James Leroy Wilson's blog

Monday, April 07, 2008

An Exploratory Committee is for Exploring

Bob Barr has set up an Exploratory Committee to gauge support for a possible run for the 2008 Libertarian Party presidential election.

I was among the first to endorse Barr, for the same reasons Justin Raimondo mentions today.

That said, I hope this Exploratory Committee is just that - I hope it explores Barr's prospects and the best interests of the Libertarian Party. I hope Barr's people reach out to others running for the LP nomination - several of whom have been campaigning for over a year, and/or have been involved with the LP far longer, and/or are more ideologically "pure" - and earn their trust and support. A chaotic convention leading to an unknown as candidate is not what the LP needs at this point. I believe Barr has the record and profile to draw votes away from John McCain, ensuring his defeat, and prompt a revolt among pro-peace and small-government conservatives within the Republican Party. But if the LP can not, or will not, rally around him this year, he should gracefully withdraw before making any formal announcement. This will be better for his future than jumping full-throttle into the race and getting embarrassed at the Convention.

This is what Barr's Exploratory Committee should find out. How will other candidates and their supporters react to a "celebrity" candidate coming in at the last minute? A Barr run may attract Ron Paul Republicans to join the LP and take over the Convention, but if this alienates the "old-timers" it may well lead to a schism. The pro-peace, pro-liberty wing of the American public will need to put up a united front this year if it is to grow. I think Barr is the best one to lead the Ron Paul Revolution, and the LP the most appropriate organization for it if the Republican Party is no longer a viable option. But if a united front is impossible this year, Barr should probably "pay his dues" in the LP a little longer and make a run in 2012.

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