Michael Badnarik on Barr and the LP

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After talking with a bunch of delegates and with both former officeholders-turned-Libertarian presidential candidates, I talked with 2004 LP nominee Michael Badnarik to understand what LP true believers think of Barr and Gravel. He's still holding out hope for a Ron Paul Republican nomination ("most people don't understand how the nomination process works or how delegate selection works") but he dismissed the idea that Barr or Gravel should worry Libertarians.

If you focus on some past vote you didn't like, you're kind of making a judgement that people can't change and can't improve. I think people in glass houses shouldn't throw stones. All of us should grow up—all of us have done really stupid things. If you were in Congress, working hard, and you made some bad decisions sincerely, you can move past that. I'm always willing to give people the benefit of the doubt.

I wondered if Badnarik thought that the same phenomenon—people demanding a candidate who agreed with them on everything over a candidate with unorthodox beliefs but more cash and media exposure—handed him the nomination in 2004.

There's a difference. What the delegates in Atlanta (at the 2004 LP Convention) were doing was based on what Russo said in his campaign, or in the candidates' debate. If you're saying you're going to use executive orders or institute martial law in front of these delegates, that's different than saying "I made a vote in favor of the drug war, and now I'm changed my position." I know there are people who just hold a grudge, but I can't change their minds.

Badnarik wouldn't endorse or rule out anyone running for the LP nod, in large part because of his support for Paul (whom he endorsed back in February 2007). "I wouldn't be surprised if someone threw his name in the hat at the convention," he said. "What were they thinking, that if he raised $10 million the media bias against him would just fade away? These people are completely inexperienced in politics. The good news is actually how biased the GOP has been against Ron Paul. The fact that they are trying to subvert his campaign and deny him delegates is an indication of what a huge threat he is."

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  1. (“most people don’t understand how the nomination process works or how delegate selection works”)

    True

    He’s still holding out hope for a Ron Paul Republican nomination

    but obviously Badnarik also does not understand the process.

  2. Still holding out hope for a Ron Paul Republican nomination?

    What am I missing?

  3. Wow, i was skimming and didn’t even catch that, thought he was waiting for a Ron Paul Libertarian run.

    I still don’t really know who Badnarik is, other than that he ran in 2004. They REALLY need a better PR team. I don’t think Gravel is the answer, unless you’re trying to attract the sarcastic college kid vote. Those videos were pretty funny.

  4. He’s still holding out hope for a Ron Paul Republican nomination

    Sounds like Badnarik got into Russo’s stash.

  5. Now I know why Bandarik was such a bad candidate, the GOP never had to worry about him and they wont have to worry about the LP this year either it looks like.

    Seriously Mike Gravel??

  6. Badarik has it backwards. No one says that these canddiates can’t change but these candidates themselves say they haven’t changed. They still support the crap they supported before. Barr is still a drug warrior and admits as much. Gravel still wants nationalized health care.

    Sure the past is past but people don’t like them because of their present positions. Badnarik really ought to keep himself clued up before speaking out.

  7. Still holding out hope for a Ron Paul Republican nomination?

    Next thing you know, he will say that all national parks ought to be privatized. What a freak!

    1. They should be turned over to the states to do with as they see fit, The constitution puts severe restrictions on what the Fed. Govt. can own in real estate and it is stated explicitly that it must buy the land from the states which makes it clear that the Fed. does not start out owning a damn thing.

  8. I’m hoping more Libertarians read more about Mike Gravel’s “National Initiative for Democracy” policy plank and run screaming for the exists. There’s no greater threat to freedom than tyranny of the majority.

  9. The way I see it:

    Mike Gravel has no chance it would mean the self destruction of the Libertarian Party.

    Bob Barr has a legit chance but he still has a lot of people to convince, and his running hurts Root’s chances since he’s a similar candidate (ex-conservative) but better.

    Philles would be the safe, uninspired choice.

    Then the rest have a chance depending on whoever says the right thing at the right time if people are disillusioned with those other four choices.

  10. Has Barr ever repudiated his Iraq war vote??

  11. I’m kind of sick of Ron Paul. Until he discloses where all that damn money went, I’ll be supporting someone else.

  12. @stephen

    Yep, Barr and Root pretty much split the right-libertarian vote; regardless I think individually they come out ahead. However, has Barr actually come out and joined the race? A few weeks ago he still only had an exploratory committee.

  13. Did you ask him if he got himself a driver’s license?

  14. I couldn’t get past Gravel’s 2 minute opening statement in the Kansas City, MO conference. I am ready to vote for Christine Smith first (before all of those other men – not because she is a “libertarian babe”, but because she is a libertarian!) Finally, one woman running in the race that deserves to be elected, and it is *precisely* because of her politics.

    Now, Barr could be a “maybe” for me; as the blog and comments recall, there are still a few problems that I have with him that he would need to resolve for me. Still, he could be the LP’s “rock star” that they keep seeking and missing. Ron Paul would have been better, but he’s done his good work this election cycle. Let him go in peace back to WDC and continue being the lone voice of reason in a sea of hopelessness.

  15. “The fact that they are trying to subvert his [Ron Paul’s] campaign and deny him delegates is an indication of what a huge threat he is.”

    Huge threat! What a crock of shit. Is being delusional a requirement for holding office in the LP?

  16. Barr is still a drug warrior and admits as much.

    Last time I checked, Barr became a lobbyist for the Marijuana Policy Project. I don’t know a whole lot of drug warriors who do the same.

    Honestly, I can empathize with Barr because I too took a sharp right turn after 9-11. (Gimmie a break, I was young!) After a year or so, once the dust had cleared, I realized I had been hoodwinked by the GOP, and am quite bitter as a result.

    I assume Bush’s low-amongst-Republicans approval rating reflects this, as I doubt I am the only one. I can only assume Barr feels the same.

    I mean, fuck, what else am I going to do? Support HillRod? Obama? John fucking McCain? I’d at least like to support someone who has some national cred, and is at least trying to be a libertarian.

  17. However, has Barr actually come out and joined the race? A few weeks ago he still only had an exploratory committee.

    Yeah I don’t know. To me it looks like he’s testing the waters. If he expects the party to just hand him the nomination because he used to be a congressman (like Gravel does) then he might be disillusioned and not run.

    That obviously will not happen as Libertarians are notoriously stubborn people who have trouble with the concept of compromise. Which in this case is a good thing. The last thing you need is the party to commit suicide ala The reform Party with Pat Buchannan in an ultimately pointless effort to get headlines. Barr and/or Gravel would be great if they are Libertarians. Its now their job to convince the party they are.

  18. What will “obviously not happen” in my previous comment was the LP giving away the Nom, not Barr decided to bow out. if anyone is confused reading it.

  19. *deciding to bow out

    Ok I’m done.

  20. I do think that Gravel’s attempt at the Lib Party is an attention grabbing tactic, as his own politics clearly belie the party’s – and not in some trivial, “can’t we accept someone a little different” sort of way. I don’t think this is tantamount to Ron Paul’s primitive visceral nativism, in the sense that Gravel disagrees on a much broader sense with the philosophy of the entire party he’s running for. As such, one can only assume his gesture is as disingenuous as any bullshit concocted by Hillary or any other power-broker. Only difference is, he’s less popular, so he has to play the role of snake-oil salesman rather than Dear Leader.

    Now I am as dismayed by visceral emotional policies like Paul’s as the next rational person, but at least he has some adherence to the principle of less government, though with such a drawback of the state and no ID system, I don’t see exactly how he’d keep those hoards of brown-skinned free-loaders from “TAKIN-OUR-JOBS!”

  21. “Libertarian Babe”?

    That is the kind of vote pandering I readily stoop too.

    Off to Google image search!

  22. Gravel’s support for the national referendum is a great idea. His particular plan for implimenting it is flawed but not the basic concept. In fact the ability to repeal bad laws passed by the federal government is allowed Switzerland. Francis Kendall proposed this for South Africa (After Aparthid, The Solution for South Africa), others have proposed it for Iraq. It’s a great idea.

  23. The last thing you need is the party to commit suicide ala The reform Party with Pat Buchannan in an ultimately pointless effort to get headlines.

    Who else were they supposed to nominate, John Hagelin? It’s not like a political party can manufacture candidates.

  24. “Josh | April 25, 2008, 4:07pm | #

    Has Barr ever repudiated his Iraq war vote??”

    Yes.

  25. The LP is joke and will never amount to anything. Theres only one party that has ever reduced the size of government, and thats the Party of Reagan. The “best” the LP can ever do is Nader an election for the Conservative, which is just a huge, childish, self-inflicted wound for advocates of a more limited government.

  26. Yesterday, I was stating that a McCain victory in North Carolina would be an easy call and the polls that showed my state as e a toss up had to be flawed. What a difference one 24 hour cycle can make, eh?

    I must have spoken to over two dozen Republicans today while out and about
    traveling through Durham, G-boro and Winston Salem and they unanimously would like to toss McCain overboard for his backstabbing of the NCGOP.
    Who knows, Badnarik might be on to something rather than on something when he still holds out hope for a Paul nomination.

    McCain gives a speech at the Convention in September that pisses the delegates off (see, he is capable of doing that being an idiot and everything) and they no longer seem so locked in by nomination rules. However, they would probably replace McCain with a Gingrich if by some twisted fate they went this route.

    If you like smash mouth politics (and who that isn’t wearing Chantilly lace draped gloves to hold their smelling salts doesn’t?), it is going to be an amusing election season and after November we will all need methadone to kick the habit.

  27. Theres only one party that has ever reduced the size of government, and thats the Party of Reagan.

    LOL. I peed myself a little. I love you Neil. Never let that straight face slip up. LoL.

  28. “Gravel’s support for the national referendum is a great idea. His particular plan for implimenting it is flawed but not the basic concept. In fact the ability to repeal bad laws passed by the federal government is allowed Switzerland. Francis Kendall proposed this for South Africa (After Aparthid, The Solution for South Africa), others have proposed it for Iraq. It’s a great idea.” No, it’s a terrible idea, because it’s not simply a public veto vote, it’s the ability by anyone to draft anything and have it pass with 51%, without any ability for the courts to declare it unconstitutional. So if a simple majority of “the people” want to ban all guns, there’s no way for the courts to nullify the law because it violates the 2nd amendment. Libertarians of all stripes in all ages have warned of majority tyranny.

  29. The GOP, since Reagan, massive tax cuts, the defeat of government health care, welfare reform, and staunchly conservative small-government judges.

    What has the LP done besides run loser candidates who rant about banker conspiracies and drivers lisences?

  30. Ron Paul has attracted support because he has a record in congress of defending freedom and opposing war and big government. His campaign has built on that record.

    Bob Barr has changed many of his opinions, but his record in Congress included voting for the war, for the Patriot Act, for No Child Left Behind and for the Prescription Drug benefit. His campaign can not be built on that record, so being a former Congressman does not bring much to his campaign.

    Ron Paul will not get the Republican nomination, but his campaign has already received more votes than any Libertarian candidate for President, and he will be on the remaining Republican primary ballots. So I support Ron Paul for the long haul.

    Follow Ron Paul news & http://www.libertariansforpaul.com

  31. massive tax cuts Tax cuts don’t cut the level of spending, and even the theory of starving the beast doesn’t work as actual intake of revenue from 81 – 08 has increased in every year but 2001.

    the defeat of government health care

    This was shelved by a democratic committe heads before the Republicans even had a chance to vote for or against it.

    welfare reform

    The much maligned Bill Clinton championed welfare reform in speeches
    going back to the mid 80’s. Long before Gingrich saw it as an issue.

    staunchly conservative small-government judges

    Silly claim, given most of the GOP appointees have been supporters of the drug war boondoggle.

    Also, Clinton actually reduced the size of the federal bureaucracy, yet under Reagan, Bush I, and Bush II, it has only grown and grown and grown and grown.

  32. The court could certainly strike down laws passed by national initiative. The state courts strike down state initiatives, federal courts could strike down federal initiatives. In fact state courts could strike down federal initiatves if they violated state constitutions.

    But just imagine if citizens could use referenda to repeal federal laws or to have them repealed for just their state. Federalism would be a alive and well.

  33. “staunchly conservative small-government judges” Ha! Staunchly pro big government whatever-executive-branch-wants-to-do judges is more like it.

  34. I feel it’s once again time to thank Eric the .5B for inventing the Non-coercive Idiot Filter.

    Thank you, Eric. Goodbye, Neil.

  35. Ah, Neil, you know I really don’t much like President Clinton but Welfare Reform happened on his watch. I’m not sure how much credit the GOP gets for that, although certainly they get some.

    The KEY to that is this: WE DIDN’T GET ANY OF THAT MONEY BACK! The welfare money I mean, they just spent it on other stuff.

    GWB and the GOP Congress were the FIRST to ever spend two trillion dollars in one year. Now that’s the great stuff I’m talking about.

    Number One!

    Numero Uno!

    Go Team!

    Bring it On!

  36. Thanks for the kind words, Baked Penguin!

  37. Alan, I do think Gingrich/Army do deserve some credit because people often forget from 1992-1994, Clinton was very typical liberal Democrat. Stimulus packages, gays in the military as the BIG issue,Hillary health care etc-. Once, the GOP took over Congress it 1994, that is when Clinton triangulated himself(with Dick Morris’ help) to be basically an Eisenhower Republican.

  38. Clinton vetoed welfare reform twice before he finally signed it into law. If it hadn’t been for the Gingrich congress keeping up the pressure, I’m pretty sure there wouldn’t have been any meaningful welfare reform on Clinton’s watch.

  39. So Michael Badnarik is a deluded nutcase. Any stories on the preferred defecation spots of bears or the Pope’s religious views?

    DISCLOSURE: I voted for Badnarik in 2004, and I can’t be sure, but I think a few of my brain cells died laughing at that moment.

  40. Andrew, sure, I agree Clinton was one of the more opportunist presidents in our life time. He ran as a moderate in ’92, but unfortunately once in office, he chose a liberal staff with irresponsible pie in the sky views that got him into a lot of trouble with the electorate, so those first few years were unproductive for him. Funny, because he essentially governed against his own instincts.

    I have nothing negative to say about Dick Army. As for Gingrich I have hated him with a deep and ever lasting conviction since he gave that speech praising FDR on Jan 21 2005.

  41. I only give Gingrich credit because he was front man for the Contract with America and was the senior GOP leader in the House after 1994. Your correct though, he really isn’t a conservative either. He is an Alan Tofler futurist.

  42. Bramblyspam, Clinton campaigned openly in his first run for the roses for welfare reform. After he was elected he piddled around, true enough, and then the Republicans did ratchet the pressure up. He vetoed two bills because they were too harsh and then signed the third version that was a milder reform.

  43. There was a spirit of libertarianism in the air in the ’94 election cycle, but with Gingrich we got someone who derailed that political drive; if I was of the conspiratorial bent, instead of someone who believes zeitgeist often inexplicably happen, I would say that Gingrich was put in place to diffuse the spirit of ’94 and make sure very little change in the Washington establishment occurred. Funny how it all turned around, and I saw that happening even before Oklahoma City.

  44. Chris, I would vote for any LP candidate, even Howard Stern, before I’d vote for any of the current crop of hopefuls.

  45. I’m a huge Ron Paul supporter, but I knew from day one that he would never get the nomination. Anyone who thought otherwise was delusional. Unfortunately, there are a lot of delusional people in the Ron Paul movement. Badnarik is one of them.

    Is it possible that Ron Paul will get the nomination? Sure, but it would require a “road to Damascus” life changing event for several hundred GOP delegates. Believing that all those unpledged delegates will all decide to vote for Ron Paul is as unlikely as winning the lotto tomorrow. The sad thing is, I suspect that quite a of those hold out believers are hedging their retirement on lotto tickets. Sigh.

  46. Brandybuck wrote, “The sad thing is, I suspect that quite a of those hold out believers are hedging their retirement on lotto tickets.”

    Why not? For many people in the Ron Paul voting demographic, odds of winning the lottery are greater than of getting a meaningful return on their “contributions” to Social Security. The government is taking too much in taxes and devaluing the dollar too much to leave these people much investment capital, so their retirement fund is pretty much Social Security or lottery tickets. I’m glad for those who have realized which is the better investment.

  47. Why not? For many people in the Ron Paul voting demographic, odds of winning the lottery are greater than of getting a meaningful return on their “contributions” to Social Security.

    ROTFLMAO!!! That’s the funniest thing I’ve read all day! Ignorant people may rely on Social Security, but only the truly stupid rely on the lottery. You have more than a choice between ignorance and stupidity! You can choose to invest instead! Duh!

    I’ve seen people spend $20 a week on lotto tickets. Crazy, I know, but I’ve seen it. If you invest that weekly $20 in an investment fund instead, over 40 years, you could retire with half a million dollars. Interest rates and taxes will fluctuate over that time, but that is a reasonable result. Adjusting for inflation, you aren’t going to be eating filet mignon in your retirement years, but it will still be far far better than the big zero you got from the lotto.

    Want to make the numbers look better? Stop smoking and invest your cigarette money. At four dollars a pack and one pack a day, that comes out to $1460 a year. Adding that to the $1040 in annual lotto tickets, the average “white trash” lotto laying smoker can retire with three quarters to one million dollars.

    Be smart about your investments. Diversify, use funds with a long track record. Stay away from the lottery, and work towards abolishing social security and getting inflation under control.

  48. I’m kind of sick of Ron Paul. Until he discloses where all that damn money went, I’ll be supporting someone else.

    Umm, Ron Paul has disclosed in mind-numbing detail where all the money went. Hit up fec.gov if you’re really interested to know that on February 7 he spent $4.44 at Taco Del Mar in Seattle.

  49. “Be smart about your investments.”

    Be tall and good looking,too, you stupid, ugly dwarf.

  50. Why didn’t Ron Paul give the Nazi money to the NAACP?

  51. EDWEIIRRRDOOOO:

    cuz he needed the money for his cleaning bill after getting run off the bridge that one time.

  52. What has the LP done besides run loser candidates who rant about banker conspiracies and drivers lisences?

    Neil you should probably learn more about monetary systems before you make foolish statements. Name one fiat paper currency that has not resulted in a hyperinflationary collapse? What is our central bank doing different that would save us from the same results?

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