WaPo discussion/interview with Bob Barr

Bob BarrA great Q&A session with Barr yesterday, with some rather pointed questions on a possible impeachment of Bush:

Princeton, N.J.: Mr. Barr, as one of the leaders in the impeachment of President Clinton, you should know he was impeached for a crime, lying in a civil case, that is routinely ignored every day in courts across the country. (One of my lawyer friends said that if we start arresting just those who lie in Family Court, NJ would not be big enough to hold them, we’d need to make Montana into a prison.) Yet George Bush clearly has violated FISA, a serious felony. Why have you not called for his impeachment?

Bob Barr: All of us may have the opportunity to address that question as more than a hypothetical in the next Congress.

[…] Atlanta, Ga.: Congressman Barr, I’ve been an admirer of you for many years, including your years in Congress and as US Attorney under President Reagan. Your views seem to be consistent no matter what your talking/writing about or who your going after (Pat Swindel, Bill Clinton). Do you think the Republican Party has changed? If so, what can they do to rebound? Will you ever get back into politics. We really need more Bob Barr’s in Washington.

Bob Barr: The Party has changed, and not for the better. We need to get away from blind loyalty to party, and turn up the constitutional heat on incumbents and challengers.

Anyone watching this election can no longer deny there’s a huge schism growing within the GOP. I think the small-government libertarians/conservatives are looking to break from the large-government social nannies. the DNC obviously isn’t a good home for them, but the Libertarian Party would be smart to adopt a marketing strategy similar to Apple’s switch campaign from a few years ago.

46 Comments
  1. Does anyone know the story of why Barr left congress? Did he get defeated?

    I wonder if he would consider running again as a Libertarian…

  2. The LP played a nominal role in pushing the issue, but Wikipedia explains the political turmoil he ran into:

    Prior to the 2002 elections, the Democratic-controlled Georgia legislature split Barr’s 7th district during the redistricting process, even though Georgia had gained two seats as a result of the latest census. The legislature intended to create a congressional delegation of seven Democrats and six Republicans. He chose to challenge fellow Republican Congressman John Linder in a district that, while retaining Barr’s district number (the 7th), contained more of Linder’s former territory. Barr was heavily defeated in the primary.

  3. if he would go for medical MJ, I’d support him. If not, no. He’s got to come over to our side a bit more. I’m fine with compromise as part of the political process, but I’m not giving away the store first. Medical MJ is right, and it should not be given away.

  4. This is the first election in my I life I will not vote Republican. I always voted Republican because I thought they were the best chance to get a smaller government…boy was I wrong. I will never “waste a vote” on a Republican again. This is the first election I have even donoted money in, and I wish the LP the best of luck.

  5. I emailed Barr about the medical marijuana questions raised here and will update the post once he responds.

  6. He’d be a instant credibility booster for the party, the best possible candidate in terms of taking the LP to a new level.

    But unless he comes out for Med MJ, I dont want him. If he does, he’s the best political choice. Simply put, the media cant ignore him or marginalize him in the same manner. But no med mj, no support from me.

  7. The LP did run a certain former Republican congressman for President. He didn’t do too well. He was marginalized and ignored.

    Now if Barr ran for congress again as a Libertarian in Georgia, then he might be able to pull it off. Maybe.

  8. And if there’s a single one of you out there who still denies that Bob Barr would be the BEST Libertarian Presidential candidate for 2008, I’m going to literally smack you upside your damned head.

    Barr could be the best LP Presidential candidate EVER!!!

    Ed Thompson for VP!!!

  9. Sorry Chris, you are wrong. Ron Paul did quite well with his 1988 LP Presidential run.

    Ron increased the LP vote total from 1984 with Bergland from 228,000 to 435,000.

    The LP was on the ballot in 39 states in 1984. Paul got the LP on the ballot in 46.

    LP membership was down to below 4,000 in 1985 post-Bergland. After Paul’s race it had climbed to over 12,000.

    A record number of Libertarians were elected to local offices in 1988 largely as a result of Paul’s nationwide campaign.

  10. I’m with Tim and Ian, but even if he never becomes a candidate for us, he can still help us out greatly, and he has already done so many times, and I think that’s fucking fantastic.

    Barr is a friend to liberty these days, regardless of whether or not he’s a Libertarian.

  11. Dondero distorts again. Ron Paul looked good only because Bergland did so badly. Go back one more election and you find that Ron Paul got less than half the votes Ed Clark got.

    It is true that Dems are not a small government party. And the LP is. But it is easier to convert the Dems into a small government party than convert the LP into a serious party. When you run candidates who pull stunts for publicity, who spout conspiracy nonsense and so on the problem is very serious indeed. I was in LP since 1978 but the kooks have taken over. I would vote Democratic before I’d support most LP candidates these days.

  12. Immediately after the Paul campaign, LP membership was down from 8,500 to about 6,000. Then, using – in part – the list of contributors and supporters provided by the Paul campaign, for prospecting, membership climbed over 10,000 by 1990. The next huge rise was during Harry Browne’s runs when membership topped 30,000.

  13. Ron Paul’s campaign did about as well as Harry Browne’s.

    However, the rest of the LP grew a lot bigger during Browne’s runs.

    Bergland was incredibly dull – I actually used his TV infomercials to help me get to sleep after cocaine binges, long before I was a libertarian – and suffered from a party split during the 1983 convention when the Kochtopus boys walked out and took their money and supporters with them.

    On the plus side, for Bergland, his book “Libertarianism in One Lesson” helped me to come around to the libertarian position on a lot of holdout issues in 1992-3. In 1992 I voted Libertarian in the general election, but was not fully libertarian yet.

  14. I too will support Barr as presidential nominee if he will change his stance on the drug issue.

    I also agree with Stuart. Barr has already been a great friend to the LP, and for that I think he deserves our gratitude.

  15. Listen to all of you all. If we are to ever have a chance to get someone with the name recognition like Bob Barr, we would have to have something to offer him, not the other way around. Don’t get me wrong, I believe in legalization, regulation and treatment as a policy on drugs, but in order to get someone like Mr. Barr to run as a Libertarian, we must first organize at the grass root level and raise a boat load of money. Currently we don’t have the cards, he does.

  16. Bob Barr must have went on the Atkins diet. Or maybe he took up cocaine???

    There were at least 30 congressional offices buying cocaine by the kilo in the 80s. Make of that what you will.

  17. Anyone watching this election can no longer deny there’s a huge schism growing within the GOP. I think the small-government libertarians/conservatives are looking to break from the large-government social nannies. the DNC obviously isn’t a good home for them, but the Libertarian Party would be smart to adopt a marketing strategy similar to Apple’s switch campaign from a few years ago.

    LP and smart don’t really belong in the same sentence, but if the LP were smart they would avoid recruiting any more conservatives like the plague, and start looking at civil liberties and anti-war voters who are tired of being sold down the river by the corporate whores in the Double Penetration Democratic Party, the libertarian greens who like the Key Values but not the Marxist GP platform, and the anti-government non-voters who don’t pay much attention but sensibly conclude all the polyticians are exactly the same.

    Enough Republicans and Reich wingers, kthx.

  18. Barr is a friend to liberty these days, regardless of whether or not he’s a Libertarian.

    He is more of a Libertarian than the Retard Caucus.

  19. Well Paulie, you’re not really a libertarian. So why should anyone be surprised that you wouldn’t vote for Libertarian for President Bob Barr?

    No doubt you’ll be backing Hillary Clinton like all of your Leftist friends.

  20. We can rehash old Libertarian Party history all day long.

    Fact remains, at this juncture in libertarian movement history, the gentleman from Georgia is clearly the best and most realistic Libertarian Presidential candidate for 2008. This Smither deal by him is clearly no accident. One suspects he is clearly warming up to the LP for a reason. And any reasonable person would guess, it’s cause he wants the LP nod for Prez in 2008.

    That said, it’s now almost just a question of who might be a good running mate for Barr.

    Maybe Smither? Maybe Judge Gray of California? Maybe Art Olivier of CA?

    I would support Ed Thompson of Wisconsin. But any of the above mentioned would be worthy.

  21. Athens, Ga.: Thank you Mr. Barr for being a brave dissenter, even if we do feel like lone voices in the wilderness.

    What is a Real Conservative to do?

    Bob Barr: Pull their hair out? There are a few good candidates, and there is the Libertarian party.

    If Judge Gray could be the VP and have a free hand in promoting the drug issue, that might work.

  22. except for the dying part, we could use a hundred more of him.

    Of course we could, and Kubby is one. But the way he dies was because of policies which Bob Barr supported, and as far as I know he has not changed his mind about this issue. If Bob Barr has his way, Steve Kubby will go out the same way as Peter McWilliams. I’m supporting Kubby, not Barr.

    Well Paulie, you’re not really a libertarian.

    How so?

    I have a 153 score on this test, what’s yours?

    http://www.bcaplan.com/cgi-bin/purity.cgi

    BTW that’s 5 points off for preferring “mutualist” to the historically confused term “capitalist” and one point off each for believeing school and housing vouchers do more harm than good.

    No doubt you’ll be backing Hillary Clinton like all of your Leftist friends.

    Unlike you, Eric, I’m not backing any candidates who support the occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan, an Invasion of Iran, the War on Drugs, the “patriot act,” etc., as Madame Clinton has.

  23. Fact remains, at this juncture in libertarian movement history, the gentleman from Georgia is clearly the best and most realistic Libertarian Presidential candidate for 2008.

    Um no. Haven’t you been paying attention?

    That would be Steve Kubby.

    Marijuana has saved Kubby’s life for over 30 years, and Barr favors murdering him so as to “send a message to the children”. What message – that it’s OK to torture sick and dying people to death by denying them their life-saving medicine?

    That fits in with the NSGOP, better known as the party of torture,

    http://photos1.blogger.com/blogger/3967/624/1600/TortureSignNAlexander.jpg

    But certainly not with the LP.

    Good VP possibilities include Tamara Millay, Mary Ruwart, and others not tied to the conservative/Republican affiliation.

  24. Speaking of backing Hillary, Eric, I seem to reacll you starting Libertarians for Lieberman, which you justified thusly:

    Same feeling many of us have with Joe Lieberman.

    He’s mostly wrong on a whole slew of social and economic matters. But he is RIGHT ON on the War in Iraq and Afghanistan.

    That’s why True libertarians support him.
    http://www.smallgov.org/?p=355

    The same can all be said of Hillary Clinton; she’s wrong on social and economic issues and shares your stance on the war.

    Why aren’t you busy starting up Libertarians for Hillary?

    That would be truly hillarious, if you’ll pardon the bad pun.

  25. “Fact remains, at this juncture in libertarian movement history, the gentleman from Georgia is clearly the best and most realistic Libertarian Presidential candidate for 2008. This Smither deal by him is clearly no accident. One suspects he is clearly warming up to the LP for a reason. And any reasonable person would guess, it’s cause he wants the LP nod for Prez in 2008.”

    Unless you’ve got some inside information, I’d say that it’s pure speculation to say that Bob Barr has any interest in being the Libertarian Presidential candidate.

    Barr has done some good things but this does not erase the fact that his record on the drug war was anti-liberty. Before I would even consider him for the nomination as an LP candidate for any office he would have to renounce his support for the drug war and he’d have to prove to me that he was serious about it. The drug war is a big issue and Bob Barr was (is?) on the wrong side of it.

    Perhaps Barr should consider the Constitution Party.

  26. “Well Paulie, you’re not really a libertarian. So why should anyone be surprised that you wouldn’t vote for Libertarian for President Bob Barr?

    No doubt you’ll be backing Hillary Clinton like all of your Leftist friends.”

    Do you just like to make stuff up? Do you really believe the shit that you post?

    Paulie is not a leftist and he does not support Hillary Clinton. While it’s true that Paulie wants to focus on trying to persuade SOME leftists (the ones who really believe in civil liberties) to become libertarians, this does not make him a leftist.

    Eric’s views are closer to Hillary Clinton’s views than Paulie’s are. Remember that when Bill Clinton was President our government enforced an embargo on Iraq which resulted in the deaths of 500,000 Iraqis and that our government bombed Iraq periodically during this time as well.

    President Clinton Explains Iraq Strike
    http://www.cnn.com/ALLPOLITICS/stories/1998/12/16/transcripts/clinton.html

  27. Yes, that is correct.

    If Eric is willing to stretch his support for warmonger Republicans to include warmonger DemocRats like Uncle Joe Lie-berman, why not also support warmonger DemocRat Hillary?

    I’m a leftist in the original sense

    http://www.mises.org/story/2099

    Definitely NOT in the Hillary Clinton sense.

  28. Paulie is a libertarian in the narrow sense of teh term, not the one I want the party to use.

    paulie is a mutualist, somone who believes that the state is harmful and unneeded. That’s the core offical belief of the LP. Thats why one has to swear a loyality oath to that concept to be a member.

    It’s also politically unmarketable, so far removed in concept and accepted political practice in the US that trying to do so has led the LP into a reputation as a bunch of freedom freaks on the fringe of society.

    Paulie’s and my position on which way the LP should go are pretty close, and he understands concepts that many LP’ers have no clue about, such as the fact that if the LP is to be a political party, we have to position ourselves with positions that non-libertarians will vote for.

    His end goal and mine are different, but reaching my end goal will make it more possible for him to get his, not less. Fighting about the end goal is useless until we reach the point of choosing.

  29. Paulie (#29):

    I scored a perfect 158 on the test (saying so because questions #11, school vouchers, and #13, housing vouchers aren’t something that should be favored by true libertarians).

    I had no problem calling myself an anarcho-capitalist because, unlike calling yourself simply a “capitalist” (which is a lot like calling yourself a “waterist”), which means nothing, it denotes that you believe capital should be distributed/managed/amassed, whatever, in an anarchist fashion, or condition of anarchism (devoid of political control).

  30. Modern Libertarian On Bob Barr: “But unless he comes out for Med MJ, I dont want him. I too will support Barr as presidential nominee if he will change his stance on the drug issue.”

    1940s German, on Adolf Hitler: “But unless he comes out against extermination of Jews, I don’t want him. I too will support Hitler as the Fuhrer nominee if he will change his stance on the Jew extermination issue.”

  31. Eric: most of the Democrats had primary challenges, a few made it thru and are more lowkey about their roots. Your google search should have been democrat, not democrats.

  32. LC – the comparision you make is absurd. It negates your point under a blanket of disengenuity.

  33. Okay, I’ll try that google search again.

    But how about a few names, Seth? Surely, there’s one or two who are flaming “libertarian Democrats” like Gorman and Muncie are flaming libertarian Republicans. Surely, off the top of your heard, you could mention a couple?

    Addendum: I mispoke a while back. I said that there was only one single “libertarian Democrat” running anywheres in the country this year for public office; Frank Gonzales in Florida.

    Actually, there are two. There’s some guy named Jack Davis running for Congress in Buffalo, NY. The local Buffalo media continually notes that he’s a former Libertarian Party member. The guy is real salt of the earth Blue Collar type. Frankly, he’s damned good. A “Blue collar libertarian” if you will.

    But he’s down in the latest polls.

  34. I had no problem calling myself an anarcho-capitalist because, unlike calling yourself simply a “capitalist” (which is a lot like calling yourself a “waterist”), which means nothing, it denotes that you believe capital should be distributed/managed/amassed, whatever, in an anarchist fashion, or condition of anarchism (devoid of political control).

    Here’s why I don’t call myself a capitalist, from
    http://www.mises.org/story/2099

    ” I can’t resist making a point about “capitalism” and “socialism.” Rand used to identify certain terms and ideas as “anti-concepts,” that is, terms that actually function to obscure our understanding rather than facilitating it, making it harder for us to grasp other, legitimate concepts; one important category of anti-concepts is what Rand called the “package deal,” referring to any term whose meaning conceals an implicit presupposition that certain things go together that in actuality do not.” (cont)

  35. (…42…)

    “Although Rand would not agree with the following examples, I’ve become convinced that the terms “capitalism” and “socialism” are really anti-concepts of the package-deal variety.

    Libertarians sometimes debate whether the “real” or “authentic” meaning of a term like “capitalism” is (a) the free market, or (b) government favoritism toward business, or (c) the separation between labor and ownership, an arrangement neutral between the other two; Austrians tend to use the term in the first sense; individualist anarchists in the Tuckerite tradition tend to use it in the second or third. But in ordinary usage, I fear, it actually stands for an amalgamation of incompatible meanings.

    Suppose I were to invent a new word, “zaxlebax,” and define it as “a metallic sphere, like the Washington Monument.” That’s the definition ”” “a metallic sphere, like the Washington Monument. ” In short, I build my ill-chosen example into the definition.” cont

  36. (…43…)”Now some linguistic subgroup might start using the term “zaxlebax” as though it just meant “metallic sphere,” or as though it just meant “something of the same kind as the Washington Monument.” And that’s fine. But my definition incorporates both, and thus conceals the false assumption that the Washington Monument is a metallic sphere; any attempt to use the term “zaxlebax,” meaning what I mean by it, involves the user in this false assumption. That’s what Rand means by a package-deal term.

    Now I think the word “capitalism,” if used with the meaning most people give it, is a package-deal term. By “capitalism” most people mean neither the free market simpliciter nor the prevailing neomercantilist system simpliciter. Rather, what most people mean by “capitalism” is this free-market system that currently prevails in the western world. In short, the term “capitalism” as generally used conceals an assumption that the prevailing system is a free market.” (cont)

  37. (…44…) And since the prevailing system is in fact one of government favoritism toward business, the ordinary use of the term carries with it the assumption that the free market is government favoritism toward business.

    And similar considerations apply to the term “socialism.” Most people don’t mean by “socialism” anything so precise as state ownership of the means of production; instead they really mean something more like “the opposite of capitalism.” Then if “capitalism” is a package-deal term, so is “socialism” ”” it conveys opposition to the free market, and opposition to neomercantilism, as though these were one and the same.

    And that, I suggest, is the function of these terms: to blur the distinction between the free market and neomercantilism. ” continues at http://www.mises.org/story/2099

    Sorry for the ultra-long quote, but it seems I can’t get people to read links :-(

  38. BTW, Eric, I’m curious how you came to the conclusion that I am not a libertarian, or that I could consider supporting a warmonger Democrat? Please enlighten me.

    LC,

    It’s true that Barr continues to hold some horribly anti-liberty positions, but he’s improved considerably since leaving office. See

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bob_Barr#Post-political_career

    I don’t agree with Eric in saying he’s anywhere ready to be the public face of the LP, but I equally diagree with you in comparing him to Hitler.

    I hope he’ll continue to evolve in a libertarian direction, although I doubt he’ll do so quickly enough to warrant being our candidate in 2008.

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