Saturday, March 22, 2008

Enter Bob Barr

It's March: That time of year when the Libertarian Party traditionally rounds up its usual cast of characters to compete to be the party's sacrificial lamb in November.

This year's crop includes
ex-Nevada LP chair Jim Burns, bus driver Dave Hollist, software company owner Mike "Jingo" Jingozian, marijuana legalization activist Steve Kubby, college professor George Phillies, sports handicapper and gambling TV show host Wayne Allyn Root and research scientist Mary Ruwart.

What do all of men and women have in common? Not one of them has ever held elective office, and most Americans have never heard of any of them. That almost guarantees that none of them would have any hope of getting their message out through the news media. And as we've seen in the past, Libertarians who get ignored don't have very impressive results.

On Friday, however, The Washington Times reported that Bob Barr, the former Republican Congressman from Georgia, is interested in the LP presidential nomination. If Barr mounts a serious campaign, I have no doubt that he could be the Libertarian nominee. He might even have some success raising money and getting media attention.

Since leaving the Republican Party in 2004, Barr has been a vocal opponent of federal spying on Americans and other violations of civil liberties. But Barr is no libertarian.

- Barr opposes gay rights. He sponsored a law that barred the federal government from recognizing gay marriages.
- Until recently, when he reversed himself, Barr supported the Patriot Act and the War on Drugs. His new stance on easing drug laws seems less than wholehearted.
- He doesn't believe in sexual freedom. Last year he wrote an op-ed defending a 10-year sentence given to a 17-year-old boy who received oral sex from a 15-year-old girl. "
Wilson committed acts that the people of Georgia had determined through their lawful, elected representatives across the state ... should be punished," he wrote.
- He has consistently opposed immigration, both legal and illegal. He has voted against H1-B visas for high-tech workers, supported deploying the military along the U.S.-Mexico border and sponsored a bill to outlaw birthright citizenship.
- He opposes abortion, even though he reportedly paid for his second wife (of three) to have an abortion in the 1980s.
- In 1999, Barr tried to ban the practice of the Wiccan religion in the U.S. miltary.

If you're a conservative who thinks that John McCain doesn't want to cut taxes enough, then vote for Barr. If you're a real libertarian, you can do better.

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