Campaigns/Elections

LP Founder Declares Barr Campaign Dead

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David Nolan, founder of the Libertarian Party, has had it with Bob Barr's campaign. Why?

There has been evidence all along that the Barr '08 campaign has been mismanaged. Ballot access drives were begun late, and conducted erratically. As of today, it appears that Barr's name will be on the ballot in 46 or 47 states. (Harry Browne appeared on 50 ballots in 1996 and 49 in 2000. Michael Badnarik made it onto 48 in 2004.) Barr has failed to achieve ballot status in West Virginia…and there are lawsuits pending in five states (LA, MA, ME, OK and PA) to determine whether Barr will be on the ballot.

Fundraising has also been a flop. As I write this, the fundraising "meter" on the Barr '08 website shows the total raised by the campaign at $881,500—about $700,000 since the Denver nominating convention. That works out to about $6,400 a day or $200,000/month. In the days leading up to the nomination, Barr's people were throwing around numbers like $20 million. The reality is likely to be barely more than $1 million.

Not only is Barr's campaign inept, Nolan feels, it's also failing even in what outreach it succeeds in in growing the LP brand:

Following advice from his campaign manager, Russ Verney, Barr has avoided use of the "L" word wherever possible. There's a big empty space in the banner at the top of the Barr '08 website, where the word LIBERTARIAN could (and should) appear. It doesn't, despite several suggestions that this be remedied. Barr's campaign literature, signs and bumper stickers do not include the "L" word either. And a press release issued by the campaign earlier this week describes Barr as a "Former Congressman" with no mention of the Libertarian Party.

Clearly, Barr is not running as a Libertarian; he's running as an independent candidate: "Former Congressman Bob Barr." Which may be just as well, given the way he's been behaving.

While some LP activists of my acquaintance think the whole dustup this week over Barr's dissing of Ron Paul's ecumenical "Campaign for Liberty" will cripple him (whatever that means for a campaign clearly never destined to break 1 percent anyway–it did though create this online petition to have the LP's National Committee pull Barr's nomination), I expect most of the hundreds of thousands out there likely to vote Barr or LP probably will little note nor long remember these sort of blog-world dustups; no amount of LP voices speaking out like this are likely to cause Barr to do any worse than he would have anyway.

Still, there was some promise in the Year of Ron Paul that another ex-GOP congressman could do a bit better at ginning up positive publicity, energy, and cash than Barr has so far.

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  1. The weird thing about the LP is that if Mary Ruwart and I had spent the money & time we spent on Ron Paul instead on Mary, she’d probably be AT LEAST the VP, and would have possibly beaten Barr. Of course, we both didn’t, but in hindsight, we could have either changed history or made the LP much more difficult for Barr to infiltrate and take-over. I think Barr’s setting the party back with his tactics, and it’s so ham-handed I’m beginning to suspect it’s deliberate. Sigh…

  2. When all the dust settles, it will be interesting to see whether Barr’s problems with ballot access were due more to incompetence on the part of those trying to achieve it, or to a more intensified major-party opposition against what may have been perceived as a more credible LP candidate than the party has fielded in many years. Were the LP and Barr-istas more clumsy, or were the Donkey and Elephant more worried that the LP might actually give them a fight this year?

    (Of course, some say that it is the latter motivation that led the GOP to send Barr in as an infiltrator to implode the LP from within, much as Buchanan imploded the Reform party a few years back. So is Barr a victim, or a perp? Time will tell.)

  3. I take back everything I said about Barr being able to get the LP on the map.

  4. I’m slightly leaning towards the Barr as perp theory, but it’s also possible — if not probable — that Root isn’t helping Barr much, politically or psychologically. Barr’s VP needed to pull the party together and counsel Barr towards sanity, and I don’t see Root doing that.

  5. If you want to know what’s wrong with the Barr campaign, you need only look at odious former Ross Perot hack Russ Verney.

  6. On fund raising… does anybody know how much previous LP candidates have raised?

    Also, I think at least one thing the Barr campaign has done right is their use of the Internet. But that has more to do with his technology team than it does Barr.

    I don’t buy the GOP operative conspiracy… an organization only implodes if its members let it… besides, why would they want to implode the LP? It’s really not that powerful now, and it certainly wasn’t pre-Barr. It’s not like libertarians will just cease to exist if the LP does implode.

    As for ballot access, maybe some incompetence there. But I tend to agree with James above… I think it’s possible the two major parties were intent on limiting access this year, particularly when Barr was running at 5% nationally.

    Remember, Barr is the ’08 presidential candidate… but he’s not LP committee or really even part of the libertarian intellectual cadre. So I don’t expect libertarians, or even the LP, to implode over Barr.

    If anything, hopefully a lot more people were introduced to libertarian thought by his and Ron Paul’s campaign.

  7. Thanks for some excellent reporting, Mr Doherty. It’s great to read actual reporting (rather than more Weigelistic sneering) about the year’s Republican Libertarian.

  8. I noticed the same thing about the lack of the word “Libertarian” on the Barr website but shrugged it off since I never believed that Barr is a Libertarian. He’s an opportunist and his candidacy will hurt the Libertarian Party since he won’t address one of the main issues driving people towards Libertarianism: ending the war on drugs.

    He’s a conservative, not a Libertarian.

  9. jj | September 12, 2008, 5:59pm | #
    Thanks for some excellent reporting, Mr Doherty. It’s great to read actual reporting (rather than more Weigelistic sneering) about the year’s Republican Libertarian.

    Did someone say Donderoooooo!?!?!?

  10. I think that the LP got the candidate that it deserved. Just as the Dixiecrats had a hard time facing the fact that the Democratic Party was no longer with them, Libertarians are continuing to cling to the Republicans.

    Barr doesn’t appear to be a social conservative in the coercive sense, but he is still a social conservative in the cultural sense. So, while I can accept him as sincere when he says, “The Drug War is wrong,” I don’t ever expect him to say, “Getting high is a inalienable right.”

    I want my LP candidate to fight for porn and drugs with the save fervor and indignation as guns and tax cuts. Barr is not that candidate.

  11. Barr’s website at first was “small government, lower taxes, more freedom”. That’s nice, but it did sound a bit like an old conservative.

    Now it’s “Liberty for America”. Better, but I concede not much use of the word libertarian. Also, not many obvious links back to the LP website.

    And drug prohibition really took a back seat at first, until recently… but now he’s just talking about medical marijuana and the drug war being a failure. A little better again, but it’s coming a little late.

  12. By Republican Libertarian I meant Ron Paul, not Bob Barr. This has indeed been the year of Ron Paul despite reason’s (excepting Doherty’s) attempts to belittle them.

    I can’t think of another time that thousands of people congregated in every city and town, and over a million voted for a candidate who would have actually changed the status quo had he been elected. Of course he wasn’t, but the fact that he drew such a following should not be underestimated.

  13. I’m a Libertarian and a Detroit Lions fan.

    My life sucks.

  14. Paul—While it ain’t over yet, the famous and successful career politician Barr seems about on track to pretty much match what complete unknown Michael Badnarik did in fundraising for his 2004 LP prez bid–slightly over a million.

  15. I think Bob Barr should be involved in the Libertarian Movement longer before he runs for office. In his defense, I don’t think he planned to run for President, but was talked into it.

    It looked good on paper. Ron Paul got a following, the LP runs a former Conservative Congressmen to pick up the disenchanted Paul voters. It still may happen, but Bob Barr is not doing what he needs to do to make it happen.

    And Franklin Harris is right – Russ Verney is the biggest problem in the Barr campaign.

  16. Well, Barr is CIA. If he does turn out to be an infiltrator, nobody better act surprised. And if he’s doing it as a favor to the Demopublicans, well, who else would back that type of move? In a year when a blackout didn’t prevent Ron Paul from raking in 10’s of millions, it would certainly appear the tide might finally be turning. And it doesn’t take a spy to notice that both fellows running Pres/VP for the party are oddly not very Libertarian.

  17. JJ,

    I remember Ross Perot rallies and him winning something like 20 million votes in 92 in spite of being a nut and having dropped out of the race for a while bcse of a photoshoped photo (which no one, to my recollection, has ever seen)

  18. I, Kahn,

    Point taken. However I meant a principled, libertarian politician. If all you are looking for is a big rally, then Farrakahn, or even hitler would do fine.

  19. Thanks Brian… it does seem like Barr should be raising a lot more with all of the media exposure he’s received. Personally, I think their fund raising copy has been weak… the website in particular.

    That said, any idea as to the effect the economy or McCain/Feingold has had on 3rd party fund raising?

    By the way Brian, I’m reading your book “Radicals for Capitalism”. Great job!

  20. Perhaps if the party had nominated an actual libertarian the presidential campaign may have raised more than a fifth of what WEEI raised for the Jimmy Fund in two days.

  21. I think the Barr campaign has helped recruitment. If you add up the audiences from all his TV interviews, it is easily 10 times the exposure any previous candidate got. The problem is a rift within the LP. We got a bunch of disillusioned Republicans a few years ago after the Republican controlled congress increased the federal budget. A small handfull within this group (none of them Barr) are set on remaking the LP in their image for personal reasons. However, most of the newbies are ready to learn Libertarian philosophy if only there were enough local members ready to teach them. If the LP is ever going to grow from a club that people find to a party the seeks new members, it needs a reliable system for explaining the philosophy to newbies. If we just recruit newbies but don’t take the time to show them the ropes, of course the center of the party shifts. Most of the LP newbies are ready to learn about Locke, Ann Rand, and NORML. Are the long time members ready to explain them?

  22. A major problem with the ballot access drives was that many of the most experienced volunteers chose to stay home and pout over Barr getting the nom, rather than doing the work they’d done in years past.

    And Nolan citing the lawsuits brought by McCain supporters as evidence of Barr’s weakness is damned dirty pool, dontcha think? Does he even ask himself why Bush supporters weren’t going to court to get Badnarik off the ballot, or woul that spoil the narrative?

  23. jj,

    I think you mean a principled, libertarian politician whose most successful legislative activity has been drawing federal pork spending to his district, and who endorsed the Bridge to Nowhere guy.

    In other words, scratch the principled and libertarian parts.

  24. I think you make a valid point jtuf…

    I’ve been on the Barr Blog from time to time commenting about different sources of libertarian information… writing about individualism… jeez, I even quoted Etienne de la Boetie once. Not much on the Barr site though.

    Who knows if anything I wrote got through to people? I suspect a lot of people will inquire into things more and others won’t.

  25. While I still intend to vote for Barr (because incompetent or not, at least I wouldn’t have to plug my nose to vote for him like I would for Obama or McCain). But I was expecting him to run a better show than this. I mean, he *did* get elected in the past, you’d think that would lead to at least some level of competence greater than what we’ve seen this year.

    ~Jon

  26. jtuf wrote, “Most of the LP newbies are ready to learn about Locke, Ann Rand, and NORML. Are the long time members ready to explain them?”

    As a matter of fact, my wife and I spent a good couple of hours in a mutually enlightening back-and-forth with a newly self-aware, self-proclaimed libertarian who had many excellent questions. This fellow came from the Demo ranks, however (no surprise there — we both live in Santa Cruz CA, after all) and wasn’t one of those disaffected GOP discussed earlier in this thread.

    I’m ready for more!

  27. Curiously, Dave Nolan is doing his part to support the ticket locally.

    Also curiously, despite his role as a Restore ’84 ringleader at the convention, he’s not Part of the Problem in Arizona.

    Are there two Dave Nolans?

  28. # J sub D | September 12, 2008, 6:26pm | #

    # I’m a Libertarian and a Detroit Lions fan.

    # My life sucks.

    It could suck worse. You could also be a speaker of Esperanto. Or a fan of the greatest TV show that almost everyone in the US has never seen, Charlie Jade. Oh yeah, and addicted to original recipe Taco flavored Doritos. Yes, life could suck much worse… 😉

  29. Then again, as the old wisdom goes, it sucks a helluva lot less than the alternative.

  30. I think you mean a principled, libertarian politician whose most successful legislative activity has been drawing federal pork spending to his district, and who endorsed the Bridge to Nowhere guy.

    In other words, scratch the principled and libertarian parts.

    You know you are only telling part of the story, don’t you?

    Paul considers himself both a Representative and a Legislator. As a Representative he petitions the government on behalf of his constituency. As a legislator he votes (consistently) against pork. And that includes the pork requested by his district.

    Now you may not like his approach, and you may disagree with him philosophically, but there is a consistency, and even a libertarian consistency there.

    For years I worked as a software engineer where I paid taxes. Now I am attending a state-run med school. As a taxpayer who was forced to hand over my money for this “pork,” I am okay with attending the school and regaining some of it. But if I had a chance to vote (or wave a magic wand to end the whole “public” system, I would do so immediately.

    By all means, call me (or Paul) unlibertarian, but at least explain the other part of the story. Something reason consistently fails to do.

  31. “LP Founder Declares Barr Campaign Dead”

    Vinyl albums are so 20th century. Kinda like Bob Barr.

  32. Something reason consistently fails to do.

    Wrong-o, champ. God, how many times do we have to educate the paultards?:

    For example, he happily inserts earmarked pork spending that benefits his district in spending bills, to keep them happy-and then votes against the bills, to keep his free-market constituents nationwide happy.

    Paul argues that the voting against the total bill is enough, that the rules of Congress mean the earmarks don’t actually increase total federal spending anyway, and that while he’d rather the government didn’t take the money, it’s not inherently a crime to try to get some of it back for his constituents.

    From this July 27th, 2007 article.

    That took two seconds. Try researching before opening your mouth and proving you don’t care what’s coming out of it.

  33. “If anything, hopefully a lot more people were introduced to libertarian thought by his and Ron Paul’s campaign.”

    As long as you leave the “l” small I’d have to say yup. I was tottering on the brink of apathy and a gentle old man toppled me right into the arms of L. Neal Smith.

    🙂

  34. “And Franklin Harris is right – Russ Verney is the biggest problem in the Barr campaign.”

    That name keeps coming up. I found this about a Russ Varney in the Buchanan 2000 campaign. If this gets munged

    http://64.233.169.104/search?q=cache:nGgOpQeSYEYJ:www.enterstageright.com/archive/articles/0800buchanan.htm+Russ+Verney&hl=en&ct=clnk&cd=4&gl=us

    Try this at tinyurl /53amcd

    Is it the same guy?

  35. I have posted my opinion on Russ Verney elsewhere. Basically he rode the coattails of an eccentric billionaire to a lifetime gig as the “go-to 3rd party/independent campaign manager.”

    When you take away money and personality and stick Verney with a stiff like Barr, he’s not going to see any results.

  36. I think Barr’s problem is that the libertarian base abandoned him. A significant portion either quit the LP or are deliberately sitting the season out. Many of the rest have grown apathetic from the quadrennial 0.5%. W.A.R. showed up here for a fundraising rally and managed to draw *ten* people in a major metropolitan area.

    The LP is afraid of growing beyond its reputation as debating club for angry white men with alternative lifestyles.

  37. LP Founder Declares Barr Campaign Dead

    Shhh! No arguments in the cemetery!

  38. Great post. I joined the LP after following Ron Paul until his run was over. I was a Republican. I was going to vote for Barr until the press conference dust up. Seems like it should have been obvious to Barr that going along with Ron Paul’s press conference would have won him more votes, loyalty and press coverage. Really, it is just basic politics and marketing. Instead, he lost votes (including mine) by how he acted. As a politician, he should have known better. Barr really is just an Independent candidate that should have stayed a Republican. I’m new to the LP and libertarian movement and I can see that.

  39. Puck Smith,

    Fortunately, there is only one Russ Verney ruining every third-party campaign he touches.

    I’m on the record as saying the LP nominating Barr was a good move. And, frankly, at worst, his campaign could end up a disaster and still do as well any other LP nominee since Clark. And it won’t do permanent damage to the LP because it will be forgotten. The average person can’t name any failed Democratic or Republican candidates, apart from Al Gore. What does a third party have to worry about if it ends up with someone it wants to sweep under the rug?

    But I did get that sinking feeling when I saw Verney onstage with Barr during Barr’s convention acceptance speech. And, unfortunately, the sinking feeling was right.

    Now, I thought Ron Paul’s little press conference where he just said “vote third party” was pointless, but since Paul held it, Barr was shortsighted not to attend. And offering Paul the LP’s vice presidential nomination was, frankly, insulting, not to mention unworkable. It was a bad move, and all of the insider dirt I’ve seen blames Verney for it, which may or may not be true, but it certainly sounds like Verney’s M.O. (Again, go back and see what a mess he made of the Reform Party, not that it wasn’t a mess to begin with.)

    But my advice to the big-L libertarians is to just live with it. All of the infighting and all of these splinter Boston Tea Party groups are beside the point. The only way the Libertarian Party amounts to anything this election cycle is to cost McCain enough votes to cost him the election. Don’t worry about the purity of the message: political campaigns are lousy vehicles for that, anyway. Just try to keep Barr straight on the bullet points. (And to do that, agitate for him to fire Verney. That’s where a little bit of infighting might do some good.)

  40. “The only way the Libertarian Party amounts to anything this election cycle is to cost McCain enough votes to cost him the election.”

    Isn’t that the textbook definition of a sociopath? You know, lighting this bundle of dynomite is ginna kill me, but I’m taking you with me, fool.

  41. Really, it is just basic politics and marketing. Instead, he lost votes (including mine) by how he acted.

    Oh, found someone better, did you?

  42. Isn’t that the textbook definition of a sociopath? You know, lighting this bundle of dynomite is ginna kill me, but I’m taking you with me, fool.

    No. If the LP is seen as costing McCain the election, it only helps the LP. And I reject the idea that electing Obama is somehow worse than electing McCain. Do we get a different brand of big government? Yes. But we get big government either way.

  43. So, Franklin, what if it costs Obama the election? Given his strong libertarian stands on things like guns and drug legalization that might be a disaster.

  44. It’s funny – because 99% of the public thinks the LP is dead. I’m sure Nolan’s child porn defending Mary Ruwart would have been busting new fundraising barriers and poll numbers as well. After all, the number of pedophiles in the country might have actually doubled the size of the LP.

    As a co-founder of the Libertarian Reform Caucus who has now given up any hope for the LP, I think we should let the LP wash out to sea with its boatload of radicals and start something new. There needs to be a party that reclaims classical liberalism, and reaches out to the Left by showing how laissez faire is more progressive than socialism by improving conditions for small businesses and enabling them to compete, while forcing corporations and their members to be directly legally and financially accountable for fraud, personal harm and destruction of property. Localization of federal programs, incremental reduction of government spending and taxes, a progressive tax structure, free trade as war deterrent, fighting bureaucracy and waste, cooperative and charitable solutions to social problems, improving public schools through school choice, ending irrational wars on guns, drugs, prostitution, etc from the standpoint that the illegality of these things funds the criminal underworld – these are all programs that can appeal to middle America, basically it would be the party of progressive conservatives and unsocialist liberals.

    Whatever the ideal society we desire, wherever it ranges between “more freedom than now” to Libertopia, we’re never going to get there unless we do what the socialists have done since the 1920s – sell to the middle and gradually move the country back in our direction. The LP has failed to reach moderates and thus in my opinion is a dead vessel for liberty. If fact, the LP’s radicalism has sadly caused most of America to write off the concept of libertarianism as kookdom. For that reason, the LP deserves to rot in its own counterproductive obscurity.

  45. Dunno how much of that to agree or disagree with, but that was inspiring, Nick.

  46. I’m a Libertarian and a Detroit Lions fan.

    When does CJ turn 35, I can support him for president?

  47. Paul considers himself both a Representative and a Legislator. As a Representative he petitions the government on behalf of his constituency. As a legislator he votes (consistently) against pork. And that includes the pork requested by his district.

    That’s just so much sophistry. So if his constituents told him they support the war in Iraq and love the Federal Reserve he would have to never speak out against those in his speeches in the House? He has to represent the views of his constituency, right?

    Whatever facile explanations he and his supporters offer, the truth is the same as it is with any other politician: he requests the pork spending because his constituents would notice if he didn’t. The fact that they don’t notice his lecturing the overnight shift C-SPAN engineers about libertarianism is just a testament to how ineffective he is when it comes to defending liberty and how harmless he is to the foes of liberty.

  48. I may roll my eyes while voting for Barr, but at least I won’t have to hold my nose, and I won’t have to throw up afterwards. The very fact that Barr seems to have retained some of his conservative views (eg, on abortion) is a feature rather than a bug as far as I’m concerned.

    It is true that the Bob Barr Web site doesn’t say “Libertarian Party” at the top, although the first sentence of every Bob Barr press release mentions Barr’s Libertarian status (links to the press releases are on the left of the home page).

    The Obama campaign Web site and the the McCain campaign Web site don’t mention the party affiliations of their respective candidates on the main page, either.

    On the McKinney campaign Web site, you have to scroll down the screen to find that she’s the Green Party nominee.

    “If all you are looking for is a big rally, then Farrakahn, or even hitler would do fine.”

    We have a Godwin!

  49. “The fact that they don’t notice his lecturing the overnight shift C-SPAN engineers about libertarianism is just a testament to how ineffective he is when it comes to defending liberty and how harmless he is to the foes of liberty.”

    Michelle Malkin and *The New Republic* were certainly upset at Dr. Paul’s candidacy, and thought it worth derailing even at the expense of telling a few untruths. Why such zeal, if Dr. Paul was no danger to them? Or are Michelle Malkin and *The New Republic* actually friends of liberty?

  50. I have voted libertarian in the last few elections, But I am not sure that I can bring myself to vote for Bob Barr. He is just a little too conservative for my likes. I was hoping for more from the libertarian party.

  51. Barr’s nomination is not really the issue because there were a lot of disgruntled Republicans out there and it would have been silly for an LP looking to grow itself from being a “debating society for anrgy white men with alternative lifestyles” not to choose someone who was a disgruntled Republican himself. Yes Barr is a Johnny-come-lately to libertarianism, but if you want broaden the base of party, then a lot of people will be Johnny-come-latelies. Besides, what better story for a campaign than a fellow who was kicked out of Congress thanks to the votes of libertarians in Georgia using that defeat to discoverlibertarianism?

    Sadly I think the Barr camapaign will fall far far short of the lofty goals many had for it back in May. Part of it is their own doing but also because of events they could not control. The Barr campaign has already influenced the general election with Sarah Palin’s GOP nomination as vice-president. This would not have happened had Karl Rove not seen McCain’s poll numbers, especially in the West and Atlantic South, being chopped up by Barr. Palin was a response to this and ergo, the number of disgruntled Republicans has shrunk accordingly. Now it may be that Mrs.Palin is being turned into a neocon robot as we speak but I think we would all agree somone like her, with regular libertarian and paleo instincts, would have never been chosen in the recent past. This is progress however small.

    Then of course you have the Barr’s campaign’s own self-inflicted blunders, which has robbed him of any potential grassroots base thanks to the wickedly incompetent Russ Verney. Root has been a total disappointment as the VP nominee and one wonders if his heart is really into the campaign. Recent poll number show Barr dropping to 1% and falling and could reach Badnarik levels by Novemeber 4. Bob Barr the idea was good but Bob Barr the candidate leaves a lot to be desired.

    I hope that’s not the case and I hope the LP does have an affect on the outcome of the presidential race and I hope the press conference fiasco doesn’t hurt LP candidates downballot, some of whom are doing quite well by LP standards.

    But LPers have to be honest with themseleves and admit that Ruwart or Kubby or Phillies would not be doing all that much better than Barr is even if they were running perfect campaigns. What’s needed is a campaign that balances the desires of those wishing to grow the party without ignoring all those who who worked hard over the years to try and keep it afloat without indulging the crazies like Starchild and Chief Wana Dubie. A Barr/Kubby ticket would have been perfect in this regard.

    The LP will survive what happens to Bob Barr but what will it become? That’s the point to ponder. If, after Election Day, the Barr crowd is swept out of party HQ and the party regular faction is back in control, basically you’re back to square one again just like in 2004. That situation ultimatley led to the Portland Convention in ’06 and Barr’s nomination in ’08 because many LP members got tired of losing and looking like freaks. Nothing will have changed and opportunties will have been lost if a typical purge takes place.

    If such regulars to simply wish maintain themselves as a club for kooks and prevent the party from growing, then maybe Nick is right that the LP isn’t worth the effort anymore and a new party is needed that combines a lot of the moderate forces within the non-major parties (Nader, Paul, Baldwin (and if you think Baldwin’s a right-wing nut there are far more kookier people in the CP than him and it has caused any number of problems for the party) which uses Paul’s financial and activist base. The Campaign for Liberty could be the template for that new party.

    Such things aren’t planned as they are, events just have a way of pushing them to happen and we may see all of this take place in the fermet that’s been caused by Paul’s campaign.

  52. Mad Max,

    The Kirchick story in the New Republic didn’t contain any lies as far as I am aware. The bare truth of what Dr Paul was allowing to be published in his name (assuming he did not write it) is scandalous enough.

    As for Malkin, Fox News et al, they’re not the bastions of calculating judgement that you seem to think they are. Had they kept silent about Paul rather than tearing into him for his supposedly blame-America attitude, his campaign would have been even more irrelevant than it actually turned out to be. Indeed, towards the end his opponents adjusted their strategery in the debates and confronted him directly, using him as a scapegoat/punching bag to show the base what great warriors they would make. The bully who’s wedgieing the weakling in front of a bunch of girls isn’t doing it because he’s afraid.

  53. Dr. Paul allowed a lot of offensive things to go out under his name. That doesn’t mean TNR told the truth.

    The classic example is TNR saying that, in this newsletter, Dr. Paul compared Salman Rushdie to Holocaust-denier Ernst Zundel. A classic half-truth, in that they wanted their readers to believe the newsletter was praising Zundel. In fact, the comparison in question was that (a) both Rushdie and Zundel said offensive things, and (b) both should have the right to free expression. The newsletter then took *The New Republic* to task for defending Rushdie’s right to free expression while denying Zundel’s rights.

    TNR thought that the actual record of the good doctor’s offensive comments wasn’t good enough – they had to take comments which were not only defensible but fully accurate and throw those into the pile as well.

    Why go to such lengths to oppose someone who is “ineffective” and “harmless to the foes of liberty?”

    Malkin, like it or not, is a key ally of the Republican Party. She tries to head off what she considers threats to her party’s dominance. She targeted Dr. Paul. Why was that?

  54. “The bully who’s wedgieing the weakling in front of a bunch of girls isn’t doing it because he’s afraid.”

    Are you perhaps referring to Dr. Paul’s opponent, the wife-swapping ex-mayor of New York, who tried to shore up support for the Bush administration’s increasingly-unpopular military policy by attacking Dr. Paul’s antiwar stand? How did that work out for the wife-swapper? Not so well, since he kept running below Dr. Paul’s vote totals in the primaries. Who, then, got wedgied?

  55. Theory: despite growing sympathy to libertarian viewpoints in the electorate, no more than a few percent of said electorate is willing to throw their vote or prospective campaign contribution away. Controversial, I know.

    Especially in this day and age, when fundamental issues of war and peace are being decided, you’re going to find the share of people willing to vote for a fringe political party low.

    It’s a two party system. 95% of the country realizes that. You want change, you work within one of the two parties, put your head down, accept compromises, and eventually your own personal issues become national issues. The christian right knows it, the environmentalist movement knows it, the neoconservatives know it.

  56. Brian left out the best part: Nolan recommends Libertarians support more responsible candidates, such as Dr. Mike Munger. He is running a good campaign for NC Governor and has meeting the state’s threshold for ballot retention (it would be the first time for the LP with potential savings of $200K NOT doing another hideous ballot drive).

    http://munger08.com

  57. Malkin, like it or not, is a key ally of the Republican Party. She tries to head off what she considers threats to her party’s dominance. She targeted Dr. Paul. Why was that?

    Because she’s a stupid twat. She wrote a book defending the internment of Japanese-Americans, for Christ’s sake! Do you seriously think she sat down and calculated whether doing that would help the GOP before she did it? No, she just heard someone say something she didn’t like, and started squawking.

    Who, then, got wedgied?

    I wasn’t referring to the Rudy spat — that was a spur of the moment thing in only the second debate. I’m referring to the obviously pre-planned confrontations with Huckabee and McCain, which gave the former the opportunity to thump his chest about honor and tell a funny story about his mother, and the latter a chance to paint himself as a great warrior who would have stopped WW2 from happening with his big dick stiplomacy.

  58. Max Hats is correct


    It’s a two party system. 95% of the country realizes that. You want change, you work within one of the two parties, put your head down, accept compromises, and eventually your own personal issues become national issues. The christian right knows it, the environmentalist movement knows it, the neoconservatives know it.

    And in a miniscule demonstration of this, I will be voting for Obama, who opposed the war, will be a competent diplomat, and displays a rudiamentary understanding of market behavior.

    Additionally, most people don’t like extremists, and the Libertarian Party is nothing if not extremists. As Ron Paul said at the rally for liberty, anyone conceding a 1% income tax has conceded 100% of the principle. Well, I admire Dr. Paul’s principled stand, but since I formulate my principles differently, I can’t ultimately agree. Most people want some government services, even if it means an income tax. This is the reality.

  59. So, the major-party candidates are bound to get an overwhelming majority of the votes? So the two-party system is in no danger whatsoever? What a relief! I would hate to endanger the two-party system, and apparently I don’t. So I guess they don’t need my vote, then! And I suppose they’ll quite asking for it

  60. “[Malkin] wrote a book defending the internment of Japanese-Americans, for Christ’s sake! Do you seriously think she sat down and calculated whether doing that would help the GOP before she did it?”

    I don’t know if it hurt the Repubs or not. It didn’t stop their Pres candidate from being elected in 2004, the year it came out. I also don’t recall

    Even if Malkin’s views were politically dangerous, that didn’t stop key Repug supporters from trumpeting her internment book and back-slapping her over her “courage” in fighting the libruls.

    John Leo praised Malkin for violating the “Internment Taboo.”

    The Conservative Book Club hyped the book under the headline, “Should civil liberties *always* trump national security?
    Michelle Malkin’s airtight case for profiling in today’s terror war — and her courageous defense of World War II internment measures.”

    Thomas Sowell also weighed in with a rave review, declaring that Malkin “brings out many facts and arguments that have long been ignored by those who prefer simpler explanations that enable them to condemn America.”

    Daniel Pipes praised the book for rebutting the propaganda of the “victimization lobby.”

    How much does Malkin have to get praised from key elements in Repug “intellectual” circles before she stops being marginal?

  61. A marginal broadcast network known as the Fox News Channel gave Malkin a platform to falsely accuse Dr. Paul of being a Truther.

    Those marginal attackers of Dr. Paul seem to stick together! Good thing they don’t represent the mainstream of the Repug leadership.

  62. Here’s my question for you, Pendulum:

    Is your state likely to come down to your one vote? I don’t think there’s ever been a state in history where it came down to the difference of one vote. Because of this, you should vote for whoever you want to, because you won’t impact the race anyway. If you think Obama is preferable to McCain because he won’t start a war in Russia (even if he implements permanent socialism) and he’s also preferable to Barr, Nader, Baldwin, McKinley or writing in whoever you think would be the best president, by all means vote for him. Otherwise, pick the person that most closely represents your values instead of thinking that your vote actually matters any moreso because it is going to the major parties.

    Personally I’m kind of leaning towards writing in some inanimate object or animal to express my intense dissatisfaction with all of the human choices, all of whom are incredibly disappointing this cycle.

  63. MAX HATS wrote, “It’s a two party system. 95% of the country realizes that. You want change, you work within one of the two parties, put your head down, accept compromises, and eventually your own personal issues become national issues. The christian right knows it, the environmentalist movement knows it, the neoconservatives know it.”

    And so, it seemed, did Ron Paul, who has been working in the vineyards of the GOP for decades, and who would not himself pursue a third-party bid for POTUS this year. Yet he called a press conference to express his belief that working within the system is a mistaken strategy. Who knows the truth of the situation better than he? If Ron Paul can give up on the “change it from the inside” approach, then who can defend it, and on what grounds?

    Perhaps it is inevitable that we will have two parties slugging it out forever, but not necessarily the same two parties. I can only hope that a more libertarian party supplants either the Demos or GOP in my lifetime.

  64. I do hope they throw the bum out. I have voted libertarian for decades and even I can’t pull the lever on this guy.

    I didn’t know what I was going to do until I read this: http://www.lewrockwell.com/orig8/hamilton4.html

    Thank you Ms. Hamilton. My decision is now clear.

  65. “Child porn defending”??? I must come to my friend Mary’s defense, and I’ll make it simple enough that even the media could get it.

    Mary’s point was about the very broad possible definition(s) of “child porn” under yet-another law, not about allowing or encouraging the sexual abuse of children. It’s about control of adults!! For example, if you think it’s illegal to download “child porn,” a broad enough definition could affect you very easily, given the proper political agenda.

    I’ll use an ascii-art example I saw on an email list in the 1990s to show why.

    o|=

  66. Crap, the html command apparently erased the rest of my post, but there’s a < character for her legs, and the statement “look at her, so young, so willing,” under that.

  67. Barr can’t deliver on his promises by a long shot, which I already knew, and so did everyone else I guess. I went from HATING Bob Barr to somewhat warming up to him as a libertarian candidate because of all his talk about brining in the numbers at the polls and in funds, then I actually considered voting for him, HA! now I’m back to thinking what I did in the beginning, Barr cannot be trusted and he is using the party as his own independent platform to jerk off his ego or whatever politicians do. we should all be so lucky as to have a Paul/Goldwater ticket under the LIBERTARIAN party. maybe we could have had ballot access and got into the debates, again, HA!

  68. LOL disregard that last, again, it got in there by accident.

  69. # Libertylover | September 13, 2008, 10:46pm | #
    # …

    # I didn’t know what I was going to do until
    # read this: http://www.lewrockwell.com/orig8/hamilton4.html

    In Hamilton’s article, she asks, “What is so difficult about allowing the American people to pick the person they want to be President? Why is this so dangerous?”

    I wish she had studied history well enough to answer her own question (which, I admit, was posed only rhetorically).

    For one thing, the people were never intended to pick the Federal president. The President was to be selected by the States, by the expedient of the various state legislatures appointing electors. The Federal government was a creature of and a facilitator for the States, and the President was to be, in large part, a ringmaster who could help coordinate their mutual cooperation.

    The indirect selection of the President by the States was a deliberate component of the web of checks and balances that is woven throughout the Constitution. Progressive and populist movements (in either deliberate or inadvertent service to the major parties of their times) subsequently engineered the extra-constitutional arrangements, whereby the legislatures would obligate themselves to respect popular vote for President in selecting electors. Over time, people got used to voting for President, seemingly “directly,” and came to believe that it was not only wise and good, but INTENDED, for the people to elect the President.

    Let me be clear: When States select the President, the federal government will be weaker and more manageable than when people elect the chief executive directly. The only federal officers who were to be elected directly by the people were House Reps. States were to appoint Senators (changed by the unwise 17th Amendment, in one of the same waves of reform that brought us semi-direct popular election of the President). Since, in our system, political authority flows from the people, direct election by the people confers more “legitimacy” on those office-holders, than on those who are merely appointed by other governmental functionaries, however highly-placed those making appointments might be. Electing the President directly would shift the balance of power — giving orders of magnitude more “legitimacy” to the President than to any other elected official, and paving the way for the President to be de facto King and even Dictator. The founders saw this easily and wisely made the Presidential selection process a very indirect one.

    There is a good reason today for people to vote directly for the President, and that is because the Federal government is now in everyone’s face, all day, every day, to an extent that would have disappointed — if not horrified — the people who wrote the Constitution. With Presidential decisions and appointees in charge of so much of our wealth and everyday behavior, it behooves the average man to demand a say in the selection of that official. But the pressures to legitimize direct democracy in the selection of the President are evidence of a deadly positive-feedback loop that we would be wiser to resist. Rather than continuing to move toward direct election of the President, we should recognize the harm that an imbalance of power between the governmental branches could and probably will cause, and move instead back toward the idea of States appointing Senators, and States indirectly (through electors) selecting the President. The original design is a lot better than the “improvements” that would-be “reformers” brought us in more recent times. Newer is not always better. From everything I have seen in decades of watching our nation’s political dramedy, the founders got that balance-of-power thing very right, and we tinker with it at our peril.

  70. Many seem to have an inflated view of the importance and visibility of the LP. Most people don’t even know that it exists, and a large proportion of those who do think it is run by Lyndon LaRouche. Yes, it appears that Barr is screwing up his campaign, but to pretend it is any worse than Badnarik or even Browne just goes to show that libertarians have a short memory (probably because so many weren’t libertarians four years ago). The world is not collapsing, and the LP will still be there, performing badly, in the next election.

  71. J sub D | September 12, 2008, 6:26pm | #

    I’m a Libertarian and a Detroit Lions fan.

    My life sucks.

    It could be worse: you could be a Browns fan like me.

  72. giuliani the “wife swapper”…i love it !! apparently the paultards are now insinuating that divorce should be illegal too. how libertarian of them.

  73. dpsc: | September 13, 2008, 4:53am | #
    So, Franklin, what if it costs Obama the election? Given his strong libertarian stands on things like guns and drug legalization that might be a disaster.

    Let me know when I can catch the next train to whatever dimension you’re living in. If you heard Obama talking libertarian-like about guns and drugs during some speech or another that doesn’t mean he believes what’s coming out of his mouth.

    Nick | September 13, 2008, 9:54pm | #

    …Personally I’m kind of leaning towards writing in some inanimate object or animal to express my intense dissatisfaction with all of the human choices, all of whom are incredibly disappointing this cycle.

    I find it curious that you’d say this after saying the LP needs to either accomplish something or just go away in an earlier post of yours. If you want the LP to succeed you have to vote for them. Bob Barr will not last, but the LP will. A vote for Bob Barr is a vote for the LP, for automatic ballot access thresholds, and for visibility in future elections.

    For everyone else: Someone mentioned the LP regulars that are sitting out this election, but nobody mentioned those that are operating anti-Barr campaigns. This scorched earth policy is silly, and for what? So you can help Barr to not do well? So you can point to his floundering campaign fund and decent but unremarkable vote totals and say itoldjaso? Pathetic. Childish. Divided we fall.

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