Cicero at the Political Insider blog wonders whether freshly-minted Libertarian Bob Barr can be convinced to run for president.
Barr looked beyond the House throughout his political career. He ran for Senate in 1992 and openly mused about a 2000 presidential run in 1998. While he would not win the presidency as a Libertarian, he would be the party's highest-profile candidate since it nominated ex-Rep. Ron Paul of Texas, also a Republican, in 1988. Paul's candidacy led for many calls for his inclusion in the presidential debates, and a Libertarian candidacy by Barr would draw similar calls.
Why would Barr run? His post-congressional focus on privacy issues and the domestic excesses of the War on Terror could give him a real base. None of the leading Republican candidates has offered substantial criticism of post-9/11 U.S. civil liberties policies, nor has Sen. Hillary Clinton. A third party candidate stressing such issues might find a following.
That's interesting speculation, but Barr himself says he won't take the plunge. And third party candidacies aren't observable in utero like major party candidacies. We can see how interested Mitt Romney is in running by how many advisers he signs up, how much money he raises, how many fags he smashes up with baseball bats. He needs to do that to edge out the many other competitors for the job and win over the millions of primary voters. But third party candidates can win their party's nominations with only a little organization and planning, so there's no way of telling if Barr is quietly interested in a bid. We have to take him at his word that he's not.