Barr Announces at the National Press Club

As Tom Knapp stated yesterday, this is the first time it’s been “humanly possible” for me to provide my view of Bob Barr’s presidential announcement yesterday. As the photograph above illustrates (from right to left), Doug Bandow, Derek Barr, Bob and his wife, and Russ Verney stood together as the presidential announcement was made.

One must turn around 180 degrees to capture the biggest part of the story from a Libertarian Party perspective. The story is about Fox News and CNN. The story is that one could see an LP candidate on three different network monitors (the first time I went downstairs to check) at the same time at the National Press Club. The story is about Drudge links (here’s one which was picked up by Drudge). The story is about the amount of print reporters who showed up. The story is about more media coverage than I’ve had the ability to monitor so far. The story is about more media coverage than I’ve ever seen a Libertarian candidate receive. It’s possible that Ed Clark media coverage had more when he made his presidential announcement, and I’m going to have to look at old film footage to count the cameras.

Here’s David Weigel’s take of the media:

The smallish room Bob Barr booked for his presidential announcement was overflowing with journalists. I’ve seen every Ron Paul 2008 event held at the venue, and they never drew this sort of interest: There were, I think, four working reporters at the press conference announcing the haul from the first moneybomb. But Barr’s announcement drew live reporters from the Los Angeles Times, USA Today, and The Washington Post (even if it was the famously snarky “Sketch” author Dana Milbank). Barr foreign policy pal Doug Bandow stood by him at the podium, and foreign policy maven Jim Bovard sat in the audience.

This picture (below the fold) highlights the proverbial thousand words.

Here is Barr’s official announcement video.

115 Responses to “Barr Announces at the National Press Club”

  1. Steve LaBianca Says:

    I’d be very surprised if Jim Bovard was there for any reason other than to cover the event. Bovard endorsing Barr??? . . . I highly doubt it.

  2. The Dylan Says:

    This is why the Libertarian Party has running candidates for presidents all these years: so that we would have the infrastructure and demonstrable grassroots support to attract a serious candidate like Bob Barr.

    The message is finally beginning to break through. Just imagine where we could be in 2012!

  3. Jonathan Cymberknopf Says:

    That’s why Bob Barr is the best bet for the Libertarians in 2008. Please make your donations today if you didn’t yesterday. check out www.bobbarr2008.com

  4. Steve LaBianca Says:

    Just imagine the fires we’ll be putting out for the next four years . . . “Libertarians now support federal funding and involvement in education” . . .
    “Libertarians support the U.S. government intervention in South America to fight the drug trade” . . .
    “Libertarians support federal meddling and regulation of private contracts of marriage” . . .
    “Libertarians support the states to prohibit drugs” . . .

    Are you a Libertarian? Is this what you support?

    Shall I go on . . . no? . . . then Barr should NOT be our candidate, regardless of the potential for press coverage. If it’s press coverage which is the primary focus, then why not ask the runner up for the Democratic Party nomination process to run as our presidential candidate? THAT will get coverage, AND VOTES!

    Hillary could just as easily say she’s somewhat of a libertarian, just like Bill Clinton did! That should be enough to support for the LP nomination, right?

    How about Obama’s semi, pseudo (Just like Barr’s) anti-war stance. That could ring true for many Libertarians to support him for the LP nomination, right? Hey, Raimondo supports Obama, isn’t that good enough?

    Just what deal, fellow LP delegates, is enough? Is Barr Libertarian enough? Are you willing to compromise on the areas indicated above, plus his support for Republicans while sitting on the LNC? I will not. But then I believe that the long run of the battle for liberty is way more important that a passing fancy in the (potential) spotlight.

  5. Steve LaBianca Says:

    Sometimes I am tempted to just say, you know what, Why not nominate Barr, and see if the highly coveted “vote total” of 2% to 3% is reached? Obviously, the vote total is what his supporters are after. They know he hasn’t any more chance than Alden Link of winning the presidency. So, it can’t be about winning. It is about the words “Libertarian Party” being mentioned in the media. How many times will it be heard? Will it be more than if it is another candidate gets the LP nomination? Possibly, but thinking about it, just what will be ASSOCIATED with the words “Libertarian Party” if Barr is the nominee?

    Will it be “federalism? Certainly the anti-federalists during the constitutional convention were way more skeptical, and thus way more libertarian than the federalists.

    Will it be “No Child Left Behind”, and how the federal government should “help” with the education of the children in America?

    Will it be foreign intervention in South America, to help with the so-called eradication of drugs, that is associated with “Libertarian Party” in the media?

    Or will it be the cross party (Republican Party) endorsements which Barr’s PAC has supported, while he sits on the Libertarian National Committee, AND while qualified Libertarians oppose these Barr endorsed candidates?

    Take you pick. I’ve determined my priorities. I am not willing to compromise liberty for short-term gains, which almost never have long term positive implications.

    Detractor for my position, call it what you will, but I have been around the LP long enough to not fall for such “promises” of grandeur.

  6. Justin Grover Says:

    Mr. LaBianca:

    I’m not sure that saying all those things are what Barr believes in is any more true than saying Dr. Ruwart believes all the things that Root’s campaign said she believed in.

    I think Barr (and a few others) have a lot to offer the party, and a purity pogrom is the last thing the Party needs.

  7. Justin Grover Says:

    Mr. LaBianca:

    Re: who he chose to support financially- If, for whatever reason, a libertarian sees a demorepublicrat who fits the libertarian’s personal point of view better than the LP candidate, should the libertarian not support them, out of party loyalty? If so, should we start issuing Party sanctioned slates to ALL libertarians so they will know who they must or must not vote for?

  8. Steve LaBianca Says:

    Justin Grover Says:
    May 13th, 2008 at 11:42 am

    Mr. LaBianca:

    I’m not sure that saying all those things are what Barr believes in is any more true than saying Dr. Ruwart believes all the things that Root’s campaign said she believed in.

    Fortunately, Barr has a voting record to cement it as truth. Barr is on record for supporting Republicans against Libertarian candidates while on the LNC. Anything said about Ruwart is implication (and poorly reasoned implication as well), at best.

  9. Justin Grover Says:

    Mr. LaBianca:

    Also of note, the “States Rights” side of things can be very strong in bringing people who hedge the fence over. Personally, I’d much rather fight the War on the War on Drugs, for example, on a state by state basis- that is how we are winning now. It also fits within many people’s view of how the rights are delegated in the Constitution - whether or not it is the party line.

  10. Steve LaBianca Says:
    1. Justin Grover Says:
      May 13th, 2008 at 11:46 am

    Mr. LaBianca:

    Re: who he chose to support financially- If, for whatever reason, a libertarian sees a demorepublicrat who fits the libertarian’s personal point of view better than the LP candidate, should the libertarian not support them, out of party loyalty? If so, should we start issuing Party sanctioned slates to ALL libertarians so they will know who they must or must not vote for?

    Now, how does this scenario changge when we consider that Barr sits on the leadership of the LP as a representative on the LNC?

  11. Bill Woolsey Says:

    I have been following the press coverage of Barr.

    None of the things you have described have been
    mentioned.

    The press isn’t pegging him as a foreign policy
    hawk. On the contrary—normal people can see
    that he is opposing the Bush/McCain neo-con
    foreign policy.

    And, of course, his defense of the Constitution
    against the Bush administration is being emphased.
    That is, his multi-year focus on “privacy” rights.

    A well as the government spending issue. That
    is getting coverage.

    Anyway, all libertarians need to get used to saying,
    I, and many libertarians, disagree with the Libertarian
    candidate on X. You just need to get over this
    strange need to want to say, “all libertarians
    agree on just about everything, as articulated by
    our Presidential candidate.” Or, “It doesn’t
    matter which libertarian is elected, because they
    will all do the same things.”

    The answer to most of the questions are, no,
    and neither does Barr. For others, Barr
    used to think that way, but came to a better
    understanding of the dangers of big government.
    And for other, it is, some libertarians do and others
    don’t.

  12. Annie Leibowitz Says:

    Hi Stevie

    You sound cute—might want to date you if your under the lkegal age of concent, otherwise I swing the other way.

    By the way, did you see Barr’s video? he pretty much says he wants to eliminate all those things you think he wants to keep. How’s your girl friend Mary? She’s pretty cute too! I’ll proably still vote for her just becuase she’s into what I’m into if you know what I mean jelly bean!

    Huggies -
    Annie

    PS —Look for me at the costume ball in Denver, you can’t miss my outfit (or lack thereof)!

  13. Steve LaBianca Says:
    1. Justin Grover Says:
      May 13th, 2008 at 11:48 am

    Mr. LaBianca:

    Also of note, the “States Rights” side of things can be very strong in bringing people who hedge the fence over. Personally, I’d much rather fight the War on the War on Drugs, for example, on a state by state basis- that is how we are winning now. It also fits within many people’s view of how the rights are delegated in the Constitution - whether or not it is the party line.

    I’d rather have the government cut $1.00 from the budget over a zero cut. That doesn’t make it something to throw support behind, especially when there is someone who is willing to cut trillions of dollars!

    By the same token, fighting the drug war state by state is preferable, but our candidate being against drug prohibition as a principle makes “federalism” MUCH more attractive. Barr isn’t attractive for this reason.

  14. Justin Grover Says:

    Steve said:

    “Fortunately, Barr has a voting record to cement it as truth. . . . . .Anything said about Ruwart is implication (and poorly reasoned implication as well), at best.”

    Implication because you support her. Mostly it was people grabbing at one idea or the other and holding on, right or wrong. The same thing will now happen to Barr.

    Voting record, for example- It is possible that people change their political views, legitimately. He seems as fire-y a libertarian (in person) as most I’ve met. If he can prove that to the convention, then he deserves the nomination. Converts are historically the most zealous of all believers.

    You have to remember that not all of us in the LP have sprung forth as some sort of Political Athena, born whole and complete from Rothbard/Rand/whomever’s head.

  15. Nexus Says:

    “Fortunately, Barr has a voting record to cement it as truth. Barr is on record for supporting Republicans against Libertarian candidates while on the LNC.”

    Do you have some links? I’d like to investigate this further.

  16. Justin Grover Says:

    Steve said:

    “Now, how does this scenario changge when we consider that Barr sits on the leadership of the LP as a representative on the LNC?”

    We should take away the moral rights of LNC members? In my state, I know that many State Committee members are planning on supporting a woman who is running as a republican because of her “Ron Paul Congress” pledge. Does that make us all evil, too?

  17. Steve LaBianca Says:

    Woolsey seems to be saying that the “media” take (right at this point) is what is most important. This doesn’t make it true. The truth will out, as Leonard Read has said, sooner or later, and the media “take” will be exposed. Count on it.

  18. Justin Grover Says:

    And Mr. LaBianca, you should watch his intro video on his website, I think it refutes what you have said pretty well about his beliefs.

  19. Justin Grover Says:

    We interviewed Barr back in October about his views on Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, etc- It is on You Tube (http://youtube.com/watch?v=twzme6btHxg). Barr wasn’t my first choice for presidential candidate, but he is actually moving up that ladder pretty quickly.

  20. Gordon is a Dick Says:

    Leibowitz, your supposed to be dyke you fucking lame fucking troll. Russ Verney, go fucking kill yourself.

  21. Steve LaBianca Says:

    Justin Grover Says:
    May 13th, 2008 at 11:53 am

    Steve said:

    Voting record, for example- It is possible that people change their political views, legitimately. He seems as fire-y a libertarian (in person) as most I’ve met. If he can prove that to the convention, then he deserves the nomination. Converts are historically the most zealous of all believers.

    Yes change can happen. However, the likelihood of epiphany after epiphany after epiphany, over a 2 year period, especially considering Barr’s background as a prosecutor, is highly unlikely. Change for a 59 year old, (though I hate to admit it as a 51 year old) comes much more slowly and begrudgingly than for a 25 year old.

    And I agree with you that if he can PROVE his tremendous amount of changes (to being thoroughly libertarian) to the delegates at the convention, he will have earned the nomination.

  22. Steve LaBianca Says:
    1. Justin Grover Says:
      May 13th, 2008 at 11:56 am

    Steve said:

    “Now, how does this scenario changge when we consider that Barr sits on the leadership of the LP as a representative on the LNC?”

    We should take away the moral rights of LNC members? In my state, I know that many State Committee members are planning on supporting a woman who is running as a republican because of her “Ron Paul Congress” pledge. Does that make us all evil, too?

    Barr, as an LNC member has a fiduciary responsibility to Libertarian Party members, and thus the LP as an organization, to support the LP over all competitors.

  23. Steve LaBianca Says:
    1. Justin Grover Says:
      May 13th, 2008 at 11:58 am

    And Mr. LaBianca, you should watch his intro video on his website, I think it refutes what you have said pretty well about his beliefs.

    What Barr says may be good, but is it believable? I have stated my position. Barr has not likely made all the changes he claims, or you allegedly claim he has. The same is true for W.A.R. Not believable in my view . . . not in the short period of time.

  24. Susan Hogarth Says:

    Anyway, all libertarians need to get used to saying,
    I, and many libertarians, disagree with the Libertarian
    candidate on X.

    There’s plenty of time for that after the convention :)

  25. Viverrid Says:

    Just an observation: Barr’s donations have been moving up quite a bit over his daily average since announcing his exploratory committee. Of course, he’s no Ron Paul in this department but he is an LP candidate after all :)

  26. Viverrid Says:

    Note: I meant that his funds have been moving up more rapidly over the past two days than they have been since announcing his exploratory committee.

  27. Justin Grover Says:

    “Barr, as an LNC member has a fiduciary responsibility to Libertarian Party members, and thus the LP as an organization, to support the LP over all competitors.”

    I would say to support “libertarianism” (whatever that is, in your view) over all else. I don’t know who the LP candidates were in the few “R” and “D” races that Barr’s PAC has supported, but it may have been in his ethical judgment that the “R” or “D” were the more effective champion of liberty- or that they were the best bet to stave off adding a tyrant? I’d like to know the thought process as well behind those choices.

    “However, the likelihood of epiphany after epiphany after epiphany, over a 2 year period, especially considering Barr’s background as a prosecutor, is highly unlikely.”

    I’d say yes and no. Someone who was already disenfranchised with the morality of the system sometimes takes one step after another to come about to the better point of view. I seem to recall even as far back as the Clinton Entanglement he was not happy with the spectacle and oneupsmanship surrounding the ordeal, which says to me that even then he had internal conflict about the way the State had ‘progressed.’

  28. Justin Grover Says:
    1. Steve LaBianca Says:
      May 13th, 2008 at 12:14 pm
      . . .
      What Barr says may be good, but is it believable? I have stated my position. Barr has not likely made all the changes he claims, or you allegedly claim he has. The same is true for W.A.R. Not believable in my view . . . not in the short period of time.

    I think there is a world of difference between Barr and ROOT. ;) That includes (is especially true?) on the believability front.

  29. Stefan Says:

    Steve:

    the way you formulate it, you do not want to see Barr associated with the LP at all.
    All we gets is a lot of rants, and NO mention of how he has changed and his current positions.
    Your formulation:”Libertarians support state rights to prohibit drugs” is quite
    “provocative”. The Libertarian Position is that the FEDERAL government should end the war on drugs, right. Now if the right to choose over these issues are left to the states, it gives people more freedom. The LP supports democracy, right? Now say a certain state would decide to ban a number of hard drugs, but allow medical majiuana, using their democratic right, are you going to never accept that, meaning you do not accept the will of the majority of those in the state, who exercise their liberty of voting? In case you do resist it, it means you basically do not want the state also to decide over it. WHat if the state hold a referendum and the majority in one state decided against drugs, and another state approve drugs. Are you going to say the majority of the state do not accept liberty if they decide against the use of drugs and give the impression the LP does NOT accept democracy?

    Doug Bandow is Paul’s foreign policy adviser and will probably also work with Barr, the same with Bovard.

    Would you accept Ron Paul as LP nominee, as he has people inspired to run as candidates under the GOP, Democratic, Libertarian, Constututional Parties as well as running as Independents. He has endorsed a few of them, he cannot probably endorse someone running against a GOP incumbent.

    Barr and Paul’s PAC support sen. John Sununu in NH, for instance, who has voted and acted against the Patriot Act, against the military commissions act and has a very libertarian voting record and voted against Bush on several occasions and not endorsed him.
    What is wrong if you support a candidate in another party that basically agrees with your policy to a great extent? I think not only principle before party is important (the reason why Paul would not endorse McCain), but also supporting the principle by supporting a candidate that shares your principles in another party. If that is not legitimate and a sound moral political and practical position, then the LP will NEVER ever see any of its principles implemented and if it manages to get a substantial portion of representation in congress, it should never vote together with a representative of another party on a certain issue where there is agreement.

    I think theory (and I am very much a theorist and think the best theory will lead to the best practise) to be in harmony with practise. Life it not always so easy in practise. In a certain sense it is easy for the LP to critisize other people from the main parties, as it has never had any representative in congress. But when there are representatives in congress for the LP (hopefully), they would have to learn to work with other parties to get things done.

  30. Bill Woolsey Says:

    The media take on Barr (assuming it sticks,)
    will be the impression the Barr campaign
    creates about what it means to be a
    libertarian.

    So far, I am happy about the impression
    being created. Real cuts in the federal
    spending, withdrawal from Iraq,
    and support for Constitutional rights.

    And, of course, he is describing
    libertarianism in roughly the correct way..
    more freedom, less government.

    I don’t see a threat that people
    will believe that all libertarians support
    foreign aid to Colombia…

    Anyway, I will welcome the chance to
    differntiate my views from Barr.

    You supported Barr.. but didnt’ he
    support this or that? Well, I supported
    him because he was against preventative
    war and nation building. Personally, I would
    cut foreign aid to Colombia first thing! No,
    I am not pro-life and I don’t have any problem
    with Roe vs. Wade.

    It will be much better than the current situation
    where I list every Presidential candidate for whom
    I have ever voted, and 95% of my students will
    have not heard of even one of them.

    No, I didn’t for Clinton or Bush. No, I didn’t vote for
    Bush or Kerry. Ah… you must have voted for Perot.
    Or Nader. No… not them either…

    McBride, Clark, Bergland, Paul, Marrou, Browne twice, and yes,
    even Badnarik. Who? I’ve never heard of any of them…

    By the way, I tried and failed to write in Mark Sanford in
    2004. Only then, did I vote for Badnarik. (Those who
    plan to write in Paul… I think there is something to the notion
    that it can’t be done.)

  31. Justin Grover Says:
    1. Susan Hogarth Says:
      May 13th, 2008 at 12:16 pm

    Anyway, all libertarians need to get used to saying,
    I, and many libertarians, disagree with the Libertarian
    candidate on X.

    There’s plenty of time for that after the convention :)

    (I’m saying this of all the ‘sides’ (e.g. Ruwart/Barr/Kubby/Phillies supporters))

    I think we need to go into the convention ACCEPTING that, Ms. Hogarth. We need to choose the person who is the most effective spokesperson for the party, regardless of where they fall in the “Libertarian” field on the Nolan Chart. I think it will take a combination of Libertarian beliefs, effective speaking style, and ability to spread the message.

  32. Joseph Geddes Buchman, PhD Says:

    Steve,

    “The story is about more media coverage than I’ve ever seen a Libertarian candidate receive. It’s possible that Ed Clark media coverage had more when he made his presidential announcement, and I’m going to have to look at old film footage to count the cameras.”

    There’s no way. Didn’t Clark announce in late 1979/early 1980? Only three networks. No cable (other than for re-transmission, local time and temp, and HBO on a few systems). CNN launched 1 June 1980. Surely that was after Ed announced? And CNN was mostly just reading AP reports out of Atlanta then, no computers. Most stations still using film, not ENG. The cameras themselves might be bigger, but I’ll bet if you look at the old Ed Clark film there will be at best only three of them there.

    I was working for the CBS TV affiliate in Louisville in 1980. Great late-night 15 minute (or were they 30 minute) Ed Clark videos up against the Carson Tonight Show at its peak.

    Watching those videos is when I realized I was a Libertarian. (I’d already read Atlas Shrugged in college.)

    BTW: If you could bring all that old film/video of Ed Clark and all the other Presidential (and other) campaigns to Denver, put it in a small theater, I would love to watch it. Maybe even buy a DVD of it as a fund raising item.

    I know some is on Google.

    Also, if you promise to bring and wear your tin foil hat, I’ll make, bring and wear one too. Would make for a great photo.

    I’d really like to 1) get to know you better; 2) feel heard about where I’m coming from on this issue; 3) put this behind us.

    For whatever damage I’ve done to the party, and to things you care about deeply (many of which I’m sure I do too) by telling a reporter I don’t mind being called whack-o, I do apologize.

    Joe
    www.buchmanforcongress.com

  33. Annie Leibowitz Says:

    “Leibowitz, your supposed to be dyke you fucking lame fucking troll.”

    That is brilliant, you turn me on (I luv dirty talk) almost as much as Susan and Mary. Are you two lovers? Gosh I hope so—I’m dreaming of both of you in a soft bed with a lovely little consenting child (boy or girl—I switch when they’re young you know)..... Hmmm that was yummy.

  34. Stefan Says:

    Bill: exactly Bill Schneider with CNN has been covering Barr as a former Republican who is against the war in Iraq and could get a substantial amount of the 25-33%
    in the GOP that are against the war and against Bush. (McCain is seen as very close to Bush, McBush, with the exception of the “global warming” and a few other issues. He is actually more interventionist than Bush even IMHO).

    Justin: Very true, the “devolution” of the drug war to the states will not only give more freedom, as some states can decide against the prohibition of drugs, but also provide as a sort of “experiment”. The perception with many states would be that an ending of the drug war in a state would mean the radical increase in drug usuage. Now if such states see that in other states where it is allowed, the situation has not lead to an increase of drug usuage for instance, and rather to a radical savings in costs and more social harmony, those states would be easier to follow suit and adopt a similar strategy, so that int he end all states could theretically decided for the unbanning of drugs.

    I think the “radicals” should see although the “moderates” in the LP has the same ideals, there is a difference on the way and speed to bring it about. Fact is one will not change radically overnight. People want change, but they are from nature conservative, they resist an extreme change with many things. It makes them feel unsure. One should recognise that change should come incrementally, step by step and that the fiscal/economic liberty is the most urgent and affects the most people, while the denial to use heroine freely affects the minimum of people. One need some perspective and balance. The LP, also the radicals do nto want the party to be a “fringe” in terms of votes/support. And I do think the aim to achieve should be much more than 2,3% and much more than that is also possible. This election year brings a lot of dynamism and possibilities, more than before. It took Reagan 16 years after Goldwater in 1964 to take control. Interestingly enough it is now also 16 years since Ross Perot and the Reform Party’s 19%. If the LP has a very good nomination ticket that can unify the party and attract new voters (I like a Barr-Ruwart ticket), then it could get 10% plus, or even more, with enough money and enthusiasm. There is already a big groundwork laid by the Ron paul movement, which is a “permanent” movement.

  35. Susan Hogarth Says:

    I suggested that there was plenty of time for folks to get used to the idea of a presidential candidate with whom they have essential disagreements on some or many issues.

    Justin replied:
    I think we need to go into the convention ACCEPTING that, Ms. Hogarth.

    Well, yes. That was my point. Advocate as hard as you can now for your preferred candidate (if you have one), weigh the positives and negatives of each candidate if you are still unsure (or even if you are sure), and be prepared to move forward afterward.

    We need to choose the person who is the most effective spokesperson for the party, regardless of where they fall in the “Libertarian” field on the Nolan Chart.

    The question becomes whether someone can be an ‘effective spokesperson for the Party’ if their message is not particularly Libertarian.

    I think it will take a combination of Libertarian beliefs, effective speaking style, and ability to spread the message.

    Yes, I can agree that the perfect candidate (1) would be strongly aligned with the Libertarian core in message, (2) a good speaker and interviewee, and (3) wildly popular.

    I think no candidates have all three. I think no candidates have #3. The idea that Barr’s past as a thorn in Clinton’s side and a simply awful ‘conservative’ will be an asset to him as a Libertarian candidate is a mistake. Will he get a few more and more high-profile interviews, especially initially? Sure. But if when he gets those interviews he continues to talk about what a great ‘conservative’ he is and how ‘real conservatives’ should support him, he will probably do more damage than good for the Party. And his news value will wane as it becomes clear that he poses absolutely zero threat to McCain from the right.

    Between Barr and Ruwart, I think Mary Ruwart has the first two down of the above prereqs pat. I think Barr is reluctant to actually be caught sounding like a Libertarian and/or doesn’t really understand what it’s about, and I think he is an uninspiring speaker who can’t seem to give a straight answer to a difficult question, much less a simple one. People who hear him will hear about Bob Barr and how he’s more conservative than John McCain, and that’s about it. Mary is a confident and warm speaker on the subject of freedom - not ‘conservativism’ or ‘constitutionalism’, but FREEDOM - and those who do hear her will come away understanding more about Libertarianism and the benefits of freedom for all.

  36. Bill Woolsey Says:

    For what it is worth, I strongly reject the notion that the “libertarian
    position” is that the federal government should stay out of the drug issue and that the people of each state should exercize their democratic rights to do as they choose. The Libertarian Party isn’t just a federal party. It isn’t just about federal elections and the Presidency. To be a sucessful party, it must start at the grass roots. And so, positions on these issues are important. While our Presidential candidate perhaps should say, “that is a state issue,” the Libertarian Party should be deeply and especially concerned about “state issues,” because elected members to the state legislatures is something that we might be able to do.

    The view that the Federal government should permit states to prohibit drugs is very controversial among libertarians. As is the view that the
    Federal government (Congress or the judiciary) should compel states
    to end drug prohibition.

    I think that if a candidate was running on the need to intensify the
    drug war, then that would be unnacceptable. My understanding of
    Barr’s position when he was in Congress, really fighting against any
    efforts at liberalization, would similarly be unnacceptable.

    But, failure to advocate an end to prohibition or even specifically stating
    that I don’t favor an end to prohibition, it not that much of a problem.

    It is all about the difference between moving in the wrong direction vs.
    failing to move in the right direction.

    So, Barr is trying to avoid the drug issue. No problem. Barr is calling for the end of the Federal war on drugs. Good. Barr doesn’t call for ending drug prohibition on the state or local level. No problem. Barr specifically says when asks that he opposes ending prohibition. Acceptable, but moving into dangerous territory.

    I think the same way about foreign aid to Colombia. While opposing it is a bit of a no-brainer to me, the problem more becomes a proposal to expand it rather than maintain it. Wrong direction vs. failure to move in the right direction.

    By the way, FARC is a communist terrorist organization that finances its activities with drug money. Personally, I don’t think the U.S. should be financing the Colombian govenrments fight against these trully evil people. And I think that ending drug prohibition is the best way to defund FARC (and the Taliban.) Using herbicide against cocoa and hemp
    farmers (or opium farmers) builds support for communist terrorists.

    But I am not worried that this will become a major issue betwen now and November and that Barr’s opposition to cutting foreign aid will become a
    black mark against the libertarian movement.

  37. Joseph Geddes Buchman, PhD Says:

    Reading some of the debate, and looking at my own feelings about Bob Barr, I gotta wonder if most of us just hold that people do not change, that they can’t learn, have an insight or epiphany and turn 180 degrees.

    Who do we trust more, those who old a view and never change it; or those who learn, grow and change?

    I guess that’s the bottom line for me. If over the next week or so, into Denver, I get that Bob Barr has become a true philosophical Libertarian, has grown and learned from his time in Congress to now, is, say, the equivalent of Ayn Rand/Mary Ruwart/Ron Paul/Andre Marrou’s best student ever—then I will suport him without reservation or equivocation.

    Short of that, I want a candidate who I can feel clean about voting for. I want to be part of a political force/party that can return Liberty to the Earth, maybe not by getting maximum votes this year, but by being better positioned for 2012 and beyond. (I am not sure maximum votes this year is fully consistent with that, perhaps it is, but I’m just not sure about that.)

    Imagine the headlines if Congressman Barr does not receive our nomination:

    “Libertarians stand true to Principles, nominate _ over recent pseudo-convert Bob Barr.”

    Or perhaps there’s not much media coverage of that, but in 2012 or later, Libertarians look back at our choice a candidate with pride.

    How about Libertarians 100 years from now. Reading our history of this convention. What choice would they most like to see us make?

    Is Bob Barr the best choice for this year and beyond?

    Will my grandchildren live on an Earth with Liberty present anywhere?

    What vote in Denver will I cast that will best serve them? That they would be most proud of?

    Those are the kind of questions I’ll be thinking about on the drive over to Denver next week.

    Joe
    www.buchmanforcongress.com

  38. Susan Hogarth Says:

    ...the “devolution” of the drug war to the states will not only give more freedom…

    It might.

    Barr hasn’t proposed any such ‘devolution’, though. He calls for maintaining federal support for South American anti-drug efforts. I’ve seen no calls for him for getting the federal government out of any drug policy issue except medical marijuana (maybe).

    I think the “radicals” should see although the “moderates” in the LP has the same ideals, there is a difference on the way and speed to bring it about.

    I call myself a radical libertarian, but not because I want change fast (though I do). I call myself radical because I want fundamental, not superficial, change. I want liberation, not a set of tweaky changes in government structure, and not simply a return to a constitution that I view as fundamentally flawed (although of course miles above what we have now).

    I’m willing to accept slow change. I’d be silly not to. But I’m not willing to advocate for slowness. Why do your opponent’s job? Let them apply the brakes.

  39. Tom Bryant Says:

    I’ve always marketed the Libertarian Party as the party for anyone who thinks government is too big right now. You’re just as much of a libertarian if you want to cut $1 out of the budget as the guy who wants to cut $1 trillion.

    Now, once we cut $1…the person that is scared of cutting that extra dollar no longer is a libertarian.

    The key is that we cut $1 out of the budget with his help.

    Instead we reject his support because he only wants to cut a little bit. The result is that we remain small and meaningless.

    Barr may not be a libertarian when government is 10% of the size it is now, but right now, Barr is definitely a libertarian.

  40. Justin Grover Says:

    “equivalent of Ayn Rand/Mary Ruwart/Ron Paul/Andre Marrou’s best student ever”

    That is a pretty wide margin of difference, sir. ;)

  41. Susan Hogarth Says:

    For what it is worth, I strongly reject the notion that the “libertarian
    position” is that the federal government should stay out of the drug issue and that the people of each state should exercize their democratic rights to do as they choose. The Libertarian Party isn’t just a federal party. It isn’t just about federal elections and the Presidency. To be a sucessful party, it must start at the grass roots. And so, positions on these issues are important. While our Presidential candidate perhaps should say, “that is a state issue,” the Libertarian Party should be deeply and especially concerned about “state issues,” because elected members to the state legislatures is something that we might be able to do.

    Bill Woolsey, I don’t think I’ve ever felt as warmly toward you as when I read that paragraph. Stop by the Radical Caucus booth in Denver (we’ll be at the front!) and I’ll buy you a beer (if I’m not broke by then:)

  42. Justin Grover Says:

    “While our Presidential candidate perhaps should say, “that is a state issue,” the Libertarian Party should be deeply and especially concerned about “state issues,” because elected members to the state legislatures is something that we might be able to do.”

    I agree strongly with that as well. And no, I’m not trying to get free beer out of Susan.

  43. Nexus Says:

    “Great late-night 15 minute (or were they 30 minute) Ed Clark videos”

    I remember seeing one of those videos the night before election day in ‘80. I was in Jr. High School at the time. I never forgot that video. When I was finally old enough to vote in a presidential election(1988), I voted Ron Paul(and voted for him again this year in the GOP primary).

  44. Steve LaBianca Says:

    Joseph Geddes Buchman, PhD Says:
    May 13th, 2008 at 12:58 pm

    Reading some of the debate, and looking at my own feelings about Bob Barr, I gotta wonder if most of us just hold that people do not change, that they can’t learn, have an insight or epiphany and turn 180 degrees.

    I believe that people CAN change, but as people become more learned and more devoted to their beliefs, the harder it is for people to change. This doesn’t negate the possibility of it, but it does shed an enormous amount of doubt that someone in their late 50’s can change so quickly, and so radically. As I said before, Barr, with his prosecutor mentality and career has a doubly difficult time of it. I hope he makes the change, which admittedly has started, over the next several years. I doubt that it has occurred yet.

    I say that Barr COULD make a good candidate, possibly in 2012, but he definitely needs more time.

  45. Susan Hogarth Says:

    Barr may not be a libertarian when government is 10% of the size it is now, but right now, Barr is definitely a libertarian.

    I think, Tom, the question has really moved on from “Is Bob Barr a libertarian?” to “Is Bob Barr the best representative the LP could choose for the presidential slot?”

    Instead we reject his support because he only wants to cut a little bit. The result is that we remain small and meaningless.

    By this logic, it seems to me as if you’re suggesting anyone who says that government should be smaller and who wants our nomination should be our nominee; otherwise we are ‘rejecting’ their support. That would make for a very complex convention.

    Gravel also wants to ‘support’ us by offering his name for president, and he claims to want a smaller government. We have to reject most of the candidates for this position, as there is only one spot available.

    Saying “Thanks, Bob, but we have someone else we think may do a better job in that particular activist position,” is not rejecting their support. It’s simply choosing another person for that particular job.

  46. Steve LaBianca Says:

    Mr. Bryant, moving the direction of government’s size, cost, and intrusiveness is only a STRATEGY which libertarians use for achieving liberty. Heck, some conservatives, even some welfare-state liberals believe in reducing government. This does not make them libertarian. A libertarian believes in liberty, pure and simple. Moving toward it, $1 at a time could mean anything.

  47. Susan Hogarth Says:

    I agree strongly with that as well. And no, I’m not trying to get free beer out of Susan.

    ;-)

    Since I’m running for LNC, I hope some of my supporters will consider buying beers liberally for the undecideds :)

  48. Jim Lesczynski Says:

    I just read that Bob Barr voted for the Medicare Part D prescription drug boondoggle in 2003. I wonder if he has added that to the growing list of congressional votes that he now regrets.

    I’m starting to think the list of votes Barr stands by might be substantially shorter.

  49. Justin Grover Says:

    Susan, I’m not going to quote entirely what you wrote, in the interest of keeping my posts somewhat shorter. ;)

    I agree, in a general way, with your three standards (“Yes, I can agree that the perfect candidate (1) would be strongly aligned with the Libertarian core in message, (2) a good speaker and interviewee, and (3) wildly popular.”) but I disagree with your assertion that Mr. Barr is not a good speaker. I’ll admit, he isn’t a “10” but I’d put him in the 7.5-8 range, reaching for 8.5 when interviewing with ‘conservative’ media types. He can be a bit long winded, but he has enough strength of personality that he can take over/defend his position well amongst those people in the media.

    Dr. Ruwart is generally a kinder sounding speaker, also very articulate, a bit more concise and is easier on the eyes.

    His “interviewee” skills top Ruwart’s in one key area, though- that being that he gets interviews. I don’t think Fox will have quite the same love affair they have wih him now, once he (if he) becomes our nominee, because we clearly aren’t “conservative,” as you (I believe) implied.

    That being said, the best avenue for us to gain converts (not dilute the Party- gain converts) is from the disaffected “right”- the conservative movement, the people who think of themselves as “Reagan Conservatives” (because they remember what he said, not the huge government he built).

    I’m afraid that the LP is already “chasing to the Left” because they are the ‘popular’ faction now. I think this will be fatal for the Party, for this election at least, because we will not recruit as many converts from amongst the Democrats/Greens (they feel like they are “Winning!” even if their issues are ‘on the back burner’), and we will alienate the many voters who will see us as the ONLY small government party still around.

    I have seen (doing outreach work for my state LP) that many conservatives find our stance on “social tolerance”, when combined with what they see as “true conservatism” (small government, deep tax cuts, dissolving many extraneous federal programs), very “tolerable” or even “believable.”

    I think that Barr is the strongest chance we have for opening a door to those disenfranchised ‘conservatives.’

  50. Richard Winger Says:

    Back when Ed Clark was nominated, our national convention was in September 1979, so he must have announced in June or July 1979. I’ll check the NY Times index next time I go to the library to see whether the NY Times even mentioned his announcement or not.

  51. Steve LaBianca Says:

    Devolution of control and power from the federal, to state, to county, to community, to family to individual IS A GREAT LIBERTARIAN STRATEGY!

    However, with Barr at the top of the ticket, calling for devolution of that power to the sates and stopping there is a major problem for Libertarians.

    How would state and local LP candidates reconcile, and or even promote to voters, that they ought to end the drug war at the state level, if the top of the ticket believes that harder drugs should CONTINUE TO BE prohibited at a lower level?

    This is a MAJOR problem of having a drug warrior (Barr), however “federalism” plays into the equation, at the top of the ticket. Consistent libertarian positions held by the presidential candidate is the BEST promotional aspect of the presidential to support lower . . . state and local candidates.

    Barr does not provide this support. Ruwart and Kubby do.

  52. Steve LaBianca Says:

    Justin Grover Says:
    May 13th, 2008 at 1:30 pm

    His “interviewee” skills top Ruwart’s in one key area, though- that being that he gets interviews.

    Again, is he going to just say “federalism” or support liberty? The AMOUNT of exposure is secondary to how does the candidate promote liberty in those interviews?

    and,

    I think that Barr is the strongest chance we have for opening a door to those disenfranchised ‘conservatives.’

    This will prove to be futile IMO. The Constitution Party has that support pretty quite well in hand. (Actually, I think Baldwin is a better candidate constitutionally, than Barr)

  53. Joe Buchman Says:

    Justin,

    “equivalent of Ayn Rand/Mary Ruwart/Ron Paul/Andre Marrou’s best student ever”

    That is a pretty wide margin of difference, sir. ”

    Thanks. I was hoping someone would get that joke.

    What I implied in that—what I wish for (pure fantasy) and what I could support wholeheartedly is a candidate who could bring all of that (and all of us) together.

    Joe
    www.thedoctorwillfreeyounow.com

  54. johncjackson Says:

    All Libertarians need to get used to saying they disagree with Libertarian so and so?

    Um, I’m already used to that. Certainly with “libertarian” Ron Paul and to a lesser extent “libertarian” celebrities like Bill Maher.

    Hell even with past “pure” LP candidates I had to tell me that I did not support blowing up federal buildings, chaining prisoners so their muscles would atrophy, that I use a driver’s license and so on.

    I do not support Barr, but I don’t see how he is going to make the perception of libertarians any worse.

  55. Justin Grover Says:

    Steve wrote:
    “This will prove to be futile IMO. The Constitution Party has that support pretty quite well in hand. (Actually, I think Baldwin is a better candidate constitutionally, than Barr)”

    Maybe I’m just from a liberal state, but many people that I have spoken to, who fit n the aforementioned category dislike the CP because they perceive it to be another Republican party, or because they feel that the CP is even loonier than the LP.

    I think (even if all the things you believe about him are true, which I don’t) Barr is a libertarian in the sense that most of the Founding Fathers of the country would be called Libertarian compared to the politicians we have now. He wants to significantly reduce the size and scope of government, and give back power to the states and the people.

    I agree that he needs to change is wording a bit though, in the sense that he should drop the talk of “federalism”, as it clouds what I believe he is trying to/should be/is unclearly saying.

  56. Steve LaBianca Says:

    The blowing up buildings, leaving the poor to starve, being tied to Lyndon LaRouche, and other things are bad misunderstandings. However, this is all the more reason not to confuse, complicate and add to the problem by nominating a Republican lite candidate like Barr, who holds several less than ideal libertarian positions.

  57. Steve LaBianca Says:
    1. Justin Grover Says:
      May 13th, 2008 at 1:54 pm

    I agree that he needs to change is wording a bit though, in the sense that he should drop the talk of “federalism”, as it clouds what I believe he is trying to/should be/is unclearly saying.

    There is the crux . . . he can’t simply “drop the talk of ‘federalism’”, because that is what he is guided by, I believe. We will see what his debate (I assume he’ll debate a the convention) performance reveals. I am not optimistic that he will heed David Nolan’s insights of giving a more principled stance on issues than he has so far. Again, we’ll see.

  58. Annie Leibowitz Says:

    Strevie baby—you make my boobies shake. Anyway “less than ideal libertarian positions” include what? I mean like what’s ideal—I like little children, so I feel anyone who doesn’t believe I can do what I want with any willing little child in my opinion has “less than ideal libertarian positions.”

    However I can see other libertarians who disagree with me and I don’t get all crazy because they don’t meet MY ideals. We each have our own level. I feel every candidate for the LP Nomination meets enough of those ideals that they would be satisfactory.

    Mary of course rules because she’s delicious and believes like I do that little children can and should have sex with anyone they want to. But you don’t see little me beating up anyone here because they disagree with my viewpoint.

    Perhaps you need a lollypop to suck on too—it’ll make you feel all better!

    See you at the party!

  59. Susan Hogarth Says:

    I think … Barr is a libertarian in the sense that most of the Founding Fathers of the country would be called Libertarian compared to the politicians we have now.

    The same could be said for any of our candidates. Hell, the same could be said for most rocks.

    But I somehow can’t see John Hancock or the others getting behind the idea of sending U.S. tax money to the government of Colombia to help that government to suppress the trade in some drugs they didn’t happen to like.

    I can’t see them suggesting that the U.S. government forcibly restrict its citizens from trading with Iranians because the U.S. government didn’t happen to like the Iranian government.

    I can’t see them supporting a federal sales tax.

  60. Steve LaBianca Says:

    “less than ideal libertarian positions” include what?

    Allowing for and tolerating aggression, ie the initiation of force.

  61. G.E. Says:

    If you can read this and still support Barr, you are an enemy of liberty, simple and plain:

    http://www.lewrockwell.com/katz-j/katz-j28.html

  62. G.E. Says:

    Tom Bryant - David Duke wants to cut government. Is he a libertarian?

  63. Tom Bryant Says:

    Susan,

    When I wrote “Instead we reject his support because he only wants to cut a little bit. The result is that we remain small and meaningless.” I was not referring to “Bob Barr” when I said “his”. I introduced Barr as the subject in the next sentence. The “he” I referred to before was no one specific.

    The questions around Bob Barr are whether he is libertarian or not. I believe that anyone that wants government to be smaller can be counted amongst libertarians. The next question, on whether he would be the best candidate is very subjective. How many votes would he get, how much money would he raise, how would he use that money, and such is all pretty much guesswork.

    I think any of the decent candidates can expect around 400k votes and $1m in fundraising from the usual LP crowd. This isn’t a given, and there’s a lot of work needed to get this level of support from the LP faithful.

    The big question on Barr is whether he would be able to grab votes and money from outside the LP core.

  64. Justin Grover Says:

    Steve, Where is the violation of the pledge here, exactly?

    from “National Defense” at http://www.bobbarr2008.com/issues/ :

    * For far too long and at the cost of American blood and treasure, our great military has been too willingly and quickly used for purposes other than national defense. Our fighting men and women deserve better and the integrity of our nation must be restored.
    * Our National Defense policy must renew a commitment to non-intervention. We are not the world’s police force and our long, yet recently tarnished, tradition of respecting the sovereignty of other nations is necessary, not from only a moral standpoint, but to regain the respect of the world as a principled and peaceful nation.
    * The proper use of force is clear. If attacked, the aggressor will experience firsthand the skillful wrath of the American fighting man. However, invading or initiating force against another nation based upon perceived threats and speculative intelligence is simply un-American. We are better than the policy of pre-emptive warfare.

  65. Ghoststrider Says:

    Two things:

    First off, every libertarian (both big-L and small) needs to realize that libertarians are not monolithic. While we agree that government needs to be smaller, c’mon, there is no way we’re all going to agree 100%. Some of us lean green. Others are paleo- or neo-libertarian. We all have our differences. Saying you don’t support a candidate because of “X” is just stupid. We don’t need puritans, we need candidates who can effectively bring the message of libertarianism across to the American public and do some damn good marketing. Once we get an appreciable number of Americans voting libertarian (say 25-30%) then we can start quibbling.

    Second, can we have some sense of maturity here? Are we all children? I’m not even old enough to drink yet and I sound more mature than some of you. “You make my boobies shake—” Oh grow up, and the same thing to the person who called you a dyke. This is why people don’t take the Libertarian Party seriously, because its members act like four year olds. The Internet does not give you carte blanche to forget your manners. That’s why Myspace and Livejournal are for.

    And just to nitpick, the CP is nuttier than the LP, and enjoys much less support, probably because most of its views are endorsed by the GOP.

  66. Angela Keaton Says:

    Ghostrider:

    If you are interested in some youth organizing and outreach for the LP, please email Grandma Keaton at (my first name) at liberatedspace dot com.

  67. Steve LaBianca Says:

    Tom Bryant: “The questions around Bob Barr are whether he is libertarian or not. I believe that anyone that wants government to be smaller can be counted amongst libertarians.”

    Again, many conservatives want to cut government. These folks can be counted to be allies IN THE AREAS THAT LIBERTARIANS AGREE WITH CONSERVATIVES. This IS MUCH DIFFERENT than counting such conservatives “amongst libertarians” if you mean that amongst means “they are” libertarians.

    I MIGHT be able to believe that “counted amongst libertarians” is anyone who would substantially cut government size, cost, and intrusiveness at ALL levels, and in ALL current intrusions. Barr doesn’t pass this test either. He would uphold the drug war at SOME government level, or support foreign intervention for some purpose. These are examples of failures of the test I list above.

  68. kombayn Says:

    If you look for Bob Barr on YouTube back in ‘03 and ‘04 when he did Bill Maher’s show, he does come off as a libertarian but at the same time he doesn’t really advocate drugs just like Wayne Allyn Root, but he is tip-toeing over the subject and is looking to decriminalize smaller petty drugs. Take Amsterdam’s stance where marijuana, ecstacy, mushrooms and cocaine are non-criminal offenses. While crack, PCP, GHB, Heroin, Meth and other hard substances are criminal. That’s what America needs and if you’re a non-violent hard drug user, get them into rehab programs that if federal have separation of church and state.

    What the hardcore libertarian advocates need to realize is putting together a Barr/Gravel or Barr/Root ticket will get this part ya lot of exposure, more than ever. Barr is actually liked by the media, especially FOX News, yesterday I was in Los Angeles and tuned into the late night show on 790AM, talking about Barr and him having a real shot at making a huge dent in this election. You have conservatives looking at this man and they see something with him.

    I’ve never seen this kind of attention ever for a Libertarian Party candidate, not even Ron Paul back in ‘88. I think it’d be foolish to nominate someone other than Bob Barr at this point. Now if Mary Ruwart does get the V.P. slot, that would be a nice niche for the LP supporters who are true hardcore-libertarians. She could really push these ideals.

    I’m still sold the best on Barr/Root ‘08 ticket, they both can earn a ton of money for the party and they do have credentials with the Main-Stream Media, that goes a long way in putting out the LP message. Barr/Root can reach out to that conservative base and expose them even more to the LP. Especially if Ron Paul gives them his endorsement (I doubt he will, with a lot of Ron Paul supporters looking at Chuck Baldwin with a long-hard look. Personally I don’t like the guy with his religious extremism.) and that could send a shockwave for the LP. You want to get a million to 2 million votes this election, why send in a staunch LP candidate that’ll get you 0.3% of the votes? That’ll get the party no where, especially if you nominate Ruwart, she’ll be eaten up and spewed out by any main-stream media outlet for some of the comments she’s made in the last few months.

    Wake up! It’s about strategy, I’m not even a Libertarian Party member or supporter but Barr/Root or more preferred Barr/Gravel is the way to go this election.

  69. theButterfly Says:

    When will Bob Barr apologize to Wiccans for religious discrimination? Doesn’t anyone else have a problem voting for someone who doesn’t support religious freedom?

  70. Mark Smith Says:

    Barr is a flawed candidate, and I’d prefer Mary Ruwart. I will, however, vote for Barr if he’s the nominee.

    When I became a Libertarian in 1979, I previously had voted for George McGovern and Jimmy Carter. I found some of the Libertarian platform difficult to accept. But there was enough with which I agreed (60 or 70 percent?), and I couldn’t stand the idea of voting for Reagan or Carter, so Ed Clark got my vote and I’ve voted for every LP candidate since then. It didn’t take very long for me to embrace the whole of libertarianism after casting that first LP vote.

    Maybe a few million people will find enough in Bob Barr’s positions to vote for him, despite the fact that they may only be “60 percent” libertarians—and having voted once for a Libertarian, they’ll start thinking of themselves as Libertarians, and continue voting that way.

    If we are to attract large numbers of new LP voters, we must accept the fact that they are extremely unlikely to be anywhere near the top of the Nolan chart, but they’ll get there a lot more quickly once they’ve voted Libertarian and start self-identifying as such.

  71. Tom Bryant Says:

    Steve: Conservatives that want to cut government spending NEED to come over to the Libertarian Party. The Republican Party has not cut government spending. These are the politically homeless we need to reach out too, not shoo away for not being “libertarian enough”

    There are liberals that want the government to respect civil rights. They need to come over to the LP as well.

    The test you apply is geared to guarantee failure. I have worked with many winning local LP campaigns, and by your test, all of them would not be considered libertarians. Why make our job at shrinking government so much harder by giving purity tests to folks that want to shrink government?

  72. Thomas L. Knapp Says:

    Compliment to Gordon, whom I assume handled the mechanics of setting up the press conference!

    David Weigel writes that “the smallish room Bob Barr booked for his presidential announcement was overflowing with journalists.”

    This Political Mechanics 101, exactly the kind of thing Gordon understands and does well and exactly the kind of detail that makes his services worth whatever he gets paid for them.

    You don’t book a big room and hope you can fill it up—you book a room you know damn well you can fill. Then instead of possibly being half-empty and muted, it’s standing room only—loud, crowded and exciting. It won’t turn a flop into an event, but it can help turn an event into a triumph.

  73. Paulie Says:

    I find this troubling.

    —In [email protected], “Dick Clark” wrote:
    >

    > Okay, this is absolutely awful:
    >

    > *...Mr. Barr said he still opposes abortion and the legalization or
    > decriminalization of drugs, just as he did as a federal prosecutor
    during
    > the Reagan administration and as a Republican in the U.S. House.*
    >

    > Some Libertarians hold the opposite view…
    >

    > *********
    >

    >
    http://www.washingtontimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080513/NATION/778957
    938/1002&template=printart
    >

    > Article published May 13, 2008
    > Barr to woo Libertarian base for funds

    WTF????

  74. Paulie Says:

    # Thomas L. Knapp Says:
    May 13th, 2008 at 3:28 pm

    Compliment to Gordon, whom I assume handled the mechanics of setting up the press conference!

    David Weigel writes that “the smallish room Bob Barr booked for his presidential announcement was overflowing with journalists.”

    This Political Mechanics 101, exactly the kind of thing Gordon understands and does well and exactly the kind of detail that makes his services worth whatever he gets paid for them.

    You don’t book a big room and hope you can fill it up—you book a room you know damn well you can fill. Then instead of possibly being half-empty and muted, it’s standing room only—loud, crowded and exciting. It won’t turn a flop into an event, but it can help turn an event into a triumph.

    Agreed.

  75. Lance Brown Says:

    If Barr is to be the nominee, I think he should cast his drug war stance as “in transition”. That he used to be a full-on drug warrior, but that his views on the effectiveness of that approach have undergone a radical shift, and are continuing to evolve. Then he can make some sort of pat position statement (“blah blah, federal, states, I’m not opposed to prohibition, and I part ways with my party on that…”), and refer any further questions back to that statement. That way he is not forced to finish evolving before his mind can handle it, the LP stance on the drug war remains relatively untouched, and Barr shows that reasonable people can change their views on issues they feel strongly about. Which is great—one of the #1 strengths of his campaign, in fact.

    And he needs to make peace with gays. I don’t know or particularly care how, but we should not have an LP presidential candidate who favors different rights for gay people. Ending the drug war is a discussion which is going to be going on for a long time still (mostly because it’s not really being discussed at all yet in a broad sense), but ending official discrimination against gays is something that is happening right now, and we should not switch sides on that issue at this key time, even if it’s only in public perception, not in substance. If Barr can’t getget his head around the fact that gays are full humans, then having him as our nominee would be a bit like having a racist as head of an abolitionist party. I don’t know what the actual numbers are in terms of gays supporting the LP, but it’s not so much the gay constituency I’m concerned about betraying…it’s the whole population. We should not back off or stand down (or especially not reverse course) on this issue at this time, or we could end up being part of the problem, in a very real way. A way that could reduce gay rights in the near term. By embracing a nationally-known “homophobe” (true or not), we could be influencing the public debate and perception on the issue, at exactly the wrong time. History would not judge us well for that, and we’d probably judge ourselves even more harshly.

    Is it too much to hope for that Barr could get some sort of high-intensity conversion action going on at the convention, and emerge a changed, “liberated” if you will, man? Perhaps if you lock him in a room filled with drug reform activists, and don’t unlock it until everyone’s smiling…and then lock him in a room full of gay activists, under the same parameters…

    If he can pass those tests, then the prospect of a semi-high-profile LP “convert” as prez candidate looks fairly attractive. And I think that because he is a convert, a former Republican, that a lot of the news coverage will focus on a) the differences between him and the GOP, and between him and his new home, the LP, and b) the fact that he left the GOP (“less freedom”) to join the LP (“more freedom”). I don’t think that there will be as much ideological cluttering as some people fear. Except to the communitites where Bob Barr was a known bad guy - namely, the drug reform movement, the gay rights community. (People who actively opposed Clinton’s impeachment also see him as a bad guy, but that’s a lot less problematic for many reasons.)

    Barr needs to make nice with those two key groups, IMO. Otherwise he will be doing damage along with any good he might accomplish as a candidate. If he can clean those two slates somehow—something that will probably happen in time anyway, but needs to happen more, sooner—I think he would probably be doing mostly good as our candidate. Raising our profile, arguing for more freedom, helping convert disenchanted partisans, arguing against the war (and wars of aggression and nation building), against the Patriot Act…

    It still seems a bit surreal to be saying positive things about Bob Barr. But his evolution does strike me as real. (He’d have little to gain by faking it, to say the least.) Just the fact that he joined the leadership of the party that helped to remove him from his seat in Congress…there’s something powerful about that. And if the MPP and the ACLU saw fit to team up with him…

    ellipses mean I’m confused…

    ...Bob Barr…

  76. Justin Grover Says:

    Barr has shifted a lot of his “gay” views- http://youtube.com/watch?v=twzme6btHxg

  77. Thomas L. Knapp Says:

    Will I vote for Barr if he’s the nominee? Almost certainly. He’d have to really work hard to put me off so much that I wouldn’t do that.

    Will I bust my hump, as a party member, congressional candidate, volunteer or maybe even staffer, to promote Barr if he’s the nominee? If he is willing and able to put together a campaign pitch that goes beyond “I’m the real conservative in the race, McCain sucks,” and into promoting a libertarian policy message—even a “moderate” one—absolutely.

    Will I support him for the nomination? Not on the first ballot, and almost certainly not on subsequent ballots, for several reasons:

    - Instead of just denouncing/renouncing his past authoritarian policy stands, he keeps trying to “explain” them in terms that make them “really” libertarian. He could be REALLY effective, both in the LP and to the public, by saying “I was wrong on that, here’s why, and now that I’ve seen the light I’ve decided to be part of the solution.” But, he seems to have Fonzie Disease.
    - His current policy positions, as extensively covered in the media and documented in his public statements and writings since becoming a member of the LP, and even since accepting a seat on its national committee, are not particularly libertarian. I’m not talking “radical” libertarian, I’m talking libertarian in any meaningful sense at all. He defers many issues to “states rights” rather than coming to grips with them, sometimes implying or even outright stating that he’d prefer an anti-libertarian resolution of those issues at the state level. On foreign policy, he seems to be trying to have it about 14 different ways, but ultimately to be a “Republican Realist” who wants to put the wheels back on the Cold War bus.
    - He’s got a problem with fiduciary responsibility, as demonstrated by his time on the LNC. A member of a competitive organization’s board of directors has a fiduciary duty to not support that organization’s competition versus that organization’s own representatives. Barr failed in that obligation as a director. Is there any reason to believe he would be any more reliable as a presidential candidate? Will he show up in my congressional district to campaign with my Republican opponent, or maybe send that opponent a check?

    Barr’s positives as a candidate are his name recognition and media access. I think those are important things, but not as important as what he DOES with them, and so far I see no indication that he’s doing, or will do, anything that accrues to the long-term benefit of the party. He seems to be a one-off “true conservative” candidate who might get a few extra votes over the normal LP total, but will leave the party’s long-term prospects no better than he found them, and possibly worse than he found them.

  78. Pepe Johnson Says:

    Steve LaBianca Says:

    May 13th, 2008 at 11:53 am

    “I’d rather have the government cut $1.00 from the budget over a zero cut. That doesn’t make it something to throw support behind, especially when there is someone who is willing to cut trillions of dollars!”

    Being willing to do something and capable of accomplishing it are two different things!

  79. severin Says:

    Steve, I think it will be difficult to compare Ed Clark’s media coverage to Bob Barrs due to the significant increase in media outlets since 1979. Rember that back in 1979 even if only a couple of media outlets covered the story, it is likely that more actual people saw that coverage. It would probaly take 100 national media outlets to cover something and get the same percentage of viewers/readers these days as 5 national media outlets in 1979.

  80. Pepe Johnson Says:

    “If Barr can’t get his head around the fact that gays are full humans, then having him as our nominee would be a bit like having a racist as head of an abolitionist party.”

    Don’t call us “the gays” - we’re gay people, gay Americans, gay soldiers, whatever. Calling us “the gays” reminds me of my grandfather: “Time to slop the hogs.” or “Time to milk the cows.”

    (And BTW, “the gays” is the language used by Focus on the Family, American Family Association, and others to dehumanize gay people. I’m not just being silly.)

  81. Susan Hogarth Says:

    Pepe, the quote you mention doesn’t have the phrase ‘the gays’.

  82. Steven R Linnabary Says:

    I asked before, but didn’t see a response.

    With upcoming “Pride” festivals and parades, will ANYBODY be wearing a Barr for President t-shirt?? Except possibly the handful of anti-gay demonstators?

    The LP has built a lot of goodwill amongst the gay community over the years. I would hate to see it thrown away merely for 2-3% (or ANY percentage) of the vote.

    Gay people do remember who Bob Barr is.

  83. Pepe Johnson Says:

    “The LP has built a lot of goodwill amongst the gay community over the years.”

    Don’t see much of that in Dallas, Texas. And that’s not to say that the LP hasn’t done any outreach here - in fact, I know they have. They even won a prize for the pride parade entry one year. But the majority of LGBT organizations ally themselves with the Democratic party and most gay people just follow the lead of those organizations. Sheep taste good, but they sure do smell funny!

    I’m a member of the LP but I’m also a member of the local Log Cabin Republican chapter. You should see the look of horror many people give me when I mention that. And then when I explain my libertarianism, they give me a look of pity because they assume I just don’t understand the “real world.”

  84. Jared Says:

    If you support a national sales tax vote Barr.
    If you support the war on drugs vote Barr.
    If you supported the Defense of Marriage Act vote Barr.
    If you supported the War in Iraq vote Barr.
    If you supported the PATRIOT Act vote Barr.
    If you fund/support incumbent Republican candidates in races with Libertarian candidates vote Barr.

    If the LP ignores this and nominates Barr there will be dozens of “None of the Above” write-ins on my ballot in November…

  85. Steve LaBianca Says:

    Interesting how the “official” Youtube video from Barr’s YouTube site, that Barr says he is “a candidate for the presidency of the United States”, but no reference to the Libertarian Party, that he is a Libertarian, nor that he is seeking the Libertarian Party’s nomination. Using the word liberty is good, but even GWB uses the liberty quite often.

    You can tell a lot about a Libertarian candidate when he or she is afraid to use the word “libertarian”.

    This is pretty lame. We, meaning the LP can and ought to do better than nominate Bob Barr.

    Heck, according to The Washington Times, Barr hasn’t changed his position on abortion and he opposes decriminalizing or legalizing drugs. Yes, WE CAN DO BETTER THAN BARR! BETTER is called “nominating Mary Ruwart”!

  86. Pepe Johnson Says:

    Susan Hogarth Says:

    May 13th, 2008 at 4:38 pm
    Pepe, the quote you mention doesn’t have the phrase ‘the gays’.

    Susan,

    You are correct it isn’t specifically “the gays” - it actually says “gays” - still being used as a noun and not an adjective. Doesn’t change the point. We’re more than just an orientation. And it certainly doesn’t change the purpose for social conservative organizations use language that same way. We have to think strategically if we are going to recover any liberty that we have lost.

    And please don’t misunderstand. I wasn’t dismissing Lance’s post - he makes some good points, especially that freedom for gay people is freedom for all people.

    Our use and misuse of language will produce a reaction in people and that reaction can be a positive or a negative. Sometimes we want a negative reaction. Either way, we have to think about what we want to ultimately achieve and what are the steps we need to take to make it happen.

  87. Steve LaBianca Says:
    1. Pepe Johnson Says:
      May 13th, 2008 at 4:04 pm

    Steve LaBianca Says:

    May 13th, 2008 at 11:53 am

    “I’d rather have the government cut $1.00 from the budget over a zero cut. That doesn’t make it something to throw support behind, especially when there is someone who is willing to cut trillions of dollars!”

    Being willing to do something and capable of accomplishing it are two different things!

    True, but supporting a $1.00 cut still doesn’t make the support, or the supporter libertarian.

  88. Steve LaBianca Says:

    Lance Brown says

    “Is it too much to hope for that Barr could get some sort of high-intensity conversion action going on at the convention, and emerge a changed, “liberated” if you will, man? Perhaps if you lock him in a room filled with drug reform activists, and don’t unlock it until everyone’s smiling…and then lock him in a room full of gay activists, under the same parameters…”

    Yes it is. Here’s why. The man has likely spent 25+ years prosecuting for and upholding the state. Many have believed that he has had a sea change of opinion in less than 4 years when he endorsed Badnarik). To expect that he will change in a few hours under the hot lights, like in a interrogation room “IS TOO MUCH”.

    Barr needs at least 4, maybe 8 more years.

    Folks, Mary Ruwart is ready, willing, and able RIGHT NOW to explain, promote, and carry the banner for the Libertarian Party!

    If it is media coverage you’re concerned about, first, imagine the media coverage when “an unknown” (supposedly so) beats a former congressman (and Senator!) for the LP nomination! How will that be covered? Secondly, if we all got behind the Ruwart campaign with volunteer work, and funding, the media coverage will come!

    I really think that some Libertarians are approaching this from the wrong perspective. Media coverage doesn’t necessarily come from running a “known” candidate, it comes to the candidate who is PROMOTED!

    Let’s put this distraction of playing with alleged media “darlings” (Barr, W.A.R. and Gravel) and promote LIBERTARIANISM and the best LIBERTARIAN candidate . . . Mary Ruwart! This strategy pays much bigger dividends in the long run.

  89. Steve LaBianca Says:
    1. Tom Bryant Says:
      May 13th, 2008 at 3:15 pm

    Steve: Conservatives that want to cut government spending NEED to come over to the Libertarian Party. The Republican Party has not cut government spending. These are the politically homeless we need to reach out too, not shoo away for not being “libertarian enough”

    There are liberals that want the government to respect civil rights. They need to come over to the LP as well.

    The test you apply is geared to guarantee failure. I have worked with many winning local LP campaigns, and by your test, all of them would not be considered libertarians. Why make our job at shrinking government so much harder by giving purity tests to folks that want to shrink government?

    Granted, my approach is a longer term, slower, and much less compromising one. However, my approach does not rule out the idea of libertarians forming coalitions with liberals and conservatives in areas where we want the same result.

    However, throwing in with with liberals and conservative in the areas where we DON’T AGREE, is just throwing libertarianism out the window.

    Nominating a Barr, W.A.R. or Gravel does just that.

  90. Chris Bennett Says:

    I have to disagree with some of you about the abortion issue. I am a pro-life libertarian who is African-American, against the “war on drugs”, against the death penalty and wants the government shrunk down to it’s Constitutional limits. By the way, Mary Ruwart would be my first choice if I was able to vote in Denver. So don’t diss Bob Barr on the abortion issue because some of our best activists in the party are pro-lifers!

  91. Michael Seebeck Says:

    Frankly, I think the abortion issue is so miniscule that it’s not worth mentioning, and this is coming from a father who lost a child that he and his wife wanted, not lost by choice. IMO abortion is a goldfish in Lake Michigan, and we have much bigger fish to fry. Ditto most social issues, but that doesn’t mean whomever is the LP nominee shouldn’t speak to them, either.

    The big issues nationally are the economy, the occupation, and related energy and cost-of-living problems.

    For the LP, the big issues are, as always, money, infrastructure, and ballot access.

  92. Thomas L. Knapp Says:

    Wow.

    The Examiner quotes Barr as saying that he’s running “to cut the size, scope and power of government.”

    Interesting. Where could I have possibly heard that before?

  93. jonathan Says:

    GO BARR GO

  94. Ross Says:

    Bob Barr is kind of exposing an inherent flaw in the Libertarian party. It’s a flaw that’s present in any party, really, and that’s why I don’t think political parties are a good idea, and agree with the founding fathers that all politicians should be independents.

    With his candidacy, people are asking themselves if they should nominate someone of questionable credibility and trustworthiness and character in order to further the party. They want to know if they should nominate someone who sways with the political winds if it will get them more votes.

    But then the question comes up: What’s the point of getting more votes if the reasons that the people are voting for the party’s candidate goes against the principles that the party was founded on?

    Here is where we have a conflict between the party and politics. It’s great to have a party that stands for liberty and reforming the government - it’s great to have a party that stands for something other than itself. But in order to grow to a point where people take it seriously and it is appealing to a lot of people, the party must give up what it stands for. So what is the point of the party once it has grown that much?

    Don’t get me wrong - I’m not anti-LP in any way. I’m in favor of every third party, because at this point in history they all stand for something noble, and that is standing up to the status quo. But with any political party, growth comes at the cost of an Animal Farm-like situation:

    “The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which.”

  95. disinter Says:

    Who really cares what David Weigel and his neocon rag thinks about it?

  96. Michael H. Wilson Says:

    Ross writes: “But in order to grow to a point where people take it seriously and it is appealing to a lot of people, the party must give up what it stands for.”

    I must disagree entirely. One of the problems the LP has is the failure to get the word out about what it stands for and why. This failure is like building the world’s better mouse trap, but never telling the world about it.

    MHW

  97. Michael H. Wilson Says:

    Bob Barr’s Revenge is to run for the nomination and get it from the party that dissed hims in his last election and possible helped him lose and the water down the party’s platform and good name.

    Or Bob Barr wins the nomination, gets a bunch of names and runs as a repiblican two years hence.

    Or Bob Barr wins the nomination and gets a bunch of names and collects bucks from them for the Bob Barr Institute.

    I just don’t see Barr as much of a factor in any event except the LP story gets watered down, but then we ain’t been tryin’ too hard ourselves.

    MHW

  98. miche Says:

    The NY Times has this to say about Barr’s candidacy for the LP nomination.

  99. Thomas L. Knapp Says:

    Ross,

    That is, indeed, the dilemma, and it’s one that’s been exacerbated over the last 130 years or so as the two “major” parties have taken steps to ensure their continued dominance.

    Personally, I think a more radical LP has a larger influence, over time, than a moderate one would. I don’t think that moderation of our line will magically result in the election of LP congresscritte