President Barr? (or at least Spoiler Barr?)

Cicero at the Political Insider blog wonders whether freshly-minted Libertarian Bob Barr can be convinced to run for president.

Barr looked beyond the House throughout his political career. He ran for Senate in 1992 and openly mused about a 2000 presidential run in 1998. While he would not win the presidency as a Libertarian, he would be the party's highest-profile candidate since it nominated ex-Rep. Ron Paul of Texas, also a Republican, in 1988. Paul's candidacy led for many calls for his inclusion in the presidential debates, and a Libertarian candidacy by Barr would draw similar calls.

Why would Barr run? His post-congressional focus on privacy issues and the domestic excesses of the War on Terror could give him a real base. None of the leading Republican candidates has offered substantial criticism of post-9/11 U.S. civil liberties policies, nor has Sen. Hillary Clinton. A third party candidate stressing such issues might find a following.

That's interesting speculation, but Barr himself says he won't take the plunge. And third party candidacies aren't observable in utero like major party candidacies. We can see how interested Mitt Romney is in running by how many advisers he signs up, how much money he raises, how many fags he smashes up with baseball bats. He needs to do that to edge out the many other competitors for the job and win over the millions of primary voters. But third party candidates can win their party's nominations with only a little organization and planning, so there's no way of telling if Barr is quietly interested in a bid. We have to take him at his word that he's not.

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  • David 2||

    I'd be hesitant to vote for Barr right now, given some of the bills he previously supported when he was in Congress. I'd have to be convinced he's actually supporting freedom, not just talking about it.

  • ||

    If he did run, I suppose I would vote for him, but holding my nose very tightly. His position on the drug war is appalling, although at the same time we can't expect any candidate from the Republicrats to change things. If anything his support for the drug war might win him more votes than he'd lose.

  • Warren||

    Cicero at the Political Insider blog wonders whether freshly-minted Libertarian Bob Barr can be convinced to run for president.

    As one of the few people around here actually supportive of, and active in, the Libertarian Party, all I can say is; "No, dear Zeus please no"

  • ||

    Probably the best chance the old "fusionist" coalition has of dethroning the neocons.

    Of course Barr won't win, but he could give conservatives who've soured on the war, and the GOP's spending/surveillance/detention policies somewhere to go.

  • ||

    Its been said before, what is he going to say about the drug war. Theres a debate coming up this month and I will not say yea or nay without knowing where he stands now.

  • Franklin Harris||

    The LP nominate Bob Barr? I've never believed that the LP had to nominate only "100% pure" libertarians because what that is depends greatly upon how you define libertarianism in the first place, and while my own sympathies border on the anarcho-capitalist*, I've long thought the "non-aggression principle" was simplistic to the point of being meaningless. That said, the LP cannot seriously nominate someone who is not at least in favor of moving in the right direction on all of the major issues of the day. So far, Barr shows little sign of being willing to move in the right direction on even the one pressing issue that distinguishes the LP from the major parties -- the drug war. And what about Barr's stands on a whole host of social issues that would be sure to come up in the course of any hypothetical debates? If the LP is seriously considering Barr as a presidential nominee at this point, it is truly in its death throes.

    *I am willing to admit there may be an irreducible role for the state in dealing with some or even most air and water pollution issues. The atmosphere and the oceans seem to be natural commons, and typically "libertarian" solutions don't seem to apply where there cannot be private property. However, I'm open to counterarguments.

  • Warren||

    L_I_T
    Barr has indicated that he has modified his position (he's willing to discuss medical marijuana). However, Barr's 'crimes against humanity' regarding the WOD render this modest movement insufficient. The man is personally responsible for a great deal of human suffering. He needs to have his feet held to the fire.

  • ||

    Warren,

    Hold his feet to the fire and see what good that does. Politicians are by their very nature double faced liars and bullshit artists. THe question becomes, can Barr be a useful POS or is he still going to fight against basic LP tenets. At this point, with the devil on both sides of us, using the enemy of our enemy may be our only choice if he actually helps. Never believe I'd actually come to like or help Mr. Barr, but let's see which way he's pointed the loaded gun before we shoot him.

  • ||

    'As one of the few people around here actually supportive of, and active in, the Libertarian Party, all I can say is; "No, dear Zeus please no"'

    Yeah, we wouldn't dare run a candidate who could actually win more than one percent of the vote, now would we?

  • STEPHEN THE GOLDBERGER||

    I'd vote for Barr, but more importantly I'd want Barr to run to generate interest in the party. As far as I can tell Barr has no interest in turning the Libertarian Party into the Bob Barr Party, and is only really interested in returning the Republican Party to its supposed tenets of financial responsibility and unfettered trade. Nothing would do that better than spoiling the 2008 presidential election if they throw up some scrub like McCain.

  • Warren||

    L_I_T
    I hear what you're saying, the point is not lost on me. I'm just worried about what happens down the road. I have no interest in LP success won at the cost of becoming what we convened in order to oppose.

  • Mr. X||

    As another of the few active in the LP, I'll chime in:

    If nominated, he'd be an excellent candidate and arguably better than any of the other current contenders. He's well spoken, polished, and has matured during his time out of Congress.

    That said, I don't think he wants the nomination and I'm not interested in trying to draft him. Additionally, as we've seen in the past (Russo, Gorman et al), the delegates at the convention prefer ideological purity over political acumen, so it'd be a tough sell to get him nominated.

    My impressions are based on personal meetings with him at the last LP convention and listening to him speak.

  • ||

    I would much rather see Barr run for House or Senate on the LP ticket.

    The LP presidential candidate is nothing more than a publicity stunt.

  • Larry A||

    Paul's candidacy led for many calls for his inclusion in the presidential debates, and a Libertarian candidacy by Barr would draw similar calls.

    With similar results.

  • ||

    His post-congressional focus on privacy issues and the domestic excesses of the War on Terror could give him a real base.

    Sounds like he would drain more votes from the Dems than the Repubs with this focus.

  • ||

    Sounds like he would drain more votes from the Dems than the Repubs with this focus.

    Easy on the interstate commerce before posting, RC. If he drains a vote from anyone, it'll be Team Red.

  • ||

    Barr for Pres? No. As a VP candidate on a ticket with former NM Governor Gary Johnson? Maybe....

    I'd also prefer a Barr run for Congress, Governor or Senator, where he could show us just how much and on what issues he has changed his mind. It is not impossible that Bob could have had a "road to Damascus" experience about the dangers of using government power to achieve social ends. I'm just going to pretend that I'm from Missouri, and wait for him to show me.

    Kevin

  • Mr. X||

    Why would Barr have any interest in going back to Congress?

  • ||

    Big cigars.

    Duh.

  • ||

    Another LP Member here, even ran for Congress. I'm glad Bob Barr joined the Libertarian Party, he does bring knowledge and he isn't afraid to roll up his sleeves and work at growing the Party. Some other big name "closet libertarians" might decide to join, because of Bob.

    With Members comes strenght.

  • creech||

    Bob Barr may have seen the light, or not.
    Let's wait and see. But I think a lot of the Barr skeptics would leap for joy if Clint Eastwood, or some celebrity with equally quasi-libertarian views on some issues, threw his hat into the LP's ring.

  • :-||

    President Barr? (or at least Spoiler Barr?)

    Great. And I have his campaign slogan:
    Barr in 2008. He'll spoil it for the other guy.

  • ||

    Some other big name "closet libertarians" might decide to join, because of Bob.

    Maybe a few arch-conservatives. I don't see him bringing in a single "closet libertarian" who runs with liberals or moderates.

  • Gene Berkman||

    It is pretty clear that the Libertarian Party does not have the resources to mount an effective campaign for President. At the same time, an LP candidate for President has great potential to say something that will embarrass Libertarians, or give the media a chance to paint us as extremists.

    We need to build more effective local Libertarian groups before a national campaign will be taken seriously. And we need more strength before an attractive candidate will find the LP nomination of any value.

  • ||

    Is the LP now a club for rejects from the McVeigh wing of the GOP? Maybe they can lure Bob Dornan to be Barr's running mate.

  • ||

    It might be very difficult to attract liberals to the Libertarian Party. The Liberals I know do not trust people to take care of themselves. They feel that only government knows best.

  • ||

    It might be very difficult to attract liberals to the Libertarian Party. The Liberals I know do not trust people to take care of themselves. They feel that only government knows best.

    Most conservatives and moderates aren't a damn bit better. It's very hard to attract anyone to libertarianism.

    This, of course, is all the more reason a serious LP wouldn't be cheering and fussing over getting a retired social conservative politician, one that will alienate otherwise sympathetic liberal and moderates, to sign up.

  • Mr. X||

    This, of course, is all the more reason a serious LP wouldn't be cheering and fussing over getting a retired social conservative politician, one that will alienate otherwise sympathetic liberal and moderates, to sign up.

    Only if that more serious LP ignored what Barr has been doing with his time out of office, namely campaigning for privacy rights and working with the ACLU.

  • ||

    Well, Mr. X, the proof is available with time. We'll give you some time, and you can come back with your reports of whatever great strides the Party has taken. Then we can look at the LP and see whether it's still libertarian or becoming haven for tax-hating social conservatives.

  • ||

    If the LP could recruit a Democrat with experience as an elected official, who has realized that socialist economics is bunk, that'd be OK with me. A ticket with such an ex-Dem and an ex-Rep who had wised up on the "social issues" might have some appeal to "moderates."

    Kevin

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