Even the Libertarians Are a Sideshow

May 30th, 2016

If I were to sum up my personal politics, I hew most closely to the Libertarian platform.  The problem is, they can't put forth a candidate worthy (or likely) to be elected dog catcher.

Gary Johnson is this year's nominee for President, same as 2012.  Failing to secure the Republican nomination, he went to the Libertarian ticket as a consolation prize.  Johnson isn't bad; he's just uninspiring.  Still, he has more mainstream name recognition than anyone else in the party, so they might as well nominate him in 2016.

The big problem is his pick for Vice President.  William Weld was governor of Massachusetts for two terms in the 1990's.  During his tenure, he supported very strict gun-control measures and government seizure of private property under eminent domain.  Both of those positions run absolutely counter to Libertarian ideology.

Weld claims to have dialed back on some of those positions, but when pressed on his support for gun control, he gave Jake Tapper a response I find far less than convincing.

I'm a lifelong hunter and gun owner (…) I distinguish between, you know, hunting guns and guns that don't seem to have any hunting purpose or potential purpose.  That's an area where Gary and I can find common ground.

The "hunting purposes" rhetoric has long been a strategy of the gun-control lobby.  The idea is to drive a wedge into the gun-rights camp, separating the "hunters" from the supposed nutjobs who don't want to give up their "military" weapons.  Advocates of this approach usually resort to craven emotional manipulation about "compromise."

Notice that Weld spoke in the present tense in those comments.  He hasn't changed, and if Johnson can find "common ground" with that, he'll be selling out one of the central planks of the Libertarian platform.

It's sad to see the party decline from largely irrelevant to utterly surreal, especially when the mainstream choices are a dangerous blowhard with impulse-control issues, a serial liar who may find herself under indictment, and a socialist progressive whose own rhetoric makes him incompatible with the current political landscape.  With better nominees, Libertarians might have actually had a chance this election.

1 Comment
  1. Bruce Nagel wrote, running Mozilla Firefox 46.0 on Linux

    I was just thinking the other day that this is really the election for a third party candidate to have a shot at the presidency if they had the right person to nominate. Sadly it doesn't sound like that is the case and we will be getting another 'lesser of two evils' result.

    Comment on May 30, 2016 @ 7:55 am

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.