Democratic Convention 2008



I arrived in Denver from Reno, after reporting on the evolution of the Ron Paul movement and the progress of the Bob Barr campaign. My conclusion: Don't expect much. Most Paul voters there find Barr unacceptable, Barr's organization is basically non-existent, and Republicans don't worry about Barr taking votes unless McCain embarks on a two month "piss off, libertarians" campaign. I mean, more than he already is.

So I was surprised to hear some panting for Barrmania down here. Tom Swan, the man who guided Ned Lamont to a primary victory over Joe Lieberman, answered some of my queries about libertarian Democrats with praise for Barr. "He's really promising as a factor in this election," Swan said. "I think he has more credibility with Republicans than Ron Paul did." He saw Barr making a difference, potentially, in Virginia, North Carolina, Georgia, and one or another western state.

Obama campaign manager David Plouffe seems just about as optimistic. He thinks Obama needs 47 percent of the vote to win Georgia, given the Barr support there (and the lack of any other third parties on the ballot). Georgia and Indiana have probably the best Barr/LP organizations (if heavies from another state want to correct me, fire up that e-mail). But it's a pretty slender reed. Even the farcical Ralph Nader campaign has more going on here than Barr's campaign. Sure, they've been reduced to giving away tickets to tonight's "Super Rally '08 w/ Special Mystery Guests." But by gum, they've got a super rally. Barr's basically invisible here.

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  1. …Republicans don’t worry about Barr taking votes unless McCain embarks on a two month “piss off, libertarians” campaign. I mean, more than he already is.

    One point of LP campaigns is to keep the other two candidates on their toes. It’s like how the option of divorce makes marriages stronger. McCain knows that if he moves too much towards authoritarianism, he will lose. At Saddleback, McCain said that he will respect state decisions on gay marriage, including those states that support it. Now if we can just get McCain to realize that the 10th ammendment applies to marijuana or convince Obama that ordinary people should be able to try the same drugs that got him high …

  2. As much as I wish it were true, Barr will be a non-factor, and Democrats acting as if he will be are completely transparent.

  3. While I have the greatest respect for Dave, I must disagree with his assessment of the Barr campaign. At least here in Colorado. We have held a successful fundraiser besides the convention. I personally have been pushing the campaign on radio and TV shows around town. We are holding a Presidential Banquet at the Grant Hill Mansion for Bob and Wayne Root on Thursday during the Obama speech. We are quickly running out of tickets EVEN THOUGH Bob had to cancel being here in person due to an appearance on the Glen Beck Television Show that evening. (He will, however, be webcasting from a concurrent event in NY.) We can’t keep Barr bumper stickers, yard signs, and literature in stock out here. Most non Libertarians I talk to know who he is and also hold no negative opinion of him. The Gayzette here in CO even interviewed Bob, and came away favorably, when he was here three weeks ago for the previous fundraiser. I fail to see how this candidate, who has more exposure than any of the last 10 combined, is not meeting expectations here in CO. I think Bob could play a major role in Colorado’s election.

    A somewhat hurt LP State Chair

  4. I’m failing to see how someone who is polling (pessimistically) at least 2% in most states can be a non-factor in a tied (or tight) race.

    By definition, he’s a factor.

  5. McCain knows that if he moves too much towards authoritarianism, he will lose.

    If he says he will move towards authoritarianism, you mean. Unless we’re assuming McCain will remain true to his campaign rhetoric once the election is over. (See: McCain’s 2000 promise to respect state decisions about medical MJ.)

  6. Tulpa, I know McCain has his faults, and right now I lean towards Barr. If it wasn’t for Barr’s suggestion to modify birthright citizenship, I would volunteer a lot of hours to help with his campaign. His loss in my town’s gain. I’m putting those hours towards local politics instead this year.

  7. To the extent Barr poses a threat to McCain, it’s going to cause McCain to move closer to traditionalist conservatives, not particularly toward libertarian ones.

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