Ack! Barr?

Bob Barr, Russ Verney and the Libertarian Party leadership want you to know that Ron Paul isn't the über-leader this country needs. After all, a man who showed “true leadership qualities” would have given Barr an exclusive endorsement while snubbing a good portion of the country's voters.

As you may know, Ron Paul held a press conference on September 10, 2008. In attendance were three candidates for President who had signed a pledge agreeing to carry out four planks important to Dr. Paul in exchange for an endorsement of their candidacies. Bob Barr, who had promised to attend, backed out in the final hour before the event began. He decided, in an apparent attempt to demonstrate his leadership qualities, that it would be best to distance himself from Ron Paul and assure the country that working with others in politics is a terrible idea. In spite of his sour-grapes-induced temper-tantrum, Barr still signed the pledge.

Therefore, what you may not have realized about Ron Paul's press conference is that it was unprecedented in the history of American politics. How powerful must one political figure be to get four candidates — one independent and three with party affiliations — to agree to four major platform planks which are important to him? Very powerful. Which apparently made it that much more unpalatable for Barr to deal with a putative snub by Dr. Paul. If you still aren't sure how influential Ron Paul has become, the fact that the McCain campaign made an attempt to gain his endorsement is in and of itself evidence of his ever-increasing influence in national politics. Were Paul just some bit player in this year's Presidential election, there would be no reason at all to seek his endorsement.

While we can infer by the actions of McCain, Nader, McKinney and Baldwin that Dr. Paul's importance in this election can never be over-estimated, we can also infer by Barr's actions that his pledge to bring home the troops, restore civil liberties, investigate the Fed and reduce corporate welfare can be taken with a grain of salt. He can't even complete a pledge to attend a press conference. How do you think he'll treat his pledge to bring home the troops?

The Barr campaign and Russ Verney in particular, made it clear that the only acceptable outcome of the press conference would be an exclusive endorsement of Barr's candidacy. When no promise of exclusivity was forthcoming, Barr's campaign bailed and attempted to discredit Dr. Paul.

See, alienating a few million voters who follow Dr. Paul, is “true leadership.” O.K., I'm being facetious. However, while it may be true that the Barr campaign is just plainly stupid, there might be another possibility to explain their actions.

The two major political parties in this country have increased, exponentially, the number of belligerent laws designed to prevent competition in political ideas from flourishing. They have been wildly successful in this endeavor. In spite of this, over the past 25 years it has been the Libertarian Party which has consistently organized its members to obtain ballot access in every state, with few exceptions. As Dr. Paul indicated in his press conference, the number of non-voters who refuse to participate in protest and the number of voters who refuse to vote for the major-party candidates puts the major-parties in the unenviable condition of seeking a majority from a minority of eligible voters. It is the independent voter who has moved into the majority. If we were to band-together, the “major” parties would cease to have any significant affect on the elections. The major parties know this and their tactics become increasingly suspect in moral, legal and ethical terms.

Many of you may not know this, but Bob Barr lost his congressional seat due to an organized LP effort to defeat himself and other “drug warriors” in office. Since that time, Barr has allegedly reformed and sought the nomination of the very Party which managed to unseat him. Barr's current communications director, Shane Corey was driven out of the Libertarian Party leadership for advocating larger government intrusions into our lives and a perpetuation of the war against terrorism. He also was accused of orchestrating a smear-campaign against Mary Ruwart, a candidate competing against Barr for the LP nomination. Smear campaigns are a normal routine in politics lately. However, the fact that this particular smear originated from the LP leadership, calls into question the objectivity of the Party's power-elite. That Corey eventually ended up working for Barr's campaign is just more fodder for speculation. It can't be easily explained.

Barr, a former CIA agent, voted for the PATRIOT act while in Congress and prosecuted hundreds of citizens who ran afoul of the nation's drug laws while he was a federal prosecutor. His track record as a leader for the cause of liberty is barren. And to top off a dubious set of career accomplishments, the tactics he has used to gain the LP nomination are suspect.

In 2000, the implosion of the now-defunct Reform Party was caused, coincidentally, if not accidentally, by another ex-Republican, sealing the fate of the GOP by removing the threat of a growing Reform Party machine, which had cost George H. W. Bush his re-election bid in 1992. Was this intentional? It's hard to tell, but there appears to be a greater body of circumstantial evidence for the intentional sabotage of the LP by Bob Barr in 2008, than there is for the work of one Patrick Buchanan during the 2000 election.

Whatever truth may be told about the demise of the Reform Party and the current LP crisis, it is true that the two major parties have been systematically attempting to destroy any chance that anyone who rejects the false dichotomy offered to us every election cycle will have any representation in government. By legal and not-so-legal shenanigans, they have successfully prevented us from offering a meaningful challenge to their hegemony.

Whether or not Barr and his clan's efforts are intentional, they are destroying the Libertarian Party's ability to even remotely advance the cause of liberty. Russ Verney and Bob Barr would have you believe that this is the result of “true leadership.” Well, if that's their idea of leadership, then I'll stand behind Ron Paul, Cynthia McKinney, Chuck Baldwin and Ralph Nader before I would stand next to either of those two.


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