Barrwatch: Bob on the Road
NBC News reports from Bob Barr's campaign swing in Virginia in Ohio, where he'll be spending 10 days talking on college campuses.
In true libertarian fashion, Barr's first remark in his speech to students was that "you guys must be from the government"—in response to his microphone not working.
He blamed the current economic situation on the "benevolent hand of government," calling the government a "vacuum of leadership." He said, "These [economic] problems were not only foreseeable but foreseen," and stressed that the economic situation is "not a failure of economic policy but of leadership."
In the OC Register, Alan Bock writes a sort of pre-mortem of the Barr campaign, heavy on the reasons for Ron Paul's non-endorsement, but includes a little optimism.
What just might do it, in addition to Barr's name recognition, is voter anger at the $700 billion (plus $135 billion in "sweeteners" only a congressman could love), which was supported by both Barack Obama and John McCain. Since the financial crisis began to dominate headlines a few weeks ago, according to Andrew Davis, the liaison between the LP and the Barr campaign, donations, offers to volunteer and requests for media interviews have increased exponentially. Although Ralph Nader is also opposed to the bailout (and has more money and better name recognition), Davis believes that Barr is better situated to capitalize on voter anger, especially among fiscal conservatives disillusioned at the Bush administration's big-spending ways and John McCain's suspect record when it comes to conservative principles – not to mention his $300 billion idea in the most recent debate to have the government buy about-to-default mortgages directly and refinance them at taxpayer expense.
This is a familiar part of the campaign. The smart money is on one candidate holding his lead and winning the presidency. There are three horse race stories to write. Can the Democrat hold on? Can the Republican come back? Oh, and are the third parties going to ruin anyone's election night? I think the odds of Barr (or Nader, or McKinney) "spoiling" anything are nil unless Obama loses his commanding electoral vote lead, but Libertarians, independents, and Constitution Party candidates are making life hell for the Republican Senate candidates in North Carolina, Minnesota, and Oregon.