Bob Barr for President

The libertarians pick Barr:

Denver — Georgia’s Bob Barr won a long and tense battle Sunday for the 2008 Libertarian Party’s presidential nomination and now faces the daunting task of doing what no third-party candidate has done: Win in November.

It took six ballots and nearly five hours of voting at the Libertarian National Convention before the former four-term congressman defeated Texas business consultant Mary Ruwart for the party’s bid.

Barr, who until 2006 was a Republican, took 54 percent of the vote after Las Vegas odds-maker Wayne Allyn Root dropped out following the fifth ballot and endorsed Barr. Delegates subsequently selected Root to be Barr’s running mate.

“Y’all party today,” Barr told the more than 600 delegates at the Sheraton Hotel. “I hope we celebrate, because I’m sure we’ll all leave here with the strongest ticket in the history of the Libertarian Party.”

Being the nominee for Libertarian party is kind of like being the star slugger for the Pittsburgh Pirates. Sure, you are in the game and everything, but you aren’t getting anywhere near the title.

The problem for the Libertarian party is that they seem to simply be incapable of building a solid grass roots structure that is able to regularly field competitive candidates in local races. Here in WV, Richard Kerr ran a few times (and got my vote at least twice- I forget how many times he ran), but other than that, I don’t recall the last time I saw libertarians running.

And that makes sense, because at its core the Libertarian message is not conducive to the sort of retail politics that is required to get elected. No one is going to fill the bingo halls to hear about all the things you are not going to fund for your district. No one is going to go to the VFW to be told that there is no chance in hell you will ask for any earmarks for the region or to hear about the bridges you aren’t going to build if you win.

So, yeah. While there are certain core aspects of the libertarian message I feel are very important, you have to recognize what voting Libertarian really is- a protest vote.

Share On Facebook
Share On Twitter
Share On Google Plus
Share On Pinterest
Share On Reddit






36 replies
  1. 1
    mellowjohn says:

    REALLY looking forward to barr being included in the debatss. the man has a voice like fingernails on a blackboard.

  2. 2
    nightjar says:

    Bob Barr is one of two wingnuts that one minute I will agree with and even like, then 10 seconds later say something so stupid it makes my teeth hurt. The other is none other than Pat Buchanan.

  3. 3
    r€nato says:

    Barr presents a great opportunity to Nader-fuck the Goopers…

  4. 4
    SamFromUtah says:

    They couldn’t have picked a more gooder candidate!

    And that makes sense, because at its core the Libertarian message is not conducive to the sort of retail politics that is required to get elected.

    Thank you for this. I’ve been trying to put my finger on why Libertarians don’t have a prayer in elections, and this is a great concise explanation. I don’t think it covers everything, but it’s an angle I hadn’t considered.

  5. 5
    Chris Johnson says:

    hehe…

    That, or the trouble with Libertarians is that since each one is the best choice to run for President, they all nominated themselves, ran, voted for themselves and were well satisfied…

  6. 6
    r€nato says:

    Friend of mine who is usually disengaged from the inside baseball of politics was gaga over Ron Paul… then he went to a meeting of Libertarians who were also gaga over Ron Paul.

    When he reported back to me about his experience meeting those nutcases and weirdos, I could only slyly chuckle… Libertarianism sounds great until you meet actual Libertarians.

  7. 7
    b-psycho says:

    Ditto John’s explanation of libertarian “political” failure. Think about it honestly enough, and you realize it misses the entire point of politics, which is nothing more than mutual robbery & cronyism.

    Libertarianism can’t save politics, it has to destroy it.

  8. 8
    SamFromUtah says:

    Libertarianism sounds great until you meet actual Libertarians.

    …and that explains much of the rest of what I think John’s explanation leaves out. As a programmer living in the western U.S., I have met about a hojillion Libertarians, and they are uniformly pretty annoying.

    …they all nominated themselves, ran, voted for themselves and were well satisfied…

    And there’s the rest of it. I’ve only found two statements that all Libertarians would be sincere in saying: “taxes are too high”, and “I’m the smartest person in the world.”

  9. 9
    The Moar You Know says:

    The problem for the Libertarian party is that they seem to simply be incapable of building a solid grass roots structure that is able to regularly field competitive candidates in local races.

    I’d go further. Their real problem is that they don’t even bother to run local candidates (also see: Green Party Disease) as they’re too busy fielding must-fail candidates for President.

    They’ve never tried to build that local structure, and without that, as you so adroitly note, they will never be anything but a protest vote.

  10. 10
    Rex says:

    If it were Root on the top of the ticket and Barr on the bottom, they’d win. Ever’one lahks root barr.

  11. 11
    Haigh says:

    Ron Paul illuminated the opportunity for the Libertarian Party with his focus on a non-interventionist foreign policy. If Barr/Root focus on foreign policy they could have a historic impact on 21st century global politics, drawing like minded support from both Republicans and Democrats.

  12. 12
    Soylent Green says:

    Friend of mine who is usually disengaged from the inside baseball of politics was gaga over Ron Paul… then he went to a meeting of Libertarians who were also gaga over Ron Paul.

    When he reported back to me about his experience meeting those nutcases and weirdos, I could only slyly chuckle… Libertarianism sounds great until you meet actual Libertarians.

    This is what happened to me the first and only time I attended a Star Trek convention. Seeing the hundreds of hardcore dorks in their uniforms and Klingon skulls made me realize, though a fan, that I was a long way from fanatic.

  13. 13
    clone12 says:

    I’m not sure LP can field local candidates en masse even if they want to.

    I mean, issues at the municipal level- potholes, park maintenance, zoning laws, etc all require some level of government cajoling, regulation and intervention that forces a libertarian to be somewhat flexible with party orthodoxy at the margins.

  14. 14
    Chris Johnson says:

    Yeah but who the hell wants a libertarian dogcatcher?

  15. 15
    RSA says:

    Being the nominee for Libertarian party is kind of like being the star slugger for the Pittsburgh Pirates.

    Except that the Pirates can point to some success at the national level, even if it was thirty years ago.

    I think John’s basically right about the lack of appeal of the Libertarian message. Further, the most vocal small-L libertarians come across like cultists. Taxation is theft, selfishness is good, Ayn Rand is a philosopher… Right. Who wants to turn over the reins of government to people who don’t seem to live in the same world as the rest of us?

  16. 16
    ThymeZone says:

    I think it says something important, a little scary, and charming about America that every four years brings out this crop of odd crazy people who want to “run for president.”

    Of course, the Naders and the Barrs and the Pauls are really just running for attention, but it’s the myth that matters, the idea that anyone would take seriously even for a second the notion that these characters could become president.

    What a great country. Really, even though Libertarianism is about one notch about Pastafarianism in terms of rationality, and Barr is about one notch above Professor Irwin Corey in terms of being in touch with reality … this is the fun part of presidential election years, isn’t it?

  17. 17
    ThymeZone says:

    Yeah but who the hell wants a libertarian dogcatcher?

    That just might be the funniest line ever posted here.

    I am stealing that.

  18. 18
    grandpajohn says:

    MORE BAD NEWS FOR McCAIN– LIBERTARIAN PARTY JUST NOMINATED BOB BARR

    Can he throw Arizona to Obama?

    It was a surprisingly– and hilariously– contentious convention battle, but the Libertarian Party picked Bob Barr as their nominee today. Barr wound up with 324 votes to Mary Ruwart’s 276 on the 6th– and decisive– ballot. The mainstream media is asking how badly he will hurt McCain. With only a tiny handful of states eager for a 3rd Bush term, how much harm could e really do anyway? I guess he could take away some votes in places like Georgia, Montana, Alaska, maybe even Texas, to swing the election in those states to Obama.

    A couple weeks ago Barr said that “if Senator McCain… does not succeed in winning the presidency … it will be because Senator McCain did not present, and his party did not present, a vision, an agenda, a platform and a series of programs that actually resonated positively with the American people.” Barr derides McCain as a status quo candidate and polls show him taking 6-7% of the vote nationally.

    In a news conference following the vote, Barr’s campaign manager, Russell Verney, said the campaign’s headquarters would be in Atlanta and that the campaign hopes to raise $30 million to battle Republican nominee-in-waiting John McCain and whichever Democrat emerges with that party’s nomination.

    The 59-year-old Barr said the Libertarian Party anticipates being on the ballot in 48 states, but work remains to be done in 20 of those to ensure access.

    Barr had to overcome the objections of many Libertarians who viewed him as an interloper and who questioned his commitment to Libertarian ideals.

    Ruwart said Barr had not embraced fully the Libertarian message on key party issues, such as legalization of all drugs or of ending all federal taxation. But in the end, enough delegates saw a chance with Barr to take the party to new heights.

    Having someone with Barr’s relatively high profile “means great things for the Libertarian Party,” national party spokesman Andrew Davis said. “It means the best year the Libertarian Party has ever had in its 35-year history.”

  19. 19
    r€nato says:

    well I don’t know about where you all live, but here in AZ the Libertarians regularly run candidates for local and statewide offices. Granted, they usually can’t field a full slate, but if one is inclined to vote Libertarian here then you can almost always find an L to vote for, whether it’s for mayor, legislature, attorney general or governor.

    Of course, 90%+ of them are cranks of one sort or another, but that’s a different story…

  20. 20
    Josh says:

    Meet Stan Jones, who turned his skin blue drinking a silver solution because he was afraid that antibiotics would be scarce after the Y2K collapse. He’s (surprise) a Libertarian:

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/2297471.stm

  21. 21
    r€nato says:

    MORE BAD NEWS FOR McCAIN—LIBERTARIAN PARTY JUST NOMINATED BOB BARR
    Can he throw Arizona to Obama?

    unlikely… but the support for McCain here is about a 1/2 mile wide and an inch deep. I’d say if the Libertarians put a lot of effort into embarrassing McCain in his “home” state, it could happen… but I ain’t holding my breath.

  22. 22
    Dave_Violence says:

    Bob Barr, Mike Huckabee and Robert Byrd are frat brothers…

  23. 23
    heet says:

    Oh Christ, the colloidal silver drinkers are some really stupid people. Even after they start to turn blue, many of them continue to drink the shit. Dipshits.

  24. 24
    JGabriel says:

    John Cole:

    The problem for the Libertarian party is that they seem to simply be incapable of building a solid grass roots structure…

    Wait, let me get this straight.

    A group that is devoted to individual rights (with special emphasis on their personal individual rights, particularly the right to not pay taxes), has problems developing a community structure?

    Wow, what a shocker. Who could have predicted that?

    .

  25. 25
    Brachiator says:

    JGabriel Says:

    John Cole:

    The problem for the Libertarian party is that they seem to simply be incapable of building a solid grass roots structure…

    Wait, let me get this straight.

    A group that is devoted to individual rights (with special emphasis on their personal individual rights, particularly the right to not pay taxes), has problems developing a community structure?

    Wow, what a shocker. Who could have predicted that?

    You nailed it! Libertarians are only slightly less delusional than Objectivists.

  26. 26
    r€nato says:

    Dipshits.

    I wish more of them would do it, that way you’d be able to spot them from far away and cross the street in order to avoid even the slightest risk of being corralled into discussing black helicopters, the gold standard, etc.

  27. 27
    Keith says:

    So, wait now, the breast cheese guy from the Borat movie is running for president? Can he please get Alan Keyes as his running mate?

  28. 28
    RSA says:

    A group that is devoted to individual rights (with special emphasis on their personal individual rights, particularly the right to not pay taxes), has problems developing a community structure?

    Well, of course! It’s a classic case of the free rider problem. Or maybe it’s a tragedy of the commons. Whatever–the group is not the boss of me.

  29. 29
    dadanarchist says:

    What you describe is the almost the exact same problem with the Greens. They waste their time, money and effort every four years making a symbolic run at the White House, rather than building a local infrastructure.

    This is particularly galling as both Libertarians and Greens claim to be “localists” who want to take government back to a more manageable level. It is also stupid as local and state governments in this country actually do have a fairly substantial chunk of power in our federal system.

    The one exception would be the Green run at City Hall in San Francisco in 2003. The Dems had to pull out the heavy firepower to defeat Gonzalez (who has now drank the Nader kool-aid and is running with him for president of… i don’t know what party).

  30. 30
    Malixe says:

    I know some pretty smart people who claim to be libertarians. I’ve always wondered why, until I realized that lots of smart people aren’t always smart about *everything*. In these times I figure most of them don’t want to be Democrats (or their imaginary version of what Democrats are) but too bright not to be embarrassed by the idea of calling themselves Republican…so they look for an easy out.

    Libertarianism is the fantasy football league of political philosophies. You can make it sound good, but it just never works that way in real life.

  31. 31
    rachel says:

    Josh Says:

    Meet Stan Jones, who turned his skin blue drinking a silver solution because he was afraid that antibiotics would be scarce after the Y2K collapse…

    The candidate from Andoria has prepared a few remarks…

  32. 32
    grumpy realist says:

    Except that give Barr’s semi-reasonableness and the Ron Paulites just itchin’ to rumble at the Republican Convention this year, this might turn into a replay of the, um, historical activities in 1968. (Considering that the Paulites already have gone physically after Hannity, I don’t put anything past some of their wackier members. The Convention planners must be mainlining anti-ulcer medication right now.)

    Hot damn–pass the popcorn.

  33. 33

    The Moar You Know says:

    I’d go further. Their real problem is that they don’t even bother to run local candidates (also see: Green Party Disease) as they’re too busy fielding must-fail candidates for President.

    They’ve never tried to build that local structure, and without that, as you so adroitly note, they will never be anything but a protest vote.

    If you feel that way, why don’t you help build the local infrastructure that we need? It takes volunteers, you imbecile

  34. 34
    jcricket says:

    Really, even though Libertarianism is about one notch about Pastafarianism in terms of rationality

    I think you have this backwards.

    Libertarianism is a one-note idea (writ large) that makes about as much sense when you delve into it as the idea that cutting taxes increases tax revenue. Sure, at the extremes there are cases when Big L libertarianism makes sense, but as a governing philosophy it’s totally bogus. And as practiced by pretty much everyone, it’s basically “fuck you, I got mine”.

    Even actual libertarians (small L) like Balko have no good answers when it comes to solving issues like healthcare (guess what – the government is actually better than the private sector).

    We have one political party – the Democrats – that actually believe government can work for the people. They don’t always get it right, but it’s a core tenet of the party. We have others (Republicans and Libertarians) who basically believe government should be dismantled. And then we have one (Greens) that are really just very liberal Democrats.

    So really there’s only one good choice if you want a government that works.

  35. 35
    jcricket says:

    . As a programmer living in the western U.S., I have met about a hojillion Libertarians, and they are uniformly pretty annoying.

    I second this statement – what is it about programmers that they are easy victims for Objectivism, Libertarianism and D&D?

  36. 36
    Fred says:

    “Libertarianism is the fantasy football league of political philosophies. You can make it sound good, but it just never works that way in real life.”

    So, taking personal responsibility and providing the maximum freedom possible doesn’t work? I guess our current socialist/fascist system is working?

    No, it isn’t working and that is due to government involvement where it has no business – thus taking away both our responsibility and our freedom. Maximum freedom and minimal government are the only hope for a civilized society. Without it – you have an imperial government full of hubris as it bombs innocent people, locks away hundreds of thousands in an attempt to control personal behavior (drug use or gambling), all the while building a giant prison industrial complex. Our monetary system is nearing collapse – but the bright posters on this site believe libertarianism is somehow inferior to our present statist policies. You folks are living in bizzaro land. But, then that is where the main stream politicos want you to be – oh, and be afraid, be very afraid – while putting your trust in government to protect you.

Comments are closed.