Let me just say it: I love Governor Bill Weld and there’s no other person I’d rather see as Vice President of the United States besides him. I think he’s intelligent. I think he has charisma. I think he has experience. I think he is a gem in American politics due to his convictions on fiscal responsibility, decades of kindness to the LGBT community, immigrant community and being a top-tier governor for Massachusetts. When I heard he was the pick, I kind of jumped for joy going “We have a real ticket!” I informed a few friends of mine who were Never Trump Republicans and Never Hillary Democrats about this and they also joined in the excitement. They felt he was a strong, serious guy who passes the test on fiscal/social/foreign issues to help catapult the Libertarian Party into being a relevant American political power. Sadly, he was met with opposition only from people in the Libertarian Party who were comfortable with not being relevant, being the guys who want driver’s licenses for the blind and having some naked dude strip down on stage. And, well, when the Neckbeards shout, they must be answered.
I was for a long time very curious on who Gary Johnson would make his running mate. I had spoken to Gary at a few Libertarian Party state conventions to ask his views on it and it was always something he seemed to be the quietest man in the room on. While I really respect and admire Judge Jim Gray, I felt that with the opportunity of a Biff Tannen vs. Granny Nixon race, we had the opportunity to do better. I made my dream list of five people I’d have liked Gary Johnson to pick.
- John Mackey of Whole Foods
- John Paul Dejoria of Paul Mitchell
- Tim Draper of DFJ Gotham
- Judge Andrew Napolitano
- Congressman Justin Amash
But then I get the phone call two nights before the announcement and I am told it is going to be Governor Bill Weld. In my mind I went “Well, screw the other guys I thought of. This guy is WAY better!” and I felt Weld would do what he’s already done. Get money raised, get us taken seriously by the mainstream media, get attention nationally, get big name Republicans willing to endorse us, get us to feel like the real deal; he’s done it and shattered my own expectations. He really has kicked ass and created a ticket I and many of my less political or non-libertarian friends are rallying behind, getting bumper stickers for, donating to, and all the works.
Yet some libertarians just aren’t happy.
Before listing the five reasons I love Weld, I am going to rebut the two most common attacks launched against him.
Attack 1. He’s New To The Libertarian Party
Good! The LP had no member of it that was a longer serving member active that was willing to take the VP spot who had his experience, name recognition, abilities or even media personality. I’ve literally gone on biking trips through Upstate New York, and, when doing stops, mentioned the campaign to some people and had them say “I heard about that. I know Bill Weld is now running for VP”. And along with regular people largely on the East Coast knowing his name, they know it in a positive light and most of the people who know him are over 35 and a demographic the liberty movement simply doesn’t have.
I don’t want to be rude in saying this, but I simply had no clue who the hell his opponents for the VP race were before they ran. And I spoke to many people at the Orlando convention and the majority of people not voting for Weld didn’t even know who his opponents were before they started campaigning. I liked the people and agreed with them, but quite frankly, I just didn’t find they had the resume or abilities to match what Bill Weld had.
- None of them were ever in elected office…
- None of them had serious media contacts…
- None of them were capable of raising a million dollars or more…
- None of them had name recognition nationally, or in the liberty movement…
- None of them seemed to be of any serious benefit…
Bill Weld, on the other hand, is a guy people know and like. He’s the reason why we have town halls, why we are getting into more polls and why these endorsements or endorsement considerations are coming in. Although I’d encourage and support the other VP candidates to keep trying in the future and did really like many of them, I just failed to see the real value.
So, who cares if he’s new to the LP? When Bill Weld was Governor of Massachusetts from 1990 to 1997, the LP didn’t have one person in elected office and had presidential candidates which did so poorly, I’d bet 90% of the readers here could fail to even name the nominees in those cycles. With the death of the GOP from Trump and rise of division with Clinton, it opened up a hole and new people from both parties are coming in. Bill Weld is the greatest symbol of this and I welcome it.
Attack 2. Guns
Bill Weld was given an A-rating from the National Rifle Association while governor – being the only one to ever get that from Cato, the ACLU and the NRA all in the same term. It’s never happened before! Yes, he did pass an anti-gun bill, but he was in liberal Massachusetts where the state was going to pass a very anti-gun bill with enough votes he couldn’t veto it anyway. He worked with both parties and made a bill which, while I’d not have supported it, was a compromise that probably stopped Massachusetts from getting a worse law put in.
I would prefer him being a bit more of a gun nut. I honestly think he’s said a couple of dumb things and would like him to retract them. However, he’s still more pro-Second Amendment over Trump and Clinton, and quite frankly, I don’t think his minor disagreements with some Libertarians are really enough. A guy who is a ten on economics, ten on social policy, nine on foreign policy and seven on gun rights is really worth hating?
I’d just ask the liberty movement to, for once, compromise and realize that looking at his stances, the differences aren’t even that big. Focus on the economics, social reforms and spending.
Time for the things to love about Bill Weld:
5. He Actually Makes the LP A Serious Contender.
I don’t think anyone can deny that of any person to ever register with the LP, Bill Weld is easily the most famous and most qualified. A guy who was reelected as a Republican to the Governor of Massachusetts with 70% of the vote, was nominated to be Ambassador to Mexico, has more legal experience over anyone to ever enter and for years has been a trusted political aide to many causes and campaigns. Him coming over to our side is literally Tyrion Lannister coming over to help Dany out build her army in Game of Thrones. We take an expert who worked with a bad party and unite his name with a good cause.
Just having him on the ticket has made countless names in politics explore endorsing the LP. The growth and name-building that this has created will cement the further growth of the LP brand.
Yet look, if people aren’t happy with this, we can go back to the used car salesman Wayne Allyn Root trying to be VP to just sell his scam books and talk as if he did a line of cocaine beforehand.
4. He Is The Best Pro-LGBT Politician In American History
His legacy will be that of the first Republican governor to come out in favor of gay marriage and say gay and transgender people have rights which need to be protected in our schools and in government employment. He was the only man to welcome them in and his work in Massachusetts helped build the LGBT movement to what it is today where now gay people can marry and adopt in all 50 states. Bill Weld setting new standards in Massachusetts, which was one of the first gay marriage states, did this.
The LP was the party which, from day one, was pro-LGBT, and Bill Weld lives up to that.
3. He’s A Great Presenter
The thing is, I actually enjoy how Gary Johnson speaks, and have since early on. I’ll admit he needs a bit more energy, but the man has this style which makes me feel a 1960s-vibe-meets-the-yuppie-generation. With Gary Johnson, I have always kind of seen the perfect American. The successful businessman who was an athlete that kicked ass, made millions and later became a governor to serve a cause he believed in. If this was a hundred years ago, Gary would be a folk legend.
However, that doesn’t mean Gary sometimes can’t sound terrible on TV or in speeches. The stuttering in words, coming off a bit tired and also sometimes being a bit too hipster for taste. It’s not perfect.
Bill Weld does what no LP nominee or VP pick has ever done. Scream “This guy actually looks like a president!” He talks with intelligence. He talks with enough confidence to give the impression that he knows what he’s doing and everything is played out well to appeal towards any demographic. He brings this to the table and does a great job selling the ticket.
2. Not All Libertarians Have To Be Radical
Let’s explain this: Put up a VP candidate saying heroin needs to be legalized so it can be paid for with gold-backed coins that can never be taxed due to our anarchist utopia and that person will never win. For too long has the LP been the crazy zone. Get rid of driver’s licenses! Boo people who say crystal meth shouldn’t be for sale to five year olds! Get rid of all government!
It’s craziness, honestly. We can have a classic economy where government doesn’t regulate human behavior, war is rarely done and there’s a stable government operated with having small levels of taxes. Bill Weld sees this vision and knows it’ll work. He wants less regulation and taxes. He wants less war and military spending. He wants amnesty and immigration made easy. He wants a government that’ll spend 30% less money. He wants efficiency and easiness with policy.
I apologize that he can’t say ‘eliminate the government and let’s see what happens’, but the guy does have some really great polices and can remind regular people that libertarianism can be for everyone and not always be an extremist ideology.
1. He’s Great On Economics
Here’s a simple fact: the man knows economics. From doing interviews, he has time and time again called his ticket ‘the free trade ticket’ and bashed the anti-trade narrative of Donald Trump. As governor, he was the only governor in the country from 1990 to 1994 which had a smaller budget coming out over what they came in with. He is well-versed with the works of Milton Friedman and FA Hayek, praising elimination of occupational licensing and general market deregulation. The guy, on economics, is great, and has been his entire career.
He knows what he’s doing and I feel his economic policy stances should be loved by all libertarians in comparison to the socialist ideals of Trump and Clinton.
For that, I love Bill Weld as the VP nominee. I voted for him in Orlando and every moment since I’ve done without regrets. I feel if any other person was picked we’d have been capped off, ignored and never recognized. So I thank him for running and hope he considers running in 2020 if he’s not up for reelection as Vice President.
This article was edited for grammar, style, and spelling, but not for content. The views expressed are that of the author, Charles Peralo, exclusively, and do not reflect that of BeingLibertarian.com or Being Libertarian LLC
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