James Leroy Wilson's blog

Monday, December 18, 2006

Bob Barr in the Libertarian Party

The first thing I've done the last three days is go to Knappster to see if Thomas had commented on former Congressman Bob Barr leaving the Republican Party and joining the Libertarian Party. He has today, and contains no surprises. Although I'm not active in the LP myself, I agree that "I'd rather have him in the LP working on the issues we agree on, than outside the LP working on the issues we disagree on."

I do not believe that Barr's inclusion into the National Committee precludes him from making a run for the Presidential nomination. A politician ruling out a Presidential run at this stage is like a college football coach signing a long-term contract at Podunkville State saying "I intend to be here a long time." That is, as long as a big-name school doesn't call. And with politicians, Presidential runs are always ruled out unless "circumstances change."

If Barr is a politician at heart who craves the attention, he can make an LP Presidential bid if and only if he repents of his War on Drugs stances the way Democratic segregationist politicians repented in order to get the black vote. While most issues regarding security and budgets are complicated and can lead to short-terms policy disagreements among libertarians both within and outside of the Libertarian Party, nominating a Drug Warrior would be like nominating a Gun Controller: it is and must be out of the question.

Barr's presence in the LP might, however, encourage other former and current conservative Republican Congressmen to grow a pair. Common ground can yet be achieved between libertarians and (non-neo) conservatives of all parties (Republican, Constitution, Reform, etc) regarding the most pressing issues: military adventurism, national sovereignty, civil liberties, and the deficit.

If a compromise is reached on the moral/social issues like drugs and abortion to favor a federalist approach, leaving these issues to the states, I would be comfortable with that.


  1. James,

    Just to clarify:

    You state that Barr sitting on the LNC does not "preclude" a presidential run. I agree. Your statement may be in reply to my argument that sitting on the LNC militates against a presidential run. I believe I'm also correct.

    There's nothing to stop Bob Barr from sitting on the LNC and running for the LP's presidential nomination. However, doing so would cost Barr far more support than it would gain him.

    Since the LNC is the body that runs the nominating convention, there's a conflict of interest question that would definitely come up, and the appearance of "undue influence" would be heightened by the quickness of his ascent from non-member to life member to LNC member.

    Would that kill his chances? No ... but it would hurt them some rather than helping them. He doesn't need to be on the LNC to run for president. He's already well-known in and out of the LP. Why would he do A in order to do B, when doing A would make it harder for him to do B?

    Tom Knapp

  2. I was thinking, but didn't say, that I would expect Barr to resign from the LNC if he ran for President.