Last August, I wrote a somewhat hyperbolic item decrying William Weld's flip-flop on gay marriage rights when he suddenly got back into politics. Well, apparently he's gone from flip-flop to flop - after such campaign heights as his running mate donating to the opposing party's candidate, and the embarrassment of not getting the nomination at his state party convention and being asked by the GOP leader to drop out, Weld has left the race.
Does this mean Weld is a failure? Not any more than any other politician who has tried to run a race. He has nothing to be ashamed of for trying to jumpstart his political career. It's just a shame that he had to sacrifice a large part of his appeal in the process. Weld was always hated by conservatives. He was more liberal than his Democratic opponent in 1990's gubernatorial race (the one in Massachusetts). He was so disliked by Sen. Jesse Helms that Helms blocked his 1997 attempt at ambassadorship. He was praised and derided for his consistent, steadfast support for gay rights at a time when few officials in either party would touch the subject. He even participated in the wedding of a gay friend. That he so casually changed his opinion on gay marriage just in time to start a campaign in a new, less stereotypically liberal state, was an insult to voters of all parties. Social conservative leaders aren't stupid people - they know who their real friends are. They must have felt Faso was a real friend. Weld was a fairweather friend. I hope that he can prove to gays that he does not view us the same way.
Members of both parties have switched their support of gay rights, with mixed success. But if you have long been among the most progressive supporters of gay rights, gay marriage, equality and freedom for gays, then suddenly changing gears this way does you no good. I hope that politicians who support gay rights learned a lesson from this chapter in the career of William Weld. I hope something good can come from it, because otherwise, it's just kind of depressing, futile, and sad...too much like everything else in politics today.