Steve G.

The Barr dilemma: What’s a radical to do?

In Libertarian, Libertarian Party-US, Libertarian Politics on May 29, 2008 at 7:41 pm

Going into the convention, CIA asset and FairTaxer Bob Barr was unquestionably my last choice for president. I thought there was no way I could support his candidacy, and then the possibility of a Barr/Kubby ticket caused me to reconsider. Alas, it was not to be, and I left Denver with no intention of even voting for (much less supporting) the LP this presidential election.

I floated the idea of Libertarians for Baldwin at Independent Political Report. It was a non-starter. A few of my Rockwellian allies were/are amenable to the idea — with the same reservations I have — but most folks see the anti-gay, protectionist, anti-immigration Baldwin as at least slightly worse than Barr. To his credit, Baldwin is not a “former” CIA operative and he does take a strong stand against the Fed.

I’ve listened to and read the arguments posed by Less Antman, and I’m inclined to agree. I’m personally going to take a wait-and-see approach, and I suspect many of my fellow radicals (especially Rockwellians) are going to do the same. Word is that two very prominent Austrians may endorse Chuck Baldwin — which I can’t believe could happen without him restating his opposition to the free market — and that could change things for me.

I do not feel I’m under a moral obligation to support the Libertarian Party ticket, as some “reformers” — who I know would have stormed off it a real libertarian had won in Denver — want to claim. Although I don’t think the Barr campaign engaged in any type of shenanigans at the convention, I do believe they participated in a terribly unethical plot to smear Mary Ruwart prior to it — a plot involving abuse of power at LPHQ and the semi-covert conversion of a third-party news site into a propaganda mill for Barr. A fair and square loss would have been hard enough to swallow. But when Republican hate tactics are used to advance a Republican candidate within the LP, the pill’s a little bitterer. And so am I.

At LFV, I’ve read comments from a number of disgruntled radicals who feel the same way I do. The healing process is going to take some time. Maybe in a few days, a few weeks, or a few months, we’ll be ready to get behind Barr. Maybe not. Many of us and most of our candidates have taken bruises for the libertarian movement. Barr and Root are both unscathed. Let them leave some blood on the battle field, and I think plenty of on-the-fence radicals will come rushing to their aid. But if they play it safe and market themselves as “conservatives for medical marijuana,” don’t expect much from us.

  1. Very thoughtful post, GE. Thanks for posting it. 🙂

  2. You’re under no obligation to support the Libertarian ticket (or any other ticket). I’m a skeptic.

    However, I’m choosing to throw myself into elections that we actually *can* win this cycle (state and local elections) and use the ticket as a draw to underscore our platform’s strength — as well as the evolution that the ticket could represent.

    I fundamentally see the arguments splitting like this:

    Radicals: Bob Barr is horrible, with a terrible record and we don’t trust him. We won’t support his candidacy and are looking for a reason to stay in the party.

    Conservatives: Bob Barr is the best thing to ever happen to the LP! Anyone who has any reservations is a bastard and we hope they leave!

    Pragmatists: Bob Barr is troubling in a number of areas. However, we have the opportunity to point out that the Libertarian Party was the party that convinced one of the nation’s top drug warriors to change his position on drugs, one of the nation’s top gay-bashers to change his position on gay rights, and one of the nation’s top PATRIOT Act supporters to lobby against it. Since the presidential ticket has no chance of winning, let’s use Barr’s position as a “total convert” to get victories downticket.

    Guess which camp I’m in right now?😉

  3. Good points, Brian, but it would be nice if he had change his mind a little more on drugs and anti-gay collectivism. He’s still for intervention in South America and he’s flip flopped at least four times on DOMA.

  4. I think our job is to do the best with what we’ve got this election cycle, and to arrive in convention in four years well-prepared to do much better for 2012.

  5. In retrospect, the radicals should have played the Republican/Democratic game by circulating fliers with Bob Barr’s voting record, his PAC contrbitutions and the voting records of those he supported (while at the LNC), his frivolous lawsuit against the Clintons, his “No Way to Treat a Friend” article in favor of intervention in South America at his Web site, the abortion he funded while supporting abortion rights, and a whole bunch of anti-FraudTax propaganda. We played things on the up-and-up. I guess that was a mistake. Oh, and we also should have screwed over people, like Jingozian did to us. And we might as well have said “Bob Barr says pedophelia is okay,” since they did that to our candidate.

    Is this how we should be better organized in 2012?

  6. The above should have said, “while OPPOSING abortion rights.”

    Whoever the radical candidate is in 2012, they need to employ and deploy a hit squad at and before the convention. That’s the lesson from 2008. We brought flowers to a knife fight in Denver. Next time, we need to bring uzis.

  7. GE, Mary lost.

    My guy lost too.

    Time to let it go and start talking about how we can work together to advance our shared goals. Neither “radical” nor “conservative” folks are going to win in 2012 without the reformers, centrists and pragmatists. A lot of those folks went to Root in the final votes because they didn’t feel like they had a place in the Ruwart campaign — I know this because a lot of them pushed back when I encouraged a Ruwart vote in the final ballot.

    More rancor isn’t going to help things.

  8. I agree. This is my attempt at closure.

  9. If the state and local candidates can ride the coattails of a Barr/Root ticket without compromising libertarian principles, then this could be a benefit. The question remains how many appearances will Barr and Root make with LP candidates?
    I had the pleasure of meeting Michael Badnarik in 2004 at a fundrasing dinner in Pennsylvania. The dinner was for his campaign as well as LP Senator candidate Betsy Summers and LP congressional candidates Rich Piotrowski and Russ Diamond.

  10. To his credit, Baldwin is not a “former” CIA operative and he does take a strong stand against the Fed.

    Baldwin does/did not support the Patriot Act, or the illegal Iraq War, or the drug war. How many people did Barf put in jail as a prosecutor for victim-less crimes?

  11. disinter – If you end up deciding to support Baldwin, I wonder what the reaction of Red Phillips and the other CPers from TPW will think!

  12. Guess which camp I’m in right now?😉

    Considering your fascist ass supports government forced equality, probably the retard camp.

  13. More rancor isn’t going to help things.

    Then why do you keep rancoring?

  14. disinter – If you end up deciding to support Baldwin, I wonder what the reaction of Red Phillips and the other CPers from TPW will think!

    I will either vote for him (if he gets on the ballot in TX) or write in Ron Paul. The Bob Barf Watch peanut gallery is well aware…

  15. Baldwin is not a “former” CIA operative

    The thing with Barrbie is that he wasn’t just in the CIA for a month or even a year. This guy was in the CIA for nearly 10 years. Then a federal prosecutor/drug warrior and on and on… This guy is the very definition of the establishment and the antithesis to freedom.

    Not to mention we were once the party that held individual responsibility in high regard. If that were the case, we wouldn’t let him off the hook for his monstrous actions.

  16. And we might as well have said “Bob Barr says pedophelia is okay,” since they did that to our candidate.

    No, we should have said that because of his comments on the Genarlow Wilson case.

    This was recently, not back when Barr was in Congress. He defended Georgia’s prosecution and imprisonment of a 17-year-old for the “crime” of getting a blow job from a 15-year-old girl (on “states rights” grounds) – and demanded that the video of the act be made public!

    Is this how we should be better organized in 2012?

    Yes.

  17. “disinter Says:

    May 29, 2008 at 9:08 pm
    disinter – If you end up deciding to support Baldwin, I wonder what the reaction of Red Phillips and the other CPers from TPW will think!

    I will either vote for him (if he gets on the ballot in TX) or write in Ron Paul. The Bob Barf Watch peanut gallery is well aware…”

    There is no chance that Chuck Baldwin will be on the ballot in Texas since the ballot access petition deadline in Texas has already passed.

  18. GE – You sum up very well just how I feel, only I have not been involved as an LP party person for 4 years now. I used to be very active and then chilled in 2005. It was mostly due to moving from one area of the country to another, but it was also a discovery of not having to be affiliated with a party per se. I began to question whether or not it is even worthwhile to vote. Became a loner for liberty and always promoted the philosophical view of libertarianism without party involvement.

    Last weekend made me realize how much I care about the LP, or maybe my hormones are going awol and making me emotional. Thanks for this post and thanks for all of your hard work. I need to “get over” what I feel is a GOP infiltration of the LP. Could it be that some people want power and notoriety so badly that they are willing to compromise everything that they believe in? You know that scene in Braveheart when Robert The Bruce’s father tells him that all men lose heart, a great man compromises, why bleed with the commoners? Why sacrifice like William Wallace has? Something about that scene rings similar to this last weekend. There are many of us who are uncompromisng when it comes to freedom, that makes me smile.

    After seeing the nominations for Mary, I thought she had a great chance. I highly respect Jim Lark and have always identified with him but had no clue he was a Mary supporter. You made me proud up there, I remember our first argument/discussion on LFV, and I think you eventually came to see my point. Mary had the best nomination speeches by far and Kubby was a close 2nd. I was not impressed with Barr’s nomination speeches at all.

  19. I need to “get over” what I feel is a GOP infiltration of the LP.

    I hope that was sarcasm.

  20. So with the nomination of Barr, the word “libertarian” will cease to describe a unique ethical and political philosophy, but simply indicate a kind of low-tax conservatism. And the Libertarian Party will now become a dumping ground for other failed Republicans. And it still won’t be able to win elections except in some local offices in low-population towns and counties, and when these “neo-libertarians” gain office, they will act just like Republicans, because the requirements of political power will easily overwhelm whatever weakened principles they may have and drive them tax, borrow, and spend just as politicians always have.

    http://www.bigheadpress.com/TheTimeSink/?p=117

  21. FWIW, on May 25, Bob Barr told me that he only supports sending U.S. troops into Latin America if those troop are needed to free American hostages from terrorists.

    So it appears that he’s “evolved” on the use of U.S. intervention in Latin America.

  22. FWIW, on May 25, Bob Barr told me that he only supports sending U.S. troops into Latin America if those troop are needed to free American hostages from terrorists.

    Sounds like Barf will tell you anything you are dumb enough to believe.

  23. If Mike Nelson ends up supporting Chuck Baldwin, the self-immolation of his remaining shreds of credibility will be complete.

  24. If Mike Nelson ends up supporting Chuck Baldwin, the self-immolation of his remaining shreds of credibility will be complete.

    Yea, cuz my goal in life is to be credible to some flaming fag.

  25. Wow, this place rocks! It’s like I’ve died and gone to Libertarian Heaven. Good job, Paulie!!!

  26. @Steve:

    Is this the real Steve Kubby? If so welcome!

  27. I am running as a write-in protest vote in case anybody can’t find someone to vote for.

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