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Ear to the Ground

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Posted on Jul 23, 2008
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Ready to rumble: Barr says the GOP has lumbered off the right path since Bush II took office.

He’s been lurking in the wings, and now Republican-turned-Libertarian Bob Barr is starting to loom larger in campaign ‘08. According to the Los Angeles TImes, Barr has set his steely sights on the GOP, issuing withering criticism about Bush (he’s worse than Clinton!) and threatening to spoil his former tribe’s party this fall.


The Los Angeles Times:

Being regarded as a spoiler is not his first choice, but if it gets him on CNN—which it did twice in as many days during a recent week of campaigning—then so be it. This is known as free media, all Barr can afford since he started out 18 months and millions of dollars behind his more famous rivals. His operation is so frugal, campaign manager Russ Verney personally authorized a case of Dr. Pepper and a big jar of pretzels for the untested staffers, who are so young they have to pay a premium to rent a car.

Barr is running as a Libertarian because he thinks the Republican Party—which he once served with such enthusiasm that his house and offices overflow with elephant decor—has run off the rails.

In fact, as much as he despised Clinton, Barr thinks President Bush is worse. “What George W. Bush has done to the fabric of our constitutional government, to separation of powers, to a government of limited powers is absolutely unforgivable,” he said.

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By cyrena, July 24, 2008 at 1:09 am Link to this comment

Paolo,

Some good points here. It WOULD be interesting to know how many folks who consider themselves to be ‘conservative’ might actually be libertarian. Just like it might continue to amaze many folks who think of themselves as ‘liberal’ to be more ‘conservative’ if they really understood what any of it meant.

I say that because attaching party names with these terms can be very confusing, and I don’t know that many people who’ve really taken the time to think it though, who can actually attach themselves to a pure brand of liberalism, or conservatism, or anything else.

It’s true that the Constitution says nothing about a 2-party system, but that’s not what we have. We not only have other party’s besides the R’s and the D’s, but those who chose to remain Independent as well.

So, the structure is there for a multi-party system, and always has been. It’s the electoral structure that prevents it from realizing it’s full effectiveness. Direct democracy (ie, none of this winner take all stuff) would definitely change the entire dynamic of the process, since it would require that all candidates be very clear about their own personal positions, as opposed to being tagged based on whatever their party association happens to be. It would also require the American public to actually pay attention to the issues.

Now I don’t know if we’ll ever see such a thing here in the US, but it’s something to strive for.

Meantime, Jackpine, I *have* actually heard Democrats (and even some republicans) say the same things about bush II and his thug regime as Barr has. Several of them. John Kerry once denounced them as the RADICAL RIGHT that they are, but surely he’s not the only one. If you hear the individual voices of these political parties, (both actually) rather than what appears to be the ‘party voice’ there are different notes of the complete tune.

Now I’m not always even certain that ‘right’ necessarily applies, to what was John Kerry’s take, but RADICAL damn sure does. And RADICAL is never ‘conservative’. In reality, I’m probably more ‘conservative’ than this current gang that has brought us to the brink of destruction. How many criminals can you think of that you’d consider to be ‘conservative’? Conservative of WHAT?

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By Paolo, July 23, 2008 at 7:23 pm Link to this comment

If Bob Barr were simply allowed into the debates, McCain would be reduced to a red-faced, angry, foul-mouthed, petulant little man. He already is, of course—but Bob Barr would bring that out in him for all to see.

I also think Bob Barr would tap into the huge pool of voters who think they are “conservative” but are really libertarian. With a good appearance at the debate, Barr could win fifteen or twenty percent of the vote (he already is on track to win six percent, even without being in the debates).

But both Dems and Reps are perfectly happy with their cozy little country club: they don’t want any rude intruders. So, the chance of a debate appearance is slim, unless Obama insists on it. (Politically, he would be a fool not to insist on it—but again, there’s that old country club thing.)

Now, I don’t think Bob Barr is a very good representative of libertarianism (I’ve been a libertarian since the 1970’s), but he stands head and shoulders above both Obama and McCain.

Also, Bob Barr would say what needs to be said about the criminality of the Bush Administration. Obama will play it safe, and take a mealy-mouthed approach in an attempt to make everyone love him. We need third and fourth and fifth party candidates who will speak the truth loudly.

Nowhere in the Constitution is there mention of a “two-party system.” That is a lie put out by the D’s and R’s. The system needs to be opened up so all viewpoints can be heard—not just the stale platitudes of the D’s and R’s.

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By jackpine savage, July 23, 2008 at 5:00 pm Link to this comment

What George W. Bush has done to the fabric of our constitutional government, to separation of powers, to a government of limited powers is absolutely unforgivable.

Well at least someone who can get on CNN is saying it.  Why can’t the Democrats say it?  Is it because they’re scared?  Or is it because they don’t really disagree with what G.W. Bush has done, but are simply hoping to grab that power?

Granted, they can’t really say anything because we already know that they have no intention of standing up to the man in any way.

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