Blogs > Liberty and Power > Bob Barr Wins LP Nomination for President

May 26, 2008 11:48 am

Bob Barr Wins LP Nomination for President

This is the Associated Press report posted at the New York Times website.

What impact will Bob Barr and his VP candidate, Wayne Allen Root, have on the elections in November? What are the implications for getting libertarian ideas discussed more widely? And what impact will the Barr-Root ticket have for the Libertarian Party? What do our readers think?

comments powered by Disqus

More Comments:

Keith Halderman - 6/2/2008

Are you a pilot? Despite popular opinion there is no real evidence that marijuana makes people more dangerous drivers, it is just an assumption, and do I not see why flying a plane would be different. I submit that an experienced pilot also used to being high would not pose a problem. Now I have no way of knowing how marijuana effects you and maybe you should not be flying a plane but I do not believe that your's is a universal experience. Those who support prohibition seek to make using marijuana the only defining characteristic, a throughly collectivist outlook. Lastly the President has people who fly the plane for him.

Steven Horwitz - 5/31/2008

Maybe so Keith, but I know what *I* felt like when I was high and I wouldn't want a high ME piloting a plane I was on. ;)

Keith Halderman - 5/31/2008

Your analogy of a blind pilot is false because despite a mountain of government propaganda there is no creditable proof that marijuana degrades cognitive ability. Check all of the great commission reports. Most of what you think know about marijuana users is akin to what Whites knew about Blacks in the Jim Crow era. Cheech and Chong bear no more resemblance to the reality of most marijuana users than Amos and Andy did to the reality of most Black people.

Bill Woolsey - 5/28/2008

I feel sorry for someone who has to use an intoxicant more or less all the time to maintain their health. I don't see them as a strong candidate for any responsible position, much less President of the U.S.

I have never found Kubby's claim that marijuana controls his cancer very plausible. If, on the other hand, he was using marijuana to control the side effects of other medication (as is more usual,) I would find this more plausible, but still a problem
in a candidate for public office.

I think he looks good and he generally speaks quite well. Being high on pot all the time, however, makes him into a lifestyle libertarian--regardless of how much I sympathize with his difficult situation.

I sympathize with the blind, but I wouldn't choose a blind pilot.

Keith Halderman - 5/28/2008

I am not sure what you mean by lifestyle libertarian but in the case of Steve Kubby if you are referring to his association with marijuana please keep in mind that it was not a lifestyle issue but rather a health issue with him. Both he and his doctors justly believe that marijuana has both prolonged and improved the quality of his life. Who are we or the government for that matter to dispute that?

Bill Woolsey - 5/27/2008

Ron Paul was unlikely to endorse any Libertarian.

If he endorsed anyone, it would be more likely to be Barr (who is running as an anti-war true conservative who wants to leave the controversial social issues to the states, while cutting back on the size of government.

Paul is less likely to endorse Ruwart or Kubby. They are both exactly the type of Libertarian that the paleos have been attacking for years. Kubby
is the epitomy of a lifestyle libertarian. And Ruwart not only
panders to lifestyle libertarians,
she has this new agey stuff as well.

(Mind you, I generally _like_ that stuff, particularly more than the paleos..but...)

More importantly, it would be counterproductive for Paul's apparent goal, which is to maintain a coalition of libertarians and paleoconervatives within the Republican Party.

While I don't think Paul will endorse McCain, endorsing a third party candidate will make it more difficult to pursue the effort to reform the Republicans. They already were getting the "Paul is really a
libertarian, business."

By the way, the Barr faction would have been happy to nominate Paul instead.

I think that the neolibertarians in the LP were supporting Root.

Substantial numbers of "purists" reject Paul for the exact same reason they reject Barr. Paul is pro-life.
He wants to let each state have its
own marriage policy (voted for DOMA,)
and so on.

Anyway, if you look at the polls showing Paul's support and the exit polls for Paul voters...

The greens, truthers, radical libertarians, birchers, paleoconservatives, immigration nuts, and the like, don't appear to the the source of his support.

I realize that in South Carolina we
don't have as many greens as in most places, but we didn't have any as Paul activists. We did have a number
of truthers, birchers, paleo-libertairans, paleo-conservatives, neo-confederates, and anti-immigration extremists.

Anyway, I believe that there is a good chance that Barr/Verney will follow these polls. And, focus on what I think the evidence shows was the basis of Paul's support-- anti-war fiscal conservative. If the pro-life and anti-immigrant stuff was a significant part of Paul's voting support, then I would worry that Barr/Verney would pander to those voters.

Paradoxically, the fact that I think Barr is more political than Paul is a good thing in the context of the abortion issue. Paul promoted the pro-life position because he beleives it. Barr may beleive it too, but thank the lord, maybe he won't harp on it.

Everyone knows about the Paul campaigns effort to focus on the anti-immigration stuff. Well, he had some protectionist stuff as well. It fell flat, even in South Carolina.

Perhaps it is just that I am expecially focused on the war (hmmm,
maybe I am turning into a paleo..)
But, in my view, as long as Barr
takes a strong anti-war stand...
He will be good.

David T. Beito - 5/26/2008

Sad to say Keith, I increasingly fear that you are right.

Keith Halderman - 5/26/2008

The reason Ron Paul had so much success is because of his support from the anti-war left and Barr will not be able to maintain that support. He may be a good choice for Libertarian Party but he is a bad choice for the libertarian movement. Many people work their heart for Paul will now vote for Nader or the Green Party. If the Libertarians had nominated say Mary Ruwart or Steve Kubby that would not be the case. Also, they would have been able to maintain conservative report because their position are the sames as Barr's. As far as Barr's advantage in name recognition it is irrelevant because Ron Paul's' endorsement would have garnered instant recognition, especially if he campaigned for that person. In 2004 when the party desperately needed someone with some kind of fame they chose the most obscure person they could. This year when Ron Paul has already made fame much less of a necessity they choose a non-libertarian because of his name recognition recognition. The Libertarian Party has been a consistently mismanaged political movement for quite some time.

David T. Beito - 5/26/2008

Barr's refusal to cater to the truthers was a plus....but then McCain can also make that claim. Again, I'll give him a chance but I'm not putting the Barr bumper sticker over my Paul sticker quite yet. I need to have more evidence that he will do what Steve recommends.

Steven Horwitz - 5/26/2008

Forgot one up:

Barr went nowhere near the 9/11 Truthers. He might be a conservative suit, but he's not a nutjob.

Bill Woolsey - 5/26/2008

I agree with David. The key to a sucessful campagn will be "anti-war."
Getting out of Iraq. Depending on how things go with Iran, keeping a strong message of avoiding Iran. And, keeping away foreign policy issues that most people don't care about--Latin America.

I am fine with a program to close bases and bring home troops around the world to save money. But that is secondary to getting out of Iraq.

Avoid any of the "culture warrior"
nonsense. I don't think this is the time to push "cultural left" issues. Barr should just stick with the bill of rights and privacy stuff. I regret wasting any time when I was in Congress on those issues when we can now see that an out of control Federal government is spying on everyone's private affairs..

And, of course, government spending is out of control. It needs to be cut back.

Steven Horwitz - 5/26/2008

As someone whose substantive views were probably closest to Ruwart, here's a few thoughts.

Downside of Barr:

1. He's a politician.
2. Although I do think he's on the road to libertarianism, I'm not yet convinced he's there sufficiently. I remain skeptical but open to be persuaded.
3. He will reinforce the image of the LP as disaffected conservatives. That is not an image I wish to project.
4. There is a long-run risk of turning the LP into the GOP Jr., which is a real problem.


1. He's a politician. He has a name and knows how to play the game that the LP should be playing.
2. He will bring media attention to the LP and its ideas and especially the reasons he broke with the GOP (civil liberties and the war esp.).
3. His call for withdrawal from Iraq distances him from BO and JM.
4. He'll likely pull more votes from McCain from Obama, and that is a GOOD thing for liberty, on the margin anyway.

If Barr and Root can run a campaign that articulates three things clearly, I'll declare it a good thing:

1. A clear defense of a non-corporatist free market economic policy that stresses the way deregulation, competition, and economic growth can address the problems that will be on the agendas of the major candidates.

2. A foreign policy of "trade, don't invade" that includes a clear call for withdrawing from Iraq as quickly as possible.

3. Convey an air of tolerance of "experiments in living" on the social/cultural front. The federalist position here is acceptable IF it's accompanied by some understanding that it would be a good thing if more states backed off the war on drugs and allowed for same-sex marriage (among many other things). Given Root's background, internet gambling might be another issue here too.

Can they do this? Does Bob Barr really mean it all? Stay tuned.

Craig J Bolton - 5/26/2008

What impact will Bob Barr and his VP candidate, Wayne Allen Root, have on the elections in November?

For nominating someone who is yet another plain vanilla "social conservative," the LP may get 1% of the vote in November, as opposed to the tradition 1/2%. What a triumph!! Around 35 years of campaigning and one percent of the vote.

David T. Beito - 5/26/2008


Normally Bill would have a good point her but this election could be different. The anger against McCain is so great among conservatives that the LP could do well in this election. Never have I seen such intense hatred of the nominee by the conservative base (and that includes Gerry Ford).

I am willing to hold my fire right now but the nomination of Root really bothers me. Perhaps Barr felt he had to chose him to win the last round though I wish the members would have rebelled.

On the upside, both Root and Barr were quite good in the last debate i saw on foreign policy. Barr not Root, however, is the key. If he doesn't wrong a strong antiwar campaign, he can count me out.

William Marina - 5/26/2008

An increasingly irrelevant organization!