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Barr Blogger call
Posted by: McQ on Tuesday, July 29, 2008

For those of you waiting for my post on the Bob Barr blogger call, I'm in the middle of editing it. I want to take my time with it and do the call the justice it deserves.

First impression - I found Barr impressive and, in the little time we had, in command of the issues which came up in the questions asked. He was personable, and probably more important than that, he answered the questions asked. Unlike many politicians who are deft at changing the subject quickly when pushed into an area they really don't want to be in, Barr was forthright and answered the questions directly. That's pretty refreshing.

Caveat - time was limited. Only a half hour, and since this was my first blogger call with him, some of the issues were pretty broad brush. I would definitely like to dig into more specifics over time and have been promised access to more of these calls.

Questions - I was able to ask two questions and based them both on commenter questions. The first had to do with foreign policy as brought up by Bryan, Mike and others. The second had to do with immigration as begun by Dawnsblood and built on by Bill W. I'll have those answers in the final writeup I'm editing now.

Overall impression - Barr is a much different LP candidate than the party has had in the past. In fact, given his answers to the few questions asked, I'd almost put him in the category of "neolibertarian". Seriously. His answers on Social Security, foreign policy and immigration are not those of a doctrinaire paleo-libertarian. There is an inherent understanding in his answers that a candidate who declares all aspects of the present system to be worthy only of dismantling isn't going to appeal to anyone except those on the very extremes. Instead, accepting what is there and in place, his strategy seems to be an incremental approach to change programs like Social Security and move it in a direction that puts it in the hands of the people (make them stakeholders instead of "recipients") with the eventual goal of phasing it out as a government run system. A very neolibertarian incremental approach toward increasing liberty while phasing our government control over something it has no business being in.

So my overall impression, based on this one short blogger's call covering a few issues and without the time to get into specifics was positive. But there are also a thousand more questions that I want to have satisfied before I go thumbs up.

Last point - We all know that being a third party of any stripe in the US is probably one of the most uphill political battles there is. In the past the LP has mostly been a party of strict ideology which in many cases ignored the reality of the world around it. This short exposure to Bob Barr and his ideas on issues gave me a better feeling toward the LP than I've had in decades. The platform and issues on which he's running are more moderate than before, which means they're more relevant and practical. They seem to better recognize the realities of the world we deal with everyday and offer ideas and solutions which help preserve our security while moving us toward more liberty and freedom. That is a position the Republican party seems to have all but abandoned.

I'm not suggesting that I'd like to see the LP become a Republican party lite. But it must move into the world of the real instead of the world of the ideal unless it wants to remain irrelevant to the process. While many have harbored the suspicion that Bob Barr is, in fact, more Republican than libertarian (myself included), this call helped move me away from that position a bit. Barr may be exactly what the LP needs to gain currency and credibility as a viable and attractive alternative to the present two-party system. I certainly intend to take further opportunities presented by upcoming blogger calls to see if my impression is correct and to dig in deeper on many of the issues.

As always, you're invited to send in questions that I will consider asking when I'm on them.
 
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But it must move into the world of the real instead of the world of the ideal unless it wants to remain irrelevant to the process.
Bravo. The question is how far can one go before one isn’t Libertarian but a libertarianish faction of Republicans or of Democrats.
 
Written By: Retief
URL: http://
Only question I have for him is, does he seriously think he can win, or could voting for him give the election to Obama?
 
Written By: Keith_Indy
URL: http://asecondhandconjecture.com
Even as a radical at heart, I agree incrementalism/gradualism is the only way to get anything done and I agree wholeheartedly with the idea of the LP as the vehicle for a broader libertarian coalition rather than a radical niche. Still, I don’t know if I’d be bandying around terms like ’neolibertarian’. Between "neo-Nazis" and "neocons", the prefix has come to have a negative connotation in most people’s minds. That’s just my two cents on the PR aspect of it, though.

Keith-

The only way to vote for Obama is to vote for Obama.
 
Written By: Andy Craig
URL: http://
Still, I don’t know if I’d be bandying around terms like ’neolibertarian’.
Heh ... Andy, you do know that QandO is the home blog of neolibertarianism, and the neolibertarian network, right?
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.QandO.net
Very interesting. Your post makes me believe I should do some additional research on Barr, whom I had discounted to some degree. Being in a "safe" Republican state (NE) I might be convinced (given the impression you’ve painted) that a vote for Barr would be a very good thing - if only to shake the establishment here a bit.

Thanks for piquing my curiosity.
 
Written By: kalthalior
URL: http://guerillaspot.blogspot.com/
Oh. Well, it was just a minor nitpick. I just stumbled across this blog the other day, so I didn’t know.

I am happy to find this kind of thing, though.

 
Written By: Andy Craig
URL: http://
Heh ... that’s fine, Andy. I just got a chuckle out of it, that’s all.

Anyway, glad you found us.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.QandO.net
Thanks for piquing my curiosity.
You bet ... participation in the call has piqued my curiosity as well, trust me.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.QandO.net
The only way to vote for Obama is to vote for Obama.
Obama can win without the Barr voters, but can McCain?

That is the question, and it cuts to the heart of principle vs pragmatism.
 
Written By: Keith_Indy
URL: http://asecondhandconjecture.com
Poking around a bit more, I was a bit bothered by the what was said about foreign policy on your ’what is neolibertarianism?’ page. My view is that the same basic rules of self-defense should apply to the use of military force as apply to the use of force on an individual level. "Neolibertarianism" isn’t pro-Iraq War, is it?

Obama can win without the Barr voters, but can McCain?

That is the question, and it cuts to the heart of principle vs pragmatism.


Only if you think McCain is a more "principled" choice than Obama, which I find laughable. A pox on both their houses- neither is a friend of liberty.

 
Written By: Andy Craig
URL: http://
"Neolibertarianism" isn’t pro-Iraq War, is it?
Some are and some aren’t. And the reasons are varied and much more complex than just "hey, are you for or against the Iraq War?"

I suggest you read some more - there are archived subject areas on the left to include one exclusively dedicated to Iraq.

Let me just put it this way - I think there are legitimate reasons to argue against the war in Iraq, but given the assumptions about what existed at the time there, Iraq’s behavior toward the US, its ties to terrorist organizations and in the wake of 9/11 there were also legitimate arguments for the war.

One of the things I’d like to discuss in detail with Bob Barr has to do with where that line between "defense" and "intervention" lays. I’d like to know how he defines it. As a friend said, "Iraq was an "intervention" when we found out WMD didn’t exist there, but would it have been "defense" had they actually found huge stockpiles of those weapons?"
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.QandO.net
No, McCain is the more pragmatic choice.
 
Written By: Keith_Indy
URL: http://asecondhandconjecture.com
Fair enough. I think it would have still been a war of aggression even if they had had WMDs (not to mention the Constitutional problems with no Declaration of War, and citing UN resolutions for authority). So what do you think we should do now?


Also, since is this my own little hobby horse I like to ride in Iraq debates, what do you think of the provision in the Constitution that says the militia (in theory at least, the National Guard today) can only be called out to "to execute the laws of the union, suppress insurrections and repel invasions", and how does that phrasing play into your view of what is or isn’t a legitimate use of military force?

Not meaning to be adversarial or anything, I’m just curious.

 
Written By: Andy Craig
URL: http://
I see no reason to think McCain would do less harm to liberty than Obama. The only benefit to him that I can think of is that it will bring mixed government with the Democratic Congress.

It’s a moot point, any way. McCain will lose, and lose big, with or without Barr.

 
Written By: Andy Craig
URL: http://
I think it would have still been a war of aggression even if they had had WMDs (not to mention the Constitutional problems with no Declaration of War, and citing UN resolutions for authority)
Few have found the constitutional argument to be very persuasive. I agree with you about the UN, but the only authority the president needed was that Congress gave him.
So what do you think we should do now?
Finish it up and get out when it is right to do so.
Also, since is this my own little hobby horse I like to ride in Iraq debates, what do you think of the provision in the Constitution that says the militia (in theory at least, the National Guard today) can only be called out to "to execute the laws of the union, suppress insurrections and repel invasions", and how does that phrasing play into your view of what is or isn’t a legitimate use of military force?
For a militia, it’s very specific.

However, the way the process works, as I understand it, is Congress passes laws and the Supreme Court decides whether or not they pass constitutional muster.

If you look at WWII it was fought by the very same National Guard units that have fought in Iraq and Afghanistan, and WWII was not associated with "executing the laws of the union, suppressing insurrections or repelling invasions".

That’s because the NG, by law, isn’t considered the "militia". In 1933, Congress enacted a system of "dual enlistment", so that members of the NG were also enlisted as members of the US Army (National Defense Act Amendments of 1933). That’s why their use in WWII, in Kosovo and in Iraq and Afghanistan raised no constitutional questions.

Further, in some 25 states, actual state militias exist separately from the NG. As far as I know, none of those 25 state militias have been used improperly.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.QandO.net

 
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