After talking with a bunch of delegates and with both former officeholders-turned-Libertarian presidential candidates, I talked with 2004 LP nominee Michael Badnarik to understand what LP true believers think of Barr and Gravel. He's still holding out hope for a Ron Paul Republican nomination ("most people don't understand how the nomination process works or how delegate selection works") but he dismissed the idea that Barr or Gravel should worry Libertarians.
If you focus on some past vote you didn’t like, you’re kind of making a judgement that people can’t change and can’t improve. I think people in glass houses shouldn't throw stones. All of us should grow up—all of us have done really stupid things. If you were in Congress, working hard, and you made some bad decisions sincerely, you can move past that. I’m always willing to give people the benefit of the doubt.
I wondered if Badnarik thought that the same phenomenon—people demanding a candidate who agreed with them on everything over a candidate with unorthodox beliefs but more cash and media exposure—handed him the nomination in 2004.
There’s a difference. What the delegates in Atlanta (at the 2004 LP Convention) were doing was based on what Russo said in his campaign, or in the candidates' debate. If you’re saying you're going to use executive orders or institute martial law in front of these delegates, that's different than saying "I made a vote in favor of the drug war, and now I’m changed my position." I know there are people who just hold a grudge, but I can't change their minds.
Badnarik wouldn't endorse or rule out anyone running for the LP nod, in large part because of his support for Paul (whom he endorsed back in February 2007). "I wouldn't be surprised if someone threw his name in the hat at the convention," he said. "What were they thinking, that if he raised $10 million the media bias against him would just fade away? These people are completely inexperienced in politics. The good news is actually how biased the GOP has been against Ron Paul. The fact that they are trying to subvert his campaign and deny him delegates is an indication of what a huge threat he is."