Thursday, June 23, 2016

Johnson, Weld Get Their Close-up

CNN gave the Libertarian Party a huge boost last night by highlighting its ticket in a town hall forum.

It wasn't letting the two former governors in the debates, but it was a big step by a major network for the party that will or will come closest to having 50-state ballot access.

You probably know by now that former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson leads the ticket.  He selected former Massachusetts Governor William Weld as his running mate.

Johnson is running for President of the United States for a second time. Along with Judge James Gray, Johnson, a former Republican, scored 1,275,821 votes or nearly one percent of the total vote back in 2012.  That was good enough to finish third.

This time around, he's polling in double digits in some polls and is even polling higher than Hillary Clinton among independents in some as well.  Personally, I think it's too early to declare anything nationally, but it has to be an encouraging sign for the Libertarians.

While Johnson, who describes himself as a social liberal and a fiscal conservative, has an impressive background, his best asset might be the man he chose as his running mate.

William Weld's bio reads as one of the most interesting men in politics.  The two-term Governor of Massachusetts served in many capacities within the Republican Party.  He resigned as Governor to become Ambassador to Mexico under Bill Clinton, but he fell victim to the late Jesse Helms who blocked his nomination in the U.S. Senate.  That's a badge of honor to be opposed by Jesse Helms.

Weld moved to New York and ran for Governor of that state, but he lost the nomination to John Faso who then lost the General Election to Eliott Spitzer in 2006.  Before his political career, Weld was a successful attorney and federal prosecutor.  He also served as an Assistant Attorney General under President Reagan.  Weld has been an author of fictional novels, an actor, and now a Vice Presidential nominee.

If I'm being honest, I thought Johnson gave a so-so performance in the town hall.  He's a bit awkward, but he does have an endearing quality about him.  I think he's more than capable of serving as President.  Johnson indicated that he and Weld would be more of a matched set than a President and Vice President.  Johnson repeatedly deferred to Weld, who seemed much more at ease, during the forum.

While I believe Hillary Clinton is still the best and most presidential candidate in the race, Johnson and Weld make a very good team, and it's easy to see why Libertarians are excited about the two.  They far exceed the prospects of a President Donald Trump Administration.

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