Late Night Diversions Open Thread: Run, Bill, Run!


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I feel no shame in admitting I voted for Governor Bill Weld, and not just because the alternative was John Silber. As I remember it, Bill Weld was denied his hoped-for promotion to Ambassador mostly because Jesse Helms was a vicious little bigot. I suspect that Weld looks at current Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and sees the same fat, fatuous, self-satified Southern hypocrisy squatting on the corpse of the American Dream. Per The Root:

As America watches developments in Robert Mueller’s investigation, Trump’s national emergency has just begun. Weld, the former Libertarian VP candidate who supports legal abortion, has a no chance of securing the nomination. Even the #NeverTrump contingency of the GOP would be hard-pressed to throw their support behind the comparatively liberal Weld.

Still, Weld’s presence may prove damaging despite his uphill climb to the RNC. Trump, frequently provoked by slights real and imagined, would be likely to embarrass himself in response to a Weld quote via social media. In the especially unlikely event of a televised debate, Trump would be likely to find himself out of his depth. Weld, the federal prosecutor turned two-term governor who missed out on an ambassadorship to Mexico during the Clinton administration due to his support for needle exchanges and legal marijuana.

Weld is banking on fond memories of New Hampshire voters who remember him fondly from his time running the Bay State. The Libertarian who ran alongside Gary Johnson might find support in a state without motorcycle helmet laws.

The last two incumbents to face a serious primary challenge wound up losing. Here’s hoping history repeats itself.

There are problems with his record. His time as U.S. attorney coincided with some of the bloodiest moments in the unholy alliance between the late gangster Whitey Bulger and the Boston office of the FBI. And he does tend to, well, lose interest in things. But he has one thing that is a pre-requisite for anyone planning to run against El Caudillo del Mar-A-Lago—Bill Weld truly doesn’t give a damn.

He is the last of the old-time Massachusetts WASP politicians, born into privilege and groomed for public service. He knows who he is back 10 generations. You are not going to be able to shake him with a stupid nickname or some middle-school cafeteria taunts. He can still summon up that lordly WASP disdain for the lower orders, but he can do it leavened with self-mockery, too. And, at the moment, despite all the endless soul-searching among more prominent Republicans, Weld actually looks to be getting into The Arena, as his former in-law Teddy Roosevelt once put it: Run, Bill, Run.

Bill Weld is one of those old-line, white-shoe Repubs whose contempt for a two-bit Queens hustler drives Donny Dollhands even further out of his tiny addled mind. Once Trump overcomes the post-’emergency’ declaration meds and the exhaustion of travelling all the way to Mar-a-Largo, he’ll be squatting on his gilt-plated throne frantically seeking just the right insulting nickname for his new nemesis… if he doesn’t stroke out first.

Furthermore, Liz Mair may be evil but she ain’t wrong here:

Weld was the governor of Massachusetts between 1991 and 1997. What state neighbors Massachusetts, sits within the Boston media market, and over the last 20 to 30 years happens to have become home to a huge number of moderate-conservative types who normally vote Republican and have exiled themselves from “Taxachusetts”—but many of whom still commute in to Boston for work every day?

That’s right, it’s New Hampshire, home to the first-in-the-nation primary, a virtually non-existent tax regime, and a propensity for the weird…

Weld is well-known in the state whose motto is “Live Free or Die,” and he undoubtedly has better currency there, because of all these factors plus one more: He was the 2016 Libertarian vice presidential nominee in a year when the Libertarian ticket got about 3.3 percent of the vote nationwide and 4.2 percent in the Granite State itself. Tack on some aggrieved #NeverTrumpers who voted for Clinton in 2016 but will play in a GOP primary contest in 2020, plus independents and moderate-to-libertarian Republicans who have fond memories of Weld, and it’s pretty conceivable that Weld could get to 10 percent or higher.

That is especially so since during 2016, Weld arguably had higher visibility than the actual presidential nominee, Gary Johnson—a trend he’d likely continue in 2020, because Weld handles himself well on TV. He’s clever and funny, a good recipe for a cable news interview…

31 replies
  1. 1
    Jerzy Russian says:

    Hmm, I could not get to this post from the previous one. I found a link directly here on Mr. Cole’s Twitter feed.

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    Ruckus says:

    @Jerzy Russian:
    Late at night/very early morning the squirrels aren’t very motivated and page refreshes seem to happen at a glacial speed. And that’s glacial speed of the last ice age, not the current anti ice age speed.

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    hervevillechaizelounge says:

    I have no personal knowledge but my friend’s beau (a rabid Democrat) was once Bill Weld’s law partner and speaks very highly of him.

    To me he has the same vibe as Joe Biden—he harkens back to a time when Republicans clung to the pretense of hiding their evil under the bushel of “fiscal conservatism,” and the authority of white men was unquestioned.

    And just like Uncle Joe Weld is going to get his ass handed to him; the electorate is enraged by the past because the past led us to the present and the present sucks. A detour back to 1990 via the Rich White Guy Expressway isn’t going to cure shit; the only way out of our teetering-on-fascist predicament is forward.

    That said, anything that pisses off Trump is a balm to my soul—bring it, ex-Governor White Shoe White Bread Weld!

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    Plato says:

    Lot of build up for a guy who couldn’t hack it in his own state in his last presinential run. That he will trump the totus thug in debates is hilarious. The thug will simply insult him off the stage.

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    Pete Downunder says:

    A friend sent this to me. Sorry I don’t have a link:

    Someone asked “Why do some British people not like Donald Trump?”

    Nate White, an articulate and witty writer from England, wrote this magnificent response:

    “A few things spring to mind.

    Trump lacks certain qualities which the British traditionally esteem.

    For instance, he has no class, no charm, no coolness, no credibility, no compassion, no wit, no warmth, no wisdom, no subtlety, no sensitivity, no self-awareness, no humility, no honour and no grace – all qualities, funnily enough, with which his predecessor Mr. Obama was generously blessed.

    So for us, the stark contrast does rather throw Trump’s limitations into embarrassingly sharp relief.

    Plus, we like a laugh. And while Trump may be laughable, he has never once said anything wry, witty or even faintly amusing – not once, ever.

    I don’t say that rhetorically, I mean it quite literally: not once, not ever. And that fact is particularly disturbing to the British sensibility – for us, to lack humour is almost inhuman.

    But with Trump, it’s a fact. He doesn’t even seem to understand what a joke is – his idea of a joke is a crass comment, an illiterate insult, a casual act of cruelty.

    Trump is a troll. And like all trolls, he is never funny and he never laughs; he only crows or jeers.

    And scarily, he doesn’t just talk in crude, witless insults – he actually thinks in them. His mind is a simple bot-like algorithm of petty prejudices and knee-jerk nastiness.

    There is never any under-layer of irony, complexity, nuance or depth. It’s all surface.

    Some Americans might see this as refreshingly upfront.

    Well, we don’t. We see it as having no inner world, no soul.

    And in Britain we traditionally side with David, not Goliath. All our heroes are plucky underdogs: Robin Hood, Dick Whittington, Oliver Twist.

    Trump is neither plucky, nor an underdog. He is the exact opposite of that.

    He’s not even a spoiled rich-boy, or a greedy fat-cat.

    He’s more a fat white slug. A Jabba the Hutt of privilege.

    And worse, he is that most unforgivable of all things to the British: a bully.

    That is, except when he is among bullies; then he suddenly transforms into a snivelling sidekick instead.

    There are unspoken rules to this stuff – the Queensberry rules of basic decency – and he breaks them all. He punches downwards – which a gentleman should, would, could never do – and every blow he aims is below the belt. He particularly likes to kick the vulnerable or voiceless – and he kicks them when they are down.

    So the fact that a significant minority – perhaps a third – of Americans look at what he does, listen to what he says, and then think ‘Yeah, he seems like my kind of guy’ is a matter of some confusion and no little distress to British people, given that:
    * Americans are supposed to be nicer than us, and mostly are.
    * You don’t need a particularly keen eye for detail to spot a few flaws in the man.

    This last point is what especially confuses and dismays British people, and many other people too; his faults seem pretty bloody hard to miss.

    After all, it’s impossible to read a single tweet, or hear him speak a sentence or two, without staring deep into the abyss. He turns being artless into an art form; he is a Picasso of pettiness; a Shakespeare of shit. His faults are fractal: even his flaws have flaws, and so on ad infinitum.

    God knows there have always been stupid people in the world, and plenty of nasty people too. But rarely has stupidity been so nasty, or nastiness so stupid.

    He makes Nixon look trustworthy and George W look smart.

    In fact, if Frankenstein decided to make a monster assembled entirely from human flaws – he would make a Trump.

    And a remorseful Doctor Frankenstein would clutch out big clumpfuls of hair and scream in anguish:

    ‘My God… what… have… I… created?

    If being a twat was a TV show, Trump would be the boxed set.”

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    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Pete Downunder: I am sooooo stealing that.

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    opiejeanne says:

    @Pete Downunder: That is just too good. I’m stealing that too.

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    Aziz, light! says:

    @Pete Downunder:Best commentary ever. I found the source from last July in Quora, which contains many more sick burns.

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    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Aziz, light!: Heh, your link goes to a home improvement site. This one is Quora.

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    satby says:

    @Pete Downunder: that’s been spreading across Facebook for the last couple of days.

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    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Aziz, light!: That got it. thanx.

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    Shakti says:

    @Pete Downunder: *chef’s air kiss*

    @OzarkHillbilly: I think this link Why do many British people not like Donald Trump? should take you there directly.

    At work yesterday, I had some very nice elderly ladies for coworkers..who were “independent” but probably vote Republican all the time. I don’t understand why they were “independent.”

    One woman feeds homeopathy to her cats, doesn’t believe in cancer medication (but takes care of her friend from church) is super anti-choice and didn’t vote for the last two Bushes because they were too “progressive.” I wanted to ask her what she meant by “progressive” and if she made the connection between no universal health care and her acting as her friend’s unskilled nursing care and a GoFundMe.

    The other woman was Cuban, brought in homemade flan, and started ranting about socialism and engineers being forced to tend cows. She escaped from Cuba with her husband.

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    Amir Khalid says:

    RIP Bruno Ganz. He’s the actor who played Adolf Hitler in Der Untergang; his bunker meltdown scene from that film has become an Internet meme.

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    debbie says:

    @Pete Downunder:

    A Jabba the Hutt of privilege

    Someone needs to work this into a campaign poster.

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    Dr. Ronnie James, D.O. says:

    @Amir Khalid: also the star of Wings of Desire, one 9f my favorite movies. RIP

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    Steeplejack (phone) says:

    @Aziz, light!:

    You omitted the colon in your original link.

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    Jim Bales says:

    I was quite happy to vote for Bill Weld for governor, in large part because of his actions while a member of Reagan’s Dept. of Justice. From Weld’s Wikipedia page:
    “In March 1988, Weld resigned from the Justice Department, together with United States Deputy Attorney General Arnold Burns and four aides, in protest of improper conduct by U.S. Attorney General Edwin Meese.[9][10] In July 1988, Weld and Burns jointly testified before Congress in favor of a potential prosecution of Meese for his personal financial conduct, following a report by a special prosecutor investigating Meese.[10] Meese resigned from office in July 1988 shortly after Weld’s and Burns’ testimony.[10]”

    I’m delighted he is running as a Republican!

    Jim

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    tobie says:

    @Amir Khalid: Thanks for linking to an obituary. I’m very sad to hear Bruno Ganz has died. 77 seems too young. He was mesmerizing as an angel in Wings of Desire and was brilliant with pregnant silences and outward reserve in his debut film The American Friend. RIP, Bruno Ganz.

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    FlyingToaster says:

    Bill Weld was the last Republican I voted for, against the odious John Silber. Silber was the authoritarian BU President, who gamed his way through the usual multi-candidate D primary and was running to the RIGHT of Weld.

    Weld is principled (resigned from his USAA office and testified against Mease), realistic, and alas, lazy and tends to lose interest in what he’s doing when it gets down to nuts and bolts. The GOP establishment hates him (see “Jesse Helms”), so I’m thrilled that he’s running.

    Unfortunately, although I think he could take the 6 New England states from Trump in the primaries, I might be wrong. So many people have left the GOP up here, that in last year’s Senate primary, to select SPW Warren’s opponent, the Trumpite was elected. So Weld might not even be able to get the votes up here, let alone anywhere else.

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    H.E.Wolf says:

    Per Wikipedia, former Governor Weld was born in 1945.

    He’d be 75 1/2 years old in 2020, at the start of his hypothetical first term.

    I doubt that an elderly white man will be an attractive choice in the 2020 presidential election.

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    pluky says:

    Weld is one of only two Republicans I’ve ever voted for. My decision was, in part, prompted by the fact that half of the people I shared an old Victorian in Allston at the time were either current or former BU students. Every one of them DESPISED John Silber.

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    The Pale Scot says:

    @Aziz, light!: The QUARA link works if you delete the “s” in https

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    Ramalama says:

    @FlyingToaster: I too voted for Bill Weld for Gov of MA. But one thing I noted after he took office was the lack of support for people with mental illness. I don’t know what the policy change was officially but when I worked in a retail store on Boylston Street, near the BPL, I noticed floods of homeless people on the street (many of whom I came to know by name), more than ever. People said it was the defunding of something hospital-y or mental health-y that caused this. The number of homeless suddenly appearing was startling. Everyone talked about it.

    Also, Silbur was a loathesome creature but he was part of some policy that allowed prisoners to take college courses for credit while incarcerated. I helped grade some papers with a friend who taught art history. I also helped grading papers for a similar class taught by friend at Harvard. Friend and I both preferred the grammar-challenged but moving papers by the prisoners.

    Anyway, Bill Weld would be a welcome change to Trumpet Hole, of course. But let’s not gloss on about him. He ran as an independent in the last race with Gary Johnson. What makes him think the Republicans will let him ‘back in’ to run for 2020?

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    KSinMA says:

    @H.E.Wolf: Weld is only a year older than Crooked Donnie.

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    Concerned Citizen says:

    I voted for him too. Love the guy.

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    hilzoy says:

    Wait: I too voted for Weld! It was tough. One the one hand, there was Silber, which seemed like an excellent reason to vote for Weld. On the other, I really didn’t like Weld. I recall one moment in his campaign to this day: he was asked about his proposed cuts to housing, which people thought would lead to a lot of families becoming homeless, and he said: well, if that happens, we can always undo it. — As though the impact on a family of being evicted and homeless could just be undone by magic.

    Eventually I decided that though I didn’t like either, I thought that Silber’s variety of mean-spirited nastiness might go national if he won, so I voted for Weld.

    Ugh.

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