Wayne Allyn Root: Barr's "Scared to Debate Me"

After we ran yesterday's rundown of the Libertarian Party race, I talked to Wayne Allyn Root, the oddsmaker/entrepreneur who's battling for the right-leaning/pragmatic/celebrity vote with Bob Barr. Root wanted to clear the record on one thing: He did not demand that Mary Ruwart exit the race after some people dug up an apparent defense of child porn from one of her books. "I was 10,000 feet in the air," Root explains, "on my way to the New York Libertarian convention. We were asked for a response and my campaign manager made incredibly bone-headed mistake." So, Root isn't asking Ruwart to quit the race. He just wants to defeat her.

Root disputed my assessment that Barr is leading the race (which I can see the Barr campaign, uh, appreciated), although he acknowledged that they're going after the same votes and that Barr's entrance has him working harder. "I've won most of the straw polls, but even if you look at most of the straw polls I haven't won, the combined support for Barr outmatches the support for the other candidates." He pointed at the New York Libertarian Convention's straw poll, which he did win with 28 votes to Barr's 20. Six other candidates split 47 votes. "If you choose me or Bob Barr, you’d never choose Ruwart. If Bob Barr were to not run, or to not make it on a second ballot, I think all his supporters quite naturally go to me."

Root does think Barr is going to run (he's got an exploratory committee right now), but questioned why he won't jump in now and start participating in party debates. "I think he's scared to debate me," Root said. Exhibit A: Barr gave an hour speech at the New York convention, skipped the debate where Root only got 15 minutes to speak, and at the end of it Root got more votes in the straw poll. "I didn't know anyone in the LP when I started this, but I head into those debates and I'm able to win over these crowds who want somebody who can communicate our message. He's going to count on the one debate at the convention in Denver, and maybe he's hoping I have an off night."

That's the crux of Root's message: He can communicate in a way LP candidates haven't for a long time. "Barry Goldwater was my hero," Root said. "He still is my hero. But Barry Goldwater lost in a landslide because he had no charisma. You take what he said and put it in the mouth of Ronald Reagan and you win in a landslide."

So what's Root's explanation for donating to Joe Lieberman? "It wasn’t because I agreed with Joe Lieberman’s philosophy," he said. "Somebody who invested a million dollars in one of my projects was a bundler for Lieberman and he asked me to donate to the campaign. I would have given George McGovern a check if somebody who'd made me a million dollars asked me to! Also, Lieberman, at that time, was an independent fighting the two parties. At that time I was a Republican thinking about leaving my party. I like maverick independents, and I always have. I'd have given to Jesse Ventura if he was running." But Root does not support the Iraq War and stopped using the slogan "a WAR you can support" a long time ago.

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  • Fluffy||

    Isn't Dondero supporting Root?

    Just curious.

  • Elemenope||

    Not for nothing, but he's a goofy lookin' guy.

    Has nothing to do with his policies. Might effect that ephemeral quality pundits refer to as "electability".

  • Colin||

    Does anyone else think that Root looks like a 70s porno star?

  • Naga Sadow||

    I like his style. Aggressive, arrogant, and quick on the trigger. He's "scared to debate me". High school-ish perhaps, but appealing.

  • Naga Sadow||

    Colin,

    I don't hear any funky beats.

  • Plant Immigration Rights Suppo||

    With so many Republicans upset with McCain on - um - just about everything except the war - I think the LP has a good shot at siphoning off a large number of GOP votes this year.

  • ||

    Not for nothing, but he's a goofy lookin' guy.

    He is a Giant Red Man...

    I can't think of one political personality who was a Giant Red Man and could win anything.

  • Rimfax||

    I hope he wins, if only for the SNL skits starring Will Farrel.

  • Edward||

    Yes, we've tried the loony fanatic look. Let's go for the dumb blond look. Shit, these libertarian ideas are bound to sell if we can just package them right.

  • Naga Sadow||

    Edward,

    What's up with you? Did libertarianism "touch" you when you were little?

  • Edward (not)||

    No, it didn't. No one has, EVER!

  • Naga Sadow||

    Eternal virgin? Bummer

  • Jennifer||

    But Root does not support the Iraq War and stopped using the slogan "a WAR you can support" a long time ago.

    Given the LP's political savvy over the past few years, I live in terror that some adviser will convince him to replace it with "Let's give this country a Root canal."

  • ||

    UGH! I'm pulling for Ruwart. Please don't tell me any more about her, least I find no one acceptable :P

    With Barr in, I'm pasting the big DO NOT WANT on this yahoo.

  • Pottsy||

    We Libertarians are trying to sell America a great product, but with lousy marketing

    I'll say - just look at that website!

  • Orange Line Special||

    I wrote the Bob Barr campaign and when the message I got back was from StephenGordon I decided to give up trying to convince them to take a pro-borders position. However, I'd be interested in interviewing or debate Barr on this issue.

    And, someone in his area is interested in debating him as well, but I don't think he'd agree to that either.

    This would all make Barr look incredibly weak, if anyone outside a few thousand people cared.

  • rico||

    i met root at the NC convention. he's a little... intense. i get the feeling america would think the LP is trying to sell them a car if he becomes our posterboy.

  • ktc2||

    So, Edward has the Mr. Garrison complex?

  • Naga Sadow||

    damn you ktc2,

    I spilled my pepsi thanks to your comment.

  • ||

    It wasn't because I agreed with Joe Lieberman's philosophy," he said. "Somebody who invested a million dollars in one of my projects was a bundler for Lieberman and he asked me to donate to the campaign. I would have given George McGovern a check if somebody who'd made me a million dollars asked me to!"

    Man, that's a bad answer.

  • ||

    Well, now we know the answer to the question, "What do Wayne Allen Root and Lonewacko have in common?"

  • Max||

    Seriously, why does libertarianism do so poorly in the free market of ideas? The LP has never come close to polling what the socialists did in their heyday, and the government just keeps getting bigger and bigger. It can't just be the shitty creeps that have come forward to carry the libertarian banner. They're just a symptom. You true-believer types must have thought about this. Why does libertarianism have so little appeal outside small libertarian circles?

  • Ayn R. Key||

    Wow, the worst candidate in the LP presidential race is challenging the second worst.

  • Roger Shrubber||

    Max,

    Because most people are fearful and like others to pay for their stuff?

  • ||

    That is a feaky looking dude.

  • robc||

    Man, that's a bad answer.

    I liked it. I dont particularly care for Root, but I liked that answer. Same applies to my business, You make me a million dollars and I will donate the max to the candidate or your choice.

  • ktc2||

    Max,

    Because people love to talk about freedom but the idea of REAL freedom scares the hell out of them. They are terrified of actually having to face the consequences of their actions and ignorance.

  • ||

    Yeah, most candidates for president are just itching to debate some online loons.

  • ||

    Edward:

    Yes, we've tried the loony fanatic look. Let's go for the dumb blond look.

    Just when we thought that Edward couldn't make a bigger fool of himself- but now this. I guess it makes sense that an inability to marshal a cohesive argument would be accompanied by shallowness.

  • Orange Line Special||

    Max says: Why does libertarianism have so little appeal outside small libertarian circles?

    It's because real libertarianism hasn't been tried. Oh, wait, that was that other thing.

    It's because 99.99% of them are nuts, with the other 0.01% of them being high on a copper tincture.

  • ||

    LoneWacko calls us nuts.

    Good job, little buddy. Now it's past your bedtime.

  • Max||

    "Because people love to talk about freedom but the idea of REAL freedom scares the hell out of them. They are terrified of actually having to face the consequences of their actions and ignorance."

    Aha, so you guys are the strong self-reliant ones. Good luck with that.

  • Brandybuck||

    You true-believer types must have thought about this. Why does libertarianism have so little appeal outside small libertarian circles?



    Because human beings are hardwired for living in small tribal units. And what are the hallmarks of small tribal units? Communal property and and a tendency to raid and plunder other small tribal units.

  • Edward||

    The dumb blond porno star image beats the shit out of this asshole:

    The Ron Paul Political Report. Founded in 1985, the eight-page newsletter featured Paul's extreme libertarian perspective on a number of different issues, notably crackpot theories about the Federal Reserve and the money system and a tireless advocacy of a return to the gold standard-a longtime Ron Paul hobby horse. The Ron Paul Political Report would come to feature in the stable of "underground" publications and photocopied "zines" that fed the nascent "patriot movement" that arose in the early 1990s, spurred by anger over federal government actions in Waco, Texas and Ruby Ridge, Idaho, and by fear of a supposed "New World Order." Indeed, Paul changed the name of the newsletter to the Ron Paul Survival Report around 1993 in what we may presume to be an effort to tap into the survivalist sentiments then peaking among the radical right wing.

    The Report only had about 7,000 subscribers, and Paul has-unsurprisingly-refused to release copies to the media. Lexis/Nexis is of no help, as the obscure publication largely escaped the notice of major media publications during Paul's hiatus from electoral politics. What remains to us today comes almost entirely from secondary sources, such as quasi-samizdat publications and contemporaneous Usenet postings from sources like Google Groups. These few fragments of a much larger body of work-almost all of which have been preserved by Paul's supporters, not his opponents-give us an illuminating and frightening look into his demented, racist worldview.

  • Orange Line Special||

    What's ironic and incredibly sad is that my video showing how RonPaul could be in the running has only gotten 2670 views after six months. Of course, the idiots here will tell you not to watch it and share it just because it's from me, but if RP's supporters did what it says they'd greatly reduce the popularity of his opponents and smack down the MSM. Libertarianism truly is for losers.

  • Edward||

    That was, of course, before Ron Paul's racist drivel was exposed for all to see by James Kirchick, bless his soul.

  • Hacha Cha||

    I think it must really sting to know that Ron Paul got more votes in just two state primaries than your candidate is going to get nation-wide this year.
    Draft Ron Paul for the LP nomination

  • ||

    Why do I think Root is lying big time? He says he donated to Lieberman because he was asked to by someone. At the time he said Liberman was as big a supporter of Israel as Root was. He sure had a different reason back them. Was he lying them or lying now? Either way he's a liar.

    But he went further. He not only gave money to Lieberman but he was pushing for the Republicans to run a McCain/Lieberman ticket. His own web site had him saying he came up with a plan that would guarantee a GOP victory and "it all revolves around a conservative Democrat named Joseph Lieberman."

    Root further wrote that the GOP should make LIeberman Senate Majority Leader so he "would be in a position to aid the Jewish state of Israel -- something so important to him (and many Americans -- including me)." He then said offer Lieberman "a place on the GOP Presidential ticket" which he said should be "McCain-Liberman in 2008."

    I believe he is lying about his press release on Ruwart as well. And I think the evidence shows the smear was engineered by individuals active in his campaign -- one in California and one in the Midwest. After the California one posted anonymously Root's campaign sent out the press release claiming they discovered the truth through the anonymous posting. The California activist sent the "evidence" to Root's campaign guy in the midwest who then went to the Indiana convention to try to attack Ruwart with it. Sounds pretty orchestrated to me.

    I wouldn't buy a used car from this man let alone hand him a nomination.

  • Taktix®||

    Root looks like he's on an infomercial, selling workout equipment.

    Barr's got the national recognition, and he's talking the libertarian talk right now. We should show our disapproval of the last 8 years by taking a big chunk of their vote, and Root won't be able to do that.

  • Fluffy||

    Max,

    I think one reason is because the GOP is willing to lie and pretend to have libertarian underpinnings.

    You therefore end up with many people who endorse 80-90% of the libertarian platform who say, "Well, I have to stay in the GOP or I will waste my vote." Or "I would vote libertarian but I'm afraid the Democrats will win if I do."

    I think it's also a lifestyle thing. You become a socialist [instead of an extreme left Democrat] in part because you like to see yourself as the sort of person who takes a radical action. For a variety of lifestyle-related reasons, I think there are more of those people on the traditional left than on the traditional right.

  • Max||

    fluffy,

    I think you're right. Also, identifying with the left in a vague sort of way seems somehow more human and decent than identifying with what many perceive as a social-Darwinist right. Yet many on the left display exactly the qualities a libertarian society would value. Michelle Obama, for example, came out of the black ghetto to get a Harvard law degree. She is certainly the intelligent,
    self-reliant sort that a system with no safety net would favor. In a libertarian society, I imagine the stupid and weak would rely on the charitable feelings of the Michelle Obamas.

  • ||

    ...why does libertarianism do so poorly in the free market of ideas? The LP has never come close to polling what the socialists did in their heyday...



    Look to the arguments of the Public Choice scool of political economy. Politics in a democracy is about swapping who you're going to stick it to. Libertarians argue first and foremost that the whole game is corrupt -- that we're not going to play and that we're going to stop the game as soon as we can as fast as we can.

    That doesn't buy any votes.

    Furthermore, it makes us unattractive to Real Politicians. There are people who are just good at doing politics, and you need them to succeed in a democracy. We really don't have much to offer them.

    It sounds bleak, but I'm really more optimistic than that. There's this one thing: we're right.

    But I also think that many new to the movement, or coming over from another movement, are naive in not seeing what we're up against. It's not just that the Dems and Repugnocrats have an unfair advantage -- the Greens, the Socialists, and, hell, the LaRouchies have an unfair advantage. They all say their going to take resources from the "bad guys" and give it to... you!, you hard-working everyman. That, or they'll stop -- for the sake of THE CHILDREN!!

    So I find it rather charming naivete when someone says "if we just..." then L/libertarianism will rule the day. There is no one thing. There is no quick fix. No hero or savior will be coming to our aid.

    Just keep fighting. And be nice to each other, except for Dondero.

    And floss, for goodness sake.

    steps down from soap box...

  • ||

    Dang, my HTML skills are better than that...

    should be:

    That, or they'll stop -- for the sake of THE CHILDREN!!

  • ||

    OK. dammit.

    That, or they'll stop [personal choice that offends someone somewhere] -- for the sake of THE CHILDREN!!

    ...stalks off in Daffy Duck suit...

  • ||

    "I imagine the stupid and weak would rely on the charitable feelings of the Michelle Obamas.

    As opposed to today, when the stupid and weak must rely on the charitable feelings of the Dick Cheneys and Nancy Pelosis.

  • Max||

    "There's this one thing: we're right."

    Yeah, Gott mit uns.

  • ||

    Quoted by Edward:

    The Ron Paul Political Report. Founded in 1985, the eight-page newsletter featured Paul's extreme libertarian perspective on a number of different issues, notably crackpot theories about the Federal Reserve and the money system and a tireless advocacy of a return to the gold standard-a longtime Ron Paul hobby horse.

    Anyone who actually thinks that Dr Paul's thoeries are "crackpot" needs to check out these Fed hearings:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A4kxTkhwR_Q&feature=related

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sVCStbbIvDg&feature=related

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_8pLpI5rzKI&feature=related

  • ||

    Does anyone else think that Root looks like a 70s porno star?

    I think he looks like Austin Powers would have looked if he had been born into the Osmond family and then guest-starred on Miami Vice.

  • Roger Maltz||

    Root is an arrogant gasbag and daddy's boy. I hope he rots in hell. Having said this, I would prefer him as POTUS over Obama, Clinton or McCain.

  • The Democratic Republican||

    Just to beat the dead horse:

    W.A.R.'s answers to these questions are worse if they are true than if they are false.

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