VP hopeful William Weld fails to impress at Libertarian Party Convention

Libertarian Party presidential candidate Gary Johnson's choice as his running mate bombed during the vice presidential debate at the party covention in Orlando.

Former Massachusetts Governor William Weld, named last week as Johnson's choice for VP, did not impress the Libertarian Party activists who accused Weld of being "Republican-Lite" and of being unfamiliar with Libertarian positions.

Politico:

Asked if he 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.”

While Johnson and Weld are trying to run as a ticket — they are handing out joint buttons and paraphernalia — the Libertarian Party convention actually picks their presidential and vice-presidential nominees separately. Delegates could select Johnson and then reject Weld.

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!”

“He just didn’t make the case,” Will Tyler White, a delegate from Michigan, said of Weld.

“He showed that he was Republican-lite,” complained Jim Fulner, another Michigan delegate. “He didn’t mention a single Libertarian idea.”

A Texas delegate named Gary Johnson (no relation to the candidate), who sported a Johnson-Weld button, was concerned. “He just doesn’t seem to know the right thing to say in a Libertarian convention,” Johnson said.

“I realize the idea is he bring credibility on the national stage but it’s disappointing because he lacks the Libertarian pedigree,” Richard Schwarz, a delegate from Pennsylvania, said after the debate. “He was uninspiring and kind of dry … I don’t think he’s going to win.”

For some Libertarians, the prospect of choosing a ticket with two former, moderate, GOP governors from blue states smacks too much of catering to Republicans for votes. But while Johnson does not appear to be in trouble for choosing Weld, since the convention chooses both running mates, Weld is far from being a shoo in.

Johnson, who was Libertarian party candidate for president in 2012, has broad support from activists and, barring unforeseen circumstances, is very likely to be the nominee again. But he may be saddled with a running mate not of his own choosing. How that plays into this idea of a  "Libertarian moment" remains to be seen.

Libertarian Party presidential candidate Gary Johnson's choice as his running mate bombed during the vice presidential debate at the party covention in Orlando.

Former Massachusetts Governor William Weld, named last week as Johnson's choice for VP, did not impress the Libertarian Party activists who accused Weld of being "Republican-Lite" and of being unfamiliar with Libertarian positions.

Politico:

Asked if he 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.”

While Johnson and Weld are trying to run as a ticket — they are handing out joint buttons and paraphernalia — the Libertarian Party convention actually picks their presidential and vice-presidential nominees separately. Delegates could select Johnson and then reject Weld.

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!”

“He just didn’t make the case,” Will Tyler White, a delegate from Michigan, said of Weld.

“He showed that he was Republican-lite,” complained Jim Fulner, another Michigan delegate. “He didn’t mention a single Libertarian idea.”

A Texas delegate named Gary Johnson (no relation to the candidate), who sported a Johnson-Weld button, was concerned. “He just doesn’t seem to know the right thing to say in a Libertarian convention,” Johnson said.

“I realize the idea is he bring credibility on the national stage but it’s disappointing because he lacks the Libertarian pedigree,” Richard Schwarz, a delegate from Pennsylvania, said after the debate. “He was uninspiring and kind of dry … I don’t think he’s going to win.”

For some Libertarians, the prospect of choosing a ticket with two former, moderate, GOP governors from blue states smacks too much of catering to Republicans for votes. But while Johnson does not appear to be in trouble for choosing Weld, since the convention chooses both running mates, Weld is far from being a shoo in.

Johnson, who was Libertarian party candidate for president in 2012, has broad support from activists and, barring unforeseen circumstances, is very likely to be the nominee again. But he may be saddled with a running mate not of his own choosing. How that plays into this idea of a  "Libertarian moment" remains to be seen.