I wanted to be a Spaceman

So yeah, Bill Lee’s running for governor on the Liberty Union ticket. I’ll give him this: he’s the only Vermont gubernatorial candidate to be mentioned on ESPN. He’s also the only candidate with a line of his own on baseball-reference.com. (110 wins, 90 losses, 3.62 ERA)

Otherwise, it’s a nice novelty and nothing more. After all, how’d the rest of that song go?

But now that I am a spaceman

Nobody cares about me

Not that Lee’s candidacy is meant to be taken seriously, but let’s do that for just a moment.

On the one hand, he says Vermont “is a perfect state,” and he wouldn’t do much as governor. On the other hand, his platform includes universal health care, marijuana legalization, abolishing the US/Canada border, turning the Bay of Fundy into a giant hydroelectric power source, and “bring[ing] the Tampa Bay Rays back to Montreal.”

“We’ll call them the X-Rays,” he said.


Long reach for a little joke, especially considering the Rays were never in Montreal. They’ve always been in Tampa. The ex-Expos are now d.b.a. the Washington Nationals. So even his grasp of baseball is a little shaky.

There’s also the little matter of his residency. As VTDigger’s Mark Johnson reported, Lee told Time Magazine he only lives in Vermont three months a year.

Hm. Vermont is “perfect” but he spends most of his time elsewhere?

Okay, another serious question. Why did the Liberty Union Party accept this charming nut as its standard-bearer?

Let’s put it this way. What is the Liberty Union Party’s goal?

It’s not to win. It’s not to be competitive. In real terms, it is simply this: To achieve major-party status, which means gaining five percent of the vote for any statewide office. That gets ‘em on subsequent ballots, and earns ‘em a lectern at candidates’ debates.

They’ve done it in the past, thanks to the Republicans’ repeated failures to field a full ticket. They didn’t do it in 2014, so they’re on the outside looking in.

So, Spaceman. He may be a poor fit for a party that claims high political principle, a party that constantly bitches about not being taken seriously, and indeed a party that takes itself all too seriously in a characteristically lefty way, but his name recognition and novelty value is likely to win him a few thousand votes. And that’s good enough for the Diamondstones.

There’s one more question. If his residency survives scrutiny, will the Secretary of State allow him to use “Spaceman” on the ballot? If not, will anyone recognize plain ol’ Bill Lee?

Around and around and around and around is just a lot of lunacy


12 thoughts on “I wanted to be a Spaceman

  1. Dennis Shanley

    You fail to mention that the Liberty Union Party is where Bernie did his political residency. In fact, it was at a campaign event at JSC in ’72 that I became a Bernie supporter. How I found the time for politics then I do not know as I was frequently at Jarry Park watching the Spaceman pitch. https://www.pinterest.com/pin/227713324883035550/

  2. Walter Carpenter

    He does have some good ideas:) I like the eliminating the vermont/Quebec border thing:)

  3. Alex Jiminez

    I think the “moving the Rays back to Montreal” was a mistake by the author of the VTDigger article as other interviews he says “to” instead of “back” (author might have confused it with “bringing back the Expos”). He also is still an active baseball player and when it snows in Vermont he plays in Florida leagues to stay active (basically Spring Training) so it’s not like he is running away.

    The problem with Lee is he loves to joke around with reporters, it’s what keeps his Spaceman personality going (arguably why he is famous). It makes it seem like he is a nutjob but in reality he is very smart. Recently WPTV went to his first campaign rally and he was actually serious this time. The fact WPTV didn’t go quoting or using soundbites of a typical Spaceman crazy comment shows he is serious when campaigning but outside he loves to be funny to reporters (which hurts him as that is what is written down)

    I don’t think Liberty Union needs him to regain major party status there are races with out GOP candidates like for Congress and Sec of State which will get them enough to be major. I think Liberty Union is cashing in all their chips on Lee hoping to get a Jesse Ventura type election. His name recognition will bring him more publicity then every other Liberty Union candidate which could draw voters angry at the system (helps he is well known Red Sox pitcher in a Red Sox state). Lee is moderate compared to the rest of Liberty Union making him electable then Diamondstone in jorts (Lee defers to Bernie’s positions a lot which ironically Liberty Union isn’t thrilled about lately)

    1. John S. Walters Post author

      As it turned out, Liberty Union won’t need 5% in the gubernatorial race because the Republicans failed to find candidates for Treasurer and Secretary of State, which practically ensures the LU candidate will exceed the threshold. However, LU couldn’t have known that until the filing deadline came and went, because there could have been last-minute Republican entries.

      1. Alex Jiminez

        The GOP hasn’t run a candidate for Sec of State since 2010. The fact Mary Alice Herbert is running yet again for the same position (odd for the Liberty Union as they like to cycle new candidates for different elections) probably means the Liberty Union is using her to achieve major party status and not Lee. Liberty Union had to ask Lee to run so they weren’t 100% sure he would run for them but they knew they could run Herbet for major party status easily

      2. John S. Walters Post author

        It wasn’t unreasonable to expect VTGOP failure to find candidate for all statewide offices, but it wasn’t a sure thing, especially when they did find candidates for AG and Auditor.

      3. Alex Jiminez

        Unlike Sec of State the VTGOP has run candidates for AG and Auditor (except in 2014 when Hoffer ran unopposed, not even the Liberty Union ran) in the more recent past, seems like the VTGOP is sitting out Sec of State elections if Condos is running for re-election (LU must be assuming this too). Herbert has gotten 10% in both Sec of State elections she has been in, even when the Progs ran instead of the GOP she still got 10%. If Liberty Union needs a workhorse to get major party status they can feel more comfortable with Herbert which explains her perennial candidacy for Sec of State. Liberty Union wasn’t even sure Lee would run for them as he is Democrat and he might not have been interested (Lee actually never of heard of Liberty Union before they asked according to one interview). I think Lee is Liberty Union actually pushing for office using the Trump tactic of using the celebrity of Lee in the media to campaign for them, plus tapping into the voter anger in this presidential election year (there won’t be other Independents running making it a 3 person race, also helps the governor race is pretty bland too)

        (For some reason it wouldn’t let me click reply on your other comment)

      4. John S. Walters Post author

        We’re kind of making a big deal about a minor point, aren’t we? I just find it hard to believe that Lee is truly a candidate of principle for Liberty Union; they are usually loath to nominate anyone outside of their circle.

      5. Alex Jiminez

        Ya it is weird seeing Liberty Union nominate a moderate outsider considering this is the party that labels Bernie a war criminal (which is why I think they are going all in with Lee, Jesse Ventura style). Someone must have really done good job convincing Diamondstone to open up for the sake of getting the Liberty Union an actual elected office.

  4. chuck gregory

    Everybody I’ve ever met in the Liberty Union Party, I like. They do seem to be pretty strong on doctrinal purity, though, which I find off-putting.


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