Thursday, May 29, 2008

Libertarian update

Our friends over in the Libertarian Party convened last weekend and picked their candidates for president and vice president. Soon, we will be inundated, inundated I tell ‘ya with messages from the Barr/Root campaign.

That’s right. The candidate for president is Former Republican Congressman from Georgia Bob Barr, who switched parties in 2006, griping about skyrocketing government expenditures.

Back in March, I wondered how much interest the convention would generate in the media. From the looks of a quick Google news search, which brought up 146 stories today, the major outlets all seemed to have given it at least a little notice. For what it’s worth, C-Span covered the whole thing live. I am pretty certain that I saw a person wearing a Guy Fawkes mask in the audience. I really wish I could find a picture. Anyway, here’s the AP story on the convention:

Not exactly the level of coverage devoted to the Democrats and Republicans, but they are not likely to get enough support to justify extensive media coverage. On the other hand, a lack of media coverage is one of the Barr/Root campaign’s largest obstacles to the presidency.

So, Mr. Barr can keep saying that he is in this race to win. Unfortunately for the right, this is really about giving conservative voters an alternative to John McCain. If the outpouring of support for Ron Paul is any indication, this could swing some tight races to the Democrats and put Hillary or Barack into the White House. Newt Gingrich agrees, but he is not happy about it:

Bob Barr will make it marginally easier for Barack Obama to become president. That outcome threatens every libertarian value Barr professes to champion.

Thanks, Bob.

At this juncture, the best scenario for the Democrats is that Barr will indeed draw some votes in Georgia, and perhaps even swing the state to the Democrats. That would be a huge coup for the Democrats in the Electoral College. On the other hand, this could be Ross Perot 2008 and Barr draws broad support from the Republicans and the Democrats cruise to victory. If even that little bit of wishful thinking turns out to be true, the Democrats will need to 1) thank the Libertarians profusely and 2) consider some of their policy positions. The GOP is fading, and this would be an opportunity to work with the disaffected Republican voters and swing a few tight Congressional races along the way. “Vote for Barr and against the other Republicans on the ballot.”

On a sadder note, the convention marked the end of Mike Gravel’s political career. His message did not appeal to the Democrats, nor did he make his case for the Libertarian nomination.

It was good to hear about Gravel’s beliefs and past service in Congress. So much for a real change, though.

I’m still voting Democratic this year, but it is always great to hear a fresh voice…especially one talking about personal freedom and responsibilities.



Striker said...

Striker said...

this is the second time I've hit on your post, and I missed something. Sadly, Democrats seem to be more in tune with more government and more force to get there. Sad to see that's where you are. So why are you even talking about the Libertarians?

Wharf Rat said...

So, after the GOP convention, do you think that Dr. Paul will run as an independent?

Chris said...

To striker:

I missed something in this post, too. I forgot to mention in the post that I have $5 riding on Barr getting 3 percent of the Pennsylvania vote. Beyond that, I think that the Libertarians will have a significant impact on the election this year, regardless of my feelings on them.

To warf rat:
I think that's a very good possibility considering his fund raising success to date. If that happens, I'm going to lose my $5.

Shawn Levasseur said...

Warfrat, After the GOP convention, It'll be too late for Ron Paul to get on ANY ballot as a presidential candidate.

He'll stay focused on retaining his House seat.