Steve G.

Barr Campaign Misfires Yet Again

In Libertarian, Libertarian Party-US, Libertarian Politics, Politics on October 16, 2008 at 5:23 pm

Poised to set record-breaking vote totals for an LP presidential campaign due to his high name recognition and his alleged “big tent” appeal (to conservatives anyway), Bob Barr continues his remarkable underachieving ways by apparently turning his nose up at a rare opportunity to participate in a third-party candidates debate.

The only question mark is Bob Barr, the Libertarian Party candidate. Mr. Barr has made it clear that he will only debate Mr. Nader and no one else.

Christina M. Tobin, an event organizer and a Nader campaign staffer, said that she “challenges” Mr. Barr to show up.

“Let him show that he is a true Libertarian,” said Ms. Tobin, who grew up in a prominent Libertarian family. “This is a golden opportunity to get exposure and for people to hear his views. For him not to show up would be denying his Libertarian principles.”

After essentially giving the finger to Ron Paul and his legions of pro-liberty supporters just over a month ago, what will be the Barr campaign’s next brilliant move?  A televised graffiti defacement of the Statue of Liberty?  A huge book burning in front of the Library of Congress?  I can’t wait to find out!

  1. Libertarians should rise up after the election-day embarrassment and Barr that jackass from the party.

  2. I may not be a Barr fan, but I can do a little research and get to the truth:

    Looks like a semi plausable explaination to me.

    How come the Boston Tea Party is not going to be at the debate?

  3. Oh I see, he won’t go because he hasn’t received the formal postal mail invitation yet and because his campaign schedule is SO busy. Makes PERFECT sense.

  4. Oops, I didn’t realize Barr was actually campaigning in public. My bad!

  5. I may not be a Barr fan, but I can do a little research and get to the truth:

    Looks like a semi plausable explaination to me.

    It would be a plausible explanation if Barr hadn’t rearranged campaign appearances in the past to seize better media opportunities. He rearranged his Pennsylvania tour one day before he was schedule to arrive for example.

    Here is a message sent to Pennsylvania Libertarians on October 7:

    Barr cancels Harrisburg events Oct 8

    Unfortunately the Barr campaign had to cancel the planned appearance and events in Harrisburg on Wednesday, October 8. There will be no event at the Penn State Harrisburg campus nor will Bob appear on PCN. The Meet and Greet event at the Harrisburg Hilton is also cancelled.

    We regret that Bob Barr will not be in Harrisburg, however Libertarian Auditor General Candidate Betsy Summers will still be appearing on PCN at 7:00 pm on Wednesday, October 8, so be sure to tune in then.

    It appears the visit to the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre area on Friday October 10 has been changed to a visit to Pittsburgh, with an event at Carnegie Mellon University. We will pass along more information as it becomes available.

    We regret any inconvenience caused by the last-minute changes, and hope we can get the visit re-scheduled in the near future.

    Just because explanations are plausible doesn’t mean they are accurate. They could just be a pretext — as is the case with Barr’s absence from the third party debates in my opinion.

    For you lawyers out there, it’s like the difference between rational basis and strict scrutiny… do we accept any conceivable explanation from the Barr campaign or judge him on his actual intents and motives?

    Let’s be honest: if McCain and Obama invited Barr to their debates, would Barr say he’s all booked up?

    I live in Virginia now. Having Barr visit Virginia more is great, but I’d be willing to wager that most Virginia Libertarians would rather Barr did a nationally televised debate than make local appearances here.

    If he can’t afford a round trip plane ticket between NYC and Virginia, let him take up a collection. I would donate money to get him to the debate.

  6. Third-party debate’s only confirmed participant: the moderator according to this:

    I’m told that George Phillies Presidential Candidate in NH may make an appearance!

  7. i want to vote for a libertarian this election, but i will not support someone who is afraid to debate. apparently he is busy that night but nothing appears on his website. a good libertarian candidate could easily get 5% this year, but not with a looser like bob barr. this party just lost my support.

  8. “There is no need to limit the debates to the usual handful of carefully choreographed contests. Let us argue the issues, after which the American people can make their decision on Election Day. Surely the citizens of the greatest nation on earth deserve no less.”

    Bob Barr, June 2008, Comedy Central.

    I agree with Bob Barr. He should tell Bob Barr to go to the debates. I hope Bob Barr listens.

  9. Yes, Barr is campaigning in Virginia and Ohio instead. He is not campaigning for the independent vote, so he has no interest in the debate. He is campaigning for Republican voters in battleground states. He has made that abundantly clear.

    Here is a question though… Republican votes in battleground states? Is Barr’s main goal to swing the election to Obama? I smell the CIA.

  10. perhaps CIA. But why would the CIA want Obama president?

  11. There are presently two competing debates being organized for Sunday, Oct. 19. One is Trevor Lyman’s Third Party Ticket venture, an online debate with candidates connected by webcam, broadcast over the internet by Break the Matrix.

    The other is Trisha Gobin’s debate, backed by the Free and Equal Elections Coalition, to take place at Columbia U. and be broadcast by C-Span.

    Gobin has the moderator (Amy Goodman), the Columbia Political Union, and C-Span coverage. Lyman has the three “Ron Paul candidates.”

    Which one do you want Barr to go to? Or do you even realize that there are two competing debates being organized? Or did you just exploit another opportunity to trash the LP ticket?

  12. To ask the question is to answer it. Race war> martial law>purge blacks & leftists.

  13. My understanding is that many LP and cultural libertarians in swing states such as Florida and Michigan will vote for Obama. They see this as putting paid on the race issue so many worked on, also his tax, bailout, war and drug war positions are more acceptable than Barr’s, at least in Barr’s original overly conservative formulation. First impressions count, but his presentations on campuses and on TV have greatly improved according to what i’m getting.

    It also seems many Libertarians who don’t vote that much but pay ongoing attention will come out for Barr on the idea that this will continue to attract notable retired politicians to the LP to continue their work, so Barr may not see any loss in votes compared to past LP candidates. However, there have been complaints that new Libertarians are being disproprtionately targeted by the voter match law, so we’ll see.

    It certainly will be very interesting to look at the results state by state post-election. The main thing is for local parties to continue the momentum, as this is where most of the LP gets the value of the Presidential race.

  14. “…Bob Barr, an interloper, carpetbagger, scavenger, and parasite who latched onto the Libertarian Party to salvage his failing political career and will no doubt hand it back when it has served its purpose, a drained, broken, lifeless wreck.”
    L. Neil Smith

    The LP is mortally wounded and with it, any chance of winning freedom through electoral polcitics. Let it bleed out, bury it, and get on with organizing resistance cells.

  15. An effective Libertarian Party Presidential campaign would have been pursuing these debates from the beginning.

  16. For a more complete explanation of what George Dance is referring to, read

    It appears that we actually are back to one debate again, but not the same one debate.


  17. I’m new to the LP and new to LP politics, so perhaps someone can answer this question for me: Why doesn’t the LP nominate their candidate early enough so that they could campaign in Iowa and other caucus states along side the Democratic and Republican candidates?

    Obama declared in February 2007.
    Clinton in January 2007.
    Ron Paul in March 2007.

    It just seems somewhat foolish to pick a candidate in May 2008 when the election is in November 2008.

    Or perhaps the proper question is why aren’t Libertarian candidates out there bright and early, like 2007, instead of early to mid 2008?
    Is it money?
    The way it’s always been done?

  18. What do you mean by “Libertarian candidates?”

    We had a few LP Presidential candidates who were actively campaigning since 2006.

    If you are talking about local candidates, guess that depends on how motivated the candidates are or what purpose they are serving (paper candidates). I know of some who began a year ago for this year’s election, while others have done little to nothing.

  19. Jason;
    Thanks for responding, I was speaking about Presidential candidates.
    I was just wondering if it wouldn’t be beneficial to the party and the candidate from an exposure standpoint to be nominated and ready to go once the Iowa season begins.
    I would think that it would split the libertarian grass roots to have numerous Libertarian candidates. If we had the convention during an off year, got behind ONE candidate to go against the D and the R, it might help focus local and national efforts.
    Just thinking aloud and trying to learn.

    Thanks again,

    – Bill

  20. Paulie Cannoli did a terrific job digging up the facts about the death of the debate. While we’re plugging articles on it, though, let me put in a plug for my latest:
    “Third Party Debate Fiasco”

  21. Hi William,

    Looks to me like you’ve thrown your pen on target. You’re quite right and the move of the convention forward back in the early ’90’s was in my view ill-advised and was generally opposed by LP fathers. I did my best to better the situation when I was on LNC but it has now become complicated by campaign finance rule issues (BCRA) that are a study in themselves.

    Our Presidential candidates would benefit from more time to go to campuses and local civic groups, and would thus greatly benefit the local organization as well. Older party candidates do not need this time advantage being more focused on maximizing their contributions to fight each other in-party. With a late convention it is very difficult for our candidate to get media slots even if the campaign had millions, which none do. This early approach was a good part of Ed Clark’s real secret in 1980: My memory is he did some 300 campuses alone because he had the time to schedule, travel and folow-up.

    There does seem to be momentum to examine and correct the matter at the next Convention, but to be fully effective it might need candidate campaign standards.

    As for local elections, Florida has primaries and Libertarians are encouraged to run against each other as teams. Other state LP’s are against primaries because of different legislation. However, Florida is a different world from the rest of the state LP’s most of whom run candidates to get visibility or ballot access. Florida won ballot access in a protracted and spectacular legal war that got us permanent visibility. The state LP also championed an amendment process plus tacit policies of appointive, where most of the real work happens, instead of elective public offices (we have less elective offices than NH): there are very few offices by party identification in the state.

    As a result the focus is on legislative change through mass petitions (most of the amendments on the state ballot were libertarian-proposed); focus on appointive and non-partisan elective office to the point that we chronically run out of people not as candidates, but people in public office; and regular call campaigns to the legislature with good results. So many of the concerns expressed here at this blog don’t really have much importance in Florida, where our main interest is just getting people interested in Libertarianism. and letting the rest flow from that.

    In contrast, Iowa and other state LP’s are in different positions and legal environments so naturally have very different tactical concerns, so one must be cautious of one-size-fits-all solutions in such instances. I’ve generally found that our activists do not only a better job than that for which they’re credited, but better than they themselves realize or can express.

    Hope this helps.


  22. “Or perhaps the proper question is why aren’t Libertarian candidates out there bright and early, like 2007, instead of early to mid 2008?”

    Wayne Root was campaigning and issuing press releases throughout 2007. Sadly, he has been associated with the Barr campaign, and refuses to distance himself from it, since he (unlike Barr, Verney, Cory, Ferguson, etc…) has personal moral integrity (he won’t say negative things about “his team” no matter how badly they screw him over).

    Root intends to continue running as a Libertarian until he wins the whitehouse. He is a great messenger, and a solid libertarian. I hope he receives more support from libertarians in 2011, prior to the next presidential nominating convention.

    It would be a shame for the LP to lose a solid libertarian like Wayne due to the befuddled Barr bang-up. I hope he gets the LP nomination in 2012, after possibly getting elected to the NV house in 2010. My feeling is that he would support an earlier convention that gave both him and the LP’s down-ticket candidates more time to campaign.


  23. As a decorated combat veteran that spent thirty nine months in the SEATO back in the sixties, I think I’ll put my two cents worth in on this topic…..

    Should we pull out of Iraq” No is my answer…because we should never have been there in the first place where we have to pull out….now without tongue in cheek we should have pulled out of Iraq te day after his stupidity in chief declared “Mission Accomplished.”

    Iraq and Afghanistan are just two more classic examples of what happens when politicians, especially politicians that have never served a day in our military, and know nothing about military tactical and strategical processes, try to prosecute a war from vicarious positions half way around the world.

    Not only should we pull out of Iraq, but bring the troops permanently stationed in Korea, Germany, Japan, and all the other places in Europe. Asia, Middle East and the Pacific theaters home…where the money they earn stimulates our enconomy instead of some other nation’s economy. Bring them home to where they can prepare to defend this nation from all enemies foreign and/or domestic elitists that go around our congress in order to make war and usurp our Constitution.

    Let the Saudi Arabians, Kuwait, and all the others in the Gulf Area spend their greasy oil billions ducking Iran, Syria, Libya, and other nations and organizations that have people with similar names and beliefs as their own.

    The Iraqi’s are living proof of cowardice because they had more than a few ample opportunities to dispose themselves of their own tyrant Saddam Hussain…But no, why kill the tyrant ourselves when we can weep to the Americans and get them to do the fighting and dying for us and so what if a million or more of our own Iraqi people die while the Americans are in process.

    Have we become a people of ineptitude being led by the even more inept insane? I think so.

    Especially with the Iraqi’s….if they are so cowardly and inept, that after four years of being trained and armed by the U S Military, that they can’t defend their own nation’s border with Iran…they deserve to be conquered by Iran and would be better off for it in my lone opinion.

    One of the excuses I’ve heard from our people on the training grounds over there in Iraq is that they are having trouble training officers…if that’s the case then do what the U S has done every time they have had to go to war… promote qualified to lead noncoms that show some gumption as officers and fire the incompetent officers on the spot, which was done more than a few times in my war. Korea, and WW II. Anybody ever heard of an uneducated peewee from Texas named Audie Murphy of WW II that went into the army at age 15 and was promoted through the ranks from Pvt. to first Lt. and at age 19 became the most decorated U S Soldier of WW II?

    Leaders like Murphy aren’t educated and trained to be leaders at some military college…they are leaders because they were born with initiative and had the guts to hang their pink fanny’s out in front and lead and lucky enough to survive the hell of combat.

    My two cents worth.

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