Bob Barr on Smart Montanans, Third Parties and (the Other) Georgia


Bob Barr met the press today, a group of conservative reporters gathered by The American Spectator who lobbed questions about the big two parties, the environment, Georgia, and guns. Ralph Z. Hallow of the Washington Times asked about the Democratic governor of Montana's careful praise of Barr: "Do you feel you're just an impotent tool of the Democratic party that's using you to erode support from John McCain?" Barr did not.

I view myself as a true and viable alternative to the other two parties. What the governor was reflecting was not so much a Democrat tactic but a fundamental principle of American politics. There are issues, fundamental issues, that are important to large blocs of voters… and the two major parties are not addressing them.

Hallow asked if Barr thought they did a "smart thing."

They obviously did a smart thing. They're very smart people in Montana. They have a very smart governor.

James Poulos asked what Barr thought of John McCain's statements on Georgia.

Just a few weeks ago, Sen. McCain was highly critical of Sen. Obama's foreign policy stances and politics: They were "simplistic." I'm not sure one could find a more simplistic response to a problem in the world than McCain's response to what's happening [in Georgia.] Going out there and making statements… such as 'We are all Georgians'—what does that mean? It means nothing unless it means we are to get involved on behalf of Georgia.

I read that John McCain knows the Georgian leader, President Saakashvili, that he's been over there, but his statements seem to reflect an unrealistic view of the situation over there… whether John McCain has looked into Saakashvili's eyes and seen something he liked, similar to the way George W. Bush looked into Putin's eyes, I don't know. I haven't looked into either of their eyes, so maybe that gives me an advantage.

I asked if Barr would attend the Ron Paul counter-convention at Minneapolis (he won't, as no third party presidential candidate is invited) and whether he'd debate other third party candidates. He said no: the LP was a truly national party that will be on at least 48 ballots.

Because of that, because we are far ahead of the other third parties in Zogby's very legitimate, non-partisan poll results, we believe I will be the only candidate at the end of the day who has a reasonable shot at gaining access in the national debates, the Commission on Presidential Debates. That is our goal. Our goal is not to settle for debates that are not national in scope and do not indicate to the American people that they have a right to, and will have a real choice to, go beyond the two major parties.

Michael Badnarik debated the Green candidate (David Cobb, if you want to win bar trivia) in 2004, and Harry Browne debated Constitution Party candidate Howard Phillips and Natural Law Party candidate John Hagelin in 2000.