Political chatter from DC and NYC, the amNewYork way
Will he raise the Barr?
Bob Barr isnt going to be president; we know that for sure. He knows hes not going to be president, and his ardent supporters know he isnt going to be president. Third-party candidates dont run to get elected, they run to gain visibility for their message, hoping that some of their core issues will gain traction and force the general election candidates to take a favorable stance.
Barr is certainly the highest-profile candidate to start a third-party run in my lifetime (nobody knew who Ross Perot was before he started). But the concern about Barr is how genuine are his beliefs. Barr was a Democrat in the '60s until being exposed to Ayn Rand. Then was a Republican until 2004, and has been a Libertarian since.
Now changing political parties isnt a huge red flag since the move from Democrat to Republican in many cases really isnt a very big difference; Reagan did it. Jim Webb did it. But Bob Barr sure seems to be changing his mind a lot, and weve learned from John Kerry, flip-flopping can paralyze the effectiveness of a candidates message.
(continued) The reason Im hesitation about Bob Barr is I dont know just how Libertarian he is. He voted for the Patriot Act, before he came out against it. Barr was a well-known Drug Warrior, who fought medical marijuana votes in Washington D.C.. But hes now changed his tune on that, too. During Barrs Republican days, he was also an isolationist regarding free trade. He authored the Defense of Marriage Act; though his argument now is that it was merely to prevent states from being required to recognize other states marriage definition.
Barr is also chided for leading the impeachment charge against President Clinton. Of course, Clinton should have been impeached and removed from office. Clinton clearly lied under oath. It really doesnt matter what it was that he was lying about. If he thought it was petty and beyond the scope of Congress; he shouldnt have answered. Instead, we know for a fact that Clinton committed the crime of perjury. Regardless, the biggest surprise is that when posed with the question George W. Bush or Bill Clinton," he chose Bill Clinton.
I still dont know what to think about Bob Barr. I dont know how genuine he is. But since he really has no chance of getting elected, I dont need to worry how genuine are his beliefs. I just want him to be an effective promoter of the Libertarian message. It would be preferable if there were a more pure Libertarian to be this voice, but it is what it is.
Hopefully, the message of smaller government will help move McCain back into the center on social issues and pull back Obamas extreme left-wing economic positions (like making social security another welfare program instead of a contributory pension).