Watch Bob Barr Debate the Presidential Candidates, Live!

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As usual, the two major political parties are shutting out all third-party candidates from this season's presidential debates, while trying to out-compete one another for how many government goodies they can promise to voters. Only this time, we have the technology to do something about it.

Please join reason, either in person or online, for a live counter-debate on Friday, Sept. 26, with Libertarian Party nominee Bob Barr, who will respond to John McCain, Barack Obama and moderator Jim Lehrer in real time. We will be live-blogging Barr's responses at Hit & Run, and videotaping the whole proceedings, which will include a brief post-debate Q&A with reason staffers, bloggers, and other interested parties. The fun begins at 8:00 PM, the debate starts at 9:00 sharp, and the drinks will be provided by the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States. In a year rich with libertarian politics, the only place you'll hear a candidate talking libertarian ideas will be in reason's Washington headquarters.

What: Bob Barr debates the presidential debaters

When: Friday, September 26, 8:00 PM to 10:30 PM

Where: Reason HQ, 1747 Connecticut Avenue NW (near S Street)

RSVPs: A must. Send e-mail to events@reason.com, or call 310.391.2245.

NEXT: We're Gonna Have a TV Party Tonight!

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  1. I hope that comes off as cool as it sounds. I hope Barr comes loaded for bear, and gives it to em with both barrels on the economy. I’ve heard Barr speak in platitudes about irresponsible fiscal policy. But I’ve never heard him really nail it ala Ron Paul.

  2. Kind of like MST3K

    Jesse is Tom Crow.

  3. So will there be some editorial splicing in of Barr in between the Obama and McCain bites? Because that would be shiny.

  4. This could either be really cool or really pathetic.

  5. Fuck Bob Barr, right-wing, disaffected Republican douchebag hack.

  6. Fuck Bob Barr, right-wing, disaffected Republican douchebag hack.

    Yes, Barr is all that, but at least he’s the lesser of three evils.

  7. I wonder if greg f thinks the same of Ron Paul.

  8. Yeah, I’m not clear on that either. Is he going to be talking over them MST3K style (which would make it hard for him to respond to what was said while he was talking) or pausing the debate to give Barr a chance to speak (in which case its not quite “live” anymore, especially as the debate proceeds.)

  9. This sounds really cool! Wish I was in DC.

  10. I’m assuming Root will be Crow, but who will be Tom Servo?

  11. Barr will have the remote control for volume purposes, and will toggle it, providing both answers to moderator questions and commentary about the others’ answers. We’ll have close captioning for when the TV goes dim.

    Meanwhile, we’ll be A) liveblogging transcribed responses on Hit & Run, B) typing into some fancy new gizbot that will, in theory, allow people to re-watch the televised debate only with Barr’s answers scrolling across the page, and C) videotaping this all with our own cameras, to be posted in various formats. That’s the intent, anyway!

  12. I think Barr should bend over and make it look like his butt cheeks are doing the talking ala Ace Ventura.

    Yeah, I know. How would we tell the diff between him and the two clowns?

  13. Will Root be there for Biden v. Palin?

  14. “In a year rich with libertarian politics, the only place you’ll hear a candidate talking libertarian ideas will be in reason’s Washington headquarters.”

    Oh, you’re inviting Charles Jay, too?

  15. Uhm, been around the libertarian movement for years and I don’t know who the fuck Charles Jay is.

    Kn@pp, should Baldwin, Nader and McKinney be invited to be fair to all indy candidates? Or should just every losertarian who decides to be a candidate be invited?

    Where does it stop? George the paedophilic-looking professor? Ron race-monger Paul? Burns, Diket, etc.? Badnarik?

  16. Dazed,

    I have no opinion as to whom Reason should invite.

    However, Mr. Weigel indicated that libertarian ideas will be discussed, from which I must infer that someone will be there to discuss said ideas.

  17. Meanwhile, we’ll be A) liveblogging transcribed responses on Hit & Run, B) typing into some fancy new gizbot that will, in theory, allow people to re-watch the televised debate only with Barr’s answers scrolling across the page, and C) videotaping this all with our own cameras, to be posted in various formats. That’s the intent, anyway!

    OMG it is the invention exchange.

  18. T.L. Knapp, please keep your sarcastic douchebaggery to yourself. Nobody gives a shit what you or your pathetic Tea Party thinks. How is your little tea party going? I hope you guys didn’t settle for anything less than the pure china tea set.

  19. I never liked Phillies, but I used to respect Thomas Knapp.

    My only question is how much the GOP is paying Knapp, Jay and Phillies this year.

  20. PRC,

    Unfortunately, not a dime.

    TDR,

    Fox News apparently gives a shit what my little tea party thinks — they interviewed our candidate yesterday. I can now state with full confidence that Charles Jay has received more media attention than any Boston Tea Party candidate in history!

  21. The demise of the Libertarian Party (and it is dying) has shown me that the incentives in politics are so corrupting that it is unlikely that political action will turn things around. The sleaze I witnessed in Denver by top LP officials to make sure Barr had a leg up at the convetion was disgusting. The smear attacks that Barr and Root engineered with the help of the LP’s national treasurer, the way they used a paid employee at the LP to attack one of the candidates, all this was an indication that they had sunk as low as the major parties. The LP abandone principles and common decency. As one friend put it: We know that power corrupts, with the LP we now know that the mere illusion of power corrupts.

  22. Oh, you’re inviting Charles Jay, too?

    I’d imagine being on enough ballots for anyone to give a damn is a basic requirement.

  23. hlm | September 22, 2008, 4:12pm | #
    The demise of the Libertarian Party (and it is dying)…

    Maybe you should stop pouring cans of Dr?no? into the LP punch bowl. Might just have a positive effect on that dying stuff.

    This sort of twisted logic reminds me of the Bush Administration’s nonsensical attempts to recursively justify the continued occupation of Iraq by citing the threat of terrorism that is seeded and perpetuated by–you guessed it–the continued occupation of Iraq.

  24. “The sleaze I witnessed in Denver by top LP officials…”
    Blah blah blah blah blah.
    I was a delegate at the 83 LP convention in NYC and witnessed the epic battle between Bergland/Lewis and Ravenal/Koctopus. Heard it all then, and again, and again, and again.
    I hate schismatics of all stripes.

  25. I’d definitely show up for a Biden-Palin-Root debate. All three of them are wacky, though for very different reasons.

  26. In related news, Paul took Barr’s “advice” and endorsed Baldwin today:

    I’ve thought about the unsolicited advice from the Libertarian Party candidate, and he has convinced me to reject my neutral stance in the November election. I’m supporting Chuck Baldwin, the Constitution Party candidate.

  27. So, Bob Barr is going to miss the first presidential debate of this general election season. The good news is, by the time the 2nd debate comes by, Bob Barr may have his results for Texas, and since Bob Barr alone would receive 34 electoral votes in the making – too large a win not to consider ignoring Bob Barr. The only question then will be, can Bob Barr find a better running mate for the V.P. debate … preferably Ron Paul?

  28. CG,

    Ya, good news about Paul. But, he’s just feeding the constituents that got him to where he is today. Now we know that he really is fueled by the tin-foil-hat wearers.

    Anyway…

    Tom Knapp,

    Every circus has a circus freak. Something to keep in mind when you get a one-off call from the Carnival of the Damned known as Fox News. Don’t go convincing yourself that the Tea Party is anything more than the wet dream of about a half dozen guys with nothing better to do.

  29. How about watching the Bob Barr of 1998 debate the Bob Barr of 2008?

  30. You commentators are slinging the crap in the wrong direction. Instead of slinging it at each other as different segments of the same widely diverse pro-liberty movement, why don’t you save it for the federal reserve, deadbeat bankers and the horrid McBama supporters like Pelosi who think that nationalization of dead banks will be made somehow more palatable by tossing in a few crumbs for bankrupt morgagees and foreclosure victims. Please, guys, can the invective as to each other and splatter it instead all over the muck-rattling socialists who are running this country and who will be giving 700 billion hyper-inflated dollars away in the largest demon-scheme the planet has yet endured!

  31. I am with JJ Margarita, it wont be as easy to make ObamaCain’t honor the Constitution, as it would the Libertarian candidate, even if it is Bob Barr. Let’s wake up the sheep before we tear ourselves apart, Bob may not be 100% acceptable to all Libertarians, but the alternatives are 100% unacceptable to almost all. Let us join together show what makes Libertarianism great.
    I can guarantee you one new Libertarian voter, me, now let’s get thousands more.

  32. Great idea. I hope it works out for all concerned. Good luck!

  33. I also agree with JJM. We’re barely a month away from the election and we need to concentrate on the real enemy: authoritarian tyranny and economic ignorance. If you like Barr, campaign for him. If you don’t like Barr, at least keep reminding everyone within earshot how untenable the major-party candidate’s positions are, especially with respect to libertarian approaches that might actually HAVE A POSITIVE EFFECT.

    If you’re just going to carp and kvetch about the various internecine feuds within the liberty movement in online message boards and chat rooms, you’re part of the problem.

    Again, Good Luck, Reason and Barr. Break a leg, and on with the show!

  34. Maybe I am showing my age, but as I recall there was an early CNN event where John Anderson was excluded from a Reagan/Carter debate in 1980 right when CNN was starting out. They tried an event similar to this. The logistics did not work out very well on the timing of responses, etc. so hopefully you can take a cue from the lessons learned on that.

  35. Interestingly, Palin may be more libertarian than Barr, because she at least half-way supports jury rights, according to Frank Turney, who is an expert on the subject. (Palin did her homework on jury rights and signed off on FIJA’s Jury Rights Day proclamation on Sept 5, 2007.) (Bob Barr was blogging against jury rights, as late as 2007 in his “Yates Jury” commentary. Verney took down his un-libertarian remarks though, since they were losing libertarian support.)

    Wayne Root has the best understanding of jury rights of all the candidates running this year, far and away.

    I am a juror, but I will never be a politician.

    Therefore, I support Root.

    McCain of course, makes a librtarian vote for Palin untenable.

    And of course, Biden is far and away the most evil of the candidates. A complete drug-warrior slimebag, even worse than Barr was, before his “conversion”. Biden is the author of the “RAVE Act” which threatened a felony drug conviction, if anyone brought drugs to a party, then the party promotors could be charged with drug distribution.

    Only Root can hold Biden’s feet to the fire the way they need to be.

    The rest are too stupid.

    I hope this clears things up for y’all.

  36. Support 3rd party ballot access, and the destruction of the ballot access restrictions:
    http://www.freedomballotaccess.org

  37. >
    How about live streaming?
    >

  38. “Please join reason, either in person or online, for a live counter-debate on Friday, Sept. 26, with Libertarian Party nominee Bob Barr, who will respond to John McCain, Barack Obama and moderator Jim Lehrer in real time.”

    This sounds like something that batshit-crazy Alan Keyes would do.

    At the end of the “debate” when McCain and Obama would kiss their wives and family on stage is Barr going to turn around in the corner and use his own arms to wrap around his back and make it seem as if he’s making out w/ someone?

  39. You’re excluding the other candidates? How does that make Reason any better than the MSM? You have no standing to whine unless you open your forum up to all candidates.

  40. Can you guys do a H&R post at about 7:00pm on Friday confirming that Bob will be there? Just want to make sure he doesn’t snub you guys too in an attempt to show “leadership”.

  41. This will be the greatest meeting of the dumbest minds since George W Bush dined alone…

    Anybody get an advacne copy of the debate script yet? I hear the CPD has it finalized save for the economy question…and the foreign affairs part will not be about McCain’s Vietnamese mistresses from the 60s.

  42. All most people can do is disagree and tear each other up.
    This is as it should be. I’ve been apart of large organizations and corporations. The general MO is to encourage disagreement in the lower echelons.
    They don’t have much time to do anything about the wealthy owner class then.
    Keep on keeping on.

  43. bob barr, he’s the new ron paul

  44. Fuck it, if McCain ain’t showing up just have Barr debate Obama directly.

  45. this just in…

    There were indications today that McCain intends to attend the debate after all, despite his request Wednesday for its postponement. Campaign aides told reporters traveling with the candidate that there was the possibility of a flight to Mississippi after this afternoon’s meeting about the bailout plan with President Bush at the White House.

    yawn.

  46. I hope they have Wayne Allyn Root waiting in the wings — Barr is challenging Obama to debate Friday.

  47. matt welch: “Barr will have the remote control for volume purposes, and will toggle it, providing both answers to moderator questions and commentary about the others’ answers. We’ll have close captioning for when the TV goes dim.”

    this makes no sense. why not set up a tivo and hit pause to let barr answer. then start the debate up again. it wouldn’t be in real time, but so what.

  48. Hilarious and inspired.

    Looking forward to it.

  49. What happens if there is no debate on Friday?

  50. Or, maybe Obama debating an empty podium (which would be the optimum outcome for Obama, IMHO)?

  51. You know I think its funny that Ron Paul has endorsed the Constitution Party candidate Chuck Baldwin.
    http://strictconstruct.com/2008/09/22/ron-paul-endorses-chuck-baldwin/

  52. Ben wrote, “You know I think its funny that Ron Paul has endorsed the Constitution Party candidate Chuck Baldwin.”

    I think it is (/sarcasm on) HILARIOUS (/sarcasm off) that so many Paulistas who affirmed their own and Paul’s libertarian bona fides during the GOP primaries are now rushing to support and send money to the Baldwin campaign, given the Christian theocracy that the Constitution Party seems dedicated to establishing in this country — all by constitutional means, of course.

    I still respect Dr. Paul for many reasons, but he might as well have endorsed Nader or McKinney. Remember that Hitler and his gang were careful to use rigorously legal means to seize power. The CP’s assurances that it will scrupulously observe the Constitution as it strives to bring the country back to government based in biblical wisdom and principle, is of no comfort to a real libertarian. Separation of church and state is an important means to promote what libertarians want: liberty for all, not just for those who behave and think according to someone’s religious orthodoxy.

  53. I really hope y’all figure out a way for Barr to pause the debate during his responses. Otherwise it’ll be a incomprehensible mess. Who cares if it’s still technically “live”? Afraid you’ll miss the talking heads spewing their nonsense after the debate?

  54. “Remember that Hitler and his gang were careful to use rigorously legal means to seize power.”

    You might want to take another look at the activities of the National Socialist Party during its rise to power in Germany. It did not confine itself to exclusively legal means.

    And relgiously, the National Socialists were neopagans or (at best) Marcionists.

    Other than that, nice Godwin.

  55. Cant we all just play nice and get along?!

  56. the only place you’ll hear a candidate talking libertarian ideas will be in reason’s Washington headquarters.

    George Phillies is coming?

  57. There is a post up on Ballot Access News saying that there has to be more than one person at the debate tomorrow night:

    http://www.ballot-access.org/2008/09/25/if-mccain-doesnt-debate-debates-commission-cannot-just-feature-obama/

    It would be an interesting outcome if McCain’s absence led to Barr getting a national stage for his campaign.

  58. What is going on with the McCain campaign?? It looks like he is trying to get Palin out of debating now too! This is fucking unbeliveable!

  59. Do You think there will be any mention
    of America’s Foreign Business Ethics
    having finally turned on it’s own?

    The Ugly American has come home to roost.

    Now ‘We The People’ have some small inkling
    of why the rest of the world is not so fond of ‘Us’.

  60. Support opening up INDEPENDENT THIRD PARTY DEBATES between candidates from across the political spectrum: Bob Barr (on 45 state ballots), Cynthia McKinney (Green) on 32 state ballots, Ralph Nader (Independent) on 46 state ballots, Chuck Baldwin (Constitution) on 37 state ballots.

    ****Bob Barr, we need you to work together with other third party candidates to organize and publicize third party debates! Four candidates are stronger than one. Let’s level the playing field!*****

    Sign the petition to watch Bob Barr debate about real issues and real choices!

    http://gopetition.com/online/21979.html

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