Thomas L. Knapp: Time for Libertarians to Dump Bill Weld


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Thomas L. Knapp is a writer, IPR contributor and political activist who most recently sought the Reform Party’s vice-presidential nomination. The following was originally published on The Garrison Center’s website on August 10th, 2016:

I didn’t pay much attention in 1972 when vice-presidential candidate Thomas Eagleton was removed from  the Democratic ticket and replaced by Sargent Shriver after it came to light that Eagleton had a record of psychiatric hospitalizations. I have a pretty good excuse  for being distracted — I was five years old — and I’ve never looked into the mechanics of how that happened. But I’d like to see it happen again, this time in my own party.

The bylaws of the Libertarian Party’s national committee require that committee to “provide full support for the Party’s nominee for President and nominee for Vice-President as long as their campaigns are conducted in accordance with the Platform of the Party.” But they allow the LNC, on a 3/4 vote, to suspend either candidate. The suspension becomes permanent removal unless the candidate successfully appeals it to the party’s judicial committee.

Why on earth would Libertarians want to dump vice-presidential nominee William Weld? To let American voters, especially gun owners, know that the Libertarian Party still supports their rights as it always has.

Weld won the party’s nomination by a nose on the second ballot at the party’s national convention, after presidential nominee Gary Johnson pleaded for him to be chosen. One reason he was a hard sell to Libertarians was his anti-gun record as governor of Massachusetts (he supported and signed an “assault weapons” ban).

During the nomination campaign he went back and forth, telling Libertarians he had changed his views on guns one day, telling CNN he hadn’t changed his views on guns the next day.

Since the nomination, Weld has campaigned vigorously against the party’s platform — not just on gun issues but on due process rights — often spouting nonsense that makes him sound as ignorant and as nutty as Donald Trump at his worst.

Here’s Weld talking to REVOLT 2 VOTE correspondent Amrit Singh during the Democratic National Convention:

“You know the five-shot rifle, that’s a standard military rifle. The problem is if you attach a clip to it so it can fire more shells, and if you remove the pin so that it becomes an automatic weapon. And those are independent criminal offenses. That’s when they become essentially a weapon of mass destruction. The problem with handguns is probably even worse than the problem of the AR-15. You shouldn’t have anybody who’s on a terrorist watch list be able to buy any gun at all.”

None of the factual claims he makes there are true, nor is his stated position even remotely libertarian.

Libertarians support gun rights. Libertarians support due process, not presumed forfeiture of rights due to inclusion on secret enemies lists. These items are in our platform, and they’re not negotiable.

Some of my fellow Libertarians believe that removing Weld would damage Gary Johnson’s presidential campaign and possibly even irreparably harm the party itself. I disagree.

In this year of all years, doing the right thing — and being SEEN doing the right thing — is pure political gold. It’s time for Bill Weld to go.

One response to “Thomas L. Knapp: Time for Libertarians to Dump Bill Weld

  1. Thank you, Tom ! Please pursue this to the best of your ability.
    While the issues that you have raised are adequate, you have only scratched the surface. Here are SOME additional reasons why William Weld is a totally unsuitable person to be a Libertarian candidate for anything:
    1. His late entry into our VP selection process should raise serious doubts among even the most pragmatic of our delegates and party leaders. It was well known that the Establishment had been considering ways to have an Establishment candidate (Romney, Bush, McCain, Christie, Kasich, etc.) capture a “third party” nomination because of the simple unacceptability of Donald Trump or “Madame Mao”. The obvious prospect was the Libertarian Party because of ballot access and existing infrastructure. To the great credit of our scheduled delegates and party activists, the Establishment quickly found that there was no chance for that plan to succeed. But those devils are clever, and due to the low visibility (our fault as a party) of our VP nomination contenders, they correctly figured that they had a chance to “steal” our VP nomination with a “political name” candidate. By having a late entry into the process, they largely avoided the scrutiny that should have scuttled that plan How much of a role Gary Johnson’s current advisors played in this remains to be seen. But clearly, he was conned, and a large part of our party faithful were conned.
    2. Like Romney did when he was Governor, Weld “avoided” raising taxes by raising fees instead. Any objective analysis of those “fees” shows that they were really taxes. Contrary to Weld’s “intention” to cut wasteful spending and the size of state government, it continued to grow. And liberty in Marxachusetts continued to decline. ( It reminds me of Carter and Bush. )
    3. Political favoritism and crony capitalism continued to grow under the Weld administration. Roads that didn’t need repaving were repaved so that some contractors could benefit while roads that actually were long overdue for repair were left neglected. I wonder if that had anything to do with campaign contributions.
    4. Weld supported Whitey Bulger’s brother in his reelection bid for President of the State Senate. While Billy Bulger probably never killed anyone, his promotion of big government cost the taxpayers of Marxachusetts far more then Whitey ever did.
    5. Weld was US Attorney for Massachusetts in 1982. When the state election officials and the Mass. Democratic Party violated the Voting Rights Act of 1965, and violated state and federal election laws, he refused to do his duty as US Attorney and take action. The purpose of the election law violation was to make sure that his friends, Edward Kennedy and Michael Dukakis, did not have opposition on the Democratic Primary Ballot for Us Senator and Governor, This story is MUCH bigger than just that, but at the risk of naysayers claiming “sour grapes” on my part, I will leave it for another time if you have further interest.
    6. While he was still US attorney in 1984, Weld not only continued to not do anything to correct the election law violations in the Democratic Primary for US Senator that year, but actually had his office side with the transgressors and defend them against the lawsuit filed. The main beneficiary of this was John Forbes Kerry.
    7. Oh, did I mention CFR?

    I am sure that Arthur, George, and Darryl can add some other good reasons to scuttle Weld. I would really like to vote for the Libertarian Party candidates for President and Vice President, but having Weld on the ticket precludes that.


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