Barrwatch: Remember Maine!


The Washington Post kicks off its Arts and Living pages (yes, really) with a Costco-sized profile of Libertarian president-to-be Bob Barr. PBB Count (paragraphs before the author mentions Borat): Nine.

Every once in a while, the strangest thing happens. He does something surprising, like announces he really likes Bob Marley. Or says he kind of liked that Borat movie, except for the part where he was unwittingly in it as the butt of a joke, eating cheese purportedly made from human breast milk. He's still Bob Barr the bulldog, but in person he can be quite solicitous. And every so often, he smiles.

The piece by Libby Copeland keeps its jokes on the first page: "Even Bob Barr's mustache is serious." "Bob Barr's dimples. Sighted ever so briefly, like some fragile, exotic bird." It gets more serious after that. A rundown of his platform:

Bob Barr as president would not sign any bills appropriating money to the United Nations. Bob Barr as president would advocate against a Department of Education. And, because the United States is not a "charity," Bob Barr as president would attempt to stop the practices of hospitals offering medical care to illegal immigrants and schools educating illegal immigrants' children. Most of all, he'd shrink government and taxes.

"Whatever step would be required for Bob Barr as president to cut back by 10 percent the executive office of the president would be done," he says, with Barrlike formality.

And the section on the "spoiler" issue is solid:

"Let's say that Barack Obama is elected president of the United States and let's just say it's because of Bob Barr and Wayne Root," says Root, a sports betting prognosticator, motivational speaker, infomercial star and 100-pill-a-day vitamin enthusiast who has written a book called "The Zen of Gambling" and has never held elective office. In that case, Root says, "four years of Karl Marx" could "so screw up the American economy" that it would lead to an "uprising," bringing the nation back to its small-government senses. Problem solved!

Gingrich has warned that Barr could make it easier for Obama to become president. Likewise, Sean Hannity in April, interrupting his guest and quizzing him incredulously about his reversal on the war on drugs. And then:

"You're not gonna feel guilty the morning after election night?" he asked Barr.

No, Bob Barr would not feel guilty, but Bob Barr does seem wounded by the memory of that interview. "He was being downright unpleasant, as I recall," he says, his voice rising a little. "There's never an excuse to not be pleasant and civil."

The odds of spoilage are decreasing, though, as Barr continues to run into trouble making state ballots in places where the LP doesn't have automatic access. The latest: Maine.

On Friday, August 15, the Bob Barr campaign attempted to have the Secretary of State authorize local clerks accept late filings of signatures. Don Cookson of the Secretary of State's office indicated that there is no provision to authorize such a late filing. The signatures filed by the August 8 deadline amounted to 3,200, short of the 4,000 valid signatures required.

Yeah, that's not good at all. Maine is unusually fertile terrain for third parties: Perot placed second there in 1992, and 2006's gubernatorial race was a legit four-way contest with a Green and an independent.