Now Playing at Reason.tv: Why Bob Barr Wants To Be President

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Libertarian Party presidential hopeful Bob Barr recently visited the reason D.C. HQ to talk about why he's running for the nation's highest office. The main reason? The erosion of civil liberties and evisceration of the Constitution under George W. Bush. In this no-question-left-unasked interview conducted by reason's David Weigel and filmed by reason's Dan Hayes, Barr explains why he voted for The PATRIOT Act and the authorization of force in Iraq (two votes he regrets greatly); what federal cabinet-level departments he would axe; why he changed his mind about the drug war; what the future holds for the LP; and much more.

So pull up a chair and spend about 15 minutes with the former GOP congressman from Georgia who now works with the ACLU and the NRA. Click on the image below to watch.

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  1. I’m guessing Barr always worked with the NRA. The ACLU may be the new stripe on the tiger’s back.

  2. Interesting interview so far, but seriously guys? Country western?

  3. That raising of only his left eyeborw gets a little annoying. It’s almost like his right side just doesn’t move.

  4. That raising of only his left eyebrow gets a little annoying. It’s almost like his right side just doesn’t move.

    Here’s to hoping his right side is dead, once and for all!

  5. Why do right-wing libertarian nerds gravitate to boring old fucks with racist pasts?

  6. Why does Edward keep posting here when he’s already made a fool of himself spewing against Ron Paul?

  7. Apparently we’re the only friends he’s got.

  8. Wow, Reason’s DC HQ looks lovely. I bet that’s a hyper-interesting library they have there.

  9. I like the way you only asked him about issues where he would give nice clean libertarian sound bites.

  10. So now I’m a Barrtard? I was wondering the same thing, Taktix, what’s up with the shit-kicking music? But the lyrics say, “I love this bar.”

  11. “…libertarian nerds gravitate to boring old fucks with racist pasts…”

    First, racism can only be proven by direct actions and not guilt by association (See the Rev. Wright and RP Newsletter controversies). Second, you could always stick to nambla-enabling candidates and candidates surrounded by a cloud of bongsmoke and see how much of the electorate that scrapes off the bottom of the barrel every election cycle.

  12. “I like the way you only asked him about issues where he would give nice clean libertarian sound bites.”

    Right, ’cause you know he left out the tough questions like, why he voted for the Patriot Act, the Iraq War, and about support for the Drug War in the 90’s. Oh wait, he asked all those questions.

  13. I dont know how Barr can be “pro freedom” when he wants to give the Islamofascists one of their prime objective–driving us out of the Greater Middle East.

  14. Neil,

    I know you can’t. And that’s why we love you.

  15. The message of leftists and libertarians seems to be “democracy for me but not for thee”.

  16. “The message of leftists and libertarians seems to be “democracy for me but not for thee”.”

    Opening up democracy in the Middle East will undoubtedly lead to people voting in theocratic sharia republics.

    If you’re looking for the Middle East to have a constitutional secular republic similar to the United States, it has to come from within like in Turkey.

    There’s a reason why up until recently we supported secular dictatorships in that region.

    Dictatorships suck, but collectivist Islamic sharia democracies are a far scarier prospect.

  17. Egosumabbas we seemed to be able to spread democracy to Germany, Japan, and South Korea and that worked out ok.

    You dont think Arabs can handle Democracy, just like a lot of people in the 40s didnt think Asians could handle Democracy. Well I do, I think its compatible with all cultures and races.

  18. Taktix?, twistedmerkin,

    Jesse Walker is a big C&W fan so if it’s here at his behest, I’m pleased to put up with it even though I don’t dig it. I like New Wave and old school punk.

    Here’s a New Wave tune with a libertarian lyrics.

    Oingo Boingo – “Capitalism”
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U0IOaef83VQ

    How about some Ramones – “Rockaway Beach”
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uD4xbgYja7s

  19. “Egosumabbas we seemed to be able to spread democracy to Germany, Japan, and South Korea and that worked out ok.

    You dont think Arabs can handle Democracy, just like a lot of people in the 40s didnt think Asians could handle Democracy. Well I do, I think its compatible with all cultures and races.”

    State-worshipping aside, Japan and Germany were not theocratic societies. When we liberated those societies, it wasn’t hard for them to see that the oppressive one-state is what made their lives miserable. Same goes for when communism fell in eastern Europe. Secular societies will embrace capitalism because they will see that freedom is better than statism.

    The Middle East on the other hand is different. They’re whole society is based around the Koran. Liberty and individualism is fundamentally opposed to Sharia Islam; they will not accept constitutionally limited republics until they give up a literalist interpretation of the Koran. Note that democracy is different than a constitutional republic; democracy is majority rule, and if they majority want Sharia, Sharia is what you’ll get.

    When it comes to the Middle East, a more prudent course of action would be to not rock the boat unless they threaten us. Otherwise, we can either allow individuals to support secular/civil rights movements there, or allow freedom-loving individuals to escape those countries and live here.

  20. Egosumabbas Japan was a theocratic Shinto state, they thought their Emperor was God on earth! Seriously read some history.

  21. Neil:

    I dont know how Barr can be “pro freedom” when he wants to give the Islamofascists one of their prime objective–driving us out of the Greater Middle East

    Cuz he knows that our government intervening in the mideast makes us less secure.

    Also he’s not confused about the region the way you are as indicated by your raising the silly “Islamofascist” boogy Again! It was just a couple days ago that you couldn’t defend your position when you tried that. Go back and read this thread before you try the neocon scare tactics again.

    https://www.reason.com/blog/show/126199.html#comments

  22. First elected in 1994, highlights of Rep. Barr’s political career include:

    Supporting a constitutional amendment to undermine separation of church and state. “Congress has the opportunity to send enemies of religious freedom a clear message that their attempts to erase religious belief from America’s culture by cleverly manipulating the judicial system will not be tolerated,” Barr said.
    Becoming the first member of Congress to introduce an “inquiry of impeachment,” long before the public had heard of Monica Lewinsky.
    Giving a keynote speech at a gathering of the racist and anti-immigrant Council of Conservative Citizens, a direct descendant of the White Citizens Councils set up across the South in the 1950s to defend segregation.
    Calling hate crimes legislation to protect the rights of gays and lesbians, women and disabled Americans “a backdoor way to obtain protected status for sexual orientation and sexual deviancy.”
    Sponsoring the anti-gay Defense of Marriage Act. Despite the fact that he was married three times, sued by his second wife, and, according to published reports, was once seen at a fundraising event licking whipped cream off of the chests of two women, Barr explained his sponsorship of DOMA this way: “The flames of hedonism, the flames of self-centered morality are licking at the very foundations of our society: the family unit.”
    Earning consistent 100 percent ratings from the Christian Coalition.
    Sponsoring an amendment ? passed by Congress ? that barred the Washington D.C. Board of Elections from tallying the votes on a referendum to legalize the use of marijuana for patients suffering from cancer, AIDS or glaucoma. Officials estimate it would have cost only $1.64 to count the votes.

  23. Neil:

    The message of leftists and libertarians seems to be “democracy for me but not for thee”.

    The libertarian position is that folks should not be forced to support efforts to bring democracy to other peoples. Not that “bringing democracy ” is usually an accurate description of government’s action in the mideast.

  24. Maybe the two loony old fucks Bob Barr and Ron Paul can team up to defend Christmas from the atheist onslaught. Why do libertarians love fundamentalist Christian race baters?

  25. “Egosumabbas Japan was a theocratic Shinto state, they thought their Emperor was God on earth! Seriously read some history.”

    Shintoism doesn’t call for a global caliphate and reject all criticism of its religion on the basis that it follows a book that is literally interpreted. It also didn’t call for the mass conversion of everybody on the planet to Shinto. As soon as Japan surrendered the state religion collapsed.

    In Afghanistan and Iraq the desire for state religion comes from below not from above as in Japan–a way to justify the divine right of the emperor to rule.

  26. Edward:

    Why do libertarians love fundamentalist Christian race baters?

    While Hillary and Obama support “faith based initiatives” Ron Paul, and I assume Bob Barr, oppose them.

    Doesn’t quite fit in to your lefty knee jerk nay-saying, huh Edward?

  27. http://freestudents.blogspot.com/2008/04/sordid-life-of-bob-barr.html

    Mr. Barr has not been shy campaigning with bigots. The Council of Conservative Citizens sounds like a regular conservative group. But you might know them better prior to their current incarnation when they were called the White Citizen’s Council. I just listened to a spokesman for the Council say: “we’re unabashedly a group that primarily speaks out for White, European civilization, faith and form and government.”

    They are basically a White Supremacist, anti-Semitic, racist organization. A quick look at their website shows an article by a “former Jew” who says he knows Jews “were anything but ‘holy innocents'” because of anti-Gentile remarks he says they routinely make. He speaks of Zionist indoctrination and the article links to an anti-Semitic site called “realjewnews” that tells us, among other things:

    “Jews Murder Gentile Babies in USA!”
    “Jews on Fox News Hate Ron Paul.”
    “Jews Plotted the Armenia Holocaust?”
    “Jews Plotted the Ukrainian Holocaust of 1932!”
    “Jews: Their Money & Their Control.”
    “Judaism is a Racist Idea.”
    “Sex Peddling Jews.”

  28. Egosumabbas – I’d vote for Dr. Ruwart or Steve Kubby any day they win the LP nod, notwithstanding some wussies’ efforts to smear them. Either one is more libertarian than Barr – unless he’s TRULY changed his stripes.
    Face it guys, the LP won’t get many votes as it is – I won’t vote for any LP candidate who waters down the original message (the one from before the 2006 “radicalism is scaring votes away” campaign)

    I wonder too – why such love for the NRA at Reason? Surely the GOA, CCRKBA, and JPFO are considered stronger 2nd Amendment supporters.

  29. Bob Barr for president? Tell me another one. There’s little to differentiate him from the other candidates, and on the position where his opponent is most vulnerable he sounds just like him. I suspect he’s just doing this to sell books or something like that.

  30. When you read the link that Edward cites, there’s nothing to justify the “campaigning with bigots”. Barr is noted in the cited blog giving a speech to a meeting of the organization. That’s it. This is more of the type of stretched guilt by association attacks that Edward made a fool of himself trying on Ron Paul.

    Full disclosure: I am undecided on the Libertarian Party nomination.

  31. “Egosumabbas – I’d vote for Dr. Ruwart or Steve Kubby any day they win the LP nod, notwithstanding some wussies’ efforts to smear them.”

    If it comes to that I’ll either not vote or do the pointless act of writing in Ron Paul.

    The truth of the matter is that hippies and anarchists are the fringe minority of those who identify themselves as small-l libertarians–which by some estimates is 20% of the population. The LP will continue to get only 0.5% of the vote the longer they pander to those two groups.

  32. I think Barr would have had a much better chance had the Paul campaign not happened. Paul running as a Republican kind of drew a line in the sand. How can the Libertarians be expected to swallow a guy who isn’t even close to being as libertarian as the guy who had a surprising amount of success running as a Republican for the GOP nod? It would be ass backwards. Reason is treating Barr with kid gloves in this interview and he still flubs it completely.

    According to Barr, the Iraq War was wrong because of occupation, not the War itself. No mention of subsidies to the various ME Governments, our military bases over there, or our meddling in local disputes. No mention of non-interventionist foreign policy. Obama has gone that far. What is Barr really offering us here?

    And the drug war discussion was painful. Ron Paul often invokes Federalism and practical arguments when dealing with mainstream conservative audiences as a way of sidestepping the full extent of what he really believes. But this was a libertarian audience, and still Barr couldn’t bring himself to make a principled, libertarian argument against the drug war.

    If Barr had any charisma at all, perhaps sacrificing our principles would be worth it. But I think he represents the worst of both worlds. With Wayne Allyn Root showing his true colors I think the best the party can do is stay true to itself and go with Mary Ruwart.

  33. Hey it’s not always the message; sometimes it’s the messenger that’s the more important factor. The purist candidates may better articulate our view but few will hear it and even fewer will be receptive to it. Bob Barr will not only reach more ears and eyes with the message, but the eyes and ears he reaches will be more receptive just because it comes from him.

    Who better to help end the drug war than a former drug warrior?

  34. Are there any choices other than Barr or Ruwart?

  35. stopdrugwar,

    The problem is nothing I’ve seen of Barr yet suggests to me that he’s some great “messenger”. He’s dry, boring, and unlikeable. If this were Jesse Ventura we were talking about, I’d be more open to handing the reigns over to somebody who isn’t necessarily on board with the whole message. But Bob Barr?

  36. Rick Barton – Third Party Watch is doing a fairly good job of covering the various people seeking the LP nomination.
    I know that currently, George Phillies, Steve Kubby, Mary Ruwart, Bob Barr, Wayne Allen Root, Daniel Imperato, and Mike Gravel are seeking the nomination. There might be one or two others I forgot.

  37. How about his opposition to gay marriage? Doesn’t sound very libertarian to me. And he gags when he eats cheese made from human milk, at least when he finds out that’s what it’s made from. He’s a fucking dork.

  38. “This is more of the type of stretched guilt by association attacks that Edward made a fool of himself trying on Ron Paul.”

    What?? Guilt by association with his own fucking newsletters? You Ron Paul supporters must have had lobotomies.

  39. Here’s my opinion on Ruwart… she’s a great advocate in terms of advancing the philosophy of libertarianism, but philosophers don’t make good presidential candidates. Especially if you write a book chapter trying to intellectually justify the viewing of kiddy porn. Sure she may make completely rational justifications for viewing it, but the punditry will make mincemeat out of her faster than you can say Jeremiah Write or Ron Paul Newsletter.

    Not saying that other candidates are saintly, but charisma + well-buried skeletons goes a long way. That’s why I like Barr, Root, and Christine Smith. (I leave off Gravel because I don’t think he passes the libertarian sniff test and couldn’t even get 1% of the Democratic vote)

  40. Edward:

    What?? Guilt by association with his own fucking newsletters? You Ron Paul supporters must have had lobotomies.

    No. Your guilt by association with racists accusations. Despite the endorsement of Dr Paul by the local NAACP head, who’s known him for years.

  41. Egosumabbas:

    I leave off Gravel because I don’t think he passes the libertarian sniff test.

    Absolutely!

  42. Barr is not a “former drug warrior” but an out, proud, current drug warrior. His appearance on Hannity and Colmes recently made that clear. He said that he only wants drug laws enforced at the state level, not the federal levels, because the states will do a better job of arresting people. And he additionally said that he would oppose any state legalizing drugs. He’s a conservative federalists not a libertarian. And he’s one because the state’s are better rights violators.

    Add in that he’s anti-abortion, wants religion in the public schools, is anti-free speech, anti-gay and what you have is an intolerant, state’s rights conservative with theocratic tendencies who is in no way, shape, or form, a libertarian.

  43. Not to jump on any Edward bandwagon, but this whole 180 with Barr troubles me.

    If Atlas Shrugged was so bloody epiphanous/foundational back when he was in college (as it probably was for many here), he was pretty uninterested in liberty in his earlier years as a Congresscritter. It seems a nonsequiter to become more rather than less sanguine about Rand’s philosophy over time.

    I just don’t trust him, particularly with no track record proving his new found “convictions”. If he’s truly a new man that’s great. Come back and see me with a real campaign in 2012.

  44. “Barr is not a “former drug warrior” but an out, proud, current drug warrior.”

    You’d think that him being a lobbyist for the Marijuana Policy Project would give him enough LP street cred. Jeez. What does he have to do, carry a joint in his wallet all the time?

  45. What?? Guilt by association with his own fucking newsletters? You Ron Paul supporters must have had lobotomies.

    No. Your guilt by association with racists accusations. Despite the endorsement of Dr Paul by the local NAACP head, who’s known him for years.

    You should tell most of the Reason staff who dropped the good Doctor Paul like a hot potato after the revelations about his racist newsletters came out. One NAACP member’s endorsement apparently isn’t enough for them.

  46. Egosumabbas and FatDrunkAndStupid
    Did you guys even view the video you’re commenting on? He’s articulate and toatlly makes the case for ending the drug war. I haven’t seen the Hannity interview (going to view it now) but a states right approach to the drug war is better than the way it is now.

  47. Read the Hannity transcript and I have to admit, Barr would not vote to legalize heroin or crack. But Kubby, Ruwart et al, not to mention moi, won’t get to vote to legalize these drugs either. Granted I prefer Gary Johnson or Ron Paul but they ain’t running. Barr is the best candidate we have if being relevant is important. Nominate a purist and watch us be ignored and finish behind Greens and Nader. Nominate Barr and a whole generation of folks that would not have heard of us will. We also set the stage for future runs by the likes of Gary Johnson, Dick Armey, etc.

  48. Ron Paul, Mike Gravel, and Bob Barr do a cultish little band of fringe lunatics make.

  49. Damn is he boring, I’ll vote for him anyway.

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