Third Parties

Roseanne Barr Is Still Running for President

The Peace and Freedom Party nominates a former sitcom star.

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Co-star John Goodman is not running, but his character from BARTON FINK is rumored to be in the race.
ABC

When former sitcom star Roseanne "Bob" Barr was seeking the Green Party's presidential nomination, she said she would "run until the convention in July in Baltimore - I fully expect Jill Stein 2b the nominee & I will support her, but til then-I'll serve." Stein duly got the Greens' nod, but Barr evidently had some second thoughts: This weekend Roseanne and running mate Cindy Sheehan accepted the nomination of the Peace and Freedom Party (PFP), a leftist outfit whose past candidates include Eldridge Cleaver and Leonard Peltier.

Historical trivia: For a brief period in the 1970s, libertarians took over the California PFP. And in the New York branch of the party, there was a bizarre libertarian/Maoist alliance-of-convenience, which Murray Rothbard described in his book The Betrayal of the American Right:

The opposition within PFP was indeed being run by the Maoist Progressive Labor Party (PL), who…were using the West Side Club to recruit candidate-members into PL….The alliance between PL and us libertarians was highly useful to both sides….What PL got out of it was a cover for their recruiting, since no one could of course call us vehement antisocialists tools of Progressive Labor. What we got out of it was PL's firm support for an ideological platform -- adopted by our joint caucus -- that was probably the most libertarian of any party since the days of Cleveland Democracy. The PL people were pleasantly "straight" and nondruggie, although quite robotic, resembling left-wing Randians.

The great exception was the delightful Jake Rosen, the absolute head of PL's fraction in the PFP. Rosen -- bright, joyous, witty, and decidedly nonrobotic -- knew the score. One of my fondest memories of life in the PFP was of Jake Rosen trying to justify our laissez-faire platform to his Maoist dunderheads:

"Hey, Jake, what does this mean: absolute freedom of trade and opposition to all government restrictions?"

"Er, that's the 'antimonopoly coalition'."

"Oh, yeah."

Jake, with more sincerity, joined us in opposing guaranteed annual income plans; he considered them bourgeois and "reactionary." About the only thing Jake balked at was our proposal that our caucus come out for immediate abolition of rent control.

"Hey, fellas, look, I'd love to do it, but we have commitments to tenant groups."

Graciously, we let him off the hook.

With his personality, I didn't think Jake would last in PL. In addition he had already implicitly rebelled against party discipline. An obviously bright guy, Jake had accepted PL's orders to be "working class" and became a construction worker; but he stubbornly failed to obey orders and move from the hip, cosmopolitan West Side of Manhattan to Queens. ("Jake, no construction worker lives on the West Side.") Indeed, a year or so after the breakup of the [New York] PFP, Jake left or was expelled from PL, and immediately went upwardly mobile, moving to Chicago and becoming a successful commodity broker.