Feedback from Bob Barr article in the Times

It seems that yesterday’s talk about a possible Bob Barr presidential race sparked a bit of media interest. Here’s the Washington Times blog referring to the BBC blog picking up the story.

Reason coverage is here. Dave Weigel writes:

What was wishful thinking back in the winter of 2006/2007 and largely ignored during the height of the rEVOLution is now being discussed in high LP circles.

The Atlanta Journal Constitution:

Paul, a Republican candidate this year, was the Libertarian presidential candidate in 1988. The Times said Barr declined to say whether he had been approached by Paul about a presidential bid.

Jason Pye picked it up an his personal site and at Peach Pundit.

In response to the speculation over a possible presidential bid, Barr’s office has distributed the following media advisory:

Former Congressman Barr has been receiving numerous calls for him to consider seeking the nomination of the Libertarian Party for the presidency of the United States. He understands this reflects in part the deep dissatisfaction prevalent among voters with the candidates of the two major parties. Congressman Barr is grateful for the many and continuing expressions of support for his potential candidacy. He has, however, made no decision in that regard.

Barr is scheduled to appear for an interview on AntiWar Radio on March 25. It might be a good time to call in and pop him “the question” yourself.

44 Responses to “Feedback from Bob Barr article in the Times”

  1. Eric Dondero Says:

    Can you all imagine for a moment, a Libertarian Party Presidential Nominating Convention in Denver in late May with the following candidates:

    Bob Barr
    Mary Ruwart
    Wayne Root
    Mike Gravel
    Steve Kubby
    George Phillies
    Christine Smith
    Mike Jingozian

    What a hoot that would be! I mean forget about who you are supporting for the moment. Just think of this in pure political terms.

    The Libertarian Party would get the reputation as a “viable commodity,” with all these people seeking the nomination: Two of whom would be former members of the US Congress - Gravel and Barr.

    Best of luck to the LP for the Convention. As a libertarian Republican, more publicity for Libertarians only serves to help our cause. (Unless it turns into an outright circus, of course, which it has the distinct possibility of becomming.)

  2. Eric Dondero Says:

    You LPers ought to now seriously contemplate inviting New Hampshire State Representative Steven Vaillancourt to the National Convention as a speaker, possible VP candidate, whatever.

    For those of you not familiar with Vaillancourt, he was elected to the Legislature back in 1998 as a Libertarian. Then he sort of switched to Republican, but still claims LP membership and lists himself on websites as a “Libertarian.”

    Well, he’s all over the New Hampshire media today for his outlandish but successful efforts to legalize Marijuana. Largely due to his efforts the NH House just passed a bill 193 to 141 to legalize weed for possession in small amounts.

    Vaillancourt was passing out Marijuana Legalization flyers all over the House right before the vote.

    Full story and link at

  3. BillTX Says:

    That list is missing one very prominent name: Daniel Impewacko.

  4. svf Says:

    and how about Dave “contract insurance is the answer to everything” Hollist? ugh…

  5. Sean Scallon Says:

    Bob Barr would give the LP a credible candidate having served in Congress without having to turn to Root. He’ll be the immediate favorite to make sure Mr. Rittberg and the neocons don’t take over the LP.

  6. Eric Dondero Says:

    Yeah, I’m a NeoCon alright. I guess I’m the world’s very first Pro-Choice NeoCon.

    Bill Bennett and Pat Robertson Religious Right all the way to drug legalizing, prostitution, gambling supporting libertarians. Those “NeoCons” certainly have a large coalition there.

  7. Eric Dondero Says:

    Hey, don’t nominate Root, Sean. No problem for me. I tried to recruit Wayne originally back in 2006 as a Republican in the primaries. I was shocked when he told me he preferred running on the Libertarian ticket. Don’t nominate Root, and watch all his supporters shift back to the GOP.

    Barr has a shot at keeping the leftwing Libertarians and rightwing Libertarians all together. But only if he doesn’t go crazy on foreign policy as the leftwing Libertarians want him to do.

    Nomiante someone in the middle like Root or Barr, and there’s a chance the Libertarian coalition can stay together. Nominate a Lefty, like the Purists want, and watch the LP lose about half of the coalition to the GOP.

    It’s already starting to happen. I have scores of Libertarians trying to sell me on McCain every single day. I’m still skeptical. But I’m starting to soften a tiny bit.

    And I know I’m not the only one who feels this way: Particularly within the Root supporters.

  8. Brent Burk Says:

    Eric Dondero,, you seem to be confusing neoconservatives and the Religious Right. Rudy Giuliani is certainly a neoconservative, so you wouldn’t be the “first” pro-choicer.

    Secondly, what the hell is “leftwing” foreign policy? Is it the same foreign policy Ron Paul endorsed? If so, why is it considered “leftwing”? What of the “rightwing” non-interventionist during the first half of the 20th century?

    Anyways, I don’t think it is “crazy” to endorse a sane foreign policy.

  9. silver Republican Says:

    Dondero, if you started a party I would willingly join.

  10. Eric Dondero Says:

    Brent your world is entirely ass backwards. Rudy Giuliani is about as far away on the political spectrum from NeoConservative as you could possible get.

    He is PROCHOICE!! You cannot be a “NeoCon” and be Pro-Choice. It’s a physical impossibility. Pro-Life is Big Government regulating people’s personal lives. That’s what NeoCons want to do. They want big government.

    They’re halfway decent on economic issues. I’ll give them that. They’re only quasi-welfare statists. But on civil liberties issues like seat belt laws, abortion, drug legalization, prostitution, gambling, you name it, they’re awful.

    I listen to Mr. NeoConservative himself Bill Bennett every morning. Ironically, I like his show. And I like him personally. He’s a great host and very fair-minded. But sometimes his views on social matters literally make me cringe!

    NeoCon = Religious Right

    Libertarian = Socially Tolerant

    The two are largely imcompatible.

  11. Eric Dondero Says:

    Silver Republican, I did start a Party - so-to-speak - 18 years ago in my living room in Tallahassee, Florida. It’s called the Republican Liberty Caucus, RLC for short. It’s grown to be a fantastic organization that has helped to elect numerous libertarian Republicans to public office over the years.

    Check it out!

  12. Eric Says:

    Actually, Mr. Dondero, noe-conservatives are by their nature social liberals, and typically pro-choice. Giuliani claims to be one, and by any normal definition is. I hardly expect to see Kristol or Wolfowitz or any other neocon standard bearers suddenly start talking about the importance of protecting the lives of the unborn. And the former post is correct, the religious right, though agreeing with neo-cons on the need to protect Israel, is deeply at odds with them when it comes to globalism in general and social conservatism. You might want to read up on it some time.

  13. Thomas L. Knapp Says:


    Since “neo”=”new” and “conservative”=”right-wing,” Dondero confuses the neoconservatives and the New Right, which is what the Religious Right was often called in the late 1970s/early 1980s. It takes about five seconds of research to show that they’re two different groups, but he seems to have some real dain bramage on the matter.

  14. dodsworth Says:


    It doesn’t seem like the neo-cons agree with you. Irving Kristol, the inventor of the term, endorsed Rudy, as did his allies Why? The neo-cons don’t particularly care about the social issues (many are atheists after all). They DO care about promoting war and world policing, hence they liked Rudy and they also like McCain.

  15. Mike Gillis Says:

    Neo-conservatism has nothing to do with abortion or stances on social issues. It’s a political stance on foreign policy that states that a nation has the right to preemptively invade other nations if it suits their national interests, overthrow their rulers and “democratize” them by the sword.

    It’s only a foreign policy stance. Most neo-conservatives are pro-life, but that has far more to do with the fact that it popped up in a right wing political party, than due to anything inherent in the philosophy of neo-conservatism.

    So, yes. Rudy Giuliani is a neo-conservative.

  16. Andrew Taylor Says:

    As usual, Mr. Dondero likes to speak about things of which he knows little or nothing.

    Here’s an article from “The Jewish Daily Forward” entitled, “Giuliani Stacks Campaign Staff With a Who’s Who Of Mideast Hawks,” and subtitled, “Neoconservative Leader Podhoretz Picked as a Foreign Policy Adviser”:

    Here’s an article by one of the founding fathers of neoconservatism, Irving Kristol, entitled, “The Neoconservative Persuasion”:

    Notice that Kristol, as a secular Jewish individual, says absolutely nothing about the religious right in this article. That’s because, of course, the religious right and neoconservatism have nothing to do with one another.

    The fact that all of this escapes the less-than-erudite Mr. Dondero is depressing, but utterly unsurprising.

  17. Fred C. Says:

    You guys seem to think big D doesn’t know what he’s talking about. It was just a few months ago that he said neoconservative was a code-word for Jew. Can’t say what the angle is in this new line, but it’s pretty likely he has one.

  18. Eric Says:

    Fred, having a new angle and failing to know what he’s talking about are not mutually exclusive. In all likelihood Dondero is both biased and stupid.

  19. silver Republican Says:

    Well, the birth of the neo-conservative movement came out of support for Israel, largely by Jewish politicians, and now the movement recieves most of its support from people who are also religious right, so it isn’t too outrageous a statement. However religion does have nothing to do with being neo-conservative, they just happen to often go toghether.

  20. Eric Dondero Says:

    Oh, I get it now. Economic issues don’t matter. Civil liberties issues don’t matter. One is judged solely on Foreign Policy.

    And on that, the terms “Defense Conservative” or “WarHawk,” or “Pro-Defense Libertarian” have all dissappeared. If you support the War on Al Qaeda, no matter how you stand on other issues, you’re a “NeoCon.”

    Thanks for enlightening me.

  21. Eric Dondero Says:

    So, you say NeoCons are “Pro-Choice” now?

    Does that mean Barry Goldwater was a “NeoCon”?

    I mean he was half-Jew, he was Pro-Choice, opposed the Religious Right and was a supreme War Hawk.

  22. Eric Dondero Says:

    As usual Tom Knapp is talking out of his ass. He doesn’t have any idea what he’s talking about on this issue.

    I was around back in the 1980s, active in YAF and the Rightwing movement. I met Howard Phillips, Viguerie, Weyrich, the whole slew of them in the 1980s. They were all NEOCONS

    Sometimes they used the term New Right. Sometimes they were referred to as NeoCons. The term means Religious Right. And no matter how loud Knapp barks to the contrary, he cannot change cold hard facts.

  23. Andrew Taylor Says:

    “If you support the War on Al Qaeda, no matter how you stand on other issues, you’re a ‘NeoCon.’”

    Mr. Dondero, you’re deliberately being obtuse. I support the war on al Qaeda—which is one of the reasons that I opposed the War in Iraq. We should have destroyed Usama bin Laden and all of his sympathizers in the Taliban. Instead, George W. Bush lied about a supposed connection between Saddam Hussein and 9/11 as the pretext for starting an unnecessary “preemptive” war in Iraq. The result? Al Qaeda entered Iraq, and Usama bin Laden continues to plan the murder of innocents from his hideaways in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

    Read the Kristol article and you’ll see that neoconservatism has much more to it than simply a hawkish foreign policy. But the only thing it has in common with the religious right is strong support for Israel—which it also has in common with the vast majority of conservatives, liberals, libertarians, and just about every other political perspective, save for a few on the fringe.

  24. John Killian Says:

    Mr. Dondero, Barry Goldwater had a pro-life voting record. He became estranged from the religious right over the O’Connor nomination to the Supreme Court.

  25. silver Republican Says:

    I think the problem here is a silly one. The issue is that people refer to the neoconservative movement as if that was the entire political identity. In reality the term only refers to a persons views on one particular issue, foreign policy. It is now often used to mean many other things, but interventionist war hawk is the actual meaning. They can have any variety of different beliefs on different issues.

  26. Deran Says:

    No; the neo-con movement is a combination of American supremacists (the Cheney wing), Christian endtimers, the Israel lobby (christian and jewish), the neo cons are on the decline. But they are still dangerous. And as far as I can see (from out side the libertarian capitalist movement - the neo cons are not in the same movmement? They seem as big spenders as anyone, and on useless crap for the most part.

  27. Robert Capozzi Says:

    Labels seem awfully confining to me, but I’ve not really associated the Religious Right with Neocon-ism, per se. Neocons mostly seem to be about National Greatness, first and foremost for an “aggressive” foreign policy and next for economic engineering by the State. My sense is the Religious Right is OK with foreign policy aggressiveness, but their main concerns are social policy, and they seem less interested in economic engineering.

    The Neocon/Religious Right circles intersect some, but they are different orbits, as I see it.

  28. Sean Scallon Says:

    Mr. Rittberg, one does not need to sell John McCain to you. You have already been sold.

    You belive that the U.S. should be the policeman for the world, have hundreds of bases around the globe, have a 100 years war in Iraq, kiss Israel’s arse, threaten war with Russia and China and Iran. And you have no problem setting up a national security state to watch over U.S. who might not like such arrangements nor feed the military industrial complex to keep our empire. And you also hav no problems paying for all this with paper money generated by the Federal Reserve.

    These are John McCain’s views to a tea, and their the same views that one finds many of the leading neocons ike Bill Kristol, or Norman Podhoretz or Richard Perle. Economics nor social issues are irrelevent to such people. They could care less if anyone favored abortion or not because it has nothing to do with foriegn policy.

    Ergo, Mr. Rittberg = neoconservative and has been since 9-11.

  29. Hugh Jass Says:

    Dondero flip-flops so often that he discredits himself, and doesn’t require others to do it for him. To months ago, I remember Dondero saying that if he had to choose between Paul and McCain, he’d shoot himself. Now he biscally promotes McCain every day. Two months ago, has was saying that neocon was a slur for Jew. Now he says it’s synonymous with the Religious Right. I’d bet that if Huckabee had won the nomination, Dondero would be bragging about all these influential “libertarians” who have endorsed Huckabee.

  30. Eric Dondero Says:

    Mr. Killian, I’m hardcore Pro-Choice. But if I were a Congressman, like my US Senator Kary B. Hutchison who is also Pro-Choice, I’d have an 80% Pro-Life voting record, cause I oppose government funding of abortion, favor parental consent laws, and am opposed to late-term abortions.

    That was Barry Goldwater’s view.

    But rest assured he was hardcore Pro-Choice. There are numerous quotes of his, not too mention his financial support to Planned Parenthood, that would back this up.

  31. Eric Dondero Says:

    Huge Ass - NeoCon has morphed into a slander of Jewish Americans. Did mean Religious Right. Last couple years it’s taken on the connotation of simply “Jewish Conservative,” or “Israel-supporting Conservative.”

    And as we all know the Religious Right fits into that latter category.

  32. dodsworth Says:


    You’re the ONLY one here who keeps connecting “Jews” with neo-cons as with your very weird point that because Goldwater was half-Jewish he must therefore be a neo-con.

  33. Eric Dondero Says:

    Alas, we agree on one Andrew Taylor. Bush has indeed pushed many lies on WMD in Iraq.

    Massive ammounts of WMD have been found in Iraq since the War started in 2003, and squishy moderate centrist Bush, just pooh-poohs the finds, and writes them off as “old caches.”

    Similarly, Bush has lied about Saddam’s extensive connections to the Oklahoma City bombing. He’s completely covered up for his buddy Bill Clinton’s complicity in the OKC cover-up.

    Bush has also lied of sorts about Al Qaeda in Iraq before 2003. He once again, pooh-poohs the matter, acknowledging that yes Zarcawi and other Al Qaeda were there, but then proceeds to downplay the significance of their presence.

    He’s a scared little poodle in the face of the monstrous liberal media establishment.

    Thus, he lies about the threat of Islamo-Fascism, and seeks to downplay it at every turn.

  34. Eric Dondero Says:

    Dodsworth, you ass. That was sarcasm. I was saying that in the voice of some of those here. Didn’t you see the quotation marks?

    My gosh, some of you people are even stupider than I thought.

  35. dodsworth Says:

    “in the voice of some of those here.” Hmmm…..Color me stupid but eo you mean “some” of those here are anti-semitic? If so, on what basis do you make that assumption or was your “sarcasm” completely pointless?

  36. Andy Says:

    “Similarly, Bush has lied about Saddam’s extensive connections to the Oklahoma City bombing. He’s completely covered up for his buddy Bill Clinton’s complicity in the OKC cover-up.”

    That’s because the OKC bombing was an inside job, just like 9/11.

  37. Mark Says:

    Six reasons Bob Barr is not a libertarian:

    If you’re a conservative who thinks McCain isn’t anti-tax enough, then vote for Barr. If you’re really a libertarian, consider Obama.

  38. Laura Says:

    How can Obama be a libertarian when he isn’t for liberty?

  39. ka1igu1a Says:


    Barr has dramatically revised his positions on number of issues. It’s a bit disingeneous to use his voting record as republican congressman as the sole criteria here. Barr’s positions now comport fairly well with mainstream libertarian thinking, which is against the Patriot Act, Against the War on Drugs, and belief in (true)Free Markets. I shared the initial skepticism about Barr when he first joind the LP but he has demonstrated his policy changes are indeed genuine.

    You questioned if Barr’s change on the War on Drugs was genuine. Well joining the Marijuana Policy Project as a lobbyist in part to overturn Barr’s own Admendment indicates Barr’s change of heart is genuine. Barr is now against the Federal War on Drugs for all drugs. Obama hs flipped-floped on something as basic as marijuana decriminalization. Barr beats Obama when it comes to the Drug War.

    On the Patriot Act, Barr voted for the first iteration but now supports it’s repeal. Obama wasn’t in the Senate for the first version, but voted for the second version and also voted for the Real ID act. Obama does not advocate repeal. Barr beats Obama on this issue.

    On the Iraq War, Barr voted for the Authorization but now admits it as a mistake and supports withdrawal. Obama voiced opposition in speeches prior to the War but has voted for funding while in the Senate. Obama has been less than clear at times on his timetable for withdrawal. Draw.

    In terms of Gay rights, Barr has moderated hs positions here. He still supports DOMA but nevertheless has called on Gays/Lesbians to openly serve in the Military. Obama supports the repeal of DOMA. The true libertarian position is that marriage shopuld be a private contract. Nevertheless, Obama does beat Barr here.

    On Abortion, Obama beats Barr.

    Immigration. I believe both Barr and Obama supported the Mccain immigration reform bill. Draw.

    On Government transparency, both Obama and Barr are pretty good here. Draw.

    On economics, Obama still clings far too much too paternalistic government. Barr wins this easily.

    The objective conclusion is that if you are a democrat with libertarian leanings, you would likely vote for Obama. If you are an independent with libertarian leanings, your vote would likely come down to how libertarian you are on economic issues. If you are a LP member, you absolutely vote for Barr.

    My position is that while Obama is far preferrable to McCain, Obama is no libertarian and should not be mistaken for one. Barr still carries some conservative baggage and i wish he would stop conflating conservatism with libertarianism, but he would easily be the best candidate for the LP. Truth be told, Steve Kubby is my preferrable candidate, but with the Spectre of a Mccain presidency and Joe Liebermann as Secretary of defense, the LP needs to run a more rightish libertarian like Barr instead of a more leftish libertarian such as Kubby in order to cut into Mccain.

  40. Carl Says:

    Neo-con = hawk, but not so concerned about small government.

    Many old-line conservatives have been hawks, especially in the cause of fighting communism. Think Buckley and National Review.

    The neo-cons are a coalition of earstwhile Democrat Jews who see the RP as a better defender of Israel, and keep-the-British-empire-going types of the Woodrow Wilson stripe.

    The New Right is yet another faction, the Reagan Democrats and Moral Majoritarians.

    Once upon a time, the Democratic Party was the party of a small federal government and the Republicans were the liberals in the modern sense. Things shifted around a bit in the early 20th century, with Wilson being a big-government internationalist and Warren Harding being relatively libertarian. Things may be shifting yet again: Bill Clinton cut government more than Reagan. Al Gore has made proposals that would eat into the biggest entitlement program of all. (Man, I wish Gore was running…)

    That said, I think McCain is more libertarian than the two remaining Dems. Nationalized healthcare would be a true disaster for the longterm liberty of this nation—more so than the PATRIOT Act.

  41. Robert Milnes Says:

    Carl, Never mind about Wilson & Harding. how about telling everybody here about Teddy Roosevelt & almost winning in 1912 Progressive Party-the most successful third party/independent run in the past 100 years? Maybe they will listen to you.

  42. Mark Says:


    First of all, you are right: Obama is not a libertarian. But he’s attractive to libertarians for all of the reasons you mention. Barr is also attractive, in that his current positions are quite libertarian. The problem with Barr is that these are his CURRENT positions. How can you trust someone who only five years ago was strongly pro-war, anti-gay, pro-Patriot Act and pro-Drug War? Maybe he saw the light. Or maybe he just wants to fit in with his new party, and he hasn’t truly abandoned his conservative views on these issues. Obama has been pretty consistent in his positions. And (big plus here) he might actually win the presidency.

    Also: Barr still doesn’t claim to be for decriminalizing drugs. He just doesn’t want the federal government involved. He’s made it pretty clear that he likes state drug laws. Admittedly, this would be a huge improvement over what we have now, but I just don’t feel that he’s philosophically against locking people up for victimless crimes.

    For more reasons why I don’t support Barr:

  43. Alex Peak Says:

    Mr. Dondero, since when do “right-wing libertarians” exist? Libertarians would never have sat on the right side of the French parliament. I recommend “Left and Right: The Prospect for Liberty.” We evolved out of the classical liberals, who properly are understood to be on the left-wing of the spectrum. The modern libertarian movement was kick-started in opposition to F.D.R.’s right-wing economic policies. The term “right-wing libertarian” is oxymoronic, and you yourself are left of centre (albeit not as far left as, say, Ayn Rand).

    As for neoconservatives, they care little about the abortion debate, prefering to spend their time worshipping their god, Democracy. I know of no association between neoconservatism and Judaism. On economics, neoconservatives tend to de facto support the New Deal, paying the occasional lip-service to fiscal conservatism. They don’t seem to have any unifying views on personal freedoms. An example: Unlike the libertarian, who is principally opposed to the war on drugs (even straight-edge libertarians want to see total decriminalisation), the neoconservative might support the entire war on drugs, or might support the legalisation of those specific that he or she enjoys using, usually pot. But ultimately, the neoconservatives puts all issues, social and economic, on the back-burner when foreign policy becomes the topic. The neoconservative doesn’t support Israel for religious reasons, the neoconservative loves Israel because it is officially considered a democracy, and to the neoconservative there is no higher political ends than the support for democracy. Conversely, for the libertarian, there is no higher political ends than liberty; hence why libertarians are more apt to quote Franklin than are neoconservatives.

    Alex Peak

  44. Andy Says:

    “First of all, you are right: Obama is not a libertarian. But he’s attractive to libertarians for all of the reasons you mention.”

    LOL @ the thought of Obama being even remotely libertarian!

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