Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Why did the weasel cross the road?

The (formerly) Libertarian Party nominated conservative Bob Barr and the promise was that Barr would do substantially better than previous LP candidates. That Barr didn’t have the ability to do better was indicated by the necessity of a series of dirty or corrupt tactics used by his campaign and his top supporters.

With so many people unhappy with the status quo it should have been a good year for the LP. Normally LP votes go up when the presidential race isn't’ close. When it is close people fear voting for a third party. So with voter dissatisfaction so high, with the race clearly favoring one candidate over the others, the LP had a golden opportunity to increase their totals.

Barr didn’t do particularly well. He has not even received 500,000 votes nation wide. LP candidate Ed Clark, who was actually a libertarian, received 921,128 votes. In 1996 LP candidate Harry Browne received 487,798 votes which is 1,761 more than Bob Barr got with his conservative campaign. While Barr’s vote total may inch up slightly as more results come in there is nothing in his campaign to applaud. He was a dismal failure.

The LP sold out principles in order to put this Republican carpetbagger on its ticket. The trade-off was supposedly going to be principles for votes. Nominate Barr, and his buffoonish vice presidential candidate, and the LP would be taken to new heights. They talked about a $30 million campaign and massive increases in votes. What they got was a campaign that didn’t live up to what the LP did 28 years ago.

The strategy of the Barristas was slightly different than what they said it was. Their goal was to punish the Republican Party for not nominating a far right nutter. They weren’t out trying to support the LP which is one reason they ignored LP activists. They were out to get the GOP in the belief that, if they were the margin of difference causing the GOP to lose, then that party would revert to Barr’s conservatism. They didn’t even manage to do that. Why did the Georgia weasel cross the road? He didn’t, he got run over before barely stepping foot on the pavement.

Note: Apparently the sell-outs who pushed Barr seem to have forgotten something. The reason the LP was founded was to promote libertarian ideas not to win votes. If vote totals are the goal then they should have nominated Obama and they could be crowing about a major victory. What made the LP the party of principle was that it put principles above vote totals. With Barr they put vote totals above principles and ended up with neither.

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