principle it must represent.

    Let me grab a copy of what he handed out at the convention and post it on ours. I think it will be illuminating to this whole general discussion.

    Who’s redder, my hair or Weld’s ?

  11. Just one correction to Eric’s report… the third ballot was not unanimous. I know I voted NOTA; I think there were 9 NOTAs total. But what’s done is done. It should be an interesting summer. I’ll hope for the best.

  12. “It’s a slap in the face to the dedicated Libertarians of the state who should have been given the chance to fly the Libertarian banner in that state”

    How so? Was there another “pure” Libertarian qualified to run? What if this interloper secures ballot status for the party? What is the damage? The dedicated libertarians should be taking advantage of it in some other way.

  13. Adamson,

    Does Weld hold the hold the core libertarian belief of opposing initiation of force as a theoretical ideal?

    If Weld says he wants to legalize medical marijuana, how is that different than saying he wants to legalize drugs, from a practical standpoint?

    What do the New Yorkes say? What does Weld say privately?

    Legalizing drugs is not a viable issue at this point. The first step is legalizing medical marijuana.

    Just as the foundiing fathers called for the prohibition of the importation of slaves 20 years after the the Constitution was ratified, as a practical first step to end slavery, how do we know Weld doesn’t really want to legalize drugs?

  14. Agreed, Jim L. I guess it just seemed unanimous by the third ballot.

    Membership pressed Weld about the drug issue more then anything else. He kept his current stance.

    I was with Don when he pressed Vincent Devito (assistant campaign manager) about the drug issue rather agressively. You’re not sitting in a back room with the former governor getting all his secret thoughts.

    Weld did quote Hayek and John Stuart Mill during the course of presentation. Nothing that will be satisfying enough for blogland in terms of the drug issue.

    So the issues were there and fought about. It’s a done deal now. So all the speculation and questions will have to emerge as the campaign continues.

    At some point the campaign becomes the candidate and not the ‘platform’. It’s mostly in his hands now.

  15. I think Weld would follow the “mexican” lead on drugs if he knew it could be sold – but it cant, and he knows it cant. But he thinks Medical MJ could be sold, and he knows that it he can pass that, it makes the next step possible.

    A guy like Weld knows where the political boundries are, and he knows that unless he gets elected, it doesnt fucking matter what you may stand for. Unless you win, you dont get to change policy in your direction.

  16. > how do we know Weld doesn’t really want to legalize drugs?

    He basically said so. He can’t even say he’d take the small step to legalize medical MJ unless the FDA does it.

    > Was there another “pure” Libertarian qualified to run?

    It depends what you mean by “qualified.” Long-time (pure) Libertarian Don Silberger was interested in getting the nomination. People who voted for NOTA instead might have been thinking that Silberger can’t get us 50K and Weld isn’t really Libertarian.

    > What if this interloper secures ballot status for the party? What is the damage?

    We could lose the party. A ballot line in a fusion state is something people fight fiercely over. Becoming a capital-P “Party” in NY comes with ballot access advantages but also organizational rules to follow, such as electing our leadership and candidates at the ballot box instead of at convention. It wouldn’t take many Republicans changing their registration to Lbt to guarantee them another ballot line.

  17. Bill Weld has made a great political investment and so has the NY Libertarian Party. I understand why he was successful in private equity: he is able to see the eventual return from an undervalued entity. And the NY LP has moved up to a higher level of significance by its nomination of Weld. This is a great development. Congratulations to both are in order.

  18. I wonder how similar this is to the Illinois LP’s nomination of Cal Skinner as it’s 2002 gubenatorial candidate. The LPI leadership sold him as a “libertarian-leaning” conservative to the membership. The LPI still hasn’t recovered from that disasterous attempt to gain established party status.

    The positive comments here (although I hope they are correct), seem to echo the comments made after the Skinner nomination.

    There doesn’t seem to be a substitute for building a party up, from precinct workers, to earn establish party status and win elections.

    Good luck to the NYLP. I wish them success, and hope this doesn’t implode on them the way it did in Illinois. But, conservativism is not libertarianism, and most voters and activists eventually see that.

  19. Yes, doing something like nominating Weld carries certain risks … but “risk” is just probability.

    There’s also certainty to weigh against the probability, and that certainty is this: What the LP has been doing for 35 years has not worked in terms of electing public officials to change public policy in a libertarian direction.

    The Weld nomination may turn out incredibly well for the LP, or it may turn out incredibly poorly, or somewhere in between. But it sounds more rational than doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

    If “non-libertarians take over” the LP, then all libertarians lose is a name and the opportunity to bust their asses for ballot access. New names are available and the opportunity to bust one’s ass never goes away.

    On the other hand, Weld’s high profile MAY bring new LIBERTARIANS into the LPNY and a ballot line to boot. I suspect people like Jim Lesczysnki will do a hell of a job with those new resources.

  20. “…What the LP has been doing for 35 years has not worked in terms of electing public officials to change public policy in a libertarian direction.”

    That is EXACTLY the argument Dave Kelley made at the 2002 LPI convention when he nominated Cal Skinner. He convinced me, and all of the LPI convention, then.

    Four years later, the LPI membership is 1/2 of what is was, and he LPI doesn’t even have the resources to even attempt a state-wide ballot access drive.

    I really do hope it works better for NY.

    Regardless of “probabilities,” experience does seem to show that there is no subsitute for slowly building-up a political party, one precinct at a time.

  21. John,

    Whether or not Kelley said the same thing when nominating Cal Skinner, it is self-evidently true. Skinner’s nomination may or may not be a cause of the LPI’s problems, but even if it is, that doesn’t change the facts.

    The LP has never elected a president, a US Senator, a US Representative, a governor, or a statewide “cabinet-level” official.

    The LP has elected a few hundred local officials and a handful of state legislators, and filled some minor appointive offices. That’s it, in 35 years.

    Those are facts. That doing one thing (like nominating Cal Skinner) may be the wrong kind of change in tactics or strategy does not void the claim that the LP needs some kind of change in tactics or strategy. All I’m saying about Weld (who doesn’t appeal to me much) is that with his candidacy, we’ll get to see if it works. If it does, fine. If not, back to the drawing board. I’m encouraged by all such experiments, because they provide needed data.

  22. Good points, Thomas.

    However, the experiences of all political parties in the U.S. does seem to show that there is no subsitute for slowly building-up a political party, one precinct at a time.

  23. Weld is taking a gamble on this virtually unprecedented move in American politics. Perhaps the closest would be Jesse Ventura and the Reform Party.
    There was some belly aching at the convention (where I too took videos of Weld’s nomination appeal to the Party), most of it legitimate in my opinion – legitimate but not to be respected anyway.
    Some of the inequities, Weld was given an hour to speak and answer questions, the other guby candidates 10 minutes. Weld was generally catered to and agendas were switched around for him. Others complained about the obvious, that Weld is not a true libertarian. That would hold more moral weight, except that the last Gubernatorial candidate we nominated was also not a true libertarian, and two other candidates at the convention who were supported by the same complainants, also were not true libertarians.
    Whatever, I think this is a fantastic development for the Party; we will get some name recognition and a boatload more votes than ever before. I do not think our Party has been marginalized by this either, we do this gritting our teeth, and via uncomfortable concessions. We all recognize this is but a stepping-stone to a time when we can run 100% libertarians for major office, without excuses and with heads held up high.

  24. this is what mike ruppert wrote about him

    =====
    William Weld – Assistant Attorney General, Criminal Division under Reagan. Stalled or aborted every criminal investigation into drug trafficking connected to the CIA and the NSC.
    =====

  25. This is a fantastic day for Libertarians and libertarian Republicans! Let’s replicate the Weld model in the other 49 states. Libertarians and libertarian Republicans both win with this Weld move.

    I say Weld, Libertarian for President in 2008!!!

  26. Been reading all the comments here. I’m greatly encouraged that 9 out of 10 seem to be positive to the Weld fusion candidacy. Only one guy here seems overtly negative.

    That tells me there’s hope for the future of the libertarian movement. LPers are finally getting pragmatic about politics.

    One writer said that “Weld is not 100% libertarian.” Yeah, so what?! Not all libertarians are 100%. Keep in mind the definition of “libertarian” includes ALL THOSE who score above 66/66 on the New Political Spectrum Quiz. Weld is well-within the Libertarian Quadrant. My guess around 90/90, which is pretty damned good.

    Let’s also keep in mind that Weld made some rather hardcore libertarian statements back when he was Governor of Mass. Remember how he bragged about his “economic heros” being Mises and Hayek in Rolling Stone Magazine? Remember how he got slammed by other Republicans for coming out against the Drug War in the mid-1990s?

  27. Weld in comparison to Skinner in Illinois.

    You guys seem to forget Weld was viewed as a “Moderate Republican” in the 1990s, NOT a Conservative.

    There’s no danger in him “selling out the LP” to Conservatives. Or of a “Weldian Conservative” takeover of the NY LP.

    Let’s also keep in mind that Weld was identified as a “libertarian” countless times throughout the 1990s. Ironically, most Libertarians yawned when this happened, choosing to ignore Weld’s libertarianism cause it was under the GOP banner.

    Just like PJ O’Rourke, Weld never got credit for being a movement libertarian all because he had an ‘R’ by his name.

    He is no different from Ron Paul, who also has an ‘R’ by his name. Weld is just as much of a long-time libertarian hero as Ron. He’s been around our movement, maybe not the LP specifically, but certainly the Republican Liberty Caucus, Cato, Reason, ect… for at least a Decade. He’s absolutel NO NEWBIE LIBERTARIAN!!