The following is posted with permission of the author, Susan Hogarth. Susan is of course a longtime libertarian activist. Her website is at http://colliething.com
I think that our candidates – especially at the highest level – need to be watched and analyzed carefully and critically. Such analysis can be support for the campaign if accepted in the right spirit – as support.
A transcript allows us to look carefully at what Barr said – bearing in mind that he is talking live, and anyone is liable to some slips under those conditions. The Wallace interview (link below for transcript)
grabbed a lot of Lib attention because of Barr’s self-praise on DOMA; rather astonishing to those who thought they’d heard him promise to work to repeal the Act.
However, there are a few other points of note, and frankly, some deeper concerns for me regarding Barr’s foreign policy – and area he has always been fairly cagey on with Libertarians – calling for ‘no rush to war with Iran’, for instance, while not repudiating his former support for the warfare of embargoes.
Two domestic concerns first: Twice he is asked about the Barr Amendment (med marijuana) and never does he address it. In fairness, it was slipped into a multi-part question both times. Barr seems to indicate that he doesn’t think the PATRIOT Act itself was a bad idea, as long as it was not ‘used and abused’ (legislation is OK as long as it’s never used; I guess I can maybe get behind that premise, but it does seem hopelessly utopian). Barr says:
“The powers in the Patriot Act have been used and abused by the Bush administration far in excess of what the Congress intended for it, and it’s those abuses that have led I and a lot of other folks who voted for it under false pretenses essentially to work against it.”
He should consider the Libertarian implications there: that ANY piece of legislation is quite liable to ‘use and abuse’, and that must be factored in when considering it. Once this insight sinks in – if it ever does – he should consider sharing it with the electorate when he has a chance to speak to them.
It’s the Iraq quotes that are bothering me most in the long run, I think: First he repeats Hillary’s feeble and whining excuse “Bush lied!”:
“With regard to the vote for hostilities in Iraq, that was a vote that was based on what we now know to be inappropriate and erroneously analyzed intelligence.”
Somehow Ron Paul wasn’t fooled. Oh, wait, Ron Paul wouldn’t have voted FOR it even if he had believed the ass George Bush. There is the lesson Barr seems to have missed. The war was wrong even granting the false premises. He continues:
“That vote certainly was not intended — was not presented to the Congress or myself in the Congress at the time as a vote for a multiyear, perhaps multidecade, occupation of Iraq.”
Umm, so the invasion itself was OK; it’s just occupation that’s not? That certainly seems to be the implication here, bolstered by the very next comment:
“Here again, the administration has taken an inch and gone a mile, sometimes in very clear contravention of what Congress intended.”
So he did agree with the ‘inch’ of invasion – just not the ‘mile’ of occupation? That seems to be the only clear interpretation of what he says here.
This is pretty disturbing stuff for the LP’s presidential candidate. He doesn’t – as far as I can tell – at all here repudiate his vote on the Iraq War – he simply laments that it, like the PATRIOT Act, was ‘used and abused’; that the Administration took his ‘inch’ and made it a ‘mile’ – with no indication that the Libertarian Party position is that the inch was already an inch too far.