Friday, May 23, 2008

Viguerie and Barr Tag Team Denver Libertarians

This weekend, the Libertarian Party might nominate Bob Barr to be its presidential candidate because they're willing to look past his non-libertarian positions and support the candidate most likely to do well in the general election (although "pragmatic" has never been a word that I'd use to describe the party).

The party also might nominate Barr for a different reason: Richard Viguerie.

One of the founders of the modern conservative movement, Viguerie is no libertarian. But he's backing Barr big time. Today he gave a speech at the LP convention - after elbowing his way into the lineup - titled "Conservatives are off the GOP Reservation: Will they find a home in the Libertarian Party?" Anyone who doesn't see a problem with this doesn't know much about libertarians. Read the full speech here. It's one long conflation of the words "libertarian" and "conservative." In this spirit, Viguerie occasionally calls himself a libertarian. But as International Society for Individual Liberty founder Jarret Wollstein put it "it seems like the newly-converted are trying to ascend directly to the pulpit."

But pushing his way into the Denver convention isn't the only thing that Viguerie has been up to lately. Earlier this week, he bought the Third Party Watch blog. The blog has been noticeably pro-Barr since then (although it was fairly pro-Barr before, as well).

Viguerie has also hired former LP Executive Director Shane Cory, who resigned earlier this month after putting out a press release bashing Mary Ruwart, one of Barr's rivals for the nomination.

There are rumors that Barr, Viguerie and Barr campaign manager Russ Verney (a veteran of the Reform and Natural Law parties) are bringing ringers to Denver to vote for Barr in the convention.

Barr supporter and former Ron Paul campaign coordinator (turned Ron Paul opponent) Eric Dondero is even threatening to create a "Libertarians for McCain" group if Barr doesn't win the LP nomination. That says it all right there.

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