By Susan Hogarth
Thank you for joining the Libertarian Party in our efforts to bring greater freedom to Americans. In light of the very short time between your campaign announcement and the national convention, your antilibertarian congressional record and disinclination to fully repudiate it, and your refusal to answer a single email from me while you were serving as my regional representative on the Libertarian National Committee over the past year, I thought that I would circulate my questions to you publicly, in the hopes that someone, somewhere, will get some straightforward answers from you. To others reading this open letter — I hope that you will take whatever opportunity is afforded you to ask at least one or two of these questions of Mr. Barr. No candidate should garner our nomination without having satisfied the majority of delegates that he will steadfastly champion both the Libertarian Party and the libertarian message.
I’ve separated my questions into categories.
Support for the Libertarian Party and the libertarian message:
- Why has the leadership PAC bearing your name continued to raise and distribute funds to support Republican congressional candidates in districts where a Libertarian either is or could be running even after you joined the LP’s governing board? Do you not consider recruiting and supporting Libertarian candidates to be an essential part of the LP leadership’s mission? Will your leadership PAC continue to support Republicans if you are selected as the LP’s presidential nominee?
- In a radio interview in Charlotte, NC this week, you indicated that Republicans should support you because your candidacy will bring out voters who are dejected by McCain, and will now vote for Republican candidates down-ballot. What will you do to promote Libertarian Party candidates down-ballot?
- You have said that there are parts of the LP’s platform that you disagree with. Can you be specific? What parts of the LP’s platform do you agree with?
- Why have you consistently sold yourself in interviews as ‘conservative’ rather than ‘libertarian’? Do you think that ‘libertarian’ and ‘conservative’ are the same thing?
Questions about some of your antilibertarian votes in congress:
- PATRIOT Act – you voted ‘for’ the Act. Would you vote the same way again? Do you think it was a mistake to trust the sunset provisions?
- Do you still support an anti-flag-desecration amendment to the constitution? How does this tie in with your ideas of federalism? How does it support individual liberty?
- DOMA – you have indicated that DOMA was an exercise in federalism (devolving power to the states), but this does not explain the part of DOMA that defines marriage federally as man-woman only. Do you stand by this definition? In your state, would you support a government definition of marriage as man-woman only?
- You voted for the Medicare Part D prescription drug boondoggle while in congress. Do you stand by this vote, or repudiate it?
Explanation for some of your current seemingly antilibertarian positions:
- You talk about reducing U.S. military bases overseas, but not necessarily closing them. How many foreign countries do you think the U.S. needs to have military personnel in?
- Would you support an immediate end to the Afghanistan occupation? How long, as President, would you tolerate U.S. troops continuing to occupy Iraq and Afghanistan?
- You have made some welcome movement toward the idea of legalizing medical marijuana in a few cases, and have pointed to the Drug War as an issue where there should be greater state control. Aside from the federalism issue, do you support prohibition of marijuana (for any use) at the state level? Would you stand with Libertarian state-level candidates as a champion of ending prohibition?
- You have indicated that you support the idea of federal government resources being routed to South America to support governments that are allies of the U.S. government’s Drug War. Why would you support this sort of interventionism in the name of prohibition abroad? How does this tie in with your idea of federalism?
- You have indicated that you support the idea of economic sanctions against Iran as a sort of diplomacy. Sanctions strengthen dictatorships and punish citizens of both nations. Why would you support this sort of interventionism abroad and at home?
- Why do you support instituting an entirely new FEDERAL tax on Americans (national sales tax)? Is this the type of ‘federalism’ (or devolution of government power to the states) we can expect from you (i.e. a federalism of convenience)?
- You wrote ” Until all governments are willing to take a unified front to confront this problem, it is the duty of the federal government to secure our borders from criminals, terrorists and those seeking to take advantage of the American taxpayer.” Most terrorists, criminals, and freeloaders do not declare themselves as such at the border. How do you propose to separate the vast majority of people who want to come to the U.S. to labor honestly from these undesirables? Do you favor open immigration for all people who wish to come to the U.S. and who are not terrorists, criminals, or freeloaders?
Susan Hogarth is a longtime libertarian activist, and a current candidate for the Libertarian National Committee. Her blog is at http://colliething.com