Monday, May 23, 2016

It's Like They Think No One's Paying Attention ...

... and I suppose they may be right. "They" being William Weld and Gary Johnson, who seem to have taken up a last-minute campaign strategy of "just make shit up about the hard stuff and hope the Libertarian National Convention delegates don't notice we're just making shit up."

It started with Weld, who issued a lengthy statement after people brought up some of the problems with his candidacy for the Libertarian Party's vice-presidential nomination. Quoth Weld:

Likewise, there has been much discussion among Libertarians about my campaign for Governor of New York in 2006. New York has a unique system in which candidates often assemble "fusion" tickets in order to achieve a winning coalition. As part of such an effort, I was honored in 2006 to earn the Libertarian nomination for Governor. Unfortunately, the larger effort failed, and we were not successful in making the Libertarian ballot "line" part of a coalition that could win. I am grateful to the Libertarian Party for the work we did, and disappointed that the strategy simply couldn’t be executed.

Except that's not what happened. Weld's betrayal of the Libertarian Party of New York wasn't just some kind of disappointing "didn't work out" thing. Weld was specifically asked whether or not he would continue to run on the Libertarian ballot line for governor of New York even if he didn't receive the Republican nomination as well. The querent explained to Weld why the question was important (LPNY had been screwed over by prominent "drop in, then drop out" caniddates before). And Weld Just. Flat. Lied. Here he is doing it:

Flipping the directionality of the falsehoods, Weld first addressed his pro-victim-disarmament ("gun control" history) in the message ...

I am a lifelong hunter and gun owner. In 1993, however, as Governor of Massachusetts, I went along with some modest restrictions on certain types of firearms. I was deeply concerned about gun violence, and frankly, the people I represented were demanding action. Sometimes, governing involves tough choices, and I had to make more than a few.

Today, almost 25 years later, I would make some different choices. Restricting Americans’ gun rights doesn't make us safer, and threatens our constitutional freedoms. I was pleased by and support the Supreme Court's decision in the District of Columbia vs. Heller -- a decision that embraced the notion that our Second Amendment rights are individual rights, not to be abridged by the government.

... then went on CNN on Sunday and made it clear that no, his views haven't changed and that they are of the "liberal Democrat shooting skeet in a campaign commercial -- guns for hunting, yes, but guns that are all scary and military looking, no" variety (starts at about 4 minutes, 30 seconds in):

Johnson appears to have taken the cue from his chosen running mate, releasing a similar message on Facebook late last night in which he addresses the "Nazi cake" episode at length. For those who don't recall the particulars of that incident, let's go to video for a third time:

Money quote: "I think that if you discriminate on the basis of religion, I think that is a black hole ... I think you should be able to discriminate for stink or you're not wearing shoes or whatever. If we discriminate on the basis of religion, to me, that's doing harm to a big class of people." After which he says that yes, a Jewish baker should have to bake a cake for a Nazi on demand.

Given Johnson's previous enthusiasm for telling Muslim women what they can and cannot wear, etc., his newfound disgust with religious discrimination is a bit rich. But hey, if this is his honest sentiment now, so be it. Except that his explanation of the incident ... well ...

I responded to that question in the legal context of whether a public business has the right to refuse to serve a member of the public, as distasteful as it might be.

No, Gary, your answer wasn't "in the legal context." You were quite clear that it was about your personal opinion of what kinds of discrimination are and are not socially acceptable.

If you had made the kind of argument on national television that you're making now (I encourage KN@PPSTER readers to read the entire statement linked above), many libertarians might still disagree, but it would have been an interesting and thought-inspiring discussion on strategy.

But you didn't make that argument. You made a different argument. And now you're trying to go back and change the history, like Winston Smith did from his desk at IngSoc's Ministry of Truth in 1984.

Will the Libertarian Party's 2016 national convention delegates notice how they're being played and respond accordingly? I hope so. I'm even a teensy weensy bit optimistic that the Libertarian Party can repel the Johnson/Weld hostile takeover attempt. But only just a teensy weensy bit. Past experience (e.g. Barr/Root 2008) indicates that Libertarian national convention delegates have a collective attention span problem.

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