Bob Barr on Smart Montanans, Third Parties and (the Other) Georgia

Bob Barr met the press today, a group of conservative reporters gathered by The American Spectator who lobbed questions about the big two parties, the environment, Georgia, and guns. Ralph Z. Hallow of the Washington Times asked about the Democratic governor of Montana's careful praise of Barr: "Do you feel you're just an impotent tool of the Democratic party that's using you to erode support from John McCain?" Barr did not.

I view myself as a true and viable alternative to the other two parties. What the governor was reflecting was not so much a Democrat tactic but a fundamental principle of American politics. There are issues, fundamental issues, that are important to large blocs of voters... and the two major parties are not addressing them.

Hallow asked if Barr thought they did a "smart thing."

They obviously did a smart thing. They're very smart people in Montana. They have a very smart governor.

James Poulos asked what Barr thought of John McCain's statements on Georgia.

Just a few weeks ago, Sen. McCain was highly critical of Sen. Obama's foreign policy stances and politics: They were "simplistic." I'm not sure one could find a more simplistic response to a problem in the world than McCain's response to what's happening [in Georgia.] Going out there and making statements... such as 'We are all Georgians'—what does that mean? It means nothing unless it means we are to get involved on behalf of Georgia.

I read that John McCain knows the Georgian leader, President Saakashvili, that he's been over there, but his statements seem to reflect an unrealistic view of the situation over there... whether John McCain has looked into Saakashvili's eyes and seen something he liked, similar to the way George W. Bush looked into Putin's eyes, I don't know. I haven't looked into either of their eyes, so maybe that gives me an advantage.

I asked if Barr would attend the Ron Paul counter-convention at Minneapolis (he won't, as no third party presidential candidate is invited) and whether he'd debate other third party candidates. He said no: the LP was a truly national party that will be on at least 48 ballots.

Because of that, because we are far ahead of the other third parties in Zogby's very legitimate, non-partisan poll results, we believe I will be the only candidate at the end of the day who has a reasonable shot at gaining access in the national debates, the Commission on Presidential Debates. That is our goal. Our goal is not to settle for debates that are not national in scope and do not indicate to the American people that they have a right to, and will have a real choice to, go beyond the two major parties.

Michael Badnarik debated the Green candidate (David Cobb, if you want to win bar trivia) in 2004, and Harry Browne debated Constitution Party candidate Howard Phillips and Natural Law Party candidate John Hagelin in 2000.

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  • Nigel Watt||

    The eyes comment implies he has a sense of humor. I wasn't previously aware of that.

  • Elemenope||

    That had a great deal of polish to it.

    Of course, he slickly got out of saying what *he* would or wouldn't do re: Georgia. Unless I'm missing something.

  • ||

    I haven't looked into either of their eyes, so maybe that gives me an advantage.

    Where can I get that printed on a T-shirt?

  • BDB||

    Thats by far the best response to the crisis. I hope my state isn't close so I can vote my conscience without fear of having a pyscho like McCain win.

  • ed||

    Putin and his henchmen must howl with laughter every time that "looked into his eyes" statement comes up. In a presidency overflowing with stupid statements, that one has to be one of Bush's most idiotic.

  • Brian Defferding||

    Good stuff. I'm liking Bob Barr more and more everyday.

  • GG||

    The eyes comment implies he has a sense of humor.

    Penn concurs.

    I asked if Barr would attend the Ron Paul counter-convention at Minneapolis

    Please tell me reason will be there, and that Peter Bagge will draw up another awesome comic commemorating it.

    (Wead on weed: Smokin' Some Weed with Ron Paul)

  • svf||

    I asked if Barr would attend the Ron Paul counter-convention at Minneapolis (he won't, as no third party presidential candidate is invited)

    ... why the fuck not? it's not like Ron Paul is still running for president, right? (or is he.....?)

    anyway, if true, this is a foolish and shortsighted move on the CFL's part.

  • Dave Weigel||

    ... why the fuck not? it's not like Ron Paul is still running for president, right?

    Yeah, I don't get it either. Paul is a political George McClellan - he commands a huge army and has no idea what to do with it. It'd be great if he opened up his event and let any presidential candidate who wanted to (and is on state ballots) make a speech. Come Barr! Come Keyes! Come Donner and Blitzen! It would push away the issue of Paul endorsing any one candidate and would pull media in from the RNC. But, Paul dithers and subjects us instead to what will surely be an interminable gut rumble by Jesse Ventura.

  • svf||

    Of course, he slickly got out of saying what *he* would or wouldn't do re: Georgia. Unless I'm missing something.

    Nothing, apparently...

    He cautioned against becoming involved in the territorial dispute between Russia and Georgia for reasons that do not touch upon vital American interests. He subsequently criticized both McCain and Barack Obama for being too interventionist and "equally bad" on foreign policy.



    See also...

    "George Washington long ago warned America against 'entangling alliances,' and he was right," says Bob Barr, the Libertarian Party candidate for president. "Russia and Georgia risk falling into a full-scale war in which the U.S. can and hopefully will avoid any involvement.

  • svf||

    Come Barr! Come Keyes!

    Come Baldwin... come... NADER!

    I mean, Nader's having his own damn rally down the street at the same time. Why not team up for even bigger impact?

    I know there are tons of differences among these folks, but the one thing they share in common -- anti-establishment -- should be embraced for an all out alterna-convention-a-palooza rather than fragmenting and dividing so many like-minded people.

    Imagine the media spectacle of a Ron Paul / Ralph Nader / Bob Barr / Jesse Ventura / Penn Jillette / Russell Means / Howard Stern / Ed Thompson / etc. etc. stick-it-to-the-man festival.

    Yet another lost opportunity. * sigh *

  • Elemenope||

    svf --

    That's good to hear.

  • Episiarch||

    Come Baldwin... come... NADER!

    Let's not forget our pro-murder, pro-tyranny Cynthia McKinney. It would be quite a night.

  • QSL||

    Nothing, apparently...

    Good.

    The whole idea of a military alliance is simply a bad idea. Never had a desire to commit oneself into jumping into war if such-and-such member gets involved in a neighborhood scrum.

    Dissolve NATO. And when a fight breaks out somewhere, determine on a case by case basis to what extent (if any) we want to get involved. And I would imagine that the overwhelming majority of disputes we'd want to sit out, including RUS-GEO.

  • ||

    There won't be any other candidates at the counter-convention, because that would just detract from the 9/11 Troofer message. NOT that the rally is planned to be a conspiracy convention, it's just the way it's going to end up. Only Troofers still believe Paul can get the nomination, and so they will be the true believers there. Actual Ron Paul delegates will be at the real convention.

  • Brian Defferding||

    Yeah, I hope CFL clears their head and invites Barr to speak. I can't think of a better opportunity for both CFL, Ron Paul and Bob Barr to get their message across nationwide.

  • ||

    He cautioned against becoming involved in the territorial dispute between Russia and Georgia for reasons that do not touch upon vital American interests.

    Would control of a major oil pipeline feeding Europe, and supporting other former Soviet Republics, count?

    Serious question.

    Russia and Georgia risk falling into a full-scale war

    If Russion armored columns dismembering the country, and advancing (still) on Tbilisi in spite of ceasefire, doesn't count as a full-scale war, what would?

  • ||

    Would control of a major oil pipeline feeding Europe, and supporting other former Soviet Republics, count?


    Errm, and since Georgia doesn't actually, you know, have any oil of it's own how does the ownership of the pipeline affect the rest of Europe?

    It's Russian oil running through a Russian built pipeline. If Russia want's to cut off the oil flow, they can do it at the source. They won't, but they could.

    In other words, no, this is not a "vital American interest".

  • ||

    Errm, and since Georgia doesn't actually, you know, have any oil of it's own how does the ownership of the pipeline affect the rest of Europe?

    Pre-war, I don't believe Russia didn't have any means of cutting off that pipeline. Post-war, it most likely will.

    It's Russian oil running through a Russian built pipeline.

    I don't know who owns the pipeline, but its my understanding that some/most of the oil running through it is not Russian oil, but comes from other former Russian republics. Russian control of this pipeline gives Russia more leverage over Europe, and mucho leverage over the former republics.

    Is increased Russian control of European energy supplies, and Russian ability to blockade exports from some of its neighbors, a vital American interest? I can certainly see the argument for "no, its not", but I don't think its necessarily a no-brainer.

  • ||

    Errm, and since Georgia doesn't actually, you know, have any oil of it's own how does the ownership of the pipeline affect the rest of Europe?

    It's Russian oil running through a Russian built pipeline. If Russia want's to cut off the oil flow, they can do it at the source. They won't, but they could.

    In other words, no, this is not a "vital American interest".


    Erm, that would be the BTC pipeline (construction managed by Bechtel) that supplies oil from Azerbaijan to a Turkish port for export to world markets? The one that is owned as follows:

    * BP (United Kingdom): 30.1%
    * State Oil Company of Azerbaijan (SOCAR) (Azerbaijan): 25.00%
    * Chevron (USA): 8.90%
    * StatoilHydro (Norway): 8.71%
    * Türkiye Petrolleri Anonim Ortaklığı (TPAO) (Turkey): 6.53%
    * Eni/Agip (Italy): 5.00%
    * Total (France): 5.0%
    * Itochu (Japan): 3.4%
    * Inpex (Japan): 2.50%
    * ConocoPhillips (USA): 2.50%
    * Hess Corporation (USA) 2.36%

    Or would that be the Baku-Supsa Pipeline that brings oil from Azerbaijan to A Georgian port, and is operated by BP and owned by a consortium similar to the one above?

  • ||

    I kan ashure awl ewe kawknokkers that wee Montanans arr reel phuckin' smart, just lyke Bawb Bar sez.

  • ||

    Badnarik debated Cobb and also a few others such as Peroutka and at least 1 socialist ( David Somebody?) candidate. It was on CSPAN. I remember watching it with my dad, who recognized Peroutka from school, and decided to support Badnarik.

  • Brian Defferding||

    According to the Ron Paul forums (http://www.ronpaulforums.com/), the reason why Barr, Chuck and others weren't invited to the Rally for the Republic is:

    "As stated in the mission statement, this event is about calling the Republican Party back to its roots. The Tuesday event is all about beginning the process of building a new governing coalition within the RP. Even though I know and like Bob and Chuck a great deal, as does Ron, having them on stage would really step on our messaging and throw the Party hacks a lot of ammo to discredit us with.

    They already use the "not real Republicans" line when they want to hit us, no reason to prove them right. I'm a life-long Republican and dammit, I want my party back!

    That said, I hope every conservative, Republican, libertarian, paleo, anarchist and constitutionalist votes for one of those guys because it strengthens our case on November 6th and further discredits the Neo-Con establishment."

    And I'm sure the next question you ask is "Why then Jesse Ventura is speaking there?" And the answer was "Because he's not running for anything right now."

  • ||

    I hope they let Barr participate in at least one of the debates. It's good to see the candidates have to fight on more than one front. You learn more about them that way.

  • ||

    I think we all know what Barr's position would be if this situation involved Kazakhstan, don't we?

    Looking at the map of the BTC pipeline, I'm puzzled as to why it looks like they intentionally avoided Armenia in constructing it.

  • ||

    Looking at the map of the BTC pipeline, I'm puzzled as to why it looks like they intentionally avoided Armenia in constructing it.

    Weren't Armenia and Azerbaijan at war for a number of years?

  • cfl enforcer||

    reason sucks

  • ||

    There is no way David Cobb is famous enough to make it into bar trivia.

  • ||

    It is quite ironic that a Paul-critic like Dave Weigel, would prescribe to Paul who he should invite. Keyes, come on... the idea is not to marginalize yourself by providing a debating platform for third party candidates, but to take the GOP back to its roots. Also, Keyes is for the Iraq war and occupation, I think he will feel pretty lonely in the company...and he is not a member of the GOP anymore. Republicans such as gov. Gary Johnson, Barry Goldwater Jr, Doug Wead and Grover Norquist will all be speaking. From the caliber of the speakers, it is clear it will not be a marginalized event. CSPAN will cover the Rally for the Republic and there will any any case be more people at the event than at the RNC. Who knows, some of the 1/5th of the GOP senators that will NOT be attending the RNC, may in fact show up at the meeting, as well as some other GOP candidates and congressmen.

  • ||

    Baesd on McCain's infamous remark about Putin, one wonders why he has not managed to look into Bush Sr's eyes and saw three letters:
    C.I.A. (BTW the KGB is the FSB now, not that McCain would have noticed..)...and when one look into McCain's eyes, one can also see three letters: W.A.R. :-)

  • ||

    Brian: if McCain choses a pro-choice VP like Tom Ridge, Joe Lieberman, Susan Collins, Rudy Giuliani (Weigel's hero?), look for some sparkles and excitement. The target of the social conservatives at the RNC will then be the Target Center!

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