An update on what's happening (and not happening) with the Bob Barr for President Campaign. by David F. Nolan
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
Since I wrote my column entitled "The Barr Campaign at Halftime" on August 14, I have received a number of e-mails and phone calls from people offering comments and additional information on what is happening with that campaign. Based on what I've learned since writing that column, I am providing this update. Along the way, I will try to address points that were raised in the 30-plus comments generated by that column.
First, the good news. Polls by the Zogby organization show Bob Barr pulling as much as 5% of the popular vote nationwide, and double that in some states. If this materializes we should all be excited, but early polls usually show third-party candidates getting two to four times the vote they actually receive in November. I still hope and expect Barr to receive the highest vote total of any Presidential candidate to date (i.e. more than 921,000) and think he is likely to exceed our best percentage showing (1.06% in 1980). This will require about 1.3 million votes, but I think it could happen.
Unfortunately, the good news pretty much ends there. As of August 25 -- three full months since Bob Barr became the nominee -- the campaign still has not done a single direct-mail fundraising letter to the LP membership. The figure for "funds raised to date" on the Barr 2008 website as I write this is at $727,000 -- which seems odd, given that it was at $685,000 on July 31, and the "big push" to raise money during the Olympics raised $140,000. If both of those figures were accurate, the total should be well past $800,000 -- but still short of $1,000,000, a pathetic amount for this point in time.
Why has the effort to raise money been so unsuccessful? In my opinion, the answer is obvious. Republicans, by and large, won't contribute to a rival party. Libertarians remain uninspired by campaign press releases like the one calling for a "Commission on Wasteful Government." And the small army of Ron Paul supporters is not transferring their support to Barr because he has totally failed to address their two key issues: dismantling the Federal Reserve and ending the Iraq War ASAP. In sum, nobody is being offered a compelling reason to contribute.
Reports are filtering out of the campaign that morale is low and petitioners have not been paid. I've been told that Deputy Campaign Director Shane Cory, who resigned under pressure from his former job at the LP's national office, is in the process of a "meltdown" -- screaming at campaign volunteers and mismanaging ballot access drives. (In a reply to my previous column, Republican activist Eric Dondero wondered why I did not mention the Barr campaign's successes in this area. The reason is simple: right now, we do not know how many ballots the Barr-Root ticket will appear on. It may be more than the 46 achieved by the Ron Paul campaign in 1988, and it may be less. And whatever the number turns out to be, it reflects more on the LP as a continuing entity than it does on the Barr campaign.)
I have also been hearing from frustrated would-be Barr supporters who are being ignored and have not received campaign materials they ordered more than a month ago. And I was informed that one LP state chair who called the Barr campaign HQ was told he should talk to "our liaison with the Libertarians." An odd turn of phrase, to say the least!
I wish Bob Barr every success. I really do. On paper, he's one of the stronger candidates the LP has nominated. But the campaign to date has failed to realize Barr's potential, and time is beginning to run short. Bob Barr needs to get his campaign under control, do some serious fundraising, and start taking bolder stands on the issues: get out of Iraq, end the "War on Drugs" completely, dismantle the Federal Reserve, pull out of the UN, abolish the IRS, etc. Tepid calls for reduced spending and commissions to study government waste will not inspire activists and donors.
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I keep trying to gin up some enthusiasm for Bob Barr, but everytime I think I'm almost there, I see another Republican-Lite press release or waffling on what should be clear and clean Libertarian positions. There are so many other places to put my money and I reccommend Advocates for Self-Government or Antiwar.com.
I received a direct mail direct-mail fundraising letter. I suspect they got my contact info from the donation I have already made. I would hope at some point in the future they would discuss why they arn't asking members of the party using party mailing lists for financial support. This should be a followp post election study.
It is good that Nolan recognizes Barr's polling support is better than past libertarian campaigns. However, a bit of research shows that past campaigns have lows of "-", typical results less than 1% and highs a bit more than 1%. Barr, on the other hands, has a high of 7%, a low of 1% and mostly polls about 3%.
He fails to credit Barr's free media exposure. A handful of TV news appearances over the capaign is normal. Barr is averaging more than one each week. Barr is regularly mentioned in news articles (his polling results, usually.) Of course, he has not broken into the daily news coverage of what he is doing. However, the only news coverage the typical LP presidential campaign would receive is local news where the candidate is campaigning. Barr is getting this and more.
The fundraising is not especially bad. It has not improved beyond past campaigns significantly, so far. Remember, past campaigns raised money for years. (Even Badnarik raised money for two years, though nothing of note until after July of the election year.)
Most LP Presidential Candidates raised much of their money in the final three months of the campaign. We will see if this holds true of Barr.
Anyway, perhaps Barr could raise more money if his focus was exciting the tiny Libertarian Party base. In my opinion, raising money to excite a handful of voters is a waste.
Posted By: D. Frank Robinson
Date: 2008-08-26 04:42:20
Libertarians know their candidates will not extract large contributions from wealthy corporate welfare reciepents, but you are quite right to point out that Libertarians should expect smart management of meager resources.
However, it is not expensive to take strong libertarian policy positions. In fact, as you indicate, it is expensive to fail to take those strong positions. For example, as the U.S. faces the worst government induced financial crisis since the Great Depression, Bob Barr appears economically illiterate and untterly incapable of capitalizing on this government failure. Furthermore, his advisors don't seem to get it either. This is a time to draw sharp contrast between the Libertarians and the failing establishment.
'Tis the season for libertarian populism attacking the money power and what does Bob do? He calls for studying the cause of ice bergs as the Titanic's hull fills with seawater. That stinks!
"Why has the effort to raise money been so unsuccessful? "
The whole time Paul was setting records in fundraising, he was doing something Barr doesn't seem to be doing... he was asking. Paul seemed to be everywhere online with his hand out, literally begging everyone to pony up.
"And the small army of Ron Paul supporters is not transferring their support to Barr because he has totally failed to address their two key issues: dismantling the Federal Reserve and ending the Iraq War ASAP. In sum, nobody is being offered a compelling reason to contribute."
Paul's supporters aren't jumping aboard the Barr boat because Barr suffers from the same problem as McCain. McCain's website is saying a lot of the right things. But a lot of us Paulistas are spending a great deal of effort trying to convince mouth-breathing Republicans that McCain is the devil, and we're pointing to his past to do it. It would therefore be logically inconsistent for us to support someone else with a spotted past.
We've been shown that there is at least one pure candidate out there - pure in ideology, pure in consistency, pure in personal life, pure in voting record. It's not that we were holding our nose when we voted in the past, it's that we never really knew what a clean candidate smelled like.
Now Barr... he only just pulled himself out of the slop.
I am trying to get really excited about Barr. Really.
But the other night I went to my first Ron Paul Meetup. The restaurant was told to expect 25-30, I'm told. I stopped counting at 60. These were people from all over; free-schoolers; RVers, on and on. I met people I knew from other venues, whom I didn't realize were interested in Ron Paul.
If Barr's people could organize something like these meetups, that might help.
Posted By: George Phillies
Date: 2008-08-26 08:15:47
Barr and LNC Fundraising:
At the start of the month, per FEC reports, he was at $628,000. As of last night he was at $727,000. The 140,000 he had raised by 8/25 included a $43,000 jump in one day, on 8/20 or 8/21, ten times his usual gain. This saltatory move is a feature of the Terra Eclipse technology, seen regularly on the Ron Paul dollar clock; they occur when people manually enter the campaign receipts not received over the internet. The same jump is seen in late July for both Barr and the LNC. I would not be surprised if the end of month his numbers regained the 40 or 50 thousand that seemed to vanish.
The net result is that Barr is about even with Badnarik in fundraising.
Barr is not going to get the support of the large numbers of devout Ron Paul supporters who think the Federal reserve is privately owned, there was a 9/11 conspiracy, Alex Jones is the most highly reliable news source in the universe, leaving the UN is a major issue, there is a 'NAFTA superhighway' and a secret plot to put all of Mexico under American rule (the North American Union, in which we outnumber them by a lot). This was obvious from the beginning.
Historically, July is the best single month for fundraising for an LP candidate, though the FEC pre-general and post-general numbers, combined, imply that the first half of October brings in cash at a larger weekly rate.
Of greater import is how the money is spent. In July, Shane Cory was paid $18,000 (and also received an expense reimbursement)--perhaps for several months work--while Doug Bandow is being paid $10,000 a month. Russ Verney is not visibly being paid anything, though there are several consulting firms that could be covering his work.
Of yet greater import over the last month is LNC fundraising as seen on their dollar clock, which reflects part but not all of their total. In July, the LNC raised $193,513.82 , of which about $160,000 could be seen on their lp.org dollar clock (they reset the clock in mid-month, and linking the two exactly needs more detailed records than I have).
So far this month. the LNC has raised on their dollar clock $30,000. The difference arises because last month the LNC would bring in $1100 or $2800 or $6400 in a day, and this month the LNC is bringing in $200 or $1000 or $3800 in a day, as reported on their dollar clock on their web pages. In recent days, Barr has been raising money faster than the LNC by 3:1 or 10:1, depending on the day.
Until the September FEC report, or perhaps the Spetember LNC meeting, it is hard to tell how badly total LNC fundraising is doing, though it would appear that their electronic fundraising--if the TE technology is behaving consistently--has fallen during the past month by half or three-quarters.
Posted By: George Phillies
Date: 2008-08-26 08:20:19
Let us say that I have heard from Barr State coodinators who were told that if they wanted lawn signs or bumper stickers they had to pay for them, and that no, they could not have the list of volunteers in their state so they could phone them: they had to send mass blind emails.
As the former Badnarik, national volunteer coordinator, if this policy is general it is in my opinion ttoally daft. Hopefully I am only hearing from outlier cases on how teh Barr volunteer effort is going.
Mind you, as State Chair of MA I asked the Barr campaign where I should send Barr volunteers, and they did not have an answer.
George, I hate to burst your bubble but another reason Dr. Paul supporters aren't jumping on the Barr Bandwagon is because of his past voting record. To paraphrase a libertarian quote, "Your right to swing your Barr Amendment ends at the bowl of my pipe!"
The Bob Barr campaign is not taking off because John McCain has so far done a pretty good job at keeping conservatives happy. McCain's relative success with conservatives makes it difficult for another conservative like Bob Barr to get some political space. The best news for Bob Barr would be a pro-choice, democrat like Joe Lieberman. Then, Bob Barr may have a chance to teach Libertarians what politics is all about.
George, my reason isn't necessarily an addition to your list. In fact, in my case, his past voting record (on drugs and other issues) stands on its own. You make mistakes, you pay for them. I don't know why the world works that way, but it does.
The Badnarik FEC reports are confusing in that there are several amended reports. But as near as I can tell on July 31, 2004 Badnarik's team had raised a total of 371,202.67 and spent a total of 344,194.16.
Barr's team for the report ending on July 31, 2008 has raised 628,380.44 and spent 570,792.71. Since I doubt that inflation has been 100% (other then for California houses and that seems to be correcting) I would say that Barr is doing better then Badnarik. I would also say that Barr is doing far worse then their goal of 20 to 30 million?
As a strong Barr/Root supporter (Wayne is omitted from the article) I am very glad to finally see an objective article.
Please feel free to contact me offline for further comments validating the experiences you list above, in the previous article and for further discussions. We have a grave issue of campaign mismanagement on hand to gross inefficiencies.
I keep trying to gin up some enthusiasm for Bob Barr, but everytime I think I\'m almost there, I see another Republican-Lite press release or waffling on what should be clear and clean Libertarian positions. There are so many other places to put my money and I reccommend Advocates for Self-Government or Antiwar.com.
I've donated twice to the Barr campaign; but hesitate to donate again. It seems to be a lot of high level smoke, and not a lot of local level fire. They seem to have forgotten that all politics is local and should be reaching out, hand over fist, to the local State leaders and 'galvanizing the troops', so to speak.
I have this gut feeling that they are not spending my money wisely. I have no proof, but I can't shake that feeling that they are blowing this amazing opportunity.
The Libertarian Party (Libertarian National Committee, Incorporated) is apparently preparing to file suit against the New Hampshire Secretary of State. The lawsuit will demand that the state place Bob Barr on the ballot, and remove George Phillies from the ballot. This suit is separate and distinct from the ACLU lawsuit in Massachusetts to substitute Bob Barr in place of George Phillies on the Massachusetts ballot.
The article claims that Phillies is not cooperating with efforts to remove him from the New Hampshire ballot, reportedly citing an ethical obligation to petition signers that placed him there.
"The invasion and occupation of Iraq were two separate mistakes, which collectively have cost thousands of American lives and hundreds of billions of U.S. taxpayer dollars. Every day that the occupation in Iraq continues without a withdrawal plan is a day that more American blood and treasure (some $400 million a day) is needlessly wasted.
Unlike Republicans, who are calling for essentially permanent bases in Iraq, and Democrats, who have done nothing to counter Republican calls for an indefinite occupation, I would put in place plans for withdrawal without undue delay. While I support an exit from Iraq as quickly as possible, I would not publicly announce a timetable to our adversaries. However, as President, I would begin to immediately and significantly begin to reduce both the military and the economic security blanket we are providing the government.
The Iraqi government has come to rely too heavily on American forces to maintain control of its country, and our U.S. taxpayer dollars to artificially support its economy. A continued U.S. presence in Iraq emboldens both insurgents and terrorists, and discourages the Iraqi government from taking control of promoting peace and prosperity in Iraq."
I'm a Ron Paul supporter who will not vote for Obama or McCain. I've not donated to Barr/Root because I will be attending Ron Paul's 3 day Campaign for Liberty event next week to see what it is really about. If it's really about getting Ron Paul types elected under the Republican label, I will stay aligned with the Republicans. Otherwise, Bob Barr will get my support, financial and otherwise.
Posted By: Evil Dr. Milsted
Date: 2008-08-26 16:56:09
A fair piece. Would be nice if other purist libertarians adopt this high level of discourse. Maybe this will be a start.
One correction: I received a Barr fundraising letter postmarked August 18. My own take on Barr's fundraising here. Though I had worked to moderate the LP, I too think his campaign should be a bit more libertarian.
I too am frustrated that Barr won't come out strongly against the Federal Reserve. Does the dollar have to go to .52 on the US Dollar Index for this to happen?
Also Barr's coming out and saying Global Warming is being caused by CO2 really bothered me. As the sun is no longer producing any sunspots, our planet is rapidly cooling down. It won't be much longer when everyone realizes the farce that "Global Warming" really is.
I'm in California so I don't know if I'll be able to vote for Baldwin which will leave me the options of voting for Barr or writing in Ron Paul. I still have not decided what I will do. Regardless of the fact that I don't believe we need a government and don't consent to being governed, I will still vote.
I have been a big Ron Paul supporter for years. However, I cannot throw my support behind Bob Barr despite some of his libertarian-leaning positions because he is no Ron Paul with literally decades of consistent actions to back up his words. Dr. Paul is the only politician in Washington whom I would trust to babysit the kids in my family; he is just an incredibly good person, not just a good politician.
I like to think that Barr's "conversion" to a more libertarian worldview is genuine, but I sometimes suspect that he opportunistically thought he would be able to annex Paul's supporters, donors, and organization once Paul failed to secure the Republican nomination (which obviously has failed to happen). Quite frankly, with the new Campaign for Liberty and the upcoming rally, people who supported Paul in the primaries still consider him the liberty movement's "leader" rather than Barr, and I do not see that changing anytime soon, especially with Barr's checkered legislative past.
I do not know all the details of Baldwin's platform (or that of his party), but he threw so much of his time and energy into promoting Paul during the primaries, my gut inclination is to support him over Barr.
Bob Barr isn't a libertarian. The party means nothing.
I'm not voting for president in November. A "NO" vote is a vote. It's a vote against the establishment. It's a vote against the 12th amendment. It's a vote against every facet of our fascist government.
Consider an abstention vote this year. We're invisible anyway.
Since Dave Nolan's last update, not only has Barr warmly endorsed the "global warming" politicized non-science, he's attempted to sue for access to a presidential forum held on private property by a private party (Saddleback Church).
Neither stand is libertarian. The matter of forum access is more dismaying. If the LP doesn't respect private property, the essence of it is gone. This wasn't a government-financed oligopoly, as with the Commission on Presidential Debates. This was entirely voluntary, in resources, airwave access, and publicity.
All this in addition to Barr not being timely about existing controversies. Where were his remarks on the neoconning deceptions surrounding the mess in Georgia? If he made any, I haven't found them.
I've been an LP member and voter since 1980. I've worn my feet out petitioning. I've been a state chairman. I was on the national platform committee. I've helped run convention committees, ballot access PACs, and national delegations. The only time I haven't been a registered Libertarian (or wannabe) was for one month earlier this year, when I switched parties so as to vote for Ron Paul here in California.
Few can exceed what I've put in for this party, short of running for office (and I've been an LP presidential elector). Yet even I'm disillusioned. That's not a good sign. I'm solidly in the "middle" of the party, neither a national leader nor just an underappreciated foot "soldier." We've made the party work, insofar as it's ever worked.
For the first time in 28 years, I may not vote for the LP presidential ticket. I won't support any of the others, as Barr (though not Root) still notably exceeds them, even on bad days, in respect for genuine liberty. Yet that's no longer good enough. I didn't get into this party to just vote for the "least bad."
I wonder why third party vote totals end up two to four times lower than the early polling numbers....
Do third party types figure it's hopeless, and not turn out to vote? Are the vote totals suppressed to keep the hope level in the cellar? Do third-party types talk a good game, then figure they have to stop the major party candidate they distrust the most, by voting for the other crook?
Posted By: William Dalton
Date: 2008-08-27 00:27:18
I know that issues like repealing drug laws and abolishing fiat currency are dear to the heart of Libertarians, and, after a period of listening, I am persuaded of the wisdom of these prescriptions as well. But the nation is not ready for more than one revolution at a time. The question for our time is the one put by Pat Buchanan a few years ago - shall we have a Republic or an Empire? We have the two major parties committed to the idea of America running the world, one with more carrots and the other with more sticks, but both with the same objective. The crying need of the country is for a candidate to offer an alternative to that. Bob Barr is the man, and the Libertarian Party is the vehicle, if they can both set aside their other aspirations to remake the Federal Government long enough to stay on message through the campaign. Then you will see a considerable percentage of folks voting their way in November, who would never considering Libertarian or for Bob Barr for their own sakes.
It's not just the war in Iraq. It is all the wars we are fighting or preparing to fight and the fact our economy is addicted to making war in order to prosper. Our society is sick and Bob Barr needs to play doctor and start saying so. Abortion and homosexuality and pornography and the like may be signs of America's moral decay, but they are greatly dwarfed by the evil of our hubris, our militarism, and our failure to live by the same rules of peace we prescribe for other countries. Democrats are afraid of the old mantra being thrown at them, "Blame America First". But Libertarians are no defenders of foreign powers, even utopian ones. They can say credibly what needs to be said. And they have nothing to lose. Bob Barr needs to start driving this message home.
How ironic this piece was written hours before Barr appeared on the Colbert Report on Comedy Central and was scheduled to appear on CNN Morning. Nolan completely ignores the massive amount of media Barr has been receiving, a larger percentage by far than all other pst LP Presidential campaigns combined. And I know, for I worked as a Staffer for the 1988 Ron Paul, Libertarian Presidential campaign for almost 2 years. We would have been beside ourselves if we even had gotten half of Barr's media.
And for the record, it's very likely to be 47 states plus Guam for Barr/Root. That's one more than Paul in '88.
Finally, there's nothing wrong with the "morale" of Barr Campaigners. Most upbeat crew and HONEST I've ever seen working in a Libertarian Presidential campaign.
Bill Woolsey is correct on the polling numbers. Nolan suggests coyly that Barr is polling no better than past LP Presidential campaigns. Not true. We in the Ron Paul campaign in 1988, never got more than 1% in any poll Ron was included in. Barr is regularly polling in the 4 to 6% range. And an astounding 11 and 10% in New Hampshire and Nevada. That's 10 times more than any other previous LP campaign.
And a final note on fundraising. Sure, past LP Presidential campaigns did better on raising money. But let's also recall that for Ron Paul's Campaign a healthy chunk of it was embezzled at the end by the Campaign Manager, and some speculate others at the top of the Campaign. And with Harry Browne's efforts, a lot of it went into some Top Staffers' pockets and not into campaign expenses. At least with Barr, you've got honest to the core, campaign leaders and workers who are spending campaign dimes wisely.
I think Barr would be the first one to admit the fundraising has not gone as expected up to date, yet the race will actually only beginning to heat up from this week with the DNC and the RNC next week.
The amount of news coverage Barr has received does account for probably at least 1 million in free advertising.
The Barr campaign should exploit the differences in both the two major parties: with the Democrats, it is not only the Hillary supporters (I think many of those women would like to end the war/occupation as most important issue and would not vote for McCain based on this, though they are dissatisfied with Obama). Also among the Obama supporters there is dissatisfaction among his votes for the Patriot Act, FISA and his recent flip-flop on AIPAC etc.
Barr has already changed his urge to end the Irai occupation ASAP> One should note that he does nto enjoy the support of Neal Boortz anymore, as Boortz objected to his use of "occupation of Iraq" etc.
In the GOP, a lot of voters are dissatisfied with McCain and they are waiting for the VP, the RNC platform and the outcome of next week's convention. Whichever VP McCain selects, there will be dissatisfaction, which Barr can and should use. If McCain selects Romney, Barr can get a lot of the pro-life and IRS abolishment Huckabee supporters, and an unknown and leightwheight like Pawlenty willd efinitely not do the trick. If McCain goes for Joe Lieberman, Tom Ridge or a comparable candidate (not only on the pro-life issue), Barr would profit the maximum.
The team should focus on the relevant issues, like not only Iraq war, but also Iran and the new Russia-Georgia issue and demonstrate the non-interventionist policy of the LP. Both parties are about the same ont his and a good way yo differentiate.
Maybe the Barr team also needs to start making attack ads. on McCain and Obama, while also offering the positive solution of the LP.
In a neck on neck race, the media may start focussing on the influence of third parties on both major party candidates. Barr and Nader should hopefully profit from it. In CA the Barr campaign may expect more support from the CP, now that Alan Keyes and not Chuck Baldwin will be on the AIP ballot in CA. Barr campaign needs to reach out. He will probably not have the luxuroy of (many) TV debates. The Barr campaign should also focus on LOCAL TV and radio coverage, where they can be more successful and start with some targeted TV ads. They probably cannot afford a serious TV add campaign yet, but may try radio adds, which could generate TV coverage BTW. The polling number so are are indeed encouraging and the Barr campaign should work on gradually increasing that.
First I want to thank David for a well-written, balanced analysis.
But I must question where the writers of some of the above comments have been for the past 90 days. Mr. Barr has said many times in no uncertain terms that the first thing he would do his first day in office is instruct the Joint Chiefs to draw up a plan for a timely, safe withdrawal of troops from Iraq. (As well as most of the other bases we maintain around the world.)
As for direct mail, etc, the campaign hs spent most of its money on ballot access fights...which it seems to me should be the responsibility of the LNC in as much that Mr. Barr is not the only LP candidate running for office.
Then we have Mr. Phillies' disingenuous pontificating while at the same time he is conspiring to undermine Barr's campaign.
And finally there are those radicals who, in spite of an opportunity to grow the party and spread the word unparalleled in party history, are sitting on their hands and their wallets hoping for the worst. (And no, I am not referring to Mr. Nolan.)
Posted By: George Phillies
Date: 2008-08-27 07:41:25
For July, Barr raised about $255,000. Badnarik raised $226,000. For August, Badnarik raised $178,000. The Barr dollar clock is so far up $130,000 for the month, but there are days to go, and that may not include Barr's papermail donations completely. Those two numbers are running about even with each other. Barr's total is likely to be larger than Badnarik's; for starters, Badnarik raised much less money pre-convention than Barr did.
Shuey's claim that Barr has spent 'most of its money on ballot access fights' is incompatible with the FEC disclosures filed by Barr.
Posted By: Mike Linksvayer
Date: 2008-08-27 09:54:56
"I still hope and expect Barr to receive the highest vote total of any Presidential candidate to date (i.e. more than 921,000) and think he is likely to exceed our best percentage showing (1.06% in 1980). This will require about 1.3 million votes, but I think it could happen."
The market (ie something libertarians ought to be paying attention to and valuing over the random statements of political pundits) currently gives Barr a 35% chance of getting 1% or better.
A libertarian leaning friend of mine told me "I just don't trust the guy."
The last Prez candidate with facial hair who got a lot of votes was T. Roosevelt - long before T.V. and Nixon's "five o'clock shadow".
I believe a big part of Ron Paul's success is that he is and appears very trustworthy!
John Hospers warned us that in as little as 50 years, the Demopublicans would infiltrate the LP - back in 1979! Is Barr a Demopublican? Certainly he was a Republican Congressman for many years. Can a leopard change his spots? Certainly Ronald Reagan displayed great difficulty switching from the Democratic Party to the GOP - as Governor of California he outspent all previous governors and as President of the U.S. he ran up unprecedented federal deficits. Barr, like Reagan, brings alot of baggage. He's not a libertarian and is therefore a poor candidate for the LP.
Well once again our party has been able to waste another chance to restore liberty to America.We talk endlessly about what Barr should be doing or we lament the fact that Ron Paul is not the nominee.Excuse after excuse.We should open up a vineyard so we could profit off the Libertarian "whine".Well here's a news flash.Bob Barr is the most pro liberty/pro small goverment canadaite running in a year with historic amounts of disaproval for the major partys.But we sit and stew in our self importance while the govenrmnet gets larger every day.If every Liberty loving American[I.E.Libertarians] just gave a few Dollars to this campagin then we could win.But now permnant ballot acecss is now even in danger.But we can continue to talk about our superior ideals while Rome burns!Congratulations thanks to our inaction WE lose again.
Posted By: David F. Nolan
Date: 2008-08-27 14:48:10
Speaking of irony (see Dondero comment above) I find it ironic that one of Barr’s biggest boosters on this site is a self-proclaimed Republican (Dondero), who has worked to undermine the LP for years and who also has taken every opportunity to disparage his former employer, Ron Paul. Just something to bear in mind when reading his comments, here or elsewhere. That aside, I will reply here to comments made by Dondero and others, because the points they have raised deserve replies.
First, regarding polls, it is important to understand that the current Zogby polls are not directly comparable to other polls, past or present. They are polls of people who have “opted in” to Zogby’s survey pool. Thus, they are not a reliable indicator of actual support among voters at large. Likewise, the intrade.com figures are based on ratios of money bet on various eventualities by people who like to bet on such things. The number of bets on Barr’s possible vote percentages is very small, and thus also nearly meaningless. In my estimation, the Zogby numbers are way high, while the intrade.com figures are way low. Right now, I’d guess that Barr will receive between one and two million votes. The key word here is GUESS.
Regarding ballot status, it is in no way significant whether Barr gets on 47 ballots vs. 46 in 1988. The LP had ballot status in far more states this year to begin with, and one additional ballot means nothing in terms of popular support.
And while Bob Barr has indeed received more media coverage than past nominees, the notion that three-and-a-half minutes on a late night comedy show is “major” coverage is ludicrous. I watched the Colbert Report last night; Bob and Colbert talked about smoking cigars with Al Gore, and Colbert complimented Bob on his mustache. I doubt that this will result in 1,000 additional votes for Barr.
REAL major media coverage is when the prime-time news shows mention you nearly as often as they mention the Repo and Demo nominees. That hasn’t happened, and I very much doubt that it will.
Once again, I wish Bob Barr the best of luck, but so far his campaign isn’t going anywhere. He’s raised a bit over $750,000, and may raise that much again by election day, but he’s failed to energize the party’s activists. A good start would be to have the word LIBERTARIAN at the top of his website, in the same size type as BARR 2008. One has to wonder why it isn’t there.
Well, the most important aspect is polling. And Barr is doing incredibly well with that for a third party guy. Though I 9 years old at the time, I vaguely remember Nader polling only 2% over what he got in 2000. Which would mean Barr gets 3 or 4%. And sometimes the pendellum swings the other way. I think Anderson polled lower than what he actually got in 1980. As for signs, it unfortunate they're not free, but the campaign staff is just strapped for cash. I'm their coordinator in Manhattan, and I had to pay $75 for signs. It's just for cash. As for the politics, Barr is really caught between a rock and a hard place. If he said he wants to completely abolish the federal resehrve and pull out of the U.N. vs. just minimize the fed. reserve and criticize the U.N., he'd lose voters who like his more moderate, and don't think the LP is completely radical. Perhaps he'd get the Paul supporters if he was more radical, but he'd lose the disenfranchised McCain supporters. It's a catch 22. Either way, thank you everyone for your polite anylisis (unlike Dan Steward's). And thank you Mr. Phillies for your fine work.
Posted By: Mike Linksvayer
Date: 2008-08-27 21:18:03
David F. Nolan:
"Likewise, the intrade.com figures are based on ratios of money bet on various eventualities by people who like to bet on such things. The number of bets on Barr’s possible vote percentages is very small, and thus also nearly meaningless. In my estimation, the Zogby numbers are way high, while the intrade.com figures are way low. Right now, I’d guess that Barr will receive between one and two million votes. The key word here is GUESS."
The number of bets is small, but prediction markets haved proved unannily accurate, even without huge transaction volume -- uncanny only if you don't really appreciate markets that is -- traders have all the right incentives to discover the most accurate probabilities (prices).
While you can complain about too few bettors, any trade requires consensus among at least two people.
Everything else is just wishful thinking by single people, including your "GUESS" that has Barr getting 2 to 4 times than of any LP presidential candidate since 1980.
Every four years people with such wishful thinking (and much more fantastic dreaming) sucks the blood out of another cycle of libertarian activism and donations.
Posted By: Arthur Torrey
Date: 2008-08-27 23:22:10
I joined the Libertarian party, and have been an active member, State Party officer, 6 time NatCon delegate, and multi-term elected Libertarian officeholder because I did NOT like the Republican's bigotry, and the Democrat's socialism... If I wanted to vote for a homophobic, anti-choice, war-mongering, drug warring, anti-2nd Amendment, bigot that flip-flops about as often as my windshield wipers I'd have stayed in the Republican party...
If the LP chooses to nominate a homophobic, anti-choice, war-mongering, drug warring, anti-2nd Amendment, bigotted Republican supporter that flip-flops about as often as my windshield wipers I don't feel obliged to support him, or put on a lemming suit and join the rest of the LP in rushing off the GOP cliff to destruction.
Barr and the Redpath corruption crew has made me cut off the support from my wallet, and encourage others to do the same. I won't vote for Barr in the general, and in the admittedly unlikely event that he carries Mass, I will NOT cast an electoral vote for him - something I have publically pledged since well before Denver (I was chosen as an elector before Barr crawled out from under his rock - I would have declined had I known he would be nominated)
I pledged my support to a Libertarian, when the party gets it's principles back and nominates one, let me know...
LPMA Operations Facilitator
LPMA Presidential Elector - NOT voting for Barr!
speaking for myself
Posted By: David F. Nolan
Date: 2008-08-28 10:59:30
Not to belabor a possibly obscure point, but I believe Mike L's interpretation of the intrade.com statistics is too simple. Intrade "bets" are like stock options; at the end of the specified time, they're either worth something (100 cents on the dollar) or nothing. Currently, the heaviest action on Barr is in the 2% to 5% range, and while only 35% placing bets on the 1% option believe he will reach that level, the weighted average of all options purchased is higher than 1% -- which will be 1.2 to 1.3 million votes.
The results in November will depend on many factors, most of which are beyond our control. That's why I labeled my estimate a guess, not a prediction. (And I do agree with MIke that slinging around figures like 6% and 10% is simply feeding false hopes!)
Posted By: Mike Linksvayer
Date: 2008-08-30 12:31:30
I don't think it is possible to calculate a weighted average of the 7 scenarios covered by Barr Intrade contracts (and one implied, <1%) without making assumptions, but I tried, making some very simple assumptions -- OpenOffice spreadsheet at
and found that the average Barr % vote expected by Intrade bettors across all scenarios is about 1.3 at current last trade prices.
This is not at all in conflict with my interpretation above. The average across all scenarios includes some very unlikely scenarios. The market still gives (at current last trade prices) a 40% chance of crossing the 1% threshold.
What is a guess but a prediction you don't wish to be held accountable for? How should libertarians interpret your "guesses" vs. others' claimed "predictions" vs market prices when deciding how to allocate their resources?
Posted By: David F. Nolan
Date: 2008-08-30 12:47:25
Mike: I would concur that 1.3% is a very likely outcome for the Barr effort. Depending on the total vote, that would work out to about 1.5 to 1.6 million votes - smack in the middle of my "best guess" range of 1-2 million. And McCain's choice of Sarah Palin sure shows that intrade.com's bettors are far from uncannily accurate. A few days before the announcement, intrade had her chances at about 2%!
As for the difference between a guess and a prediction, it's a matter of confidence. Right now, my confidence level would be low for any number I named, so I'm calling it a guess. And I have no control over how others allocate their resources. I doubt there are many people who will read my comments and say "Wow! Nolan says Barr will get a million votes -- guess I'd better send him some money."
Posted By: David F. Nolan
Date: 2008-09-08 12:09:11
I see Barr's prospects as waning since McCain chose Palin as his running mate. She's no libertarian, but it appears that having her on the ticket has bolstered McCain's support among people who might have defected under other circumstances. I'd now guess that Barr will get about 2/3 of 1% of the popular vote. That would be about 830,000 if 125 million votes are cast (and counted).