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.

NEXT: O Cruel Economy That Makes Schoolchildren Suffer!

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. “Respect the stache, pinch the cheeks, vote for Barr” should be his new campaign slogan.

  2. I’m really getting annoyed with Barr. The latest bit of stupidity is his campaign suing Rick Warren’s church to get into the recent forum. His lawsuit was based on…McCain-Feingold.

  3. 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!

    If the LP wants to nominate people who say goofy shit, at least they should find someone who’s blue, purely for the entertainment factor.

  4. Bob Barr might have had a chance of doing something in another year, but I think the Paul campaign killed his chances. Paul got the libertarian movement all riled up, and Bob Barr is the buzz kill. If Paul hadn’t happened, maybe libertarians would hold their nose and support Barr, because he’d be perceived in terms of how much better he is than McBama, not how much worse he is than Paul.

  5. Barr was suppose to be the Reform Caucus’s answer to bring respectability and mainstream appeal to the LP. Unless he falls into a pit of money and we fight another war in the next month, he’ll have utterly failed at even the most modest goals for the presidential nominee.

    I was happier as a freedom loving wacko, than a small-government conservative loser.

  6. So Warren, could we say you’re feeling kind of blue?

  7. I guess the campaign’s Root-tranq gun ran out of darts temporarily.

  8. except for the part where he was unwittingly in it as the butt of a joke, eating cheese purportedly made from human breast milk.

    Funny bit, although, like nearly everyone else in the movie, Barr came off reasonably well, in terms of being civil above and beyond the call, despite the most outrageous provocations.

    Just thinking about that movie still makes me chuckle.

  9. Unless he falls into a pit of money and we fight another war in the next month, he’ll have utterly failed at even the most modest goals for the presidential nominee.

    Depends on what the goals were in the first place. If it was to garner the most media attention an LP candidate has garnered, he’s already way ahead in that regard. Ditto for looking like he’ll break the 1% “ceiling” we all know and love.

    I mean, Warren, when you say he’ll have “failed”, what metric are you using? I’m wracking my brain trying to figure out in what regard he’ll have “failed”.

  10. Barr is bad enough, but Root is just a total joke.

  11. I’m wracking my brain trying to figure out in what regard he’ll have “failed”.

    He’s running for POTUS.

    He will not be POTUS.

    The end.

  12. Can’t wait for the “WRITE IN RON PAUL” campaign. That should be amusing.

  13. Obese Inebriated and Stultish,

    The Paul campaign did stick a monkey wrench into Barr’s hopes, but it wasn’t because Barr’s a disappointment; it’s due to the Paul campaign being such a spectacular disaster, draining tens of millions of dollars out of libertarian pockets to fund what was essentially a full-employment program for the Paul family and getting so few votes out of it. Barr’s money problems are likely due to the fact that there’s simply no money left.

  14. I view lp candidates as an ego trip for myself. Supporting them makes me feel more intelligent, freedom-loving, and generally superior to those who support empty suits like McBama. Or at least that’s what they are supposed to do. But Barr doesn’t do that at all. I don’t care about getting an extra few percentage points on a vote tally because it isn’t going to make a difference. But making me feel warm and fuzzy inside will make a difference. And because Barr doesn’t do that, he has failed.

  15. LMNOP,

    By that standard, he failed as soon as he decided to run.

  16. Great to see Weigel wasn’t hit by a train or kidnapped by the CIA due to his intrepid reporting or something.

    As for the article, oddly enough, Weigel forgot to mention that one of the quoted paragraphs has two glaring errors. “Glaring”, of course, to me since I actually pay attention.

  17. I agree with Occam’s toothbrush. Sure, many Libertarians are wary of Barr with his past record, but I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt that he’s finally seen the error of his ways. I do feel that if Paul didn’t run Barr’s campaign would be a lot better funded and probably have more volunteers. With that being said, I’m still glad Paul ran for POTUS, it helped put libertarian ideas on the table and bring them to the masses. Many non-voters suddenly found a candidate representing their voice, and probably introduced them to libertarian activism.

  18. As a Mainer, I can proudly say that mine is one of the 3,200 signatures collected.

    However, the guy with the clipboard also had a petition to get Nader’s name on the ballot, so I’m not sure what that says about the Barr campaign’s effort to engage my homestate.

  19. Today, the Arts & Living section. Tomorrow, the News section!!! We’re moving on up…

  20. The Washington Post kicks off its Arts and Living pages (yes, really)

    The Washington Post Style section has been doing profiles of ‘major’ third party candidates for years. In 1992 they did one on Harry Browne, complete with a picture of him taken during the interview that took up almost half the page.

  21. I thought the “Arts and Living pages (yes, really)” was more a comment on the name of the section.
    Arts and Living?

  22. See, at my newspaper, the section has the much more logical name “Life & Arts.”

  23. I feel a riff coming on about the naming of newspaper feature sections, so I should probably depart to a more appropriate venue.

  24. 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.

    I’d like to know what Barr actually said here:

    If he said he’d support repealing federal requirements forcing states and municipalities to provide such services, good on you, mate. Such meddling is not an enumerated power of the federal government.

    If he said he’d support a federal law requiring schools and hospitals to discontinue offering these uncompensated services, I’d have to roll my eyes and reconsider supporting Barr.

  25. Time is almost up to get Barr on the ballot in DC, but we have another 10 days to get our two excellent local candidates on the ballot: Dick Heller, plaintiff in the 2nd Amendment case, for Congress, and Damien Ober for “Shadow” Senator.

    Anyone wanting to work on our petition drive, including for pay (or as a volunteer) should contact me ASAP. 202 486 3127

  26. Is there a section for Sciences and Dying?

  27. Don’t forget that two of Maine’s last five governors were independent, including Angus King, who served two terms from 1995-2003.

    He’s so popular in Maine that he considered running for Senate this year, and a lot of people thought he had a significant chance to win. He decided not to run, however.

  28. I supported Barr, and I still do, but it’s become apparent that the promises of a Perot-level campaign have amounted to very little. With all the outside political savvy he brought in (which was no doubt needed), he completely forgot to bring in some long-time LPers (Kubby and Nolan both would have been good) to keep him in touch with his base. As a result, you’ve got the exact opposite of Ron Paul’s campaign- a campaign run by long-time politicos who know how to sell themselves to everyone BUT their base. And because of it they have no money and no grassroots support.

  29. The Barr campaign has already had more media than any previous LP Presidential campaign.

    Barr’s performance in pre-election polls has been much better than any LP Presidential campaign.

    A close comparison of Barr’s fundraising to previous LP campaigns shows that has been about the same.

    While Barr is unlikely to match the three or four year totals of Browne’s permanent campaign, he could still raise as much or more than Browne did in the election year. For a look at the figures check out http://www.barrhq.com

    Paul started his exploratory effort in January of 2007. In the first quarter, he raised about $600,000. It was only in the second quarter, that he began to raise significant funds. He appeared in three debates. While it may be that the libertarian faithful opened their wallets after seeing their man in the debates, an alternative hypothesis is that Paul attracted new supporters by being an anti-war Republican.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.