Wednesday, June 08, 2016

A Conversation With Governor Weld

I am on some different mailing lists and as a result can score some key invites.   Last night the local nonprofit research group was celebrating its 20th anniversary and had scored as a speaker for the evening, former Massachusetts Governor William Weld.  He is an entertaining avuncular speaker who has been working at bigshot lobbying firm (and apparently traveling the globe on their behalf).  That would be a good enough draw on its own but little did they realize that when the day arrived, he would have resigned the lobbying gig and signed on to be the Libertarian Party candidate for Vice President.

The interview was generally entertaining and I don't think he said anything he hadn't said before and while very critical, he did not hyperbolically criticize the other candidates (he stayed far away from the Mexican judge issue but did drop the f word (fascist)).   Some of his  more interesting observations

- When asked if this whole VP thing had come together quickly, he said it only took a day.   Someone from Gary Johnson's campaign had been trying to get them together for a while and when they finally met- Johnson and Weld were mutually admiring Republican governors in the 90s- they decided they would work good as a team- Johnson said there were really no other equal candidates.

-His role for the campaign would be mainly to get national media and do national fundraising ("I really like doing that").  Unlike the $ 2 million 2012 Johnson campaign, this one should be around $50 million

-He says the Libertarian Platform is a great document as long as it sounds like the Declaration of Independence and the stuff about repealing the tax code and leaving the UN were not things anybody need worry about ("That was the activists").  [He made it clear he very much likes a Steve Forbes-style flat tax though.] 

-Asked about he was worried about boos he received at the Orlando Libertarian Convention, he said he had been treated worse by the antiabortion crowd at the 1990 Massachusetts Republican Convention (They held up their kids and asked if he wanted to kill them too) and by the Pat Buchanan supporters at the National 1992 GOP convention who called him "a gay" because he made some quip about how the government not only needs to get out of your checkbook but out of your bedroom as well.

- He made it clear that in his years in Washington from the 60s into the 80s, he loathed movement conservatives "But they felt worse about me"

-He supports the Massachusetts question this fall to legalize marijuana this fall but cautioned that while legalization will help remove the criminal element, it was important to remember that legal drugs- alcohol and prescriptions (medically) kill far more people each year than illegal drugs that we spend all of our time worrying about. 

- Believes in a strong defense but not so many interventions.   Libertarianism is by no means pacifist. If ISIS started beheading Americans in earnest, he said the convention crowd in Orlando would have no issue using all means to slay them ("because that would be overt war")

- He liked Trump at first because he shook up the party but the act got old and all of his ideas are "really really bad when you actually consider them"  he lost interest in him and thought another solution was needed.

-Asked about Obamacare, while saying it was generally too complicated and intrusive, the ideas behind it were sound (you know Romneycare) -  Medicine is already socialized because we generally do not refuse people emergency treatment and that cost is more expensive than some sort of individual mandate.  (I am grossly oversimplifying his gross oversimplification)

-He was generally positive on Hillary and former President Clinton but feels today they wouldn't do the good things they had done in the 90s.  "They don't sound like the Democratic Leadership Council anymore"

-He hopes to move the Lib ticket up to 15% in the short term, get in to the debates and "then basically anything can happen"   and he feels that Gov Johnson and he have the best appeal since a majority of Americans are not currently satisfied with the choices.    While he is going after the "low hanging fruit" of anti-Trump Republicans (at this point the former chair of the state GOP politely left the room- maybe she just had somewhere to go) ( Follow-up- she later tweeted positively about the talk) but was surprised to note that current polls were showing them drawing equally from both parties (Bernie's millennials making up a big %).

-The stripper at the Libertarian convention would not have made the cut at a Hasty Pudding production. 

My instant analysis which is worth exactly what you paid for it- He and Johnson have a half-decent  though longshot strategy and somewhat appealing message (as long as he convinces folks to ignore the party platform), so while anything can happen, I could easily see the ticket grabbing some larger chunk of the vote- perhaps 10-15% - More if the "Plague on both your houses" mood prevails - but its very hard to even get to that level and every day we do not hear from these guys in the press, means the less likely it is that their strategy will work.

MSM covered this event and the Gov also complied with an op-ed today if you want to check my reporting against theirs.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Some thoughts on Governor Weld.

So no hyperbole but he did call someone a fascist. (Sorry, that's not a comment on Weld, but a comment on New England Guy's sense of proportion.)

He enjoys fundraising, which means he's insane.

He doesn't understand too much about what Libertarians want, since repealing the tax code and leaving the UN are two of the easiest and least radical plans they have.

What he has to say about defense is so clichéd he would have imparted more information if he said nothing.

How in any can any Libertarian think Trump was good at first when he "shook up the party" almost entirely by inundating it with bad ideas and a crazed personality?

So all in all, he likes Obamacare. This is enough to make a Libertarian vote for Trump.

You can't be generally positive on Hillary AND Bill Clinton, since the former has disavowed the latter.

My Prediction: He and Johnson will get more votes than any Libertarian candidate in the past, but far less than 5%.

7:49 AM, June 08, 2016  
Blogger New England Guy said...

Weld's quote was "You are not going to get me to call him a fascist"

8:08 AM, June 08, 2016  
Blogger ColumbusGuy said...

What was the rest of it? "Wink, wink, nudge, nudge"?

This may be a first for me: Except for drawing distance between the two halves of the Clinton Monster, I agree with him top to bottom.

(Apparently Weld is the dope smoker from the Onion picture of the Libertarian Convention, held in an apartment in Madison, with the two attendees being the rasta dope smoker and the disgruntled and disheveled businessman in a three piece sitting next to each other on a ratty couch.)

1:18 PM, June 08, 2016  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow. If the hardcore libertarians don't like them, then they meet the normality test and must have a chance

2:56 PM, June 08, 2016  

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