Rep. John Boehner on Bob Barr, Jeff Flake, and Losing Elections

I grabbed lunch at a surprisingly subdued meeting between House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) and around 50 conservative bloggers, reporters, and think-tankers. The American Spectator and Americans for Tax Reform hosted. Boehner's message of the day was "American-made energy," his buzz word for the campaign that Republicans will run against Democrats who refuse to drill in Alaska, shale, or offshore deposits. And most of the questions politely focused on energy.

My one question was about Bob Barr. Boehner said he hadn't talked to Barr since he launched his Libertarian presidential bid, but "if I were talking to a conservative I’d suggest that they allow their vote to count and vote for John McCain. Bob Barr’s not going to win." When I asked what he thought of the idea that a Barr vote would shock the GOP into reforming itself (in a more libertarian direction, one assumes), Boehner flashed a get-real kind of smile. "A vote for Bob Barr—you might as well vote for Barack Obama. If you want to throw your vote away, that's fine. But that's what it would be."

Phillip Klein of the American Spectator (and occasionally of reason), teeing off Boehner's talk of "reform," asked why Rep. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) didn't get a seat on the House Appropriations Committee. "The steering committee decided that another member was more qualified for the job," Boehner said, "and the steering committee made that decision. I know that a lot of people control the steering committee. I wish I did!"

Michael Barone asked Boehner an open-ended question about the party's chances of taking back the House. "John McCain has a good chance of winning," Boehner said. The implication of that dodge was pretty obvious. When James Poulos asked a follow-up question about House retirements, Boehner said the party had a good chance in "23 or 24" of the seats opened up by Republican departures. There have been 30 such departures.


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  • ||

    Again, further proof that the Goldwater-GOP is dead. Long dead.

  • ||

    OK, John Boehner: If voting for Bob Barr will not lead to a GOP reformation, will a vote for Obama do the trick?

  • ||

    "A vote for Bob Barr-you might as well vote for Barack Obama.

    Assuming that Bob Barr has no chance to win, that is still an incorrect statement. IOW, genius congresscritter, you should be hoping I vote for Barr, because there is no way I'm voting for McCain.

  • ||

    "The steering committee decided that another member was more qualified for the job," Boehner said, "and the steering committee made that decision. I know that a lot of people control the steering committee. I wish I did!"

    Let me translate that into simple terms that everyone can understand. "the steering committee decided that it was more important to continue to steal than it was to ever be a majority party again and chose someone who better furthers that end than Mr. Flake".

    Oh well I am sure regardless of what happens in the election they Larry Craig will still be able to get blowjobs in airports and the rest of them will be free to do whatever it is they do and in the end that is what is important isn't it?

  • ||

    If you want to throw your vote away, that's fine.

    I don't know why I'm so shocked that a politician is discouraging people from voting with their hearts and heads, but I am.

  • ||

    The only way to throw your vote away, is if you actually vote.

  • ||

    These people really do make my flesh crawl. The Republicans make me want to vomit letalone the Democrats. You should meet their staffers sometime. I swear there is a five week instruction course on how to be an arrogant prick for anyone who gets hired.

  • Episiarch||

    I guess it's better to be a small (party) fish in a huge pond of spending than a big (party) fish in a slightly smaller pond of spending.

    Idiots.

  • Brian Defferding||

    Such smug arrogance against third parties and ignorance towards their potential voters was what cost the Democrats the 2000 election, and will cost the Republicans this upcoming one.

    But I do agree with J sub D - Boehner has no clue about the people who may vote for Bob Barr. While I would never vote for Obama, I completely despise McCain. According to Boehner's backwards logic, I might as well ensure his own party's candidate loses in November.

  • ||

    "I guess it's better to be a small (party) fish in a huge pond of spending than a big (party) fish in a slightly smaller pond of spending."

    If your goal is to get yourself and your chronies back home rich and avoid having to leave the fleshpots of Washington, it is.

    Just once I would like to get in the same room with some rat bastard like Boehner as a private citizen not a government employee and tell him what a pieces of shit he and the entire Republcan Congressional delegation is and how they fucked up the country. It would do no good, but I would like to do it if I could keep from strangling the bastard.

  • ||

    "A vote for Bob Barr-you might as well vote for Barack Obama"

    And a vote for McCain is a vote for assholes like this 'running the county'.

  • brandon||

    A Republican Congress is (slightly) more friendly towards liberty in my estimation, but I am SO happy they lost control. What a bunch of useless pricks.

  • B||

    A vote for Bob Barr-you might as well vote for Barack Obama.

    Um, no. This assumes my vote for Barr would otherwise go to McCain. Since my current preference algorithm is:

    hypothetical libertarian > Barr >> Obama > retarded monkey > McCain

    this is not likely the case.

  • ||

    It's not throwing away your vote. If McCain loses by half a percent, everyone in the GOP leadership is going to blame it the Democrat machine. But if they lose by 8% to 10% because the ideological right pulled the lever for Barr, then they will have to pay attention. Voting for Barr will actually give your vote MORE weight than voting for McCain (or staying home).

    Last Saturday a GOP volunteer called me to get me to walk precincts for McCain. I told her no way, no how. After listening to my fifteen minute spiel on why I could not vote for him, she said, "yeah, that's what everyone else has been telling me this morning". She was calling the GOP activists list, not random households. When the core of the Republican Party isn't voting for McCain, I'm starting to wonder who will be.

  • ||

    "I'd suggest that they allow their vote to count and vote for John McCain. Bob Barr's not going to win … If you want to throw your vote away, that's fine. But that's what it would be."

    I'll be on the lookout for bumper stickers that read: "Vote McCain or Fuck Off."

  • ||

    I did throw away my vote last election. I voted Republican.

  • svf||

    "I'd suggest that they allow their vote to count and vote for John McCain. Bob Barr's not going to win." ... Boehner flashed a get-real kind of smile. "A vote for Bob Barr-you might as well vote for Barack Obama. If you want to throw your vote away, that's fine. But that's what it would be."



    This is probably the most persuasive argument in favor of voting for Bob Barr that I've ever read.

    Barr should plaster this statement all over his website, along with this fetching photo of Boehner and Pelosi working hard for the American taxpayer...

  • Bingo||

    Go figure, a guy named "Boehner" is a gigantic prick!

  • brandon||

    When the core of the Republican Party isn't voting for McCain, I'm starting to wonder who will be.

    McCain will not get the vote of several of my friends, all conventional Republicans who voted for Bush.

  • ||

    "The steering committee decided that another member was more qualified for the job,"



    Doesn't really surprise me that Boehner seems only mildly interested in getting Flake a position on Appropriations. After all, it was Boehner who let him swing when he got dumped from Judiciary for criticizing earmarks (both by Republicans and Democrats).

    As a leader, Boehner's a Bush company man and a hack...just a slightly less reprehensible version of Tom DeLay. He's the perfect example of why the GOP is getting its ass handed to it by a party as incompetent as the Democrats.

  • ||

    How can Barr's campaign push the GOP in a libertarian direction when Barr is a paleoconservative. I agree the purpose of Barr's takeover of the LP is to change the Republican Party, regardless of what he does to the LP in the process, but the direction that he and Viguerie want the GOP to go is not libertarian.

  • PC||

    The problem is that people still expect the people who got us into this mess to get us out of it. The Republican Party needs to hit rock bottom before it can improve, the cancer is at the top, people like Boehner just need to be shown the door. The local Republican parties are run by small groups of cheerleaders for the national party, join those groups, oust the cheerleaders and then oust the national scumbags. They have been overwhelmed at many conventions around the country, become a delegate and send the a-holes packing. People can't sit on the sidelines and expect change.

  • Andrew||

    Its not just about reforming the republican party though, its about building the libertarian party. Once the LP starts getting more votes the other parties will respond to that.

  • Galileo Galilei||

    does the House GOP Leader have any polling data to back up his assertion?

    I've seen polls that said Barr pulled evenly (within the margin of error) from McCain and Obama.

    I've also seen polls where Obama is polling 15% better than McCain among (small "l") libertarians.

    And Obama has a better shot at anti-war, anti-incumbant, and 9/11 Truth voters.

    It should also be pointed out that McCain has made no attempt to "reach out" to Barr voters or Ron Paul voters.

    Message to the Barr Campaign and Stephen Gordon >>> Please get on this thing, this is the major attack being used against Barr and Libertarians at this time, the Polls are again being used as a weapon against us!

    Barr is weak on 9/11 Truth, but I will still vote for him because the Libertarian Party is the best party out there on the Drug War, income taxes, war, and 9/11 Truth.

    There are tons of libertarian 9/11 Truthers out there. Obama will pull more of them than McCain:

    74.1% of Libertarians are LIHOP (page 6)
    http://www.zogby.com/za0911.pdf

    FYI

    LIHOP = Let It Happen On Purpose

  • ||

    "74.1% of Libertarians are LIHOP (page 6)
    http://www.zogby.com/za0911.pdf"

    Then 74.1% are batshit fucking insane, which doesn't surprise me.

  • ||

    How can Barr's campaign push the GOP in a libertarian direction when Barr is a paleoconservative.

    Paleoconservatism is far better than either neoconservatism or progressivism when it comes to protecting our freedoms. Pulling the GOP back to the paleo side would, in effect, be making the party more libertarian. I bet Reagan would agree, and Goldwater definitely would.

  • ||

    "74.1% (of Libertarians) are batshit fucking insane"
    I'll put that number against the Republicans any day.

  • ||

    At least Republican members of Congress

  • ||

    I vote for who I want to win. Voting for someone who I don't want to win seems like a waste of my vote to me.

  • ||

    I would like to see every single Republican incumbent defeated.

    Not because I believe in that "rock-bottom" crap; just because they deserve it.

  • svf||

    I'll put that number against the Republicans any day.

    according to this poll, if I'm reading it right...

    49% of Progressives (?)
    45% of Liberals
    27% of Moderates
    46% of Conservatives
    35% of Very Conservatives (?)

    ... are also batshit fucking insane.

    Therefore, the poll itself is batshit.

  • ||

    When you do a poll and just ask some one the question, you'll get a apparently scarily large number of troofers. But most of those are people who've never really thought about it and don't care. It's not representative of the small cadre of dedicated crazies we've all come to know and love.

    And one of the best things to come from Barr being nominated is that there's no problem with Barr associating with so many crazies like Ron Paul did/does.

  • svf||

    and, reading further, those batshit fucking insane people above agreed with this statement, which could be interpreted in a few different ways:

    The U.S. government knew about the plans for 9/11 but did nothing to stop the attacks.

    For the truly certifiable batshit fucking insanity, you have to go to page 2 of the poll results, where the question was...

    401. Level of agreement - The 9/11 attacks were carried out by the U.S. government

    ...where you discover that, perhaps surprisingly, Libertarians WEREN'T the craziest motherfuckers responding to the poll after all...

    13% of Progressives
    9% of Liberals
    8% of Moderates
    7% of Conservatives
    17% of Very Conservatives
    12% of Libertarians

  • Galileo Galilei||

    "according to this poll, if I'm reading it right...

    49% of Progressives (?)
    45% of Liberals
    27% of Moderates
    46% of Conservatives
    35% of Very Conservatives (?)

    ... are also batshit fucking insane.

    Therefore, the poll itself is batshit."

    That poll was taken last September, almost a year ago. The methodology is sound, and I agree, the numbers are too low, many more have converted to the movement since then, based on evidence.

    Here's another link to the poll:

    Press TV/Zogby International Poll Results
    http://www.zogby.com/NEWS/ReadNews.dbm?ID=1358

    Other polls are in line with this one, here's some more:

    Zogby Poll: 51% of Americans Want Congress to Probe Bush/Cheney Regarding 9/11 Attacks; Over 30% Seek Immediate Impeachment
    67% also fault 9/11 Commission for not investigating anomalous collapse of World Trade Center 7
    http://www.zogby.com/news/ReadNews.dbm?ID=1354

    A Wisconsin lawmaker says that a part-time UW instructor should be fired for his views that the U.S. government was behind 9/11. What do you think?
    http://www.channel3000.com/news/9457154/detail.html

    Americans Question Bush on 9/11 Intelligence
    http://www.channel3000.com/news/9457154/detail.html

    Third of Americans suspect 9-11 government conspiracy
    http://www.scrippsnews.com/911poll

    Zogby Special Feature
    A WORD ABOUT OUR POLL OF AMERICAN THINKING TOWARD THE 9/11 TERRORIST ATTACKS
    http://www.zogby.com/features/features.dbm?ID=231

    Ron Paul was HOT because it combined the three of the four hottest movements; Libertarian movement, the anti-war movement and the 9/11 Truth movement. Only the Obama movement was missed.

    Expect Third party vote totals to be way up this year, and much will go to Bob Barr.

  • svf||

    I agree, the numbers are too low...

    er... that's not the point I was attempting to make...

    but somehow I'm not surprised you didn't ... uh ... get it.

  • ||

    Oh fuck. Who let the truthers in? Smoebody's supposed to be watching the door.

  • ||

    A GOP reformation. This is a vote for the president of the united states.

    Obama voted against a homeowner Dale Hemar defending himself against a robber.


    How any libertarian could consider voting for Obama is madness. He is the complete anti libertarian candidate.

    It is madness how many libertarians are hoping Obama wins.


    Our elections are a joke. Candidates positions don't matter just so long as they are popular like American Idol.

  • ||

    I can't believe how many libertarians are partying at the thought of pelosi, reid and obama.

    At least McCain would veto the democrats spending.

    There will be no gridlock with Obama, Pelosi and 60 senate filibuster proof majority with a Reid lead senate.

    Tell me exactly why you people want Obama to win so much.


    What will a dem congress with a filibuster proof majority and Obama presidency do to help libertarians.

    Libertarians are partying at the thought of an Obama presidency.

    If you look at Obama's record he is the complete opposite of the liberatian philosophy.

    But you would never know it for how much they want Obama to win.

  • Bingo||

    Well damn, Sam convinced me. John McCain is the only true libertarian candidate.

  • ||

    The depth and breadth of libertarian animosity to the GOP surprises me sometimes. Not that the Republicans don't deserve it. I wonder how long it will take them to figure it out.

    Sam, you think it'll be worse than GWB and a republican congress? Maybe they'll get us in a useless war and start a huge new entitlement program. They could even increase the feds interference in traditionally local issues like education. Maybe they'll pass laws that curtail the citizens liberty. Or even violate the remaining safeguards because it's just too inconvenient.

    Ya think?

  • ||

    A Troofer by any other name still smells like ass. LIHOP is just a disguise MIHOPs use when out in public. I've never met a LIHOP Troofer. All self-identified Troofers are MIHOPS. They pretend to be LIHOPs in public, but become full-bore MIHOPS at the meetups.

  • ||

    LIHOP? MIHOP? Who cares? If the 9/11 is the primary issue that motivates you politically, something's wrong with you.

  • Galileo Galilei||

    If Barr could get all the LIHOP vote, 42.5%, then he would win the election, unless Obama or McCain polled below 15%.

    btw

    Do you guys think Iran in 1953 was LIHOP or MIHOP?

  • ||

    A Troofer by any other name still smells like ass. LIHOP is just a disguise MIHOPs use when out in public. I've never met a LIHOP Troofer. All self-identified Troofers are MIHOPS. They pretend to be LIHOPs in public, but become full-bore MIHOPS at the meetups.

    I'm sooo confused. Troofers own a chain of restaurants that specialize in breakfast fare? I really need to pay more attention.

  • ||

    Hey sam,

    How about John McCain's liberal spending plans?

    How about his fradulent "cap and trade" system, that's real free market economy right there!

    I'm no Obama fan by any means but with McCain you get war + liberal spending and with obama you only get the liberal spending, by my math Obama comes out ahead.

  • svf||

    with McCain you get war + liberal spending and with obama you only get the liberal spending...

    so that little situation over there in Afghanistan where Obama wants to send several thousand more troops... that's not a "war"...?

  • ||

    J sub D | July 22, 2008, 6:04pm | #
    Oh fuck. Who let the truthers in? Smoebody's supposed to be watching the door.


    Ahh shit, my bad. I just went to take a piss. Warren said he'd watch it for me so, as usual it's all Warren's fault.

  • zoltan||

    Paleoconservatism is far better than either neoconservatism or progressivism when it comes to protecting our freedoms. Pulling the GOP back to the paleo side would, in effect, be making the party more libertarian. I bet Reagan would agree, and Goldwater definitely would.

    Trading one restriction on freedom for another? Sounds a bit like an equalizer.

  • ||

    Based on a lot of the comments here many think Boob Barr here is some sort of paleoconservative running as a Libertarian. Well given his many convoluted positions on the issues especially since he now supports Global Warming religion whose latest tenet is to magically transform 99% of the US economy with some alternative to petroleum in 10 years, its clear he is a former RINO running as a Libertarian.
    Its Repubs like him and McCain that are the reason the GOP is currently moribund. Hell this shitty Congress has a 9% approval rating and yet the Dems are expected to gain seats in both houses!
    For the record I will vote McCain not because I really support the guy but truly have reason to fear what Obama and a Dem congress can do since they will have full Mainstream Media support.

  • ||

    I don't give a crap what John Boner says! I am voting for Bob Barr anyway. I DO NOT like McCain or Obama. It's my damn vote and I will vote the way I wish!

  • Dan Litwin||

    I think it's a myth that all Libertarian votes - or even most - come from the right.

    There is very strong evidence that 3rd-choice voters, such as Libertarians, are actually coming far more often from the left. Here's that evidence:

    In 1992, when it was Bush, Sr. vs. Clinton, it was early in the race, and the polls showed Bush with about 30+ percent.

    Then Perot joined the race. Bush stayed at 30+ percent. But Clinton began to nosedive.

    Perot made it all the way up to 49% in the polls, and Bush, Sr. was STILL at 30+ percent. But at that point, Clinton was all the way down to about 15%.

    This means that almost all voters who planned to vote for Perot came from Clinton.

    It's obvious by this evidence that the left is at least as flexible as the right when it comes to considering a 3rd choice.

    Another point about 1992: There were an extra 20 million votes cast in that election over what was expected. 120 million instead of 100 million. And… there ended up being about 20 million votes for Perot.

    20 million votes for Perot. 20 million more votes than expected.

    So, we can conclude that many non-voters voted.

    Therefore, a vote for Barr, Nader, or whoever is not an R or a D, is also probably going to be a vote by someone who would otherwise stay home and not even vote.

    Republicans fear losing. So they make up these scare stories, just like the Barr campaign has now said.

  • ||

    I wonder why it is so many incompetents rise to leadership in Congress -- Boehner, Pelosi, Reid, Lott, what a bunch of useless tools. You'd think a collection of 600+ professional bullshitters would have the sense to at least elect effective bullshitters to their leadership, but I guess I give them too much credit.

  • ||

    I was thinking that a new constitutional amendment REQUIRING all eligible voters to vote would be the best new law in this country. People would be pissed off that they actually had to vote and third parties and indies would probably take over in one election cycle. And although I sort of despise Mr. Barr, I couldn't vote for anyone else this go. So Mr. Boner, you and your cronies that were instrumental in keeping Ron Paul down can go suck an egg.

  • John Shuey||

    hlm...Barr was (almost) a paleoconservative. But for the past several years he has been walking the libertarian walk more and more, Two quick examples: His work with the ACLU on privacy rights and his work with the MPP on medical marijuana. Today, I would say he is clearly a right-libertarian...a libertarian with conservative leanings.

    tao...Doesn't sound very libertarian to me. How about this - abolish the Congressional Pension Plan. Force the greedy fuckers to return to the private sector after a few terms in order to fund their retirement. Make a career in Congress costly rather than a road to riches.

  • Edward||

    What a pathetic attempt from Boehner to get more votes for McCain. Sorry, it won't work with me.

    I am voting for Barr. Obama has not earned my vote and it won't increase his election day numbers. As long as my vote is counted, it is not wasted or thrown away.

  • Kevin||

    The outright hostility of today's GOP towards libertarians is causing the party's downfall. Let it crash and burn. They're still delusional thinking that libertarian minded people have any interest whatsoever in voting for McCain. Those votes either go for Barr or they go for no one. A few may have gone for Obama.

  • the free thinker||

    Boehner is in my district and we can't seem to get rid of him. I voted for him in the past but this year I did not. Funny thing is he was running unopposed.

    I write to him all the time and he always plays party politics, makes me sick. I can't ask one thing without hearing about the evil democrats plans. Give me a break Boehner, your party owned the house for years and it was only after the country is in perpetual war and debt that it was voted out.3 (Not like Pelosi and friends are any better)

  • ||

    John Shuey...I'm down with that too. I don't even think these people should be paid. With the amendment thing, I was just, you know...clowning :o) However I am really sick of people bitching and moaning about everything to only find out they are not even registered to vote.

  • ||

    Vote Libertarian. Throwing away your vote arguement is only true in a swing state. If you are in a red state and you vote for Barr McCain will still win and if you vote for Barr in a blue state then Obama will still win. Vote your conscience if you live in a red or blue state. If you live in a swing state you might want to vote Democrat or Republican as only then will it even matter.

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