Saturday, May 28, 2016

Johnson & Weld get rough reception in Orlando

Libertarian ‘dream ticket’ in peril as Weld bombs in Orlando - POLITICO - Shane Goldmacher:

May 27, 2016 - "It was supposed to be a stroke of genius: Gary Johnson, the 2012 Libertarian nominee for president and the party’s leading contender in 2016, announced that William Weld, the two-term former Republican governor of Massachusetts, would serve as his running mate.... The pair would comprise a powerful two-governor ticket just as the leading Democratic and Republican contenders, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, rate as historically unpopular. The hope was they could emerge as a true third-party alternative.

"But here in the corridors of the Rosen Centre Hotel and Resort at the Libertarian National Convention in Orlando, it could all fall apart as anti-authoritarian Libertarian Party activists, loath to be defined as 'Republican-lite,' are increasingly and loudly critical of Weld, who joined their party only weeks ago.

"Johnson seems to sense his dream ticket could be in trouble. The former two-term governor of New Mexico was booed at a convention forum on Thursday for calling Weld 'the original libertarian'....

"Asked if his reception was worrisome, Weld told POLITICO, 'I wouldn’t use the word worrisome, but I would say the convention is highly unpredictable. And having two former Republican governors who were successful in blue states — who knows — that could turn out to be a negative in the minds of delegates. Stranger things have happened'....

"And Weld did little to help himself at a Friday night vice-presidential debate in which he got a chilly reception from the hardcore audience of Libertarian true-believers. Asked who did more damage to America — President Obama or President George W. Bush — Weld gave a classic politician answer. 'I’d rate it a tie,' he said. He used the word 'miasma' in his closing statement.

"At one point, Weld said he would stay in the United Nations — an idea anathema to many in the crowd — and said that when people think of Libertarians they often think of 'unattractive people' in their neighborhoods....  Weld advocated cutting taxes. One of his opponents yelled, 'Taxation is theft!'...

"Sparks flew at a Thursday forum in which one of Johnson’s top challengers, Austin Petersen, who recently scored the endorsement of longtime Republican operative Mary Matalin, challenged Johnson on his Weld pick....

"At Friday’s debate, one of Weld’s rivals for the vice presidential slot, Larry Sharpe, used his closing statement to appeal to the crowd’s anti-government instincts. 'Do you have to have government experience to be in government?' Sharpe asked. 'NO!' cheered the crowd. 'Do you believe that one Republican governor is not enough?' Sharpe went on. 'One is enough and something else would help'.... Weld never got a chance at a rebuttal."

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