World Affairs Brief, May 16, 2008. Commentary and Insights on a Troubled World.
Copyright Joel Skousen. Partial quotations with attribution permitted. Cite source as Joel Skousen’s World Affairs Brief
BOB BARR’S LIBERTARIAN RUN FOR PRESIDENT
Former CIA man and Republican Congressman Bob Barr says he has launched a committee to seek the presidential nomination of the Libertarian Party. He is no shoe-in by any means. His main competition is former Alaskan Democratic Representative Mike Gravel, who has a lot of support in the Libertarian community. Barr has high ratings from the NRA and is noted for his sponsorship of the Marriage Defense Act of 1996 which appeals to conservatives but not all Libertarian Party members. He is clearly seeking to woo Ron Paul supporters to his cause.
Barr’s problem in convincing Ron Paul supporters to come his way has more to do with his dubious moral character than with his stated positions. Paul supporters are used to dealing with a champion who has unimpeachable moral standards in both his public and private life. Barr’s record is severely tarnished, and as conservatives know, politicians with lots of moral skeletons in their closet can be leaned on by the Powers That Be. As a brief summary, Bob has been married 3 times and had has been accused of having extra-marital affairs leading to the breakup of two of those marriages. According to Barr’s second wife Gail Barr, the would-be-champion of the pro-life movement paid for and did not object to her having an abortion in 1983. He was also having a secret affair with his current wife while Gail Barr was undergoing cancer treatment (shades of Newt Gingrich and John McCain). Barr is also reported to have failed to pay child support to the children of his first two wives and “while married to his third and present wife was photographed licking whipped cream off of a few chesty strippers at his inaugural party… for charity.”
Nevertheless, the GOP is mildly worried that a Barr candidacy could siphon off votes from John McCain in the November election. The Washington Times reported that various mid-level Republican leaders have tried to discourage him from running against McCain–for the sake of conservative unity. But Barr counters, “In the month since we formed our exploratory committee, not a single Republican who has spoken with me to try and convince me not to seek the Libertarian nomination has disagreed with my reasons for considering a run.” The Times also quoted him as saying, “Most Republicans who asked him not to run ‘also said they understand why I’d run and why John McCain is not conservative and will not seriously tackle the growth in government power and spending,’ he said. ‘Some said they would vote for me if I ran, but for the sake of the Republican Party, they would prefer I didn’t.'” Interesting.
Barr is also not nearly as ideologically consistent as Ron Paul. Ben Pershing writes that “if Barr really is disillusioned with the two major parties, he hasn’t shown it with his wallet… Barr has continued to exercise his inherent right to dole out campaign cash, and his political action committee — now known as the Bob Barr Leadership Fund — has contributed money to roughly two-dozen Republican members of Congress, according to Federal Election Commission records. Recipients of Barr’s largess have included some decidedly moderate, non-Libertarian types like GOP Reps. Christopher Shays (Conn.) and Deborah Pryce (Ohio) and Sen. Norm Coleman (Minn.)…[His] his last recorded PAC contribution, made in February, went to … a Democrat: Rep. Tom Allen, a candidate for Senate in Maine.”