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Bob Barr announces his candidacy for the Presidency
Posted by: McQ on Monday, May 12, 2008

Obviously he's not running as a Republican, although, well, I'll get to that in a minute:
Former US Representative Bob Barr of Georgia announced that he will run as a Libertarian this year. He first must win that party's nomination at its national convention that begins May 22.

A conservative former Republican, Barr could end up hurting presumptive GOP nominee John McCain — just as some Democrats fear that Ralph Nader's independent candidacy could bleed votes from the Democratic nominee.

Barr, 59, who served in Congress from 1995 to 2003, helped lead Bill Clinton's impeachment. He quit the Republican Party two years ago, saying he had grown disillusioned with its failure to shrink government and its willingness to scale back civil liberties in fighting terrorism.
Now, to the other part. Barr, if his former ideology is any indication, is hardly the prototypical libertarian. Look at this statement for example:
In a news conference, Barr said "only a fool" would specify a date and timetable for withdrawal from Iraq. But he said it's "extremely important" and in the best interest of national defense to draw down dramatically the US troop presence in Iraq and decrease the military and political footprint in Iraq.
A foreign policy? Admitting the legitimacy of the war in Iraq? A fairly heretical stance for a Libertarian Party candidate, wouldn't you say (although fairly comforting to me, personally)? That alone, if the past is any indication, should see him run out of the Libertarian Party on a rail.

And, of course, there are his past stances on drugs, abortion and a host of other issues which may trouble the LP (I'd like to see him address all of that as soon as possible).

That said, I've also exchanged emails with a former LP party chairman in GA about Barr and asked him what he thinks of his candidacy. He told me he's had many long conversations with Barr, expressed his concerns about Barr's former positions and has come away convinced that Barr has indeed changed on many issues to better reflect that of most libertarians. I'm still somewhat skeptical, but given the guy who told me that is a pretty upfront guy, I'll certainly give Barr the benefit of the doubt.

Will his possible candidacy hurt McCain?

I don't think so. And if it did, I really wouldn't care. Barr will certainly garner votes from the right but whether they would have ever been McCain votes is deeply debatable. Where he may pick up votes is among Paul supporters, although his comments on Iraq may run them off as well.

It'll be interesting to watch this unfold, especially if he manages to become the nominee of the LP. I'm convinced that'll take some stretching that the majority of LP members may feel uncomfortable with making. In the meantime, since Barr is a GA guy, I'm going to try to find a way to score an interview. Lot's of questions need answering.
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Previous Comments to this Post 

I’m betting unless there is no one else running for the nomination, he doesn’t get it...

What’s his stand on the Gold Standard? Is he for immediate withdrawal from Iraq? Will he institute Lettres of Marque and Reprisal to fight the GWoT? Will he immediately draw down US forces overseas and reduce defense spending? Will he immediately disband the IRS? When will heroin be made legal, what about the ICE/BATFE/DEA/ and the Labour/Education/Commerce/Energy Cabinets when will they be disbanded? How many Federal employees will he let go in the first 100 days, first year, his first term? In short is he your usual unelectable Libertarian? If not, kiss that nomination goodbye...

The Paulnuts will flood back over to defeat him...and his betrayal of The rEVOLUTION.
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
Joe, on this one you’re pretty much right. I’ve put an interview request into his campaign telling them those are some of the things I would like to discuss (and how he plans to overcome them). I’ve gotten a "we’ll get back to you" response (I’m sure with his announcement today, they’re being flooded with requests/statements/etc.) and hopefully I’ll be able to sit down with him and ask the questions.
Written By: McQ
I would guess that had the Republicans managed to nominate a real conservative, we’d not be having this discussion at all. As it is, this might actually peel enough of McCain’s base away... a base he’s already in trouble with. It’s a mark of how weak Mccain is with the base that Barr is being taken seriously at all.

Written By: Bithead
As it is, this might actually peel enough of McCain’s base away.
What base? Conservatives aren’t McCain’s base. They may be part of the Republican base, but they’ve never been part of McCain’s base.

Like I said, Barr may pick up votes from the right, but most likely they’ll be those who weren’t going to vote for McCain anyway.
Written By: McQ
A site i have been checking to try to stay informed a little with the LP is Libertarian Republican. It sounds like Barr will have a fight on his hands from the anarchists.

A snipet:

"However all of that may be compromised and put into jeopardy by the Party’s anarchists and 9/11 Truthers wing who are planning on turn the LP convention this month (starts May 22) into a referendum on 9/11 revisionism and denial of the Holocaust on American citizens in New York City, and Washington DC.

Libertarian candidates Mary Ruwart, Mike Gravel, Michael Jingozian,
Daniel Imperato and Steve Kubby have already signed this current pledge by Libertarians for Justice, a 9/11 Truth movement started by Jim
Duensing, the state party LP chairmen for Nevada.

Libertarian Presidential Candidates Bob Barr, George Phillies, and Wayne Root have
not signed the pledge.

Written By: SkyWatch
URL: http://
The link to that snipet is:
Written By: SkyWatch
URL: http://
What base? Conservatives aren’t McCain’s base. They may be part of the Republican base, but they’ve never been part of McCain’s base.

Like I said, Barr may pick up votes from the right, but most likely they’ll be those who weren’t going to vote for McCain anyway.
Depending on McCains opposition and their chances and how big of a leftie appeaser McCain acts like between now and November, I will decide to between voting for or not voting for McCain.

After that, it will be a protest vote to someone who’s politics I like. I don’t know enough about Barr right now to say it would be him. It was likely going to be Hunter until he endorsed Huckabee. Right now I’m not sure who it will or won’t be.
Written By: jpm100
URL: http://
The republicans are going to get crushed this November. You could send any name up there you wish, but nobody will vote for them. The brand name is ruined (Thanks Mr. Bush!) and it will take 10-20 years to come back - if at all.
Written By: Fred
URL: http://
Wow, Fred. Whistle much?

Bush isn’t running, and McCain is provably neither a Bush toady, nor a doctrinairre Republican. The presumptive Dem candidate is running further left in the Primary than any Dem candidate since George McGovern.

In the general election, many of the Clinton ads against BHO can be run as McCain ads without changing the copy, except adding "I’m John McCain and I approve this message".

My prediction (I’m from suburban Atlanta) is that Barr will get less than 3% of either the national or the Georgia vote, and less than 10% of the vote in Cobb County which he formerly represented in Congress.
Written By: vnjagvet
From what I understand the Paulbots are angling for increased position at the convention and a speaking spot for Paul.

What a circus politics have become.
Written By: jpm100
URL: http://
What base? Conservatives aren’t McCain’s base. They may be part of the Republican base, but they’ve never been part of McCain’s base.
Granted that the term is less than exact. But most of the real conservative base that was going to vote McCain was doing so based on the cadidacyof Obama/Clinton, and a lack of anyone better to their right to vote for. Clearly, Barr is hoping to capitalize on this.

I think Barr’s a nutcase on the order of Ron Paul, myself, and I find it disturbing that many will be forced to conclude that nutcases Paul or Barr are the best represenation of Conservatves. That cannot be good for conservatives as a whole.

Written By: Bithead
Who gives a sod about the LP or its candidate?

I mean, seriously. I’m reasonably libertarian (Hayekian), and plenty classical liberal - and I washed my hands of the LP almost a decade ago, for the very sorts of reasons that they won’t likely take Barr as a nominee.

(And what SkyWatch said. The LP not only tolerates absolute nutcases, but I swear it encourages them actively.

That said, "Jingozian" is a brilliant name for a politician.)
Written By: Sigivald
URL: http://

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