Zogby Poll has Bob Barr at 6% nationwide.

Some great news from the States via the latest Zogby poll.

UTICA, New York – As the race for President passes the Independence Day holiday and heads toward the dog days of summer, Sen. Barack Obama holds a 44% to 38% lead over Sen. John McCain in the horserace contest, but also leads by a substantial margin in a state-by-state Electoral College tally, a new Zogby Interactive poll shows.

The extensive national poll of of 46,274 likely voters also shows Libertarian candidate and former Congressman Bob Barr wins 6% support, eating into McCain’s needed conservative base of support.

The online survey was conducted from June 11-30, 2008. It carries a margin of error of 0.5 percentage points. After nearly a decade in development, the Zogby Interactive survey on a state level was remarkably accurate in the 2006 midterm elections. In 18 U.S. Senate elections polled two years ago, the Zogby online survey correctly identified the winner of 17 of 18 races. ….

 Pollster John Zogby: “Obama is in the driver’s seat right now, especially where it really counts – in the electoral votes. Bob Barr could really hurt McCain’s chances. McCain can’t afford the level of slippage to Barr we found among conservatives in this polling. While there has been plenty of talk about Obama’s recent emphasis on his centrist positions, he can get away with it during these dog days of the campaign as McCain finds himself still trying to shore up the conservative base. McCain will have to move to the center because right now Obama is clobbering him among independents. But there is the rub for McCain: Bob Barr has some juice among conservatives and is hurting him in several states. ”

Bob Barr receives the support of 7% of voters who identify themselves as conservative or very conservative voters. Barr gets 43% of libertarians and 11% of independents. McCain’s support among conservatives is 74%. On the left, Ralph Nader gets less than 2% nationally.

This indicates the possibility of up to 5-6 million votes, and there is time to improve on that as both Barr and Root are being taken seriously by a fair proportion of the media, a far cry from the norm.

The disappointing part of it is “Barr gets 43% of libertarians” which means the libertarian purity factor is worse than I predicted, although quite a few serious and dedicated Libertarians have swallowed their disappointment and are backing Barr/Root.

Regardless of the conservative origins of both members of the team, they appear to be bringing huge numbers of voters to pull the lever for Libertarian for the first time, after seriously considering LP policies for the first time. This has to be a positive.

53 thoughts on “Zogby Poll has Bob Barr at 6% nationwide.

  1. I totally agree with you on this one Jim. Bob Barr is a good libertarian option and libertarians should give him their support. Far, far better than any of the alternatives, and with a real chance of getting regular national media on libertarian issues.

    Some libertarians are upset that he used to be a conservative. True. But he admits he was wrong about the patriot act and about the war on drugs… and it is a good thing when people change their views towards libertarian ideas!

  2. I am debating between supporting Barr and writing in Paul. In my perfect world, Barr has just chosen Paul as his running mate- it would have made things so much easier for those trying to decide which movement to support. I’m debating which one will have a bigger impact from a national standpoint. I want there to be enough votes for one of them to give pause to the 2 big parties and wake up some of the country to other possibilities. I’de be curious to see what Paul’s support levels are like up against Barr’s, but I suppose Zogby wouldn’t run those…

  3. It is refreshing to see the general public waking-up to a candidate (Bob Barr), that will use our Constitution and Bill of Rights as a platform for basing the standard of conduct for running our beloved country (which is slowly deteriorating to a second class nation), unlike McCain and Obama who would further deteriorate our country with Socialist programs.

    When was it ever written in stone that our president had to be either a Republican or a Democrat, and isn’t amazing that Bob Barr has 6% in Zogby’s poll when he hasn’t even been given the exposure by the ‘Fair & Balanced’ media Obama and McCain has had!

    If Bob Barr would be given the same amount of media time as McCain and Obama and the vast majority of the American public knew what the Libertarian party and Barr stood for it would be all over for the two party system.

  4. I don’t much like the US first past the post system of voting, much prefering Australias preferencial system or what the Americans call Instant Runoff Voting (IRV). The first past the post system will see Barr labeled as a spoiler in the way that Nader was in relation to the Democrats in 2000. However perhaps if the libertarians can erode some support from the Republicans they may force them to tilt back towards libertarianism, much the way the Greens in Australia have tilted the ALP towards their brand of environmentalism.

  5. I strongly feel that if the Republicans would of picked Ron Paul he would be in the lead. In the US Politics forums people were very passionate about picking McCain over Paul. As if he was going to be a total winner. I tried to tell them that if they pick McCain the Ron Paul movement swinging to the LP will be more than enough to cost the Republicans the election. Essentially at the Republican primaries they were picking between Ron Paul and Barack Obama.

    @4. The fact that we don’t have IRV here in America has come up several times as one of many factors as to why perhaps America isn’t a good nation to really achieve liberty in. Granted there are many things which push us forward but this is definitely a setback.

  6. In the real world, the choice will be between McCain and Obama. I would be very unhappy if Barr’s candidacy was responsible for Obama’s election. Obama is a freaking socialist.

    Hopefully Nader will steal as many votes from the Democrats as Barr does from McCain, so they cancel each other out.

  7. It would be good if Ron Paul would back these guys.

    Wayne Allen Root isn’t a libertarian? Ron Paul isn’t “really” a libertarian either. No one is according to those puritans.

  8. Ron Paul had a large following even among the purists. I consider myself somewhat of a purist and even though there are two issues that I disagree with Ron Paul over (Immigration and Abortion) I still support him. He has been consistently proliberty and small government. He has the ideas right and he has a reputation for sticking to those ideas.

    Root is brand new to the movement and has been much more like a Neocon. On his campaign website he featured pictures of himself and nearly every big name Neocon in the book. Bush, Cheny, Rove, Guliani, Romney, Romney, Brother Jeb, Gingrich, Pataki, Mehlman (Chair of RNC), Michael Chertoff, and perhaps a dozen other smaller known Neocons. I am not going to support an obvious Neocon even if he did have a reawakening a year or two ago. Boasting pictures with just ONE of those individuals deserves a libertarian flogging, but having a gallery on a libertarian campaign site which features just those pictures… unacceptable.

    This year the LP has set up two disgruntled Republicans into one of the most publicized positions in Libertarian circles. If I wanted to vote for a Neocon I will vote for McCain.

  9. If I wanted to vote for a Neocon I will vote for McCain.

    Riley, could you please explain what you mean by Neocon? It’s not a term used in Australia. From this distance it looks like it’s merely about Iraq.

  10. If I wanted to vote for a Neocon I will vote for McCain.

    In its original form it referred to those Democrats (liberals) who moved over to the conservative side around the 80s/90s, a disparaging term for the ‘Reagan Democrats’. Since then they have become sort of ‘George Wallace Republicans’.

    In LP terms it means, “failed the purity test.”

    The photos of Root with Bush etc gives him considerable leverage with those who are disillusioned with the other parties, in that it shows that he is respected in mainstream politics at high levels. Many moderate Republicans lean strongly towards classical liberalism. The LP should be reaching out to them not condemning them.

  11. DavidL,

    Neoconservatism is pretty much about an assertive, proactive foreign policy as opposed to the non-interventionism promoted by Ron Paul and also very heavily by George W Bush in the 2000 election. And something that George W Bush somewhat ironically became the major proponent of after 911. It is essentially about the US government using it’s position of military, economic and financial power to socially and geopolitically re-engineer the world.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neoconservatism

    As I see it there are two main criticism of neoconservatism. One is from the perspective that the Americans are trying to impose capitalism on the world and capitalism is evil. This is the left wing criticism. The other is the view that good intentions are insufficent to justify a given government action and that expanding the mandate of the government to care for the entire world merely enables an expansion of the state and has negative unintended consequences (eg 911). This is the predominant libertarian criticism.

    Regards,
    Terje.

  12. Jim – I don’t think it is about purity. Ron Paul fails the purity test also.

  13. In my view the crux of this issue for libertarians is about whether you see national borders as essential to the notion of limited government. I do because historically national borders have been one of the most important constraints on the influence of executive governments.

  14. historically national borders have been one of the most important constraints on the influence of executive governments.

    Do you have any examples of that? As I said above, I can’t think of any. On the contrary, I can think of lots of examples where national boundaries have been central to the expansion of executive power.

  15. The term neocon fits all of the above definitions for the most part. It is a group of large government Republicans who typically support large spending both home and a very interventionist foreign policy. Ronald Reagan sort of started this movement, although he had a few small government policies but still the overall effect was large government. George W. Bush has also been a big player. Under his presidency there has been massive increases in the size and scope of government with several new large agencies and restrictive laws.

    There is also a group of people who are a part of this neocon group, a select group of individuals, such as many of the big names are many of the names I listed earlier. Being a neocon usually also means you are among the George Bush breed of Republicans. When one makes an attempt to be inside the Neocon circle, or to profile a rather close connection to the neocon circle, it gives many people a horrible taste in their mouths. Libertarians for the most part utterly despise this group of people and trying to closely associate yourself with them is a great way to get longtime libertarians to instantly drop any kind of support for you. Many centrists and Democrats also dislike this group of people. If the Libertarian Party is trying to bring in more people it should be in a more neutral way and not by putting up people who profile themselves as being Neocons. You also have your nationalists. This is your group of flag wavers who advocate America First policies when it comes to a global economy, foreign policy (as if in the context that we must be dominate and not look like sissies). They may support completely ending all immigration into the United States and even having stormtroopers hunt down and eliminate illegal immigrants. This group of people has an ideology very very similar to the Neocons.

    There are several wings of the Republican Party. The Republican Liberty Caucus, libertarians who are members of the RNC. Ron Paul, Jeff Flake, Bill Westmiller, ect. These people are libertarians within the Republican Party. They may not pass the absolute libertarian purity test but they typically get a “good enough” results. They actually rank various legislators according to a liberty index and rank them on their libertarianism. Ron Paul scored an 87.5 in 2002 while Bob Barr scored a 73.5 in 2002. Many Libertarians feel these folks need to be active in the LP instead of the RNC but for the most part associating yourself with this circle would probably not hurt your libertarian credentials among libertarians. Some people don’t identify as libertarians and instead describe themselves as strict constitutionalists.

    You have your capitalists. These people may also feel closely aligned to the Republican Liberty Caucus. They are Republicans because they want lower taxes and less regulations. Unlike libertarians however, some of them are however “pro-business” and feel that government should take a very active role in promoting, subsidizing, and interfering in desirable ways with their business practices. This group may want to end tariffs and eliminate governmental trade barriers. On the Flip side there are groups which want tariffs on competing products to benefit their own production. However this latter group would also favor the Democrats. This group may not make such an issue with things like gun ownership, gay marriage, foreign policy, they just don’t want to be taxed out of business.

    There is also the religious right, remnants of the Moral Majority which was disbanded in the late 80s. Granted there are religious people all over the political spectrum, in every party, but this is the group which tries to use Christianity for political lobbying purposes. The Moral Majority was founded by Jerry Falwell. Some of their goals include, outlawing abortion, opposition to state recognition and acceptance of homosexuality, enforcement of a traditional vision of family life, censorship of media outlets that promote an ‘anti-family’ agenda. Using “community standards” to attempt to ban pornography, ect. This group of people typically isn’t your economic group, they also have a smaller presence int he more socialist Democratic Party. Being an atheist, hell, probably just a nonchristian is an instant disqualification among these people. They are also commonly referred to as the Religious right. As in all cases, there are very extreme people in this group and rather moderate. The extremists typically don’t get along with anyone else in.

    There is also a large group of moderate Republicans who are similar to the democrats but not as extreme. They want a few aspects of socialism but not a whole lot. This is primarily a large group of voters. They don’t want to end immigration but feel there should be some sort of practical control. They don’t want the American military picking fights constantly abroad but feel that out military should retain a key presence in some countries around the world.
    There are various crossover groups and other groups as well. The Military Industrial Complex group. Those Tanks, Jets, Guns, Uniforms, and Ships that we have dispatched around the entire world don’t manufacture themselves. Many congressional districts are very closely tied to manufacturing of these wartime goods. Should the government stop needing them and factories close down. The gun people, which there are millions of, who will vote for the candidate who is friendliest towards private gun ownership.

    The Republican Party candidate typically has to appeal to all of these groups of people. The Australian Liberal Party also has a similar task but a different process and a different demographics of people (stronger labor unions, much weaker religious right, much weaker military faction, ect) These groups are also not of equal numbers and shift as the demographics of American change. Should one group be underrepresented the presidential candidate will lose votes. Since American presidential elections are down to the wire in many cases and the person they select must win over the swing states. It is a very small handful of states which actually determine what qualities the Republican presidential candidate must have in order to win. In my home state of California the religious right here has a relatively little presence and most Republicans would identify with the moderate, capitalist, libertarian, and perhaps nationalist factions. Some states however, even if it is just a few of the much smaller ones, have a dominate religious right and while they may be a minority of Americans they have a much larger say in who becomes president than the capitalists in California.

    The Libertarian Party was founded as a tool to appeal to the libertarian and capitalist voters. When the Republican Party sets up a presidential candidate who has a very weak libertarian platform such as John McCain the LP becomes more viable and gets enough polling numbers to cost McCain the election. The result, the RNC now must promote more libertarian values should they wish to win elections. Quiet clearly, we see that it is working. The difference between the Obama numbers and the McCain numbers is the Libertarian numbers. Have Ron Paul of won the primary these people would be supporting Paul, not the LP. In this situation Paul might win, as where Barr will definitely not win. Eventually the LP can grow to such a large number that the RNC, or even DNC abandons their old platforms in exchange for a more libertarian friendly platform to win elections. By selecting McCain the Republicans are showing they are NOT responsive to this growing libertarian faction within America and it may very well cost them the election.

    Sorry for the length, but I figure it deserved a rather thorough explanation.

  16. Re #14 – Australian gun laws don’t generally effect New Zealanders. German tax rates are not imposed on Ireland.

  17. I am warming to McCain.

    Jim – what on earth could you possibly like about Barr? An ex CIA agent who spent years opposing even medical marijuana and voting down gay marriage.

    Suddenly he’s a libertarian? I don’t trust him as far as I can throw him. And look at how he waters down the libertarian message. Not for legalising drugs, just against federalising the drug war. And the people he is attracting are basically fetus obsessives. Basically it boils down to opposing the Patriot Act and getting out of Iraq.

  18. At this point of the 1992 presidential race, Ross Perot was polling at 7-9% nationally. After a debate, in which he shared the stage with Bill Clinton and George H. Bush, he sky-rocketted to 39%! If Bob Barr is included in the debates, he will really shake up the stage and may even give the two “status-quo candidates” a run for their money!

    I am a registered Republican, and I will most definitely be voting for Barr in November!

  19. Jason,

    The drug war could not be fought if it wasn’t Federalised. Some States have conflicting laws and the DEA and other legislative and executive departments and instruments have a lot of Federal funding. Think of Homeland Security and the Drug Czar.

  20. Jason; what is your problem with the CIA? The CIA is simply the group charged with gathering foreign intelligence and assessing threats to the USA. Every country has one.

    The Swiss have the SIS (Strategic Intelligence Service) “which gathers, in close cooperation with other federal offices, information relevant to the security of Switzerland for the political and military leadership, analyzes this information and disseminates its findings.”

    They also have Army intelligence for intelligence at the operational and tactical levels, Air force Intelligence for intelligence on technical matters, while the BAP is Switzerland’s domestic security and counterintelligence agency.

    The Swiss have not been in any serious stoush for a couple of hundred years but still feel the need for intelligence, so why not other countries.

    He is not ‘suddenly a libertarian,’ he has been moving that way for quite a while. I first noticed Bob Barr a couple of years ago as a Republican with libertarian tendencies, and worth watching. I have watched him and like his progress, he has a way to go but is good enough.

  21. It is very clear that Bob Barr is being recognized as the true conservative in this race and is pulling votes away from McCain. I hope that the Republicans wake up to this fact and not let McCain be the spoiler so that we wind up with a Marxist bent Obama.

  22. I am a Republican, but I have been looking into the libertarian party. I voted for Bush twice because he was the lesser of 2 evils. I am not happy with the Republican party, and I want to vote for a GOOD candidate. No more lesser of two evils garbage for me. I can’t stomach it anymore. I will not vote for McCain, so my options are staying home or voting for Barr. I like Barr’s stance on most issues, so he will get my vote. I see this as an opportunity for a 3rd party to bust up the 2 party system. I’m sick of the government ruining everything. The only way to fix it is to send a new party to Washington. I can’t believe Libertarians aren’t voting for Barr. They may not be completely happy, but Barr can get the party more recognition. Libertarians should take advantage of Republicans like me. We are finally giving your party a good look.

    Please, back your candidate,so we can have a viable 3rd party!!

  23. Jim, if ALL that the C.I.A. did was to collect information, nobody would worry. But it doesn’t limit itself to that! (Can you say “Bay of Pigs”? Can you say “supporting Afghanis against Soviet helicopters by supplying missiles”? How about financing the Contras? And rendition? How about mundane things like trying to assassinate Castro? (And, what is even worse, failing!)

  24. Mike #22, this is an AUSTRALIAN website, so our support of Barr will be indirect, at best. We will support our libertarian Party, the Liberty and Democracy Party, but the prospects of another party in Australia are not as good as we would wish. Hopefully, at some stage we will control the balance of votes in one of our houses, but that’s a long way off!

  25. In an election year where the out-going Republican American president has a favorable poll rating in the low 30’s and the Democratic American Congress have a favorable poll rating in the low 20’s, the boast of libertarian favorable ratings well below 10 percent is…an empty boast.

    There are sound, rational reasons why we libertarians are politically so unpopular, most of them being self-generated. To get from being the political ‘spoiler’ to being the political ‘builder,’ we libertarians have a lot of work to do on our guiding philosophy. Specifically, any introduction of “purity” is utterly counter-productive to libertarian philosophy; ‘purity’ is an ideal, held by an absolutist (read Hegel, and shudder). ‘Purity’ is, unintentionally, one of the most murderous ideals in human history, precisely because it is an ideal, instead of reality.

    A non-Australian would have thought that Stove’s work long ago eviscerated any linkage of the ‘ideals’ with life nurturance. If we can’t even get our libertarian philosophy right, how in the world are we going to ever win elections?

  26. There have been two main problems through the years nicholas.

    The first is the use of the intelligence agencies for political ambitions or by politicians in pursuit of national aspirations, thus causing them to go way past their stated aims. The Bay of pigs is one of these, where they were used to try for a covert war. The reason this failed was that it was not run by the proper people, – the military.

    The other is lack of suitable oversight, which probably is a reflection of the first. Politicians were happy to allow some operatives to exceed their authority as long as it was ‘deniable’.

    There is no evidence that Barr was implicated in any of this.

    The CIA is on balance a pretty good agency. I think you should stop picking on them over your gripe with Hollywood, after all old mate, “If you can’t trust the CIA, who …… .”

  27. Duoist; Great comment, far too many of us can only see libertarianism in our own image. I always feel it to be ironic that the only party dedicated to tolerance should be so intolerant of any deviation in thought.

    This team will pull in a huge vote, some admittedly simply protest, but a significant number who like some of our ideas and for the first time have dared to give us a vote.

    Another group of interest for the future are those who will look around for an alternative and read and expose themselves to our ideas for the first time. We probably need to somehow direct them to moderate libertarian websites where they can be tolerated and nurtured, rather than be attacked as ‘neocons’.

    I had the impression that the Congress had an approval rating much lower than the low 20s, I recently heard a figure of 12%.

  28. I find it a strange complaint to say that Barr “only” supports ending the federal war on drugs… and “only” decided that the Patriot act was wrong 6 years ago. True. But when did McCain or Obama oppose the Patriot act or the war on drugs?

    Barr isn’t perfect. Few people are. Are we really saying that we only want to promote libertarian ideas to perfect people? If a non-libertarian becomes a libertarian, is our response (1) “yay”; or (2) “nah, piss off, you’re not pure enough”.

    Barr can help to bring new people to libertrian ideas. McCain and Obama won’t do that. Therefore, if you want to promote and advance libertarian ideas, the only sensible option is to support Barr.

  29. Actually Congress has an approval rating of 9% and isn’t it strange that the American public doesn’t recogonize that both Mr. McCain and Mr. Obama are members of Congress.

    We don’t need four more years of the likes of these two that represent Congress.

  30. David it is a work in progress at the moment, but while they feel odd ones of these are probably out of the question they are reasonably optimistic of getting most. I saw some figures the other day and can’t find them now.

  31. What sort of democratic process is it when the nations third biggest political party struggles to get on the ballot?

  32. @33. Our ballot access laws are so convoluted and favor the big two parties. They pretty much have guaranteed ballot access while smaller parties must jump through several hoops.

    @28. I definitely welcome both Bob Barr and Wayne Allen Root to the Liberty movement and hope through their ideological journey they see the wrongs of their past and become strong supporters of liberty. That being said I feel these two have work to do within the LP prior to taking the main spotlight for themselves. These guys are brand new to the LP and they have instantly catapulted themselves to the most publicized position. That is what is bothering myself and so many other libertarians. One day these guys were the neocons (WAR much more so) and the next day they want to run for president under the LP. The idea that the LP presidential candidate should be someone who has been active and fairly trusted among libertarian circles for a number of years is not demanding too much. These guys are new and bring baggage with them that would rightfully upset libertarians and need to put in the time end energy gaining a trust and reputation before they expect that we support them as presidential candidates.

  33. Jim, I am going to go on distrusting the CIA, as well as ASIO and MI6! They are in the secrets business after all! They probably keep secrets just out of habit!
    In a libertarian future, these offices would become private information agencies, selling their info to governments or private firms, such as news agencies and media businesses. Nor would they be a government-sanctioned monopoly. Nor would they have immunity from laws that the rest of us obey- Congress has just passed laws giving telcos special immunities over wire-tapping and other privacy issues. If individuals did it, they’d appear before a judge!

  34. Riley — I think you have a counter-productive attitude. The idea that the LP president needs to “earn his stripes” is wrong. This is an “insider-outsider” attitude which will only work to stop outsiders from considering libertarian ideas. In contrast, I think outsiders are exactly the people you’re trying to reach during an election campaign.

    I like the idea of clubs. And if libertarian purists want to form a club where they smoke cigars, pontificate about statism, and not let in new members until they pass a 10-year initiation phase that includes obsticle courses and self-flagilation… then fine. Some will join the club. Some won’t.

    But a political party is all about reaching out to people who don’t currently agree. If I was a conservative and I read your comments, I would read “piss off… you’re the enemy”. In contrast, what we should be telling these people is “glad you’re listening to these new ideas… you may find them a bit strange to start with, but if you follow the intellectual journey of Barr I hope you’ll find lots of points of agreement.”

    You will not convince conservatives by abusing them. And saying that any previous association with conservatives is somehow “unclean” will be read as abuse.

    Seriously — the only options with the Barr candidacy is (1) he gets lots of attention and brings libertarian ideas to millions of new people; (2) he doesn’t get lots of attention and doesn’t bring libertarian ideas to millions of new people.

    For a person honestly interested in promoting libertarian ideas (and not just joining a cigar club) then this is a very clear distinction, and the appropriate response is obvious. We should do everything we can to help increase the profile of Barr. The perfect way to undermine the message of liberty is for libertarians to spend their time complaining about purity and criticising by far the most libertarian candidate available.

  35. I think that Temujin has hit on a side-benefit. The publicity will be worthwhile, regardless of Barr as a person. He is very unlikely to win, but Libertarianism should be the real winner!

  36. Of course, if we wanted to be sneaky, we should encourage people to vote for Obama! He will make the country much more socialist, which will cause a backlash, and voters will then go for the consistent party of freedom, the libertarians!
    So do we vote the party line, or for the longterm advantage?

  37. Of course, if we wanted to be sneaky, we should encourage people to vote for Obama! He will make the country much more socialist, which will cause a backlash, and voters will then go for the consistent party of freedom, the libertarians!

    That’s true apart from the last bit. The Republican party will be the beneficiary, based on recent history.

    The reaction to Bill Clinton’s wet wimpiness (and his sexual exploits) was to elect a Republican President and majority in Congress.

    What we are now seeing is a reaction the other way. Polls suggest the Democrats will win a majority in Congress and Obama is looking more likely to win the Presidency.

    The Libertarian Party doesn’t seem to have benefited in either case.

    The question I’m still considering is whether stealing votes from the Republican party will force it to move in a libertarian direction.

  38. I have no opposition to a defence intelligence community that works for a liberal, democratic society.

    Congress has given the CIA too much power and too much immunity. There are people who work for the CIA who probably feel uncomfortable with such powers and immunities. The Australian system is still fair and just.

  39. “Riley — I think you have a counter-productive attitude. The idea that the LP president needs to “earn his stripes” is wrong. This is an “insider-outsider” attitude which will only work to stop outsiders from considering libertarian ideas. In contrast, I think outsiders are exactly the people you’re trying to reach during an election campaign.”

    A history of productive work within an organization before becoming the figure head of the organization is not counter productive or wrong. Bob Barr was well on his way and perhaps a Libertarian Congress run or two (08,10) and by 2012 he will be more than just a disgruntled Republican. Micheal Badnarik who ran in 2004 was also a disgruntled Republican but he spent at least 3 or 4 years running libertarian constitution classes, congress runs, ect. When 2004 came around he had some trust built up.

    Bob Barr and to a much greater extent, Wayne Allen Root, are new to the Libertarian Party. Wayne Allen Root would be considered a veteran Republican but is a Rookie Libertarian. Of course we are trying to appeal to outsiders, but that doesn’t mean we have to run outsiders as the most prominent spot just to get some attention. Wayne Allen Root very well could become a trusted LP veteran, but its going to take some time and energy on his part due to his very stong neocon Republican ties.

    Among long term libertarians the idea of “New people coming in and contributing to our movement” is being replaced by “New people, who are long time Republicans up until a VERY short time ago, coming in and taking over”. Who ever the LP picks has to both appeal to new people AND not drive the more established people away.

  40. Let’s convince our Yankee friends they need a Dennis Miller/Penn Jillette ticket for the US LP.

    I am actually quite serious. I’d vote for it.

  41. Riley — if you don’t want Barr as President, then send him to Australia. You can then happily choose between McCain and Obama.

    Working your way up through an organisation is such a low priority compared with getting a bigger microphone for libertarian ideas. Barr was the right decision for the LP because he will increase the profile of the ideas. I think some members of the LP need to remember that it is the ideas that are important, not their sense of belonging to a club.

    You say you’re trying to appeal to outsiders, but that’s not the effect of your actions/words. Intentions are nice, but as I’m fond of saying to leftists, “poor people can’t eat good intentions”. I think Barr will convince some people to become libertarians. I think those complaining about Barr will undermine that progress. In the choice between helping or hurting libertarian ideas, I think “helping” is better.

    I agree with DavidL that the Republicans will be the winners if Obama gets in and ruins the country. However, I don’t think Obama will necessarily ruin the country.

  42. Like I said, I do place an emphasis on appealing to both new people and to keeping the long time people on board. I dedicate a considerable portion of my life (see my link for details) to bringing people into the libertarian movement and educating others. I know the things to say to left and right leaning individuals to get them to think about liberty. Like I said, we need someone who can bring in new potential people AND appeal to the already existing movement. Putting someone in there thinking they will get new members and turn off a considerable portion of long time supporters is a bad idea. I make such a big deal with this because so many people have left the party and have posted numerous ‘The Libertarian Party is dead’ and immense criticism of Barr, Root, and the LP. That sort of PR was avoidable by NOT selecting Barr/Root.

    I do think Barr may do some good things, but I also think in this process that a lot of bridges are being burned down. If Barr makes it to the televised debates he will probably kick some ass, and yes, I would be cheering him on. But now the question is if he will make it to the debates. Considering that it is routine to exclude 3rd party candidates from these debates it seems unlikely that he will get in.

    While I do not support Obama I feel that America needs him. Not in the context that we need his actual policies to fix everything but we need to get this leftist savior idea out of our mindset. The Obama movement to its supporters is far more than just a man, it is this abstract idea that people in their minds have of something that will be the unBush. I had a conversation about a year ago with a friend of mine. The idea he had was that Bush wasn’t the worst president of all time, but due to the prevalence of the internet he was the most observed and this newly created transparency enabled people to see what he is all about and then judge him.

    The Obama presidency will also be under similar transparency. The internet was around during the Clinton years but it was not such a strong element of American culture. There was no youtube. Expressing yourself on the internet and having discussions like we are having now was in the realm of the small nerdy population (which I pridefully claim I was one back in the day!). At first people will be high if he wins. I know people already dreaming about how great America will be. Bluier skies, people getting along, prosperous economy, free and plentiful health care for all, we will be a new America. There was a set of videos posted here a while ago about a girl going crazy over Kevin Rudd and 2020. I thought it was hilarious and pretty much spot on with the same feeling that many Americans are having about Obama right now. Once the novelty wears off, and the internet machine starts up I have a very strong feeling that Obama’s popularity will drop.

    The internet hammer has been beating Bush and the neocons for quiet a few years now. As a result people feel that this shows how great the Democrats really are. Well now the democrats need to be under the hammer as well.

  43. Those are all good points. Perhaps a Barr/Ruwart ticket would have been ideal. But that decision has been made and now we need to look forward.

    I agree that some LPers have got their nickers in a twist… and it perhaps more to those people (rather than yourself) to whom my above comments are directed. If they really cared about liberty, they would put the general movement before their personal gripes.

  44. John
    Mary Ruwart got flak over some passage in a book of hers saying that in theory children could consent to sex. Now irrespective of the rights or wrongs of that argument from a philosophical libertarian perspective it looked silly and even repugnant to a non-libertarian and would have killed the ticket in its tracks day one.

  45. I wonder if muslims love Mary Ruwart? One of Mohammed’s wives was 8 or 9 when he consumated the marriage. Maybe Mary was simply trying to capture the Muslim vote? (This is one of the reasons I don’t accept Mohammed as a true prophet- child sex, and polygamy).
    I don’t think Libertarians are going to win this time around, so maybe the publicity would have been worth it? (Just like Henson got all that publicity over being censored- I bet he’s doing better now than before the raid!)

  46. Carla Howell would be better than Ruwart, IMO.

    As for Ruwarts book, the law as it stands in Australia and applied by sensible judges is good enough, and answers these questions in a limted way.

  47. it looked silly and even repugnant to a non-libertarian and would have killed the ticket in its tracks day one

    It’s not relevant who is repelled. What’s important is who is attracted. Every single policy you ever have will be opposed by someone.

    If the LP got 10% of the vote while 90% were repelled by Mary Ruwart’s musings, the LP would be deliriously happy.

  48. One of the problems associated with philosophy is that when exploring ideas, those ideas do not necessarily stop at a popular position. When we look at the idea of limited small government it would be intellectually dishonest to stop short of an examination of the ‘ultimate small government,’ ie. anarchy.

    If however anarchy was mentioned in a LP contest it would make the party look like a bunch of kooks in the eyes of the mainstream voter.

    From a political point of view we can take what we as a group consider to be the ideal position where we are still well within the bounds of being libertarian, but not out of step with the general non statist voters, or at least not to the point where they will treat us as idiots.

    Mary Ruart takes a leading philosophical position within the organization over there and while I disagree strongly with the position she has taken on this issue, Mary is one of my favorite reads from the States. She really knows her stuff which is always well thought out and lucid.

    Unfortunately her willingness to explore issues to their full extent would make her a disastrous candidate unless you only want the most extreme elements of the libertarian movement to vote for the LP.

    I was in fact highly critical of the candidacy of Mary Ruart, but I still consider her a great asset to the movement.

  49. There is a great post by guest writer Kevin Tracey on the effect Bob Barr will have on the LP for years to come, over at Libertarian Republican.

    Kevin Tracy is a Republican Political Consultant. He has a highly rated political prognosticating blog from a “Catholic Conservative perspective.”

  50. Time Magazines issue for the week of July 11, features an article on the rise of the Libertarian Party. The article is titled, “Bob Barr may sink John McCain,” and highlights recent poll numbers suggesting that Barr is eating into McCain’s support in a number of States.

    Time calls Libertarian standardbearer Barr: “the most respectable candidate it has ever had.”

    It ends with the following quote:

    “Libertarians are getting ready for the mainstream, and mainstream America may finally be ready for them.”

  51. Maybe it’s Time to buy that magazine!
    Another way to discourage voters from Barak Obama is to point out his initials- do americans really want a B.O. Presidency? (I just read that his middle name is Hussein, but since that ruins the joke, I’ll ignore it.)

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