Steve G.

Barr Has Bipartisan Appeal…

In Libertarian, Libertarian Party-US, Politics on June 20, 2008 at 12:17 pm

…at least in Georgia, where the LP ticket is polling at unprecedented levels due to Barr’s notoriety there.

Most interestingly, his 5.6% polling performance pulls strongly from both Democrats (5.0%) and Republicans (7.5%), underscoring the appeal of the Libertarian Party to both sides of the “political spectrum.”

With McCain and Obama polling within the margin of error against each other, the Libertarian Party may be close to attaining the “light switch” power I’ve long advocated it needs — the ability to “flip the switch” towards one old party or the other, and gaining policy compromises and concessions in exchange for how it chooses to flip the switch.

In Georgia, Barr could run hard against McCain on taxes and the war, or against Obama on social issues and the war.

Hat tip to Delaware Libertarian for pointing out the survey.

  1. Mr. Miller, right-on for using the “light switch” or balance of power to start demanding concessions from the other parties. I’ve long advocated using this one power that a small third party can obtain without winning any major political office. However, I fear you’ll get a lot of abuse from those who will be aghast at any compromise or accomodation of principles.

  2. However, I fear you’ll get a lot of abuse from those who will be aghast at any compromise or accomodation of principles

    As long as it’s always the other guy who compromises… I’m good with that.

  3. We don’t have to compromise per se on this front. We can merely aim the tone of a given campaign in a way that influences the popularity of a given candidate in a major party.

    The beauty of this is that if the Libertarian candidate starts making leeway and “spoiling” a candidate’s chances based on taxes, or civil liberties, or what have you, the candidate will be forced to take a more libertarian position to fend off the challenge.

    As a result, the *entire campaign* is moved towards a more libertarian approach, and even if the LP-targeted major-party candidate wins, he or she will be on the record as favoring a more libertarian approach — something both the LP and voters can hold him/her to come re-election time.

  4. Good, but why does Barr get 0% among Independents, Ron Paul’s best demographic?

  5. Barr may actually get 1.5 to 2.5% of the vote in Georgia. However, with the potential draw of votes from left and right, the only axe the campaign can wield, throwing the electoral votes one way or the other is nullified. Add in the fact that Barr’s campaign is “a more libertarian approach” (allegedly than McCain’s or Obama’s . . . which really isn’t saying much), how exactly does this advance liberty?

  6. Two facts:

    1) Barr is outpolling Ron Paul in the GE. Paul never polled at this level in Georgia, so picking and choosing groups with whom he supposedly “does well” is a bit of a fig leaf. Most independents don’t vote in GOP primaries anyway.

    2) Barr’s campaign is a more libertarian approach. Overall, Barr is more libertarian on a whole portfolio of issues that matter to Libertarians than Ron Paul. Now those might not matter as much to YOU, Steve, but if you have the right to declare that Ron Paul is a libertarian despite his numerous failings on issues that matter to other libertarians, you cannot suddenly demand purism yourself. Sorry.

  7. I can’t wait until election night when Barf gets the usual 1%… what will the barfers say then?

  8. bmillerlib Says:
    June 20, 2008 at 4:49 pm

    Two facts:

    1) Barr is outpolling Ron Paul in the GE.

    Apples to oranges polling comparison . . . general election vs. primary.

    Second, polls are BS. As a prime example (there are many, mnay more) Michael Badnarik polled 5% in New Mexico in 2004, about 1 month or so before the election. He ended up with what, 0.5% or so?

    Here’s a fact Miller . . . with no income tax and no “replacement tax”, the government just isn’t equipped to do anything other than basic constitutional (federal and state constitutional) duties. How then, could the government pass and enforce all of the un-libertarian (and 90% + of the federal and state governments activities is un-libertartian) laws, regulation and activities, without the money?

    THIS is why the tax resistance/elimination movements, of all stripes and focuses are libertarian. The government’s variouls legislatures can pass all sorts of regulations and controls on people and businesses, but without the money to enforce them, they are moot. The same logic holds true with the war machine, or war on drugs, etc, etc.

    THIS is why Bob Barr is a pretender, and Ron Paul isn’t.

    Regarding my “purism”, I believe that my support, and working directly in the Ruwart campaign speaks for itself.

    “Ron Paul is a libertarian despite his numerous failings on issues that matter to other libertarians”

    Wrong . . Paul has a few failings . . . it is Barr that has the numerous failings. Whether or not Barr has changed (just how much . . . one can never know with his ever changing rhetoric, depending on who he is speaking to) , he cannot run away from his record. Words are just words (just as there are . . . but again I cite my work on the Ruwart campaign) and Barr’s record is no comparison to Ron Paul’s in supporting liberty. I won’t even cite them . . . you know what they are.

  9. “The telephone survey of 408 registered likely voters…”

    Oh yea, couple that with the fact that Barf paid for the poll and we are talking some accurate shit!

  10. “Barr is outpolling Ron Paul in the GE. Paul never polled at this level in Georgia, so picking and choosing groups with whom he supposedly “does well” is a bit of a fig leaf. Most independents don’t vote in GOP primaries anyway.”

    Gee, maybe the fact that this is Barr’s home state has something to do with it. ::) Also, you said that primary votes don’t count when I pointed out Paul’s success over past LP candidates, meaning that you adopt diferent viewpoints based on what’s convenient for yourself.

    “Barr’s campaign is a more libertarian approach. Overall, Barr is more libertarian on a whole portfolio of issues that matter to Libertarians than Ron Paul. Now those might not matter as much to YOU, Steve, but if you have the right to declare that Ron Paul is a libertarian despite his numerous failings on issues that matter to other libertarians, you cannot suddenly demand purism yourself. Sorry.”

    Even though you only pointed out one issue where Barr is legitimately more libertarian than Paul, whereas I and others have pointed out a whole score of issues where Paul is legitimately more libertarian than Barr, though you have dismissed them because they represent all individuals and not just some special interest group. It would seem that substituting ‘Libertarians’ with ‘Brian Miller’ in the above paragraph would make it more accurate.

  11. Actually, I indicated two areas of significant difference where Barr is more libertarian than Ron Paul — immigration and sexual liberties.

    I tend to be the sort of libertarian who wants a candidate who is libertarian on ALL issues — but when presented a “choice” of an LP candidate who is pretty libertarian on most things, versus a conservative Republican write-in candidate who is libertarian on a handful of economic issues, “federalist” on war/civil liberties, and neoconservative on social issues, I’ll take the former, thanks!

  12. Paul has a few failings . . . it is Barr that has the numerous failings

    I disagree.

    I see you’re not going to let go of your “Ron Paul gets a special pass” logic, but don’t call it “principle.” It’s not.

    If Ron Paul is generally libertarian despite his opposition to most social issues planks in our platform, then surely Bob Barr is generally libertarian due to his general agreement with most planks in our platform.

  13. “Actually, I indicated two areas of significant difference where Barr is more libertarian than Ron Paul — immigration and sexual liberties.”

    Ron Paul’s position on gay marriage has already been refuted, since he believes that marriage should be a religious institution with no government involvement.

    I’ll refute these individually, starting with your accusations about Paul:
    “…versus a conservative Republican write-in candidate…”

    First of all, unlike others, I’m not advocating writing-in Paul’s name, since it won’t be counted anyway. I’m advocating voting for Jay or Baldwin instead.

    “…who is libertarian on a handful of economic issues…”

    Other than immigration, I don’t see any economic issue where Paul is wrong, and he is certainly more economically libertarian than either you or Barr, since he actually has the balls to take on income taxation and central banking.

    “…“federalist” on war/civil liberties…”

    I don’t know what you’re talking about, since Paul has been strongly against the Iraq War, PATRIOT Act, Gitmo, warrentless wiretapping, and foreign interventionism since the beginning, unlike Barr.

    “…and neoconservative on social issues…”

    Before I debunk this, let me point out that neoconservatives are very centralist by definition, and thus would nto approve of Paul’s federalism toward social issues. Second, Paul is consistently pro-life, unlike neoconservatives, pro-marriage privatization, unlike neoconservatives, and pro-gun, disagreed with by neoconservative heir John McCain.

    Now on to Barr…

    “…when presented a “choice” of an LP candidate who is pretty libertarian on most things…”

    Except for national sales taxation, central banking, foreign interventionism, drug legalization, immigration, etc. But for you, only gay issues matter, so those don’t count.

    “I see you’re not going to let go of your “Ron Paul gets a special pass” logic, but don’t call it “principle.” It’s not.

    Even though it is pretty clear by Paul’s and Barr’s position statements than Paul>Barr, even on the issues that Paul is supposedly unlibertarian on?

    “If Ron Paul is generally libertarian despite his opposition to most social issues planks in our platform, then surely Bob Barr is generally libertarian due to his general agreement with most planks in our platform.”

    Unless most of our platform is social issues, this makes zero sense.

  14. The platform isn’t all social issues, just like it isn’t all economic issues.

    A strong civil libertarian who opposes the Iraq War, like Dennis Kucinich, is no more (nor less) a purist than a strong economic libertarian who supports the Republican Party’s statist culture war (like Ron Paul).

    The point is indisputable. You cannot condemn one guy for being unprincipled yet hail your guy for being principled when he ignores an entire policy area of the platform himself. Plain, simple, straightforward, no real “debate” on the issue needed.

  15. “A strong civil libertarian who opposes the Iraq War, like Dennis Kucinich, is no more (nor less) a purist than a strong economic libertarian who supports the Republican Party’s statist culture war (like Ron Paul).”

    Ron Paul doesn’t support the culture war, though.

    “The point is indisputable. You cannot condemn one guy for being unprincipled yet hail your guy for being principled when he ignores an entire policy area of the platform himself. Plain, simple, straightforward, no real “debate” on the issue needed.”

    This sounds like the pot calling the kettle black, since you condemn Paul for being unprincipled yet support Barr.

  16. I never cited principle in my decision to support the LP ticket.

    Ron Paul people did cite principle as a reason to oppose the LP ticket — even though that principle certainly didn’t seem to exist when they supported Ron Paul in the first place.

    I’m simple embracing the “forget principles and embrace your best interest” politics that the Ron Paul campaign first introduced into the debate this year. The fact that the outcome isn’t favorable to Ron Paul supporters doesn’t bother me — the reality certainly is that they cannot cite “principle” in an honest way after the way the Paul campaign conducted itself.

  17. And incidentally, if Ron Paul “doesn’t support the culture war,” he has a funny way of expressing it. His last two major bills were both on culture war issues — the so-called “Marriage Protection Act” which acted to attempt to overturn the Supreme Court’s ruling knocking down government regulation of private consensual sexual conduct, and a resolution targeted at same-sex parenting.

    Those are both major cruise missiles fired in the so-called “culture war,” and show that Ron Paul is more a nanny-state conservative than a laissez-faire libertarian.

  18. Meanwhile, news the barf squad doesn’t want you to know:

    “Some Libertarians are upset that Bob Barr’s PAC still supports neocon Republicans like Saxby Chambliss, Norm Coleman, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, and Jeff Sessions. But why? Surely Libertarians knew they were getting a smart, accomplished public spokesman for gun rights and civil liberties. But on a number of other issues, as everyone surely also knew, he does not agree with, say, the late Harry Browne.

    However, George Phillies, one of the former LP presidential candidates, sees financial support for Republicans with Libertarian challengers as a betrayal. Indeed, Phillies—who is on the New Hampshire ballot as a placeholder—is now trying to keep his name there for November, in opposition to Barr. Apparently Massaschusetts—Phillies’s home state—is next. Stay tuned.”

    http://www.lewrockwell.com/blog/lewrw/archives/021631.html

  19. Well, folks like Wartman and Miller were jumping on me, accusing me of dredging up things which had nothing to do with the “placeholder” issue.

    Apparently others outside of the LP see it the way I do . . . the chinks in the armor of the conservative faction in control of the LP is now apparent.

    The ACLU may be able to get Barr on the ballot in Massachusetts, but all this is just evidence of the split and unrest of the LP, which again Barr said was “united” behind his campaign.

    Having a bad dream or a nightmare Mr. Barr? Too bad, because the nice dream of a “united” LP behind you is just that . . . a dream, that’s for sure.

  20. “I never cited principle in my decision to support the LP ticket.

    Ron Paul people did cite principle as a reason to oppose the LP ticket — even though that principle certainly didn’t seem to exist when they supported Ron Paul in the first place.

    I’m simple embracing the “forget principles and embrace your best interest” politics that the Ron Paul campaign first introduced into the debate this year. The fact that the outcome isn’t favorable to Ron Paul supporters doesn’t bother me — the reality certainly is that they cannot cite “principle” in an honest way after the way the Paul campaign conducted itself.”

    I agree that the Paul campaign was less than satisfactory for me. However, since the Barr campaign is less libertarian than the Paul campaign was, I have no reason to support him. However, what reason could you come up with to oppose Paul and support Barr, since you don’t cite principle?

    Also, unless the Supreme Court knocked down federal intervention in marriage, I would agree with Paul’s bill, since you obviously don’t see the inherent contradiction between libertarianism and centralization.

  21. Just as a note about how hard Phillies is NOT opposing Barr in Mass – Note that the ACLU will be working on the substitution case – In addition to the many things George does for the LPMA, he is also a leader in the Mass. ACLU – he is head of the Worcester chapter… I’m not an ACLU person, but I suspect his position might make a difference in their willingness to take the case…

    We have essentially taken the position as a state committee that while we are FAR from thrilled with Barr – I’ve certainly made my feelings clear – we will not oppose national or the Barr campaign taking legal action to replace George – we CAN’T pay for it, as much of the money we had promised to us for the federal campaign has vanished – the donors cancelled their pledges when Barr got the nomination… However we will reluctantly support anything that the Barr campaign is willing to pay for.

    ART

  22. As Anthony Gregory has cited in his lewrockwell.com blog piece, here is another reason to oppose Barr on his federalism stance regarding drugs, and anything for that matter:

    http://www.lewrockwell.com/blog/lewrw/archives/021642.html

    I wholeheartedly agree with Mr. Gregory in skepticism of Republicans (and make no mistake . . . Barr IS a Republican) whose only support for libertarian principles is “federalism”. More support as to why Barr is a “pretend libertarian”.

  23. Allow me to amend your statement, Steve.

    I wholeheartedly agree with Mr. Gregory in skepticism of Republicans except for Ron Paul (and make no mistake . . . Barr IS a Republican) whose only support for libertarian principles is “federalism”. More support as to why Barr is a “pretend libertarian”. For federalist Republican Ron Paul, I make a special, unique exemption based on nothing consistently principled.

  24. Don’t lose sight of the fact that only small changes are possible via electoral politics when the public is fat and happy, and that this is at least a 20 year battle. Barr is better than Obama/McCain ’08, and the LP has 29 states of ballot access automatically in 2012 if Barr even breaks even. Moreover, Barr is highly unlikely to win, and if he does win, you have the benefit that he taught you how he did it at the Convention, because both realistic strategy AND philosophy are important to him.

    Did he laugh at us after he literally owned us at the Denver Con? Did he say “Ha ha! It’s the Conservative Drug War Party now, bitches! Good luck getting 50 State of ballot access for the (insane, ranting) Boston Teabagger’s Party!”?

    Did he just run on the same old conservative BS that he ran on in Congress? Or did it look like Stephen Gordon and Rob Kampia have had a few long, somewhat productive talks with him?

    Moreover, since he ain’t likely to win (unless there’s an economic crash before Nov 4, and Barr succinctly explains why it happened to the American public on National TV).

    The better Barr does, the better the LP does in 2010, 2012, 2016, and 2020. When it really matters…

    I wish that Losertarians would stop trying to tear Barr down. It literally serves no purpose, except to make us look delusional. It’s one thing to rebel against another man trying to control you. It’s quite another to rebel against reality.

    Support Barr. Help Make it happen. Then support whoever we nominate in 2012 and 2016. And do other things outside of electoral politics if you think elections don’t matter.

    Voting for Baldwin is stupid, because
    1) he won’t win in 2008
    2) It will help put a structurally theocratic (dumbed down) version of the LP on the ballot in just a few more states than 12
    3) Whatever theocrat the CP runs in 2012 will be worse for freedom than the person the LP runs
    4) the mixing of church and state is poison to individual freedom, and is literally what derailed the Republican Party

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