Barrwatch: Arm Wrestling, Nader Envy, and Boehnergate


Some California newspaper is out with the latest profile of Libertarian presidential nominee Bob Barr. Faye Fiore kicks it off with a vignette from his Supreme Court presser.

Then he threw it open to questions from members of the Fourth Estate, whose average age looked to be about 19.

"Do you think the country is ready for a president with a mustache?"

"Do you think you could take Ron Paul in an arm-wrestling match?"

Yeah, I have no idea who that guy was. But I treasure my audiotape of Barr explaining that he and Paul talk about "issues of… substance." There's a lot of color here, plus the usual pondering about Barr's spoilage potential, plus some good scene-setting.

If Bob Barr is anything, it's focused. He acknowledges his campaign is a long shot, but at the very least he will bring attention to the values of freedom he learned growing up the son of a civil engineer in far-flung places such as Iran and Iraq. (The longest place he lived as a boy was Baghdad, for three years.)

It was that kind of focus—that and his love of the limelight—that powered him when he was the lone voice calling for impeachment and members of his own party dismissed him as foolhardy.

It's been a busy day, and Barr boards the evening shuttle from Washington back to Atlanta and his 12th-floor consulting offices, the temporary campaign headquarters.

All around are remnants of the substantial elephant collection—elephant bookends on a desk, a close-up of an elephant's trunk in the hallway. It's an awkward display, considering he now regards Republican lawmakers as wimps scared into submission by Bush. But as Barr is fond of saying, "I don't worry about it."

Also, Barr's campaign manager Russ Verney responded to John Boehner's comment about conservatives "wasting their votes" on Barr.

Rep. Boehner would rather coerce people into voting for someone they do not want through fear tactics so that the Republicans and Democrats do not have to change their runaway spending habits. After all if they have no dissent from the voters over a big spending Republican and a bigger spending Democrat, they are free to argue over whose special interests get the benefits of our hard earned tax dollars.

I think if the public is happy with the direction our country is headed then they should thank the Republicans and the Democrats. If they want a change, their only option is Bob Barr.

Also, Ralph Nader's campaign pestered reporters today with an exceptionally piqued press release about a Friday congressional hearing about impeachment. Bob Barr will be there. Ralph Nader was disinvited.

This is not the first time that I have been excluded from testifying on subjects both of us have been concerned about and have discussed. Remember your invitation to testify at your unofficial public hearing right after the 2004 elections regarding "irregularities" in Ohio? Within two days, your chief of staff, Perry Applebaum, persuaded you to disinvite me.

Applebaum has been a problem with my appearing before a Committee Chairman whom I have known, admired and worked with for nearly forty years. He has performed his exclusionary behavior on other occasions. It is time to make this public and to ascertain why he prevails again and again with his superior either not to invite or to deny requests to testify regarding subjects well within my knowledge, experience, and forthrightness.

You know, some people say that Nader is running a vanity campaign and soothing his Galactus-sized ego. I don't see it.