Weld Opposition Comes Out Swinging

It looks like the Albany Times-Union has felt the need to completely bash William Weld over accepting the endorsement of the Libertarian Party.

Let’s take a look at some of what’s been said.

It hardly would have counted as news, ordinarily, when William Weld, a Republican candidate for governor, said over the weekend that he didn’t agree with New York’s tiny Libertarian Party on many issues. That only becomes significant, not to mention dicey, because Mr. Weld said so as he accepted the Libertarian nomination.

Talk about naked opportunism. Mr. Weld is clearly smitten with the idea of having a second ballot line — assuming, that is, he’s able to defeat John Faso for the Republican nomination. And the Libertarians are just as taken with the idea of Mr. Weld winning the 50,000 votes they need to gain an automatic line on the ballot and the official status that comes with it.

This seems a rather odd thing to say about politics-all of politics is opportunism, to some extent or another. What’s been done is fully legal, to boot-it’s not like there’s some Libertarian special interest that Weld is pandering to or something.

What’s so troubling about Mr. Weld’s dalliance with the Libertarians is its seeming disregard for ideology and principle. Here he is, professing general agreement with the Libertarians on the proper limits of government. Only that’s not nearly enough. He needs to be more specific.

Once again, the majors are aghast at the concept of a Libertarian playing politics instead of staying backed up into a corner of ideological purity. Why? Because when we play politics, we can be dangerous to them. We’re safe and ignorable so long as we’re preaching Rand; clearly they want us to go back to that to protect the duopoly.

…blah blah statist bullshit…

Mr. Weld needs to explain why he’s now the candidate of a minor party that he can’t find many positions or issues where he can agree. It’s one more reason why New York should stop the travesty of letting candidates be the nominee of more than one party at a time.

This is so two-faced. Giuliani is a pro-choice Republican, Hillary Clinton’s a pro-war, pro-Patriot Act, pro-censorship Democrat, so clearly New York politicians aren’t used to toeing their parties’ lines.

So why the double standard for Libertarians?

THEY’RE SCARED.

Let’s keep them scared.

29 Comments
  1. Yep. That’s raw fear that Weld is going to give the NYLP something the majors really dont want them to have: a level playing field.

    Next you can look for them (the stooges in the media and opposition) to go get the LP platform and use it to attack Weld with. Wait for it.

    How are you going to help Weld get the NYLP 50K votes and ballot access, force pledgers? Oh, thats right. He’s not a true libertarian, so fuck him and the NYLP.

  2. I know that Libertarians tend to get bogged down in doctrinal purity. There are some who say that the Libs need to get away from this and do whatever it takes to win a position in power. But of what value is this if a Libertarian candidate doesn’t act upon the Libertarian principles, particularly personal responsibility, non-aggression and limited government? In other words, if a Libertarian compromises…. Sure, its a question of the issue being compromised on, perhaps on a case by case basis, but where is the line to be drawn? Isn’t it the case that if a Libertarian office holder compromises too much, then his actions are relatively valueless?
    A little confused here, I’d like someone to explain it to me. Thanks.

  3. It’s okay to compromise a little bit so long as you’re always moving towards more liberty… it’s called incrementalism. You promise to do the little bit that the voters can stand for a session, and then when you do that and it works and they like it, you do a little bit more.

    Feed them the whole cake all at once and they’ll choke; feed them a bite at a time and they’ll eat it.

  4. So called “reformers” ( for a lack of a better word, i would characterize us more broadly as Libertarians who believe political parties should “do politics”), IMO, do not want any Libertarians to compromise principle. They/We/I DO want candidates who are willing to play the game, make progress ( even if it’s incremental or not perfect),etc. It is possible to make progress without taking an All or Nothing approach. We could debate all day about the definition of “compromise” but depending on the use, it is either not a bad thing or entirely unnecessary. I don’t think making political progress requires any compromise of principle as long as we are going in the right direction.

  5. I think Weld is a step in the right direction. Hell, at least he would be someone in office who would at least have a sympathetic ear to libertarian issues as opposed to the liberty-deaf morons we get most of the time from Republicans and Democrats.

    That said, the Albany Times-Union is showing their true bias here and needs to get their teeth rightfully kicked in by the candidate and the LPNY.

  6. scott,

    see, thats the thing right there.

    “There are some who say that the Libs need to get away from this and do whatever it takes to win a position in power.”

    No one I know in the reform LP HAS EVER SAID THAT, or even something close to that. What we do say is the LP is a political party and should do the things that political parties do, and stop doing things better left to other orgs, like telling people about ZAP/NAP. Thats not in the party’s mission statement, and anyone who thinks that this is the LP’s job is directly subverting the party and it’s purpose.

  7. Sorry. It’s ZAF/NAF. Zero applied force/No Applied Force. initiation of force stuff, by any other name.

  8. I’ll spare the bashing and preaching and keep it pithy. While the Weld nomination obviously carries some serious liabilities and shouldn’t have happened, this is evidence of one big fat massive plus, that helps to override some of the negatives. Bad publicity is better than none at all, I say. In fact, while the author raises some of my points for me, its interested to see an angry oppposition making them and doing me (All of us) the service of pointing those out so that there is no confusion on those issues! Thank you mister statist, I feel much better about this campaign now – how unexpected. If Weld makes some concessions or explanation vis-a-vis pragmatism vs ideal purity and reveals that he is incrementalist, rather than just not really a libertarian, I might send money. It’s unlikely and I remain skeptical and cynical in the opposition. But, I’ll bother watching now.

  9. Stuart, maybe I’m splitting hairs, but I don’t think of “compromise” and “incrementalism” as being equivalents. Maintaining long-term goals based on unchanging libertarian principles doesn’t mean that taking advantage of opportunities to make incremental steps in the direction of those goals is a compromise of principle.

  10. Robert, I concur. There are people that would consider campaigning on anything less than the whole of libertarianism to be a sellout of principle, however-and that mode of thinking has hobbled this party since the mid-80s.

  11. COUNTER-PRODUCTIVE NEGATIVITY:

    No doubt, many members of the general public will put off and dismiss the Libertarian Party after reading this Albany Times article.

    Just think:

    Suppose you were watching Monday night football, and the announcers dismissed a particular player as a nobody.

    Imagine your surprise, if, 5 years later, you saw this same football player score a key touchdown on TV!

    The previous dismissal would cause this “new” player to stick in your mind.

    In the future, readers of the Albany Times will hear of the Libertarians again.

  12. Rolf: I’d say Libertarians are kinda like the Red Sox before they actually won the World Series. Everyone loved to talk about their spectacular failures, and only a handful of people ever rooted for them.

    The obvious lesson here is that we need to pump our candidates full of ‘roids.

  13. If we’re the Red Sox, then the Green Party is the Cubs. At least we GET there every fifty years.

  14. How much does a good size ad in the Albany Times-Union cost? Buy an add, rip this column to shreds in the ad, and tell the truth, signed by Bill Weld. That is the political way to counter-balance or take advantage of this attack. If I were still an LP member, I’d call the NYLP and Weld, suggest this, put up whatever money I could if even $5, and tell them to immediately fundraise to run the ad and do it. Weld needs to spend some money and defend the nomination he just got, and the NYLP should help him.

    Stuart, I’m a Cubs fan and kind of a Libertarian. I equate the World Series to the Presidency, and we aren’t the runner-up every 61 years (1945 was the last appearance and 1908 the last championship). BUT, we still hang in there every year, play all(some in Illinois’ case) the games, sometimes play the spoiler, and have fun while we’re doing it. The World Series wouldn’t mean a thing if there were only two teams with only the occassional competition. That’s me analogy I’m just sayin’.

  15. “Because when we play politics, we can be dangerous to them. We’re safe and ignorable so long as we’re preaching Rand…”

    BTW, this was (and should be) a very powerful statement. Thank you for sharing that intellectual and honest thought, I admire you for it. My state’s LP is much more interested in preaching than politics, and they aren’t even preaching anything much anymore. I suspect this is entirely true of several state LPs and many, many more smaller incantations of the LP, whether it is Rand, We The People, Rothbard, von Mises, Anarchism, or the like etc etc etc.

    Give money to Weld and the NYLP to defend themselves, walk your precinct year after year with actual candidates on the ballot to market, get petition signatures for ballot access, or stop trying to run things and telling other Libertarians what to do and running them out of the LP if they don’t agree with you 100%. But I’m admittedly jaded, for honest disclosure purposes.

  16. Stephen,

    Pumping your candidate full of ‘roids has already worked; they elected Arnold Governor of California!

    Maybe we could resurrect Charles Atlas to run as a Libertarian?

    He could tour the country with copies of Atlas Shrugged! :-)

    If republicans can resurrect Reagan, we can ressurect Charles Altas:

    Republicans Plan to Resurrect Reagan for 2008 Presidential Race
    /2006/03/13/republicans-plan-to-resurrect-reagan-for-2008-presidential-race/

  17. An ad in the TU would be next to worthless. Angry HoT’ers ought to consider flooding the TU Blog. Capital Confidential. Do what you do best. It’s free.
    http://blogs.timesunion.com/capitol/

    I’m constantly struggling with the old guard debating society and practical modern means to political perception. Some are afraid the Internet will steal their souls and personal information.

    I’d also urge money senders to consider supporting ALL LPNY candidates, not just Mr. Weld. Max Kessler and Chris Edes traveled all the way from Rochester and had to wait until the state committee meeting after the whole convention to get their endorsements for NYS State Assembly districts 131 & 133.

    They are the young intellectually capable candidates that the LPNY needs to constantly support and encourage. They’ll be appearing on Brooklyn’s CATV Hardfire soon. Traveling is expensive nowadays.

  18. How much does a good size ad in the Albany Times-Union cost? Buy an add, rip this column to shreds in the ad, and tell the truth, signed by Bill Weld. That is the political way to counter-balance or take advantage of this attack. If I were still an LP member, I’d call the NYLP and Weld, suggest this, put up whatever money I could if even $5, and tell them to immediately fundraise to run the ad and do it. Weld needs to spend some money and defend the nomination he just got, and the NYLP should help him.

    I will donate money I dont have to help fund this ad. Jeff has it EXACTLY RIGHT. You must respond to a negative attack from any source asap. Have Weld write it and send out the call for donations.

  19. Rob D.
    It was an editorial. I responded because I could. I try to avoid shoulds.

    Tim – editorials come and go. Most people don’t read them. This isn’t surprising and indicative of mainstream coverage. All the operatives in other camps will get the msg. An ad is a waste of better spent money in a small operation. But that’s only my humble small business opinion.

    Get me $500 more dollars and I’ll do a TVWeb ad. I can run down and do it today. http://www.midhudsonmedia.com Otherwise you gotta spend wisely. We’re not all Badnarik’s with oodles of cash.

  20. I am a reformer and I am uncomfortable with the Weld thing. That said, at least it’s better than Howard Stern.

    If we moderated a bit at the national level, we could be big enough that we didn’t have to resort to such desperation plays.

    There is a huge array of options between rinky-dink and anarchy-next-Wednesday.

  21. BTW, I was joking about the Cubs… my family are die-hard Cubs fans. :)

    But yeah, I don’t know what exactly we should do, but we should definitely do something. Is it possible to write a letter to the editor? If they get a lot of us saying roughly the same thing… they’ll have to publish at least one of us.

  22. Carl,

    You write “I am a reformer and I am uncomfortable with the Weld thing.”

    I’m a purist, and I’m not especially uncomfortable with it.

    Weld is a former governor with a long record of being identified with the label “libertarian,” is legitimately in the running for the GOP nomination, and has appeal to a cross-section beyond “left” and “right,” especially since Jesse Helms torpedoed his ambassadorial appointment.

    He’s by no means a “100/100” libertarian, but if you look at most of his issues positions, the ones he’s anti-libertarian on are ones where he wouldn’t be able to make anti-libertarian changes as governor anyway (he favors “limited” gun control … which is what New York ALREADY HAS, so he’s probably not going to be pushing for more, etc.).

    His candidacy will raise the LP’s profile and that of libertarianism in general, possibly give it leverage in NY’s multiple party nomination system, etc. Yes, there are risks of “purity loss,” but risks aren’t certainties.

  23. Thomas: Like I keep on saying — where are the libertarians with the uncompromising principle of making things work? *s*

    This seems a perfect example. Screw it… I’m donating to a few people this weekend when I get the brains/energy to do so instead of recuperating from this Friday evening. lol

  24. I have run for office as a Libertariaqn three times. I never had moral qualms about not being a “pure” Libertarian.
    (A) No purist was there to run.
    (B) Running the race, educating the voters, giving them a choice is important, even though the chance of winning is miniscule. (Incumbents get re-elected 98 per cent of the time)
    (C) I want support from the people of my district, most of whom accept on faith that God is good, drugs are bad, and prostitutes will burn in hell. There is no changing their minds, for faith is steadfast. They do understand “Love thy neighbor”, “Thou shalt not kill,” “Don’t steal,” and “Don’t tell lies.” Those are good Libertarian positions. They can understand that the incumbent, by voting to bomb Baghdad, is an accessory to the murder of innocent Iraqis, if someone will expose them to the idea. They can understand thet the bombs were bought with money taken, stolen, from them. They can understand, “Mind your own business.”

  25. I am a pretty hardcore Libertarian, but I think having Bill Weld head the LP ticket in New York is a great opportunity.

    He may take stands that Libertarians are uncomfortable with, but the New York LP nominated a strong antiwar candidate for US Senate, and real Libertarians for Attorney-General and Comptroller. These candidates will all get more publicity because Weld is on the Libertarian ticket with them.

    And on the important issues like taxes and eminent domain, his position is for less power than the government of New York has currently. And he brings credentials to his campaign that few Libertarians can match. And that is an issue few Libertarians – purists or reformers – have dealt with.

    The Libertarian Party has people who have credentials to run in their own community, where at least some people – friends, neighbors, customers, business associates – know them, but it is hard to find a Libertarian who has experience or name recognition adequate for a state wide race.

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