Barrwatch: Bloombergeddon

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It doesn't seem like Bob Barr's shunning of the Ron Paul press conference has dented his campaign bus. Outside of the tear gas-choked air of Independent Political Report and radical-leaning LP blogs, Barr's media coverage has remained steady, respectful, and (of course) dismissive. Today he left the trail for some private work that can't hurt with with ornery libertarian voters.

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg defamed a Georgia sporting goods store when he labeled it one of several "rogue gun dealers" putting firearms on his city's streets, Libertarian presidential candidate Bob Barr argued Tuesday to a federal appeals court.

Barr, a former prosecutor and Republican congressman from Georgia, is representing the store in a $400 million libel lawsuit against Bloomberg and New York Police Commissioner Ray Kelly.

And Barr waved the flag of victory over Pennsylvania Republicans, who lost a lawsuit written to keep him off the ballot.

The challenge to Barr, a former Republican congressman from Georgia who some GOP strategists fear might siphon votes from McCain, was filed by Harrisburg lawyer Victor Stabile, who also is chairman of the Cumberland County Republican Party.

Commonwealth Court Judge Johnny Butler rejected arguments that the party tricked voters by gathering signatures under another candidate's name and substituting Barr's name in August, three months after he was nominated at its national convention.

The Libertarians' intent "was to comply with the (state) election code, not to mislead Pennsylvania's voters," Butler wrote.

This is matched by bad news from Louisiana, where bureaucratic delays caused by Hurricane Gustav might have kept Barr's signatures from being counted for ballot access.

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  1. Barr’s media coverage has remained steady, respectful, and (of course) dismissive.

    Fie!

  2. The problem isn’t the lack of publicity. The problem is that by repeatedly pissing off his base he has left himself without the funds or grass-roots support to make anything of that publicity.

    Barr won the nomination on a promise to build the party, to expand it to include a broader libertarian coalition. That’s all great, and needs to happen. The problem is that Barr was either lying or is woefully incompetent. He brought in a bunch of outsiders to run his campaign who, while they might have much-needed political experience, have absolutely no understanding of or ties to the libertarian movement that should be the core of Barr’s support. The Bob Barr campaign is *all* about Bob Barr, not the libertarian message or the Libertarian Party, and not unsurprisingly that rubs a lot of people the wrong way.

    For God’s sake, the man praised George Bush’s “incredible leadership” post-9/11 and dissed Ron Paul in the same press release. He simply doesn’t get it.

  3. 400 million! That’s a lot of money for libel.

  4. And, it should be noted, it appears very likely that ultimately Barr will have *worse* ballot access that Badnarik had in 2004. His fundraising is about the same, too, despite all the obvious reasons why it should be much higher.

  5. The libruhtarian “base” could fit into a KFC.

    The base Barr should be going after is the GOP one, but he’s too much of a fake to do that.

    I previously asked his campaign director to inform me of Barr ConferenceCalls and he didn’t reply after I told him my site. I also asked if he had any sort of rebuttal to my (“NoMoreBlatherDotCom”) comments here and I didn’t hear back. I don’t think they can do anything right.

  6. 24AheadDotCom | September 16, 2008, 6:35pm | #
    The libruhtarian “base” could fit into a KFC.

    I previously asked his campaign director to inform me of Barr ConferenceCalls … (“NoMoreBlatherDotCom”) comments here and I didn’t hear back.

    LoneWhackJob, is that you? I’m not clicking a link to find out.

  7. Yes, it is him. I took the dive and clicked on his link.

    What a shitty site.

  8. I hope he wins the case for Adventure Outdoors.
    I recommend the shop as well, best handgun selection in metro Atlanta.

  9. Do any IllegalMexicans shop there?

  10. I hope he wins the case for Adventure Outdoors.

    Maybe they could finally afford to update their Clinton era website.

    The typical gun on their site looks like it sells for about $1000. So 400 million would be the *gross* from 400,000 guns, or about 1,100 per day. Needless to say, I doubt they do an order of magnitude (or even two) close to that level of business.

  11. Typical Weigel bias once again. Anyone who doesn’t fall in love with Barr is one of those “radical-leaning” types. Weigel’s reporting on the LP convention were awful and his regular reporting here reeks of his personal prejudices. Why keep him? He’s awful.

  12. Um, I might have to take some of that back.

    In ’03 did about 200 K background checks.

    So it is possible that the largest gun dealer in the largest metro area in the state could do 400,000 transactions between 2006 and today.

  13. Also, the Rothbardians, which make up the bulk of the “radical libertarians”, actually reject the idea of libel/slander as a legitimate tort. Since your “reputation” is just the abstract sum of the contents of other people’s minds, you can’t have a property right in it, or so the thinking goes.

  14. In case anyone still doubts Barr’s libertarian credentials, his gritty determination to pursue trivial matters while on the campaign trail should put those fears to rest. Bob Barr, you are a true libertarian!

  15. Of course Barr has also delayed his defense of an accused child molester ( who Barr says has been denied a fair and speedy trial, yet he is also delaying it) until after the election. Couldn’t he have found time to take the case to further endear himself to “mainstream libertarians”? Or is the subject matter too close to his hit job on Mary Ruwart’s child sex beliefs? When barr isn’t writing articles condemning black teenagers for having consensual oral sex, he is running around defending Klan members in gun cases and Child rapists.

  16. Any hope that Barr still wins Texas by default?

  17. Also, the Rothbardians, which make up the bulk of the “radical libertarians”, actually reject the idea of libel/slander as a legitimate tort. Since your “reputation” is just the abstract sum of the contents of other people’s minds, you can’t have a property right in it, or so the thinking goes.

    It is good that the Rothbardians feel that way. I’ll not be bothered by them after pointing out that they are all homosexual, child molesting, cannibalistic, humanoid, underground dwellers.

  18. .. I wish I could feel better about voting for Barr .. there’s a zero chance of my voting for either side of the Big Government Party so I guess my worthless vote will go for ballot access.. taking one for the team, so to speak ..

    .. Hobbit

  19. Any hope that Barr still wins Texas by default?

    Rs and Ds are too big to fail.

  20. Or is the subject matter too close to his hit job on Mary Ruwart’s child sex beliefs?

    A hit job? She actually said that crap in her book AND reiterated it not that long ago @ a meeting of the IN LP.

  21. The problem isn’t the lack of publicity. The problem is that by repeatedly pissing off his base he has left himself without the funds or grass-roots support to make anything of that publicity.

    I’m pretty sure the base pissed itself off, for the most part. Most of it comes down to perception. If you filter everything the Barr campaign says and does through negativity, distrust, and hate you’re bound to get something negative, untrustworthy, and disappointing out of it.

    For God’s sake, the man praised George Bush’s “incredible leadership” post-9/11 and dissed Ron Paul in the same press release. He simply doesn’t get it.

    Actually that was Russ Verney, and you (and many others) misinterpreted what he was trying to say. It also wasn’t a press release, it was a campaign update.

  22. GG | September 16, 2008, 7:35pm | #
    Any hope that Barr still wins Texas by default?

    Rs and Ds are too big to fail.

    Great comment, GG.

  23. The LP is not a vehicle for practical change. The manufactured outrage over Barr proves that Libertarians would rather be pissed off and bitch than coalesce behind someone who is leaps and bounds better than the other mainstream and third-party candidates.

    Special note to Libertarians: RON PAUL ISN’T ONE OF YOU ANY LONGER.

  24. “The Angry Optimist” that’s a good name for you. Fits you well. I like your attitude.

    It’s a shame. We don’t have the luxury of time, and time is being wasted splitting hairs in spite of this fact. Do some of you actually want to “take life by the horns”? Or would some you prefer to get the self-satisfaction of telling people you tried while blaming others for the lack of results when everything goes straight to hell? The way in which the reader answers each of these questions is telling.

  25. “I’m pretty sure the base pissed itself off, for the most part. Most of it comes down to perception. If you filter everything the Barr campaign says and does through negativity, distrust, and hate you’re bound to get something negative, untrustworthy, and disappointing out of it”

    There was certainly some of that to begin with, but Barr’s actions have only confirmed rather than dispelled those doubts. A “Libertarian” who tries to get the government to force a church to invite him, using the McCain-Feingold Act no less? Really? More important than any of his many ideological faux pas, however, is the total lack of any attempt by Barr to relate his campaign to any sort of broader libertarian movement, much less the Libertarian Party. It’s the exact opposite of Ron Paul’s “It’s not the man, it’s the message.” With Bob Barr it’s *all* about the man, and the message is secondary at best.

    “Actually that was Russ Verney, ”

    Anything sent out by the Barr ’08 campaign is presumed to have Barr’s approval.

    “and you (and many others) misinterpreted what he was trying to say”

    Feel free to explain how.

    “It also wasn’t a press release, it was a campaign update.”

    Now you’re just splitting hairs.

    I really *wanted* to support Barr. I really tried to. All his talk about the LP being “mature” now, and how he was going to “expand the party” beyond the same old radical niche that gets the same 400,000 votes every 4 years. It all sounded great. The simple fact is that it’s been shown to be a sham. Barr was never interested in building up a libertarian movement. He wanted a Bob Barr movement- centered around and in lock step with him. And any one who disagrees is subject to the childish rudeness and vitriol that has been the hallmark of his campaign staff.

    “Special note to Libertarians: RON PAUL ISN’T ONE OF YOU ANY LONGER.”

    Actually, Paul maintains his LP life membership. He’s elected as a Republican, but he is also still a member of the Libertarian Party.

  26. I must worship the ground of the omnipotent Barr!

    I must bow to the widsom of the Wiegel!

    I must support dissing a man whose organization dwarfs the one I’ve pissed on!

    I must follow the Verney off the cliff!

    I must get off this bad drug trip!

  27. Actually, Paul maintains his LP life membership. He’s elected as a Republican, but he is also still a member of the Libertarian Party.

    Do you really feel that addresses what I was trying to tell you?

    I really *wanted* to support Barr.

    Don’t break your arm patting yourself on the back for how you “tried” to support him. I guess you can go vote for the BTP or the Constitutional Party or something.

    Anything to avoid actually making a difference.

  28. As usual, Wiegel gets it right despite whether I agree with him or not.

    Of course the REAL REASON the purist libertarians are against Barr is more about personality than any snub of Ron Paul.

    -Marc

  29. “Do you really feel that addresses what I was trying to tell you?”

    I’m not really quite sure what your point was.

    “Don’t break your arm patting yourself on the back for how you “tried” to support him. I guess you can go vote for the BTP or the Constitutional Party or something.”

    No, I remain more or less committed to working primarily within the LP, and I will vote for Barr as a vote, not for him, but for the Libertarian Party. The “broader libertarian coalition” Barr touted was great, and in general I think the Reform Caucus has the right idea (and I say that as a borderline anarcho-capitalist myself). It just turns out that Barr isn’t really interested in any such coalition, nor apparently in anything that happens after this campaign is over.

    “Anything to avoid actually making a difference”

    That’s my problem with Barr- he *isn’t* doing anything to make a difference. He’s not really doing anything to further the cause of liberty. Yeah, he’s gotten more media attention, but he has done nothing that will help the LP and the libertarian message be in a stronger position in 2010 and 2012, which is his primary job (unless you really buy into the pipe dreams of him winning).

  30. Look, whether he’s doing anything that will make a difference is a future question that is to be answered by empirical evidence.

    What I can say is that bitching about Barr doesn’t get that goal anywhere nearer to being achieved.

  31. Also, the Rothbardians, which make up the bulk of the “radical libertarians”, actually reject the idea of libel/slander as a legitimate tort. Since your “reputation” is just the abstract sum of the contents of other people’s minds, you can’t have a property right in it, or so the thinking goes.

    True, but Weigel’s more of a political junkie than a student of libertarianism, so no surprise he doesn’t know that.

  32. Marc,

    Snubgate was just the latest and biggest screwups in a long line of incompetebt camoaign decisions. The NH suit. The CT petitions. The WV petitions. The LA petitions. The lack of followup in TX, which the LPTX did. Supporting AlGore, interventionism in South America, Bush’s “leadership” (running away) on 9/11. The lack of building the party infrastructure. The lack of party label on ANYTHING his campaign produces in terms of campaign lit and materials, and the barely-there mention of his party in interviews. The ovreblown and disappointing fundraising. Being incapable of saying, “I’m sorry, I screwed up” for his transgressions.

    Personality conflict? Nope. Voting record? Nope. Pure incompetency? YOU BETCHA!

    Ron Crickenberger is rolling over in his grave.

  33. Transgressions? Yet again, the Disciples of Libertarianism rear their heads.

  34. True, but Weigel’s more of a political junkie DemocRAT Party shill than a student of libertarianism, so no surprise he doesn’t know that.

  35. “Look, whether he’s doing anything that will make a difference is a future question that is to be answered by empirical evidence”

    No, it’s not a future question. If he were doing something to strengthen the LP, it would show right now. We’d see people coming into the party, we’d see an increase in LP activism and better ballot access, we’d see a revitalization of enthusiasm and a surge in fundraising. We are seeing none of those things, in large part because Barr hasn’t shown the slightest sign that he’s interested in any of them, except for the fundraising part, which has largely consisted of e-mails touting what a great and courageous leader Bob Barr is, as if that’s what libertarians are interested in.

    “What I can say is that bitching about Barr doesn’t get that goal anywhere nearer to being achieved”

    Neither does turning the LP into an echo chamber full of lemmings who are “led” by the nominee. I’ll be the first to lament the infighting and factionalism that plagues all third parties, and many of the anti-Barr purists are guilty as hell in that department, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t exercise critical thinking when evaluating the actions of our nominees. Barr is screwing the pooch, and ultimately he’s the one responsible for the success of his campaign.

  36. “Transgressions? Yet again, the Disciples of Libertarianism rear their heads”

    Did you actually read his post? Most of his complaints were about incompetence and stupid tactics, not being insufficiently doctrinaire.

  37. Sigh. Andy I wrote out a lengthy post that responded to your questions and covered all of your concerns, but it was eaten by H&R and cannot be recovered. I suppose next time I write out something that lengthy I’ll copy the whole thing to the clipboard just in case this happens again.

    I’m not going to rewrite the post.

  38. There is a petition being circulated to remove Bob Barr as the Libertarian Party’s presidential nominee:

    http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/RemoveBobBar/index.html

    This would not necessarily involve replacing him with a new candidate. There’s nothing that says the LP has to have a presidential candidate, and it would be refreshing for a party to stand up and say that they’d rather have no ticket at all than one that’s badly flawed. There are always lots of Libertarian candidates running for state and local office who could use support.

  39. Actually, the Barr campaign has lost many supporters after the Snubgate fiasco of last week. The Baldwin campaign inbox has been filling with people saying that this was the last straw with Barr, or that he should not have been rude to Paul… So perhaps it appears that his campaign hasn’t had a bump, but maybe all these switched-supporters haven’t been writing him telling him they’re leaving!!!

  40. In response to various comments above:

    The libruhtarian “base” could fit into a KFC.

    That was then. Take a look around now. Ron Paul is like a rock star, and draws crowds of 10,000 young people chanting “down with the Fed.” Read that last sentence, and try to imagine that happening five years ago. Re-read until it fully sinks in.

    The LP is not a vehicle for practical change. The manufactured outrage over Barr proves that Libertarians would rather be pissed off and bitch than coalesce behind someone who is leaps and bounds better than the other mainstream and third-party candidates.

    Truer words have never been spoken. (I don’t even really like Barr that much, but I do think he’s the best (least worst?) candidate currently in the game.)

    That’s my problem with Barr- he *isn’t* doing anything to make a difference. He’s not really doing anything to further the cause of liberty. Yeah, he’s gotten more media attention, but he has done nothing that will help the LP and the libertarian message be in a stronger position in 2010 and 2012, which is his primary job (unless you really buy into the pipe dreams of him winning).

    I gotta disagree with this. I don’t a traveling salesman for a candidate, I want a pit bull who is going for the win. And, while I agree that it hasn’t worked out that way, I do think Barr, Verney, et al. have been trying hard. I think they were expecting to get more traction with the media than they have.

    The lack of party label on ANYTHING his campaign produces in terms of campaign lit and materials, and the barely-there mention of his party in interviews.

    I have heard him mention the word libertarian, and/or the words Libertarian Party, in almost every interview and every press release. I’ve not at all gotten the impression that he’s dissociated himself.

    Again, I don’t really care for Barr all that much, but I think a lot of the criticism of him is unfair.

  41. The American Ruse &
    when Black Friday comes.

    Honesty or lies?
    Compassion or greed?
    Intelligence or narrow-minded?
    Guts – or go along to get along?

    Ralph Nader
    Cynthia McKinney

    Ron Paul
    Mike Gravel
    Dennis Kucinich

    Jesse Ventura
    H. Ross Perot
    President Carter
    JFK RFK MLK Malcolm

  42. “$400 million libel lawsuit against Bloomberg”

    He spends more than that a week on tips.

  43. “This is matched by bad news from Louisiana, where bureaucratic delays caused by Hurricane Gustav might have kept Barr’s signatures from being counted for ballot access.”

    Why is that bad news, David? It’s a given he won’t win the election? What’s your angle?

  44. If Bob Barr took a shit in the woods and no one was there to smell it, would Dave Weigle still reflexively gobble it up?

  45. Seebeck >> Quit harping on Ron Crickenberger ‘rolling over in his grave’ on the various blogs you post at. He was an honorable man. Stop using his good name to try and score purity points.

    As for IPR being ‘tear gas-choked’, you have Jason Seagraves to thank for that. His incessant whining and attacks upon anyone who dares deviate from his particular brand of libertarianism is making IPR a laughingstock amongst serious, thinking libertarians who are actually doing something for liberty.

  46. Barr is bad. But Baldwin is just badder.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cQKfLk_1_ZU

  47. Abdullah,

    I do wish Barr supported trippling the immirgration quotas, but other than that, I like his policies. What don’t you like about Barr?

  48. As one poster noted above, the job of the Presidential candidate is to attract new supporters to the LP because only the deluded think they are going to win. Up through Clark in 1980, that happeneed. Again, in 1988, Ron Paul attracted new people and the membership went from around 6,000 to over 10,000 in the next few years. The Browne campaign, even with its faults, temporarily raised membership above 30,000. The mark of Barr’s success, or lack of it, will be seen in the membership totals of the LP within the year after his campaign. [Note: obviously actual membership totals are contingent on an LNC and state parties being able to capitalize on the candidate’s attraction of new voters.] What is the plan to capitalize on Barr’s efforts???

  49. The Bob Barr Campaign for President has already proved to be the most successful Presidential Campaign in Libertarian Party history.

    Does anyone really think for a moment that McCain would have selected libertarian Sarah Palin for his VP, had it not been for Barr’s Zogby polling numbers over the summer of 5 to 6%?

    McCain had an array of choices: Pawlenty, Romney, Ridge, Crist and Palin. Had the Libertarian campaign been a standard low-polling Radical Libertarian affair of say Mary Ruwart or Steve Kubby, McCain would have scoffed, and probably have chose “safe” Crist or Pawlenty or Ridge.

    As it happened he had a rising Libertarian campaign on his flank to contend with, run by former Perot Campaign Chair Russ Varney.

    Thus, he chose his VP accordingly: A woman from the most libertarian state in the Nation, who has attended meetings of the Libertarian Party, AND received the Libertarian Party leadership endorsement for her own Governor’s race in 2006.

  50. Barr’s ballot access will be about the same as Badnarik’s from 2004.

    And his fundraising will only be slightly better.

    But his media coverage will end up being 100 times that of Badnarik’s. His vote total, even despite McCain picking libertarian Sarah Palin as his running mate, will end up being twice as much as Badnarik’s if not three times as much.

    And in the end it’s those two factors that count.

  51. @ Dondero – you can’t be a libertarian and governor of The Mother of All Welfare States in The Union at the same time.

    This might be over the head of somebody who self-identifies with an oxymoron though: “Libertarian Republican”.

    ROTFLMAO…

  52. @ Dondero – it’s no surprise that a poseur libertarian who is a interventionist tout would think Barr is right up his back-alley. Barr proposed a War on Enemies To Be Named At A Later Date, September 13, 2008.

  53. The reference to the late, great Mr. Crickenberger is not meant for purity.

    It is meant to indicate just how far we have fallen as a Party.

    Too bad “yawn” is too busy trolling and not actually reading, or listening to those of us who saw this coming and warned you about this.

    Barr is simply the latest version of Magic Bullet Syndrome–all name, no real creds.

    Kinda reminds me of four other candidates whose initials are BHO, JPB, SHP, and JCM…

  54. Sarah Palin is only as libertarian as her pandering will take her. McCain chose her because she’s female and because the word “libertarian” appeared somewhere in her bio.

    A_S that was dated September 13, 2001 not 2008 as your attempt at rabble-rousing would suggest. Condemning someone for declaring war on unknown enemies two days after 9/11 is rather asinine, don’t you think?

    Michael Seebeck just because you saw it coming doesn’t mean it has arrived. Your perceptions are clouded by your expectations, and thus your capacity for objective thought is not at 100%. Much of the dissenting hubbub about Barr either has been entirely manufactured, or has been lies that were painstakingly distilled from facts. If Bob Barr was acting like a total nutcase and speaking of wholly non-libertarian policy positions at every turn I’d be right with you. He’s not. You speak of “how far we have fallen as a party.” You know what I think about that? I think it’s dreadful folly that a portion of the Libertarian Party is looking for any excuse and every opportunity to castigate Barr, bickering over nothing, crying over spilled milk, and behaving as they would if Barr was acting like a total nutcase and speaking of wholly non-libertarian policy positions at every turn while the real enemy–the Republicans and Democrats–are at the gate. All while our nation sinks further into this quicksand-like mess of cynicism and decline. In this environment we don’t have the luxury of wasting our time on the capricious sideshows and internal strife. WE HAVE TO ACT NOW. I don’t think some of you dunderheads realize the significance of this election. Take the blinders off, people. While your argue semantics our way of life is being systematically dismantled. We’ll be lucky if we see two more presidential elections before this nation self-destructs.

  55. I don’t think some of you dunderheads realize the significance of this election. Take the blinders off, people. While your argue semantics our way of life is being systematically dismantled. We’ll be lucky if we see two more presidential elections before this nation self-destructs.

    Thank you for calling out the Bitch and Complain Caucus of the LP. These people don’t want liberty — they want drama. They provide zero incentive for many activist Libertarians to do anything because once a truly workable plan is proposed, they do everything possible to thow out epithets like “sell-out” and “statist”, which only destroys morale. They have been single handedly destroying the LP from within in order to keep their insulated, philisophically pure social club from being successful. What a damn shame.

  56. @ Anonymous – it was not an “attempt at rabble-rousing”, it was a stupid reflex typo, as the direct link to Barr’s warmongering bill, proposed just two days after 911, would actually indicate.

    A bit paranoid, aren’t you?

  57. RE: petition .. remove Bob Barr as [LP] presidential nominee: …Starchild

    Relace him with NOTA, yeah!

    I’m a big fan of NOTA, particularly this year.

  58. @Long time Libertarian – If I wanted to compromise my political idelas, I’d be registered as a member in one of the two mainstream parties. BTW, my LP association dates back to Reagan’s 1st term, so your pseudo is worth less than a fresh cowchip to me…

  59. A_S | September 17, 2008, 4:21pm | #
    @ Anonymous – it was not an “attempt at rabble-rousing”, it was a stupid reflex typo, as the direct link to Barr’s warmongering bill, proposed just two days after 911, would actually indicate.

    A bit paranoid, aren’t you?

  60. Not at all. I’ve been watching this orgy of Barr groupthink play out for months now. In this environment your (very understandable, my apologies for being abrasive) typo could be the fodder for the next self-sustaining cross-self-referencing anti-Barr rumor mill blogfest. You know how groupthink goes. Nobody’s thinking for themselves, and nobody’s capacity for objective thought is at 100%.

  61. Ridiculous. All this, over a Ron Paul press conference? This is why I don’t get into politics.

  62. Thanks for this great information! I remember when all of this was happening! I haven’t had internet service in a while and I finally got it back last night. This was one of the first things I wanted to read about again, because I found it so interesting. Thanks!

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