Barr seems to emphasize his affiliation with the NRA quite often. This has always seemed a little ‘trying too hard’ to me as someone who is pretty sceptical of the NRA as a tool for gun owner freedom. It always reminds me of Barr’s constant harping on his liking for Ayn Rand. It just lacks a certain … depth, if you get my meaning. Why doesn’t Barr mention JPFO or Bastiat sometime; why does it always seem to be the NRA and Rand?
At any rate, Barr – although he claims to be strong on the Second – seems to have a mixed past with regards to gun control legislation. As with so many other of his anti-freedom votes in the past, Barr has not taken the time to address the concerns of the Libertarians he now represents as to his current pro-freedom stances. Libertarians can -and should! – write the Barr campaign at email@example.com to ask him about this particular issue (and others) and to make a postive repudiation – not an excuse or an explanation of how it was a ‘conservative vote’, but a repudiation – of his previous anti-gun votes.
More generally, Libertarians need to direct criticism of the Barr campaign directly to the campaign. Do it politely, encourage your comrades to add their two cents’ worth, and keep up the pressure. Be public about your critiques, but try to avoid ranting. This will accomplish several things: it will let the Barr campaign know that their advisors are not representative of the true base of the LP; it will let newer Libertarians know that Barr is not particularly representative of the Libertarian position; and it will let any half-awake media types know that there is considerable dissatisfaction with Barr within the LP, which can work in favor of both a more widespread understanding of libertarianism and provide publicity for the LP (the press loves a good internal quarrel).
Barr is, in many ways, the LP’sJohn McCain. He’s a tell-em-what-he-thinks-they-want-to-hear shapeshifter with no strong principled stand. That might actually work for McCain, with the backing of the Republican Party. But it won’t get Barr elected, and I am at a loss to see how it will strengthen the Libertarian Party.