Monday, November 3, 2008

Is Bob Barr a Libertarian?

Previously I noted the disarray among the small L libertarian movement, including this statement from Liberty Maven:

[Barr] never had the support of purist Libertarians. Some of them chose to give him a chance. Others felt they could never support him and were quite vocal about it. Such is the nature of the Libertarian Party. Barr kept making the point in interviews that his party was not a “debating society”, but a “legitimate political party” worthy of serious consideration. The radical wing revolt against Barr demonstrated otherwise. The battle between Libertarian reformers (like Barr) and radicals will continue to the detriment of the party. There is no end in sight.

So who are those for whom Bob Barr is not libertarian enough? Well, there was Detroit Escapade, back in May:

Bob Barr is not a Libertarian. He is an opportunist and an old-school right-wing conservative. He has attempted to outlaw abortion, immigration, all use of marijuana and gay-marriage. He even tried to initiate legislation to outlaw Wicca religious practices by Military personnel....

Cato at Liberty also weighed in (again, back in May):

I’ll leave it to others to dissect his overall record, but on international trade Barr is no libertarian.

During his eight years in the House, from 1995 to 2003, Barr voted on 24 major bills and amendments affecting the freedom of Americans to trade and invest in the global economy. He voted in favor of lower trade barriers only four times, voting in favor of higher trade barriers 20 times.

Then there was the Online Lunchpail (again, in May):

Perhaps the greatest irony in all this is that - unless he's had some great political epiphany - Barr, now 59, isn't even close to being a small-l libertarian. Or a big-L Libertarian. The Libertarian Party even ran ads against Barr in his ill-fated 2002 congressional campaign because he was such a defiant backer of the failed War on Drugs. Barr even blocked a voter initiative that would have legalized medical marijuana in the District of Columbia, and he barred the vote tally from being made public. (It was later discovered that D.C. voters had approved medical marijuana with a staggering 69% of the vote.) Barr supported the Patriot Act too, and wanted the Pentagon to ban the Wiccan religion.

After leaving Congress, Bob Barr reversed his Patriot Act position and wanted to abolish his own law against medical marijuana. But it seems too little, too late.

But, as Gavin Newsom would say, Bob Barr is the Libertarian candidate whether you like it or not. And Edmund Snyder is trying to turn the traditional argument against third parties on its head.

I’m writing it to tell you what you have been telling me and my fellow third party voters for years: Your guy can’t win. If you cast a vote for John McCain, you are throwing your vote away. Obama has this locked up and will win in a landslide.

So make your vote count. Vote third party. Both Chuck Baldwin, the Constitution Party nominee, and Bob Barr, the Libertarian Party nominee, stand for and support the things you believe in. It’s true that neither of these candidates can win either; but at least a vote for one of them is a vote that you can walk away from with a good conscience.

Ah, so vote for Barr...or perhaps Baldwin. Is anyone saying just vote for Barr? Yes - Russ Verney.

Which makes one wonder - who is projected to do better in the election? A November 1 Zogby poll that didn't include Baldwin, Keyes, or many other third party candidates had the following numbers:

Barack Obama 49.1%
John McCain 44.1%
Ralph Nader 1.6%
Bob Barr 1.1%
Cynthia McKinney 0.2%
1.7% said they would vote for someone else
2.2% said they were undecided

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