Third Parties

Bob Barr's Competition

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While Chuck Baldwin issues his appeals to the right wing of the Ron Paul movement, another presidential candidate is pitching himself to the Ron Paul left. On Friday, Ralph Nader released a response to Paul's withdrawal from the presidential race. Here's an excerpt:

Now that Dr. Paul has formally withdrawn his candidacy for the G.O.P. nomination and is no longer seeking the Presidency, there is a clear choice for those who want to support a candidate who will stand up against the war and stand up for personal liberties and privacy that have been trampled by the notorious, misnamed, PATRIOT Act.

Bonus link: Way back in 1962, Nader wrote an article for the libertarian magazine The Freeman. It was reprinted in reason about a decade later, making Nader—now that Paul is out—the one reason contributor in the running. Make of that what you will.

Update: Whoops! I forgot about Barr's contribution to our pages. Scroll down to see it.

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  1. Chuck and Bob just don’t get it. In their blatant attempt to lure Ron Paul supporters, they forget what attracts people to Ron in the first place.

    It’s the fact that he doesn’t say one thing and do another (i.e. his voting record). It’s the fact that he practices what he preaches (e.g. refusing a Congressional pension, returning money to the Treasury). I don’t know much about Chuck, but unfortunately for Bob, pretending you suddenly love the Constitution and are opposed to the PATRIOT Act despite voting for it, means nothing to Paul supporters looking for an honest, consistent leader. It’s the trust factor, more than the issues.

  2. If contributing to Reason is being used to solicit votes, I’ll vote for the first candidate who says, if elected, he’ll appoint Radley Balko as Attorney General.

  3. Mister DNA | June 15, 2008, 12:28am | #
    If contributing to Reason is being used to solicit votes, I’ll vote for the first candidate who says, if elected, he’ll appoint Radley Balko as Attorney General.

    I second that!

  4. when did Paul write for Reason? or what article?

  5. He contributed an article to this symposium. He also contributed to a forum on the drug war in the late ’80s, but that one isn’t online.

    There may have been other pieces as well, but those are the two that come to mind.

  6. Nader in the Presidential race again? Unsafe at any speed!

  7. I love Balko as much as the next guy, but can we get some love for Ron Bailey as head of the EPA?

  8. Nader wants to use the government as a weapon against the corporations. He doesn’t hate state power- he just thinks it’s in the wrong hands.

    I really am not a Tolkien fan, but we need to take the fucking ring and throw it into Mount Doom or something. Nader won’t do that.

  9. Having contributed to both Reason and The Freeman, I hereby announce my candidacy for president of the United States. I will appoint Ron Bailey as head of the EPA, Radley Balko as attorney general, Ron Paul as treasury secretary (because that will be too much fun to pass up), and Tyler Cowen as head of either the NEA or NPR. Please submit resumes for other positions.

  10. Cathy Young for the head of Office of Partying Down.

  11. Oh for fuck’s sake

  12. Ron Paul supporters are tired and broke. We need at least 4 years to recover.

  13. reason sucks

  14. Radley for Att Gen. Wow! that is a rad idea. But sadly in a perfect world.

  15. Nader, Baldwin, Nader, Baldwin, Nader, Baldwin, oh yeah Barr.

    doesn’t matter: it’s the anti-vote. Better than not voting at all. Better to show up somewhere on the radar so the pundits can talk about how you screwed everything up.

    Certainly better than casting for Mr. McCain or Mr. Obama.

    Nice passive citation to Reason’s Mr. Welch on the MSM piece on McCain and his ‘War College’ paper. Interesting take on the head of a possible future head.

  16. I was attracted by Ron Paul because he advocates a rapid withdrawal from Iraq, doesn’t favor higher taxes and more government spending, and holds a plausible public office for seeking the Presidency. The fact that he seemed like a genuinely nice guy in our two brief meetings was just icing. His long record of consistent support for his peculiar version of libertarianism was not a major concern of mine. His campaign certainly beat my expectations.

    I now support Bob Barr. While is is only a former Congressman, he meets the key criterion. He advocates a rapid withdrawl from Iraq and does not advocate increases in taxes and government spending. His record as a mainstream conservative Congressman (5 years ago,) doesn’t concern me much. But then, as a member of a minority political perspective, I am always looking for people to come to their senses, and see the light.

    Oddly enough, Barr was always relatively good on civil liberties issues and this, including the Patriot Act, was the wedge that moved him from mainstream conservative Republican ex-Congressman to moderate Libertarian.

    He voted for the Patriot Act after demanding and receiving concessions in the bill, as well as oral guarantees from the leaders of what was, his team, about the uses of the act. Such compromises and trust of mainstream conservative Republican leaders (like Cheney and Bush,) is not the libertarian way. As Ron Paul did, you criticize and vote No.

    As Barr explains, the sunset provisions did little good. Even after the heat of the moment, Congress was willing to sacrifice the Bill of Rights. And the oral guarantees meant nothing.

    In 2006, Barr debated an official of the Reagain administration before an audience of conservative activists. In the eyes of these conservative activists, Barr’s support of traditional Consitutional principles was nothing more than coddling the terrorists.

    That year, 2006, Barr became a member of the LP, began serving as the Southeast regional representative on the Libertarian National Committee, and continued with heated denunciations of the Cheney/Woo theory of Presidential royalism.

    I don’t believe that Barr’s view of civil liberties changed that much. What happened is that he realized that what had been, “his team,” was not concerned about something that was important to him.

    Many, and maybe most, libertarians are introduced by some wedge issue. A common path is for someone to consider themselves a conservative Republican. Then, they are betrayed. For many, it was some kind of Republican compromise on gun rights. For others, it is a tax hike. Soon, they are libertarians, and all of the big-government
    conservative ideas that somehow seemed reasonable are now seen to be inconsistent with what they had aways understood to be their core, small-government, view of what it means to be a conservative Republican.

    Barr is only unusual in that it was civil liberties, what is generally considered a left-liberal issue, that was the wedge.

    Anyway, Barr’s message is great. His bad votes are more than five years ago at this point. He is the best person to carry forward Ron Paul’s message in November.

    Nader, the big-government advocate, is a nonstarter. (Yes, he has decades of _consistent_ opposition to the free market. Great..that is supposed to be a good thing?) And Baldwin, former leader of the Florida moral majority, is running as the candidate of a theocratic party on a program of extreme trade protection, a national ban on abortion, and more than a little conspiracy mongering.

    Anyone who wants to show support for the core Paul message of withdrawal from Iraq, no war with Iran, smaller government, and defence of civil liberties should be voting for Bob Barr.

    Bob Barr 2008

  17. Nader, the libertarian. Libertarian? Goddam what an opportunist!

    He likely midwifed Bush 2004. Is that what one would want on his/her resume? Why does he persist?

    To me the only thing he has ever successfully midwifed is the parody laugh at that scene from ‘Top Secret’ where the unsafe-at-any-speed erupts in flame at the mere kiss of a fender-bender. But the Oscar goes to Abrams/Zucker on that.

  18. Reason never sucks because it allows free and unfettered comment from the peanut gallery. I think that’s the reason Reason-haters reason that it’s OK to post here. Sounds reasonable to me.

  19. Its about high time he withdrew. I was wondering if it would ever happen.

    JT
    http://www.ULtimate-Anonymity.com

  20. i really want to psych myself out to vote for barr but i’m having extreme reservations. 3rd party candidates are supposed to be available so you DON’T have to comprimise your principles. i could make myself ignore the patriot act vote (somewhat) and the impeaching clinton for a bj thing but the fact that he AUTHORED the defense of marriage act bugs me more then anything. a bad vote is a bad vote and can be ignored or not but the reality that he authored that crap makes it really hard for me to vote for the guy. if i vote for him it’ll just be for the party, i guess. there’s no way i’m voting for obama or mccain, i’m not voting for nader and this baldwin guy doesn’t sound too appealing the more i hear about him. i voted for ron paul in the virginia primary and i’d love to vote for him again but i wanna vote for someone still running and people don’t really count write ins so that dashes that. oh well…

  21. Nader running to Paul’s left? What a joke. I guess he is, but so is Obama, and McCain for that matter. Whatever. I think Barr is the clear choice for Ron Paul people who actually care about issues. If it was just a personality thing where you liked to hear Paul say outrageous things to shake things up, and absolutely refuse to participate in the system, then maybe you’re out of luck. For me, it’s the issues. Check out http://www.barrbomb.com.

  22. Do you have insomnia or something, Jesse?

  23. I wouldn’t vote for Nader if even the Holy Father instructed me to vote for him. And thats a lot to say coming from me.

    I will end up voting for Bob Barr. And have no issue with that what so ever.

    It’s not just the war folks. It’s the whole package that attracted so many to Dr. Paul. Now granted a lot of hippies, 9/11 whack-jobs and such jumped on board with him. But for the most part, he was a Old Right Conservative. Sen. Robert Taft, Goldwater, and thoughts great men, who shaped the old Republican party. That was my reason for supporting him atleast.

  24. I have to say that Nader should pass the torch.

  25. But who will be Court Jester?

  26. Is it a god thing that suddenly all of these people are pandering to the libertarian-leaning voters of this country? Sure, right now it’s only second- and third-rate candidates. But maybe someday someone from Coke or Pepsi might want to throw us a bone.

    But who will be Court Jester?

    Gillespie

  27. A 3rd party vote is a vote against the mainstream. It is meaningful and meaningless at the same time. Take your pick or vote 3rd party on that as well.

  28. Uncle Chester the molester

  29. Nader’s about as libertarian as Mike Gravel was.

    Still, maybe it says something good that so many people from both the left and right feel the need to call themselves “libertarian” and appeal to that type of people, even if they’re not actually libertarian.

    Barr is far from perfect, but he’s the best we had and I think he’s sincere. He can be the first step to pulling the LP out that .4% gutter by making clear that it’s not just a political church for dogmatic anarchists. A political party is supposed to be a coalition, and there’s no reason a credible LP couldn’t pull in that 10-25% libertarian-leaning vote in a few election cycles and become what it had the potential to be before the purge of ’83 (which admittedly had plenty of blame to go around).

    I’ll vote for Barr.

  30. Oh, and one more thing. The “Constitution Party” is the most misnamed political party since the old Federalists claimed the “Whig” title. “Theocracy Party” is more like it- they just happen to also have a hard-on for Federalism and anti-war isolationism (real, close the borders and don’t trade with foreigners isolationism, not just libertarian non-interventionism).

  31. reason sucks

  32. Andy Craig,

    What is the “purge of ’83?”

  33. Short version- Rothbard-types kicked out of the LP the Milton Friedman/CATO/reason types after Ed Clark (who had his flaws) had topped 1% of the vote in 1980 with a moderate left-libertarian message that pissed off all the hardcore anarcho-capitalists.

  34. And I say that as some one who, ideologically, is halfway an anarcho-capitalist myself. But I think it’s absurd to expect to get anything done without a broader libertarian coalition.

  35. Reason sucks!

  36. i really want to psych myself out to vote for barr but i’m having extreme reservations. 3rd party candidates are supposed to be available so you DON’T have to comprimise your principles.

    Third party candidates are there in case the major party candidates suck so much that you’d throw up a little in your mouth voting for either. No candidate is gonna be perfect, unless you personally run for that office, and even then it’s dicey.

    Bob Barr is the best available alternative, and WAY better than Obama or McCain. But, if you want to cast a protest vote for another third party candidate since “none of the above” isn’t on the ballot — well, good on ya, mate.

  37. Short version- Rothbard-types kicked out of the LP the Milton Friedman/CATO/reason types after Ed Clark (who had his flaws) had topped 1% of the vote in 1980 with a moderate left-libertarian message that pissed off all the hardcore anarcho-capitalists.

    It was a walkout, not a purge. And it wasn’t directly related to the Clark campaign, though Clark was a precursor. The Cato crowd (*) left the party after it chose to nominate David Bergland instead of Earl Ravenal for the 1984 race.

    (* Not Milton Friedman, who was a registered Republican, and not the Reasoners, who in those days stood in their own portion of the libertarian spectrum.)

  38. Ah, ok. I was hazy on some of the details. But I know it’s in general the split between the radical LP and the moderate libertarians who have largely had nothing to do with the LP since.

  39. Jesse,

    I read that as “Milton Friedman/Cato/Reason _types_.

    So, that wouldn’t be “Milton Friedman” himself, but rather libertarians whose views come closer to those of Milton Friedman than those of Murray Rothbard or Ayn Rand.

    Similarly, I read “Reason-types” to be something akin to most of today’s writers in
    Reason, or perhaps, the basic thrust of the
    institution, not the people involved in Reason
    in 1983.

    And, of course, it really was people who were and remain close to Cato who left the LP at the time. Still, there are many other “Cato-
    types,” among libertarians.

    The term “purge” is thrown around much too loosely. What really happened is that it became clear that the LP would present a radical message. Many of those who were more moderate, or else, thought that the LP should present a more moderate image, gave up on the LP.

  40. Bill, you got the idea right, but I wasn’t being too picky with my wording.

    And I agree “purge” is somewhat misleading. And to the radicals’ credit, most of them haven’t taken their ball and gone home now that the shoe’s on the other foot. Though it’s my understanding they’re also in a stronger position to continue to influence the party than the moderates were in 1983.

  41. I wish I could support Baldwin with a similar enthusiasm that I had hoped for Dr. Paul before the newsletter scandal. I love his stances on the IRS, the Fed, and 2nd amendment, which make him more or less on par with Barr, but I cannot get past his association with Jerry Falwell. I am also wary of Chuck’s position, or silence on, drug prohibitions.

    I believe that Chuck would probably be more aggressive than Barr on issues that I care about most (IRS, Fed, Economy, Guns) and more aggressive things on issues that I care much less about (abortion, secure borders), Barr clearly has broader popular appeal. This is a good year for 3rd parties though, because as the Obama kool-aid wears off with time he’s going to eat it hard, and McCain is a beaten old man that makes moderate to hardcore conservatives cringe and far less interested in the GOP ticket this year. It may be possible that people will end up, once again, too freaked out to “let” the Democrat win this year and will hold their noses at the ballot box.

  42. One of Baldwin’s campaign positions on the economy is on international trade. His position is extreme protectionism.

    Ron Paul also ran on international trade, taking the controversial position (among libertarians) against all free trade agreements, like Nafta.

    But Paul proposed replacing such agreements with unilateral free trade. (A position generally supported by libertarian economists.
    The controversy is about whether the various trade agreements actually negotiated are, on the whole, improvements relative to the status quo.)

    Baldwin also takes a position against free trade agreements, but his proposed replacement is almost the exact opposite of Paul’s.

    Baldwin is proposing to raise tariffs on imported goods based upon the difference between the cost of production in the U.S. and the place of origin. In other word, his policy is to prevent there from being any cost advantage to imports. He describes this as “fair trade,” and advocates it as a way to protect American jobs.

    By prohibiting the American people from from benefiting from international comparative advantage, the result would be lower incomes for the American people. It would “protect” (and create) some jobs. But it would destroy other jobs.

    So far, Barr is not making international trade into a campaign issue. Before he received the LP nomination, Griswald posted a criticism of Barr’s record in Congress on the Cato blog.

  43. Is there any country that has adopted unilateral free trade as policy?

  44. Nobody for President beats all!
    http://www.nobodyforpresident.org/

    Signed,
    Thane Eichenauer in a clown outfit

  45. Though it’s my understanding they’re also in a stronger position to continue to influence the party than the moderates were in 1983.

    How much did the radicals influence the party after ’84? From then til now, the only LP presidential nominee who was arguably a radical libertarian was Harry Browne.

  46. Third party candidates are there in case the major party candidates suck so much that you’d throw up a little in your mouth voting for either. No candidate is gonna be perfect, unless you personally run for that office, and even then it’s dicey.

    Bob Barr is the best available alternative, and WAY better than Obama or McCain. But, if you want to cast a protest vote for another third party candidate since “none of the above” isn’t on the ballot — well, good on ya, mate.

    i guess you’re right. i’ve pretty much decided i’m voting for barr recently but when i think about the things i don’t like about him it makes me wanna vomit.

  47. “the fact that [Barr] AUTHORED the defense of marriage act bugs me more then anything.”

    So it seems that Barr is wedded [sorry] to the binary, man/woman definition of marriage. In this respect he certainly has a lot of company. I’m not just talking about the usual suspects, like the Catholic Church and American evangelicals. This binary definition was not only supported, but taken as a given, by quite a variety of people, including the swishiest members of the aristocracy in pagan Athens, the temple prostitutes of Phrygia, Tom Paine, Robert Ingersoll and similar secularists, polygamists, and basically everyone on the planet in all eras of history up until the past few decades, in which support for this definition declined to only about 95% of the human race.

    If Bob Barr happens to agree with the *universal* belief of the human race before, say, 1970, and the belief of 95% of the human race since that date, then that is hardly a reason to oppose Barr.

  48. I hesitate to vote for Barr mainly because at about his last term in office he opposed allowing a Wiccan religious symbol on the gravestone of a soldier who was of said religion. I don’t know what his views are on this issue now. What I do know is that if he hasn’t changed his view on this simple civil-liberty, I will not vote for him even though I’m not Wiccan. I am pagan however.

  49. I hesitate to vote for Barr mainly because at about his last term in office he opposed allowing a Wiccan religious symbol on the gravestone of a soldier who was of said religion. I don’t know what his views are on this issue now.

    Perhaps before pontificating on the subject, some research would be in order.

    And I have to take issue with your idea that putting anything you want on your headstone is some kind of fundamental “civil-liberty”. It’s distasteful to deny Soldiers that final bit of reverence, but it’s not a civil liberty issue.

  50. even though I’m not Wiccan. I am pagan however.

    Kill ’em all, the Great Mother Godess will recognize her own.

  51. Is there any country that has adopted unilateral free trade as policy?

    Yes, Australia. Australia unilaterally lowered tariffs three times – 1973, 1988 and 1991.

    Unilateral free trade is the quickest and most effective way of achieving free trade. It totally negates the influence of big corporations and big government because they aren’t involved in writing up trade agreements that favour their vested interests. Naturally, this is precisely why politicians don’t like Ron Paul’s idea of unilateral free trade and vote for fake free-trade agreements like NAFTA.

    What a shame some of the Cato Institute people actually think Dr Paul is a protectionist because of his votes against corporate trade agreements. But then again, it’s always been known that Cato scholars are somewhat ‘mentally challenged’ compared to the Austrian economics crowd.

  52. “mentally challenged’ compared to the Austrian economics crowd”

    *falls out of chair, giggling*

    (clearly a commenter who’s into talking points of one “school” and at 79 level of the discipline)

  53. “mentally challenged’ compared to the Austrian economics crowd”

    Aside from that part, though, Pablo’s pretty much correct.

  54. The burning question, of course, is will Nader support new investigation of 9/11 Truth? Baldwin has said he would, Barr clearly would not, and a lot of the most visible Paul supporters are supporting Baldwin because of that issue.

  55. >> Now that Dr. Paul has formally withdrawn his candidacy for the G.O.P. nomination
    >> and is no longer seeking the Presidency

    This is false. Dr. Paul has not withdrawn his candidacy, he has merely suspended his campaign, his legal vehicle for managing campaign funds. He is still just as eligible for the GOP nomination as Romney is.

  56. Its a question of pressure, of course, Nader will support a new investigation of 9 / 11 Truth; Baldwin said it is clear that the continent is not, and many of its most prominent supporters of Paul Baldwin contends that, because this problem.

  57. I will have a giant penis put on my headstone.

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