Don Silberger’s Gubernatorial “Campaign”

A short story about the LPNY convention that nominated Bill Weld for governor, from the Times Herald-Record...

Don Silberger didn’t really want to be governor. He’s 76 and fond of flip-flops and suspenders, not the power suits of Albany. Plus, he likes his job as a math professor at SUNY New Paltz.

But he didn’t want his beloved Libertarian Party to lose its identity. So Silberger jumped into the ring for the Libertarian nomination for New York’s top job. And he stayed in, even after big name Bill Weld came calling for it, too. All of which made the New York Libertarian Party convention April 29 something of a news event, and which placed the tiny party at a crossroads.

Weld, the former two-term Massachusetts governor - with a libertarian streak - could give the low-government party something it’s not had in years: the 50,000 votes needed to hold a ballot line for all its candidates until 2010. With him, some said, the 800-member party could become a player in the state.

But others worried it was selling its ideals for a standard-bearer who doesn’t really represent this small, passionate group. Silberger does.

“This is a moment of choice,” said former party chairman John Clifton.

Weld showed up at the Best Western Albany Airport Inn in a suit, with a few handlers. He gave a speech and did a Q & A and cheered the crowd with lines about keeping the government out of their pocketbooks.

Silberger, a party elder who ran for Senate in 2004, spoke later. He wore his Harvard Class of ’52 tie and handed out a six-page, single-spaced manifesto. If called to serve, of course he’d do it. But the professor was more interested in pushing his party’s ideals, like legalizing drugs and ending gun control.

“It is precisely for the consideration of such issues that we exist,” he said. “When else do they get discussed?”

In the end, Weld won. Visibility trumped ideology, by a vote of 24-15. But as Silberger rose to thank the delegates, they rose to give him a standing ovation. Not bad for a guy who didn’t really want to be governor anyway.

4 Responses to “Don Silberger’s Gubernatorial “Campaign””

  1. Tim West Says:

    ......handed out a six-page, single-spaced manifesto.

    erg. Just the thing for a LP convention. :)

  2. Chris Moore Says:

    That’s a pretty nice news piece, though. I thought they painted a very flattering picture of Silberger.

  3. Kris Overstreet Says:

    I don’t think the writer of the article could have made us (the LP) sound more pathetic if it tried.

    All the more reason we need reform, I believe…

  4. Eric Sundwall Says:

    I disagree Mr. Overstreet.

    Perhaps this will change your callous regard for the ‘fire’ of the LPNY.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6U5S_C3tybo

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