[CUA Office of Public Affairs]

Weld Nomination Never Had a Chance

15 September 1997


William Weld, who is expected to withdraw his name from consideration as Ambassador to Mexico this afternoon, "had his head handed to him by Sen. Jesse Helms," and it should be no surprise given comments Weld made during his run for U.S. Senate, says a professor of politics at The Catholic University of America, Washington, D.C.

"During a senatorial debate, Sen. John Kerry asked Weld if he would vote to maintain Jesse Helms as chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee," recalled John White, a presidential scholar. "Weld refused to answer and essentially said 'I'll cross that bridge when I get go it.' You can bet that evasive answer was not lost on Helms."

The controversy over the Weld nomination, White says, "points to a deep division within the Republican Party. The Weld nomination may have ended but the party turmoil may have just begun."

"There is within the Republican Party a striking realignment and reshuffling of the decks taking place, " White says. "With the nomination of Ronald Reagan in 1980 the Republican party began to move south and westward, and as it did moderate-to-liberal Republicans became an endangered species, so much so that prominent Republicans have either defected to the Democratic party or served in Democratic administrations. "

White is the author of several books, including Still Seeing Red: How the Cold War Shapes American Politics, released this month. He can be reached for further comment at 301-977-1340, or 202-319-6136.

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Revised: 27 October 1997

All contents copyright 1997.
The Catholic University of America,
Office of Public Affairs.