Bob Barr on The Colbert Report

Here's the video for Libertarian presidential candidate Bob Barr's appearance on The Colbert Report, whose teaser for the segment notes, "Stephen asks Libertarian presidential candidate Bob Barr if he's afraid the government will make him register his mustache."

It's all good. And pretty funny.

Watch it here.

More reason on Barr.

Barr talks on reason.tv:

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  • ||

    Disappointing Colbert appearance. I find the "Americans are tired of more of the same...Third Parties rock!" meme tiresome. And he dodged the DOMA question (not that Colbert gives him much uninterrupted time to work with).

    At least he didn't come off as a kook, which is still one of the best reasons to have him as the face of the LP.

  • Technomist||

    No Kindles or iliads there then. Presumably the books are to make him look smart.

  • ||

    Colbert was good. Barr was right on point. I think if Ron Paul can't do it, then Barr will be a good 2nd choice. I am a Republican voter, so therefore I cannot vote for a liberal democrat like Mccain. Hopefully other conservative voters will wake up and vote Barr, because voting for Mccain will split the conservative vote.

  • Eric Dondero||

    I'd say Barr is at the 5 to 10 million vote range at this moment. He keeps this up, and he'll move into Perot type numbers in the high teens in a few weeks. Outside chance he could make this a solid 3-way race in the 20s in a month of two.

  • ||

    I find the "Americans are tired of more of the same...Third Parties rock!" meme tiresome

    I watched it this morning on my DVR and I have to agree with MP on this. I winced when he said that. Still, he did a pretty good job, although I don't know about that last comment having to do with his bed... He seemed to have some charisma without seeming kooky - that's nice to see.

  • Episiarch||

    DOONDERROOOOOO

    I tuned in at 8:30 to watch Barr and to my chagrin I realized that the new, Barr episode is at 11:30. I will watch it tonight. I did catch the George Will appearance, though, because of the rerun.

  • ||

    ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ
    Barr was a snooze fest. This carpet bagger rode in claiming to be the one that bring us respectability. That means more that just not being kooky, Barr needs to step up his game.

  • Rimfax||

    Barr did about as well as Paul tended to do. He managed to avoid getting defensive without appearing to defend his unlibertarian past. He was occasionally affable, despite falling into politician-bot mode a couple of times. Overall, a more than competent, if often unremarkable, showing.

  • ||

    Colbert didn't even offer him any cheese. How rude!

  • ||

    Warren, from wikipedia:

    Carpetbagger - Since 1900 the term has been used more widely in the US to describe outsiders' attempting to gain political office or economic advantage, especially in areas (thematically or geographically) to which they previously had no connection.

    So, Barr is trying to gain political office or economic advantage? From the LP? What planet are you from?

  • LibertyMark||

    The best part of the interview: Colbert saying something like, "No, the Republicans ARE for shrinking government; George Bush is trying to shrink it down to one man!"

    So, I always am reminded that one of the big side benefits of having a maniacal, tyranny-loving President in office is that it produces good comedy.

  • ||

    Barr wasn't bad - true, he basically was in the position of being Colbert's straight man, but that comes with the territory. He managed to make his points without making a fool of himself, and from the audience reaction, I'd say he managed to connect.

  • ||

    Ayn_Randian,
    I'm from the planet where the LP has put it's presidential candidate on the ballot in 45+ states for the past three decades.

    The LP is the largest and most well organized third party in the country. When the neo-cons elbowed the paleo-cons out of the GOP. Barr's best bet was to hitch his star to our wagon. You think he could have gotten on Colbert if he wasn't our candidate?

    Poo-hoo all you want, being the LP candidate has huge political upside for Bob Barr

  • Taktix&#174||

    He didn't do too bad, I think the whole brownie part of the conversation was a "I don't really do that stuff *wink-wink*."

    That serves two masters:

    1. Anti-drug people, who will likely take it at face value as comedy.

    2. Pro-drug people, who know damn well a national candidate can't say he does drugs on TV, will get the "I don't remember" bit.

    Too bad he didn't say "like Alberto Gonzales, I don't recall" as he would have stolen the show on one line.

    I'll give him a C+

  • Ali||

    No, Nick, it wasn't good.

    I do not want to associate myself with someone who seemed hypocritical on very basic issues important to libertarians. From the WoD, to marriage, to what not. Embarrassing.

  • Pecker||

    Dondero thinks this will be a three way race soon; so you can be pretty sure Barr has already peaked. NOTHING is more certain in this life than the failure of a Dondero prediction.

  • Stormy Dragon||

    I tuned in at 8:30 to watch Barr and to my chagrin I realized that the new, Barr episode is at 11:30. I will watch it tonight. I did catch the George Will appearance, though, because of the rerun.Great, now the Curse of Dondero has doomed Barr to the worst Libertarian showing ever.

  • robc||

    Gedanken Experiment for LP members:

    Take a nolan chart. Plot every expected voter in the US on it. Now enclose a subset of those voters that includes 34% of the voters and can, in some way, be called libertarian.

    That is the absolute minimum the LP needs in order to win a three party race. That is obviously way bigger than what a "small tent" Libertarian would consider libertarian. It is way bigger than what I as a "big tent" Libertarian consider libertarian too.

    Obviously, it means two things:

    1. Education is needed to shift people into a reasonable enclosure.

    2. You are never going to fit 34% of people into that top tip of the chart.


    The question: what is a reasonable enclosure, for now? One that includes 20% of the voters? 15%? 25%? 0.5%? If we can get paleocons, it seems a good start, yeah they disagree on some issues, but that gets us a long way towards 34%. Would we really not want Goldwater in the party?

  • T||

    Poo-hoo all you want, being the LP candidate has huge political upside for Bob Barr

    Unless what he really want is to, umm, get elected.

  • ||

    I'm from the planet where the LP has put it's presidential candidate on the ballot in 45+ states for the past three decades.

    I'm not expert, etc., but I believe that in many states, this is because they get enough votes. Which is why voting for the Libertarian when you can't stomach either major party candidate is not necessarily a "wasted" vote.

  • Taktix&#174||

    Hey Dondero,

    Barr said he doesn't want to keep killing brown people. You still support him?

    Actually, don't bother answering, because I have your comments blocked anyway.

    Thanks, Greasemonkey! You're the shit!

  • Taktix&#174||

    Would we really not want Goldwater in the party?

    I'm pretty sure an un-dead party official would put off a few potential voters.

  • ||

    I do not want to associate myself with someone who seemed hypocritical on very basic issues important to libertarians. From the WoD, to marriage, to what not. Embarrassing.

    I didn't see the interview, so if you could maybe spell out what statements turned you off, I'd appreciate it.

  • robc||

    Taktix

    I would vote for zombie Goldwater over McCain/Obama any time.

  • Ali||

    AR-

    He said (I am quoting from memory) that:

    1. He is against the WoD because it is not working. Not because there is something fundamentally wrong with the infringement on personal freedoms.

    2. He is now against the Patriot Act because it is not working. Not because there is something fundamentally wrong with it.

    3. His answer on marriage was very vague. In fact, I should say, his defense of his position on marriage was pretty weak and vague.

    Overall, given the kind of audience Colbert's gets, I do not think he would be seen very favorably. He needed to show the "left" side of libertarianism. He might have appealed to Red Team viewers, but I doubt there are many of these watching Colbert.

  • JMR||

    Funniest line: "There's an easy way to tell, did you eat ALL of them?" in response to a suggestion the brownies might have had weed in them. The Babar pic was also hilarious.
    JMR

  • Colin||

    I must be the only person who finds Colbert utterly unfunny.

  • Taktix&#174||

    1. He is against the WoD because it is not working. Not because there is something fundamentally wrong with the infringement on personal freedoms.

    2. He is now against the Patriot Act because it is not working. Not because there is something fundamentally wrong with it.

    3. His answer on marriage was very vague. In fact, I should say, his defense of his position on marriage was pretty weak and vague.


    All politically viable positions. He may have been speaking to Colbert's audience now, but if he gives the GOP soundbites to hammer him, the result is a net loss.

    I think Libertarians forget sometimes that drugs being a right, while true, is pretty unpopular. The LP picked the "electable" candidate, let him be electable...

  • ||

    All politically viable positions. He may have been speaking to Colbert's audience now, but if he gives the GOP soundbites to hammer him, the result is a net loss.

    I agree that his answers weren't particularly to my liking, but I also recognize that he has to speak to a different audience. The Colbert audience may not be up to voting for him just yet. There were a lot of things he could have done better, but overall gets a passing grade.

  • Elemenope||

    I must be the only person who finds Colbert utterly unfunny.

    Yup.

    Poor guy.

  • Ali||

    Taktix-

    Wouldn't he have scored more points, with this audience, if he had said that the Patriot Act is fundamentally wrong, that infringement on personal liberties are wrong, that marriage as an institution of discrimination wrong? Wouldn't he have scored more points if he had said that these are basic libertarian positions, and that there is nothing to be scared about it or its adherents? He didn't. He missed an opportunity. Even McCain does a better job with Jon Stewart reaching out to the liberal audience than did Barr yesterday.

  • ||

    Poo-hoo all you want, being the LP candidate has huge political upside for Bob Barr

    Unless what he really want is to, umm, get elected.


    Not at all. You just have to understand that he isn't trying to get elected president in 08. This campaign is just the first phase of his 2010 (Senate?) run.

  • Taktix&#174||

    Wouldn't he have scored more points, with this audience, if he had said that the Patriot Act is fundamentally wrong, that infringement on personal liberties are wrong, that marriage as an institution of discrimination wrong?

    He said pretty clearly that he's been working for the last five years to reverse the Patriot Act. That seems like a pretty strait forward denunciation, as it's one thing to say something's bad and yet another to actually do something about it.

    Wouldn't he have scored more points if he had said that these are basic libertarian positions, and that there is nothing to be scared about it or its adherents?

    I agree, but I don't think Colbert gives anyone a lot of time to clarify and elaborate. I could be wrong, but whatever.

    As for the defense of marriage act, I agree whole-heartedly with Barr's detractors -- it is a very un-libertarian stance.

    But as they say, you run with the Barr you have, not the Barr you want...

  • ||

    I must be the only person who finds Colbert utterly unfunny.

    That would make you the butt of his shtick - a Hannity-type obnoxious blowhard.

  • Ali||

    He said pretty clearly that he's been working for the last five years to reverse the Patriot Act. That seems like a pretty strait forward denunciation, as it's one thing to say something's bad and yet another to actually do something about it.

    I am pretty sure (I can't watch the video now) he said something to the effect that it is not working the way it is supposed to. I take issue with that. Same with the WoD. He said (again from memory, but I am pretty sure he said something to that effect) that the WoD is not working, whereas he should have said no one should have his rights infringed on. May be he did not want to come out too radical or whatever, but with this young audience, it wouldn't have hurt him much.

  • JMR||

    If he finds Colbert unfunny, let me guess:

    http://www.youtube.com/newsbusted

    He finds "NewsBusted" funny? (For the record, "NewsBusted" is about as un-funny as "comedy" ever gets, because most of the "jokes" simply suck.)
    JMR

  • ||

    My conservative dad watches Hannity/BillO every night but when I visit I make him watch Colbert with me.

    Me - "Don't you see the duality of Colbert? He plays BillO and parrots every bit of his show but in so doing reflects the absurdity of his positions".

    My dad - "Nope. Don't see that at all".

  • Kolohe||

    I agree with Ali. Barr's biggest error imo was not 'tailoring' his message (which is *not* the same as pandering) to the Colbert audience. As as said last night, he made specific shout-outs to disafffected republican's but not disaffected democrats. And his answers to why he doesn't support stuff like the Patriot act anymore were uncomfortably close to what Clinton tried to pull when she said did not think that voting for AUMF was a vote authorizing Bush to attack Iraq.

    But, he still acquitted himself ok, and made no gaffes. Thus, he should be able to be invited to other shows on the talk show circuit. Hopefully he and his people will step it up with more affirmative defenses of libertarianism and efforts at party broadening.

  • Famous Mortimer||

    "I must be the only person who finds Colbert utterly unfunny."

    Of course you do. He heckles your comrades.

    Personally, I find anyone who doesn't find Colbert even remotely funny to be marvelously brain dead.

    I would love to know what those kinds of people laugh at. You don't have to like him entirely, but "completely unfunny?" Come on.

    Colbert's writing on Strangers With Candy alone has already secured him a seat next to God.

  • A_S||

    @ robc

    When paleocons start stating positions like Goldwater, you be sure to let me know, OK?

    --
    "The big thing is to make this country, along with every other country in the world with a few exceptions, quit discriminating against people just because they're gay. You don't have to agree with it, but they have a constitutional right to be gay. And that's what brings me into it."

    --Barry Goldwater

    "The oldest philosophy in the world is conservatism, and I go clear back to the first Greeks. ... When you say 'radical right' today, I think of these moneymaking ventures by fellows like Pat Robertson and others who are trying to take the Republican Party away from the Republican Party, and make a religious organization out of it. If that ever happens, kiss politics goodbye."

    --Barry Goldwater

    Both quotes from:
    Lloyd Grove, "Barry Goldwater's Left Turn", Washington Post, July 28, 1994

  • ||

    I am pretty sure (I can't watch the video now) he said something to the effect that it is not working the way it is supposed to.

    He said something about being lied to by the administration and how the scope of patriot expanded to include non-terrorist cases and how he was disappointed that the administration didn't honor the promises they made to him and other congressional leaders. Basically he was duped. I don't buy that even a little.

    To me he came off as saying "I am not against the patriot act per se, but I don't agree with the way this administration has used the tools we gave them". To me that's a failure of message as well as a failure of principle.

    He didn't denounce Patriot -- he denounced the way Patriot has been used. It's just another version of "if only the right people had been in charge".

    I would have respected him more if he would have said something like "I was lied to, and now I realize that that type of power shouldn't be given to any administration or any president or any government because it will most certainly be abused" or something.

    To me he came off as not someone who has converted to libertarianism, but someone who has a vendetta against the GOP and wants to punish them a bit.

  • Ali||

    To me he came off as saying "I am not against the patriot act per se, but I don't agree with the way this administration has used the tools we gave them". To me that's a failure of message as well as a failure of principle.

    Exactly.

    He didn't denounce Patriot -- he denounced the way Patriot has been used. It's just another version of "if only the right people had been in charge".

    Same with the WoD.

  • ian||

    I lived in Georgia (never again!) in 2002 when Barr fought and lost a nasty primary because of redistricting. I was in the next district over and so I got to see all the ads from the race. I will say that Barr has come a looooooong way from what he was then, especially on drugs. Anyway I thought he did a pretty good job on Colbert, and my opinion of him in general has changed for the better these past few weeks.

  • Snootful||

    He is against the WoD because it is not working. Not because there is something fundamentally wrong with the infringement on personal freedoms



    Exactly. Which leaves the door open for resuming the WOD when President Barr finds a way to fight the war that does work. Contrast this with Ron Paul.

  • robc||

    A_S,

    When paleocons start stating positions like Goldwater, you be sure to let me know, OK?

    Well, considering my definition of paleocons is pretty much "Goldwater Republicans", done and done.

    Coolidge, Taft, Goldwater, Buckley, Reagan - yeah, there is some variation amongst them, but thats pretty much the definition of paleocon.

  • JMR||

    Regarding the tax and spend drugwar, Barr constitutes living proof that "tough love" works. Libertarians from around the nation (thanks to my buddy, the late Ron Crickenburger) pooled our money together to target drugwar assh0les like Barr, and we (along with an inconvenient accidental discharge -- the guy truly ISN'T that bright at times...) caused him to lose an election. Losing his center of the universe job was the best thing that ever happened to his opinions. I've said it before: "Politicians...Ya gotta slap 'em around every once in a while to keep 'em in line." :)
    JMR

  • ||

    To me he came off as not someone who has converted to libertarianism, but someone who has a vendetta against the GOP and wants to punish them a bit.

    Yup. And I'm OK with that. Even if it means tarnishing the hard won image of the LP (ha!).

    You know, when you look at Bob Barr and the LP, you can't help but think of the perfume on a pig analogy. The odd thing is that they entire world sees Bob Barr as the perfume, except LP loyalists who see the LP as the perfume.

  • ||

    Yup. And I'm OK with that. Even if it means tarnishing the hard won image of the LP (ha!).

    I guess what bothers me about it is that to me, this comes off as a missed opportunity for the LP to change that image.

    Regardless of anyones personal feelings about him, Bob Barr isn't considered a fringe or nutty person in the media, and having someone who the media considers as conventional or mainstream touting libertarian ideas would really be a boon for Libertarianism (something that I believe is much needed in American politics)

    It would have been nice to see Barr express his belief in Libertarian principles rather than express his disappointment in the who was in charge -- or at least say disavow the mindset that made him vote for things like DoM, WoD, or Patriot -- and talk about why those things are wrong/bad regardless of who is in charge and how much they might be using these tools in good faith.

    In essence, I kind of expect the Libertarian candidate to try and enhance that image and to promote libertarian ideals by showing that he really genuinely believes in those ideals, rather than making it obvious that he only tolerates those ideals when the wrong people are in charge or that those ideals have a proper time and place for them.

  • Snootful||

    It would have been nice to see Barr express his belief in Libertarian principles rather than express his disappointment in the who was in charge



    Nice? I think it would be the bare minimum one could expect from the LP nominee, rather than just "I can get you some press, and I grudgingly tolerate most libertarian principles."

  • ||

    What ChicagoTom said.

    From my standpoint, the best thing about Barr is that he gives folks like Reason, as well as sympathizers in the MSM, cover for covering him and the Libertarian Party.

    Writing long "think pieces" about the likes of Badnarik, or debating his effect on the election, or following his campaign day to day or week to week, would have just seemed pathetic. And I say that as someone who voted for him.

    The LP will certainly get more press than it's ever gotten before. Will the opportunity be squandered by either Barr or the LP? Perhaps.

  • Ali||

    The bottom line is, anyone barely familiar with libertarianism (i.e., many people) could easily walk away from this thinking that libertarians are wishy-washy flip-floppers. I.e., not to be trusted.

  • ||

    Ali,
    At least they're thinking about libertarianism.
    Being thought of as "wishy-washy flip-floppers" is the least of our problems.
    "Hey, aren't you the guys who had a Smurf running for Senate, harharhar!"

  • Mike Laursen||

    But as they say, you run with the Barr you have, not the Barr you want...

    Roseanne?

  • ||

    I have been a libertarian and a Libertarian
    for over 30 years.

    _I_ believe that the problem with the war on drugs is that it "doesn't work." I think the problem with "prohibitionism" is that it causes more harm than good.

    I think that the reason we have a "right" to do foolish and wicked things (participate in vice) is that efforts to suppress vice have bad consequences.

    The notion that we will find something that "works" is pretty implausible. But if these age-old difficulties were resolved, then I would have to reassess my libertarian views.

  • Ali||

    "Hey, aren't you the guys who had a Smurf running for Senate, harharhar!"

    Citizen Nothing- Well, I guess you're right. Still, I think he could have done better by showing a stronger (social) liberal side of libertarianism.

  • ||

    I thought Barr did great. Apparently they aired different versions of the show to others commenting on the thread. And, Colbert saying he is a "libertarian" to an audience full of people that does stuff Colbert suggests? A lot of LP votes got picked up with this interview.

  • Rotter||

    I think that the reason we have a "right" to do foolish and wicked things (participate in vice) is that efforts to suppress vice have bad consequences.



    I think that you must distinguish carefully between things that are "foolish" and things that are "wicked". I don't think you have any business stopping someone from being a fool, hurting only himself, but an obligation to stop someone from being wicked, that is, hurting others.

    That's how I understand would interpret that distinction, anyway.

  • ed||

    Just caught the rerun. Colbert's intro pandered to his brain-dead audience and served only to fix himself firmly in the mainstream left, in case anyone was still unsure. Barr was gracious in not slugging him. Colbert reached deeply into his bag of libertarian stereotypes and tried to be funny. Barr made the most of a losing proposition. It was over none too soon. No one will remember it.

  • ||

    I do not want to associate myself with someone who seemed hypocritical on very basic issues important to libertarians. From the WoD, to marriage, to what not. Embarrassing.

    Under your classifications of seeming hypocritical wouldn't most of the American public appear as such if we suddenly transformed into a libertarian society?

    Under such a sea change i know i would not be embarrassed...and seeing one former republican come to my way of thinking is anything but embarrassing.

  • ||

    The libertarian stereotypes were hilarious, and anyone prone to viewing those gags as legitimate points is too far gone to bother with anyway.

  • Nik||

    I too find the "Americans are tired of more of the same...Third Parties rock!" thing very tiresome. When I heard that I thought "Didn't Ross Perot take advantage of that in 1992 with a larger margin then Barr will probably take this year?"

    But aside from that I thought it was a pretty good interview. Barr didn't fumble but he didn't shine or anything.

    Also I loved the libertarian sterotype: "Govmant gunna tak mah gold!"

  • ||

    I'm sorry, but you're killing me Toby!

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