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.