Friday, September 19, 2008

Hurricane Bob leaves destruction in his wake.

When conservatives took over the Libertarian Party the promised that their candidate, Bob Barr, would practically walk on water. He's sinking faster than any other candidate in recent LP history. They promised that Barr's selling out of libertarian principles would attract swarms of dissatisfied conservatives to vote LP -- as if the real goal of the LP was merely the increase of votes and NOT the increase of liberty. Apparently none of the promised benefits are materializing.

The Barristas told the LP that their candidate could raise funds. He certainly raised millions when he was showering the money on Big Government Republicans just prior to his nomination. But he is still below $1 million raised for his own campaign. This is hardly path breaking funding. Other, lesser known LP candidates, have done better.

Instead of doing the hard work of a campaign Barr engages in court room stunts. When a church held a forum with Obama and McCain it was Barr who sued them to try to force his way into a church forum -- something no real libertarian would do. No tax funds were involved so it was private and Barr's actions were inherently statist -- no surprise there. Now he is trying to push a law suit to take McCain and Obama off the Texas ballot with the silly idea that he believes, that if successful, he will win the state. He won't succeed.

But while he was playing court room games in Texas his campaign was neglecting other states and losing ballot status there. It was recently announced that the LP will not be on the ballot in Connecticut -- though party officials are now scurrying to try to appeal the ruling that they didn't have enough valid signatures for ballot status. Barr's campaign is putting the LP in fourth place when it comes to ballot access with Nader on the ballot in 49 states and Barr only managing 44 states -- the worst LP showing for some time. Even the lacklustre Michael Badnarick campaign managed ballot access in 48 states. Harry Browne managed 50 states. Andre Marrou managed 50 states, Ed Clark managed 50 states. Certainly when it comes to ballot access Barr has managed to undo decades of progress.

We were told by the Barristas that running an Right-wing Republican would attract a large number of unhappy conservatives and thus Barr would set new vote records for the Libertarian Party even if they were voting for a libertarian. And we were told that one place we would see this would be the Georgia race where Barr could actually tip the race their in Obama's favor. That was the goal, of course, the election of Barack Obama. The far Right in the GOP, which is where Barr is most comfortable, wanted to punish the Republicans for not anointing someone they approved of. Barr's goal was to punish the Republicans not build the Libertarian Party -- he doesn't give a damn about the Libertarian Party.

But even the Georgia race isn't living up to Barr's promises. Barr isn't taking enough votes away from McCain to punish him and change the race in Barr's own state. The latest Rasmussen poll shows McCain with a comfortable 11 point lead. As for Barr they say: "Libertarian candidate Bob Barr, who served in Congress as part of Georgia's Congressional delegation, receives very little support from voters in the state." That's Barr, the more you know him the less you support him. The smarmy little weasel isn't going anywhere. He has the most name recognition in Georgia and he will be lucky to actually poll 3% there. I suggest he'll get less than 2% and this will be his stellar state. It's all downhill from there and the incline will be pretty steep.

Hurricane Bob swept into the LP and it blew away a lot of infrastructure that was built up over decades. It knocked down the principled positions of the LP and it hurt many of the leading activists over the years. The conservative coup leaders talked about rebuilding the area and that "aid" would come sweeping in from the loony Right. As in the case of Katrina it didn't materialize. All that happened was a lot of destruction. I have concluded that is a good thing as the Libertarian Party is the wrong tactic for spreading liberty and ought to die. But the people who betrayed party principles to secure Barr's nomination actually think political action will work. These shinning stars ought to hang their head in shame as they have done more damage to the LP in a short few months than anyone or anything in the past.

The Barristas in the LP sold out principle. They engaged in some pretty dirty tactics. They lied, they misused offices they held, and they acted like the gutter politicians they seem to admire. They took the party to new lows and some of them continue to act this way, especially a few from California. And in the end they will have done vast damage to the party they claim to support. Perhaps they really do love the LP and love liberty. If so, then Oscar Wilde put his finger on it:

Yet each man kills the thing he loves
By each let this be heard,
Some do it with a bitter look,
Some with a flattering word,
The coward does it with a kiss,
The brave man with a sword!

Some kill their love when they are young,
And some when they are old;
Some strangle with the hands of Lust,
Some with the hands of Gold:
The kindest use a knife, because
The dead so soon grow cold.

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