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Saturday, April 05, 2008

Bob Barr rEVOLution?

CNN just showed former Republican Congressman Bob Barr’s announcement today in Kansas City that he is forming a Presidential Exploratory Committee to consider running on the Libertarian Party ticket. They’ll be showing it again in a couple minutes. Bob Barr was a representative for Georgia’s 7th Congressional District from 1995-2003, a strong defender of civil liberties and one of the most conservative members of Congress with a lifetime ACU rating of 98; apart from his conservative voting record, Barr is remembered for his staunch opposition to medical marijuana and his leadership in the House during the Clinton impeachment.
Barr failed to win his re-election in 2002, and in 2006 Barr left the GOP, joined the Libertarian Party (which had previously targeted him for his drug prohibition view), and now sits on the Libertarian National Committee.
It’s not just his views on small government and civil liberties which put Barr at home in the Libertarian party, he also advocates immediate withdrawal from Iraq War and acts as a lobbyist for the Marijuana Policy Project to end the US Federal government’s drug prohibition–an about-face from his previous position.
Rumours of Barr’s entrance into the presidential race began to circulate soon after he introduced Republican presidential candidate Rep. Ron Paul at the 2008 CPAC convention. Soon thereafter Barr confirmed that he was considering a presidential run and hoped to build off the momentum from Ron Paul’s broad grassroots support. A number of mainstream media outfits reported on his potential run and speculated that Barr would be in a position not only to capture much of Ron Paul’s support, but also disaffected conservatives and have a significant influence on the race. On The Sean Hannity Show on April 3rd, Barr said that this election year was “a perfect storm” for a 3rd party like the Libertarian Party to make an impact.
Contrary to Marc Emery’s contention in his column and a number of online rumours, it seems unlikely that Ron Paul will endorse his friend Bob Barr’s presidential campaign. From a front-page article in the Washington Times:

“Ron would do nothing but wish Bob the best in any of his ventures, but at this point and for the foreseeable future, no endorsement or support," Mr. Paul's campaign spokesman, Jesse Benton, said, adding the two men have talked since Mr. Barr made his interest in the presidential bid known. "Ron is a Republican, and he's trying to work through the Republican Party for change."

Nonetheless, its clear that Bob Barr will be courting Ron Paul supporters. His PEC website www.bobbarr2008.com was created by Ron Paul’s web team and has a very similar look with a live donation tracker; one of the options for helping out on the “Get Involved” page is “Talking with Ron Paul supporters”. It remains to be seen if Ron Paul will be willing to share his lists with the Barr campaign and how receptive the huge grassroots Ron Paul meetup-group activists will be to having a new figurehead for the rEVOLution.

If Bob Barr does make a formal announcement and enters the race (notice how he gets two media announcement events this way), according to a recent poll he will be the frontrunner for the LP Presidential nomination when they have their national convention in Denver May 22nd-26th. The VP candidate will be chosen by delegates at the same time. Bob Barr just may be the guy to bring libertarian ideas further into the mainstream, the media has been much more receptive to him than it ever was to Ron Paul, and he's hopefully learned from a couple of the mistakes in Dr. Paul's campaign.

Posted by Kalim Kassam on April 5, 2008 | Permalink


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Bob Barr is a worhtless piece of crap.

Ask him about the woman and the birthday cake?

That will be a real test of his honesty.....

Posted by: Jim Harris | 2008-04-05 5:39:12 PM

Until the Republican National Convention is over, Ron Paul is unlikely to endorse Barr as he still wants to have some influence in the GOP. Once the convention is over, however, and McCain is the official nominee, Paul is likely to endorse Barr.

Posted by: David Wooten | 2008-04-05 5:43:46 PM

Learned a few things about Barr, that ACLU rating at 98, whats the source for that? That would have been higher than Ron Paul or Dennis Kucinich or even Barney Frank, hard to believe. But if its true, I'm excited. I only knew him as a fanatic on the war on drugs and the Clinton-hating pit bull in the House.

I fully believe if McCain is the Republican nominee in September, The RP Revolution is going with Barr in the general election, and those mailing lists are going to be shared and I bet Ron Paul forms a PAC and uses his load of cash reserves to promote Barr and other liberty advocating candidates for Congress. Until then, its leverage to get the RNC to adopt some of Paul's agenda. Barr will be very appealing to Southern Baptists, constitutionalists, libertarians, conservatives. Even the potheads may get on board, but that will require some selling to get them back from Paul or Obama.

It might be a great year for the Libertarian Party Presidential candidate Robert Barr to get 5%+ of the vote, enough to make future ballot access easier at all levels.

Posted by: Marc Scott Emery | 2008-04-05 6:48:58 PM

It would appear Barr got a 100% rating by ACLU in 2002 and is on their advisory council now, in fact.

Posted by: Marc Scott Emery | 2008-04-05 6:56:45 PM


The 98 is the ACU rating - American Conservative Union (follow the link for the source), but you're correct that he's been a big supporter of the ACLU as well since he left Congress.
Also check out Barr's American Freedom Agenda which he founded with Bruce Fein, who was also Ron Paul's legal counsel and Richard Viguerie the direct-mail pioneer.
The AFA is a "a coalition established to restore checks and balances and civil liberties protections under assault by the executive branch" they have a beautiful statement here: http://www.americanfreedomagenda.org/About/default.html.

Though Bob Barr's PAC supports a lot of less-than-libertarian GOP candidates, he doesn't hesitate to criticize Bush and the Republican leadership. See here for an example: http://fora.tv/2007/07/31/Bob_Barr_American_Freedom_Agenda

Posted by: Kalim Kassam | 2008-04-05 7:49:48 PM

We did it. CD-5 in Minnesota had a TOTAL sweep. Three delegates and two alternates to national. With some parliamentary maneuvering by McCain supporters, no third alternate picked.

So Ron Paul are you listening? We are on the way to Saint Paul Minnesota, to take back the party and install you as our Republican Party presidential nominee.

Posted by: tim, minnesota | 2008-04-05 9:39:36 PM

Good work, Tim. I read that in your local paper today. Keep the Revolution working!

Posted by: Marc Scott Emery | 2008-04-05 10:36:44 PM

Ah, ACU, not ACLU, well, that will teach me to pay closer attention. I learned he is highly regarded by both. A very good sign.

Posted by: Marc Scott Emery | 2008-04-05 10:38:39 PM

Bob Barr will make a fine Libertarian Party Presidential candidate, perhaps the best ever, even eclipsing Ed Clark's high water mark of nearly 1 million votes (1.1%) in 1980.

Problem is the Party is in the grips of leftwing Anti-War Libertarians (many outright Anarchists), thes days. Most of the Pro-Defense wing has left for the GOP into the Republican Liberty Caucus, Club for Growth, ect...

Barr will get a substantial vote among just the hardcore Libertarian set - base of about 500,000.

But if he hopes to increase that into the millions, he'll need to walk a fine line on foreign policy, careful not to run away Pro-Defense libertarians who might be inclined to vote for him.

Just today we learn of yet another report about to be released showing how the Surge in Iraq has been a stunning success since September.

If Barr takes the Ron Paul non-interventionist/pacifist line and claims that the War is a "failure" he'll end up looking foolish and run off a great many potential libertarian Republican supporters.

Posted by: Eric Dondero | 2008-04-06 7:10:39 AM

For all the folks that have worked so hard in this revolution making in-roads into the republican party some would show their support by voting libertarian? Not me no thank you. My vote stays with Ron Paul and all the people working in the party to make real changes.

Posted by: dmv | 2008-04-06 12:35:39 PM

Ron Paul is irrelevent. Just like Ralph Nader, H.Ross Perot, Hanoi Jane Fonda and the rest of those so-called folk heroes.
Mr.Emery would be better off to surrender to authorities and take his punishment like a man and quit hiding behind the skirts of Canadian socialism. I have no time for people that try to weasel their way out of trouble.
A prison sentence would provide adequate time for him to lobby for his cause.

Posted by: atric | 2008-04-06 3:10:47 PM

If you want Barack Obama in the White House, then waste your vote for Bob Barr, because that's what will happen and you should know it. Look, I voted twice for Perot, back before I learned the real world, and he was the reason Bill Clinton got elected. Obama is very dangerous and so is Hillary - both must be stopped from winning this election.

Posted by: llandres | 2008-04-06 6:51:14 PM

Bob Barr could increase his odds by hiring someone who takes a scientific approach to psychographic profiling and targeted marketing. More a direct marketing strategist than a political strategist. That's one of the big mistakes Ron Paul made. In addition, Jesse Ventura would make an outstanding VP running mate for Bob Barr. Ventura would be welcome by the Truthers and also has proven himself as a good executive. Barr earned a great deal of loyalty from Republicans who are looking for an alternative to Mr. Anger McManagement McCain.

Posted by: G2 | 2008-04-06 7:29:40 PM

If he is able to put aside his past positions and come out for policy positions that are libertarian in nature, he will be nearly impossible to beat at convention and will garner more press than the LP has had in a long time. We're in the ramp up period to the convention, so time will tell very quickly whether Barr can talk the talk as well as he walks the walk.

Posted by: Jeff Wartman | 2008-04-06 11:40:08 PM

So the truth comes out. When notorious Ron Paul-haters like the despicable Eric Dondero come out with praise for Bob Barr, we all know what's going on here folks.

Divide and Conquer. Attempt to siphon off votes.

Well, we're not buying it. Bob Barr has a very suspicious record of blatant anti-civil liberties in the past; supposedly he's had some attitude change since then. Just a quick look at Wikipedia will tell you that.

Ron Paul all the way for us and no other poser will do! Nice try...

Posted by: blakmira | 2008-04-06 11:46:44 PM

If you want Barack Obama in the White House, then waste your vote for Bob Barr, because that's what will happen and you should know it. Look, I voted twice for Perot, back before I learned the real world, and he was the reason Bill Clinton got elected. Obama is very dangerous and so is Hillary - both must be stopped from winning this election

You speak the truth.

Posted by: Afi K. James | 2008-04-08 4:16:02 PM

From Lew Rockwell:

"Will John McCain be elected--just because he was subjected to enhanced interrogation techniques after bombing civilians? Not only is he a crazed neocon, he seems determined to blow up the world. Do we really want his finger on the button? Of course, no one's should be. It is a sign of dicatorship that one man can destroy the globe. But given that we have an elected dictatorship, for me, it is ABM--Anybody But McCain. (Thanks to Dennis Boylon.)"

Posted by: Laura | 2008-04-12 7:53:14 PM

Lovely quote Laura! McCain is a snarling spoilt rich kid who was so incompetent, he was actually shot down by illiterate peasants standing in a rice paddy with an antique rifle! McCain sure must have been one incompetent war criminal to pull off such a feat! He did graduate right bottom of his class, after pulling nepotistic strings to get into the academy in the first place.

Posted by: ROGER | 2008-04-12 7:58:18 PM

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