Bob Barr: An Old-School Republican in Libertarian Clothing

Complete Score: 23 / 42 = 55%

At first glance, Bob Barr seems to be a great choice for citizens disillusioned by the disappearing conservative values in the Republican party, but when you dig deeper it becomes more and more apparent that Bob Barr is not truly a viable choice. After watching the third party debate between Bob Barr, Chuck Baldwin and Ralph Nader, it’s obvious that Barr is a better choice than John McCain as Barr exhibits true conservative values and is calm and collected and rational, but when compared to Chuck Baldwin, Barr loses much of his appeal.

Bob Barr
Bob Barr

Photo credit to Bob Barr for President.

Value

Barr would certainly make a good president for economic purposes. His position on limiting the role of government would allow private businesses to replace government and to flourish. His position on repealing the income tax and replacing it with a consumption tax would also help the average worker who chooses to save and thus provide capital for our economy, rather than punishing them as is done today. Barr is also in favor of drastically reducing government spending by decreasing military expenditures, eliminating pork, and cutting welfare benefits. Though I disagree with Mr. Barr that cutting benefits would be a good thing for our society (it would remove a much needed safety net, thus pushing people to get dangerous and illegal jobs) his stance on cutting government spending is correct and needed in our current climate.

Score: 4 / 5

Quality

Here, Wayne Allen Root [WAR], Bob Barr’s vice-presidential candidate, really hurts Mr. Barr and the libertarian party. Watching the vice-presidential debate this past Sunday, WAR come across as a used car salesman pitching us his latest lemon before we realize that this guy is just out to make a buck. Mr. Root constantly railed against the government as whole, proclaiming that anything the government touches turns to poop and that the less government the better. It strikes me as very disingenuous as Mr. Root is running for a government job. If he was truly interested in eliminating government he would be working to do so, not applying for a job! Further, humanity and our society have consistently proven that we need an intermediary to protect citizens from larger organizations and more powerful individuals. Mr. Root strikes me as the type of individual who would eliminate safeguards without ensuring that companies not take advantage of their customers, environment or other companies. A free market does not mean the government should back off, rather a free market needs a government to ensure that everyone is playing on the same field and no one is doing steroids to give themselves and unfair advantage.

Further Bob Barr has many of the same problems as Cynthia McKinney in terms of organizing his campaign and recruiting voters. For instance, Barr shunned Ron Paul and his attempt to unite third parties recently, thus losing many of the Ron Paul votes. Barr also did not attend the first third party debate but did attend a recent debate between Chuck Baldwin, Ralph Nader and Mr. Barr. Whereas Ralph Nader strikes me as someone who searches for the correct answer, Mr. Barr comes across as someone who searches for the answer that supports his libertarian platform.

Score: 2 / 5

Bob Barr and Wayne Allen Root (left to right)
Bob Barr and Wayne Allen Root (left to right)

Photo credit to Bob Barr for President.

Innovation

Well, by shunning Ron Paul Mr. Barr did find a new way to turn voters away from himself. Bob Barr had an easy play here, join with Ron Paul and gain access to Paul’s extremely devoted fan base. Instead Barr skipped out on Ron Paul at the last second, thus leading to Ron endorsing Chuck Baldwin over Barr.

Aside from this singular burst of creativity, Bob Barr’s platform is decidedly old-school. His platform contains many old Republican values, such as limited government and sound money policy. It’s innovative as the Republican party that championed many of these ideas (but never really instituted them) has mostly abandoned these very values but in the end it’s not quite innovative as much as practical. In our day and age though, being practical an rational is a fresh sight on the campaign trail so Mr. Barr gets some credit here.

Score: 3 / 5

Social Benefit

Unlike Chuck Baldwin, who is pro-life, and anti gay marriage, Bob Barr believes it’s simply no place for the federal government to be sticking their noses. I’d have to partially agree with Mr. Barr and believe states should be able to decide what they want to do here, as well as in many other instances. However, another part of me thinks that geography should not decide whether someone is treated equally based on sexual preference, or given access to a potentially life saving medical procedure. Though I lean liberal, I tend to agree with the conservative statement that life begins at the cellular level. It might be human life yet, but it is some form of life. It’s certainly not an inanimate object!

In either case, Barr’s belief that the federal government should get out of a private citizen’s life is a good stance, especially when it comes to our privacy and our civil rights that have been trampled upon lately. To me, Barr represents a step backward to before many of the Bush laws that took away our civil liberties, whereas Nader represents a step forward beyond the Bush laws. To me, the Nader stance seems more reasonable as it takes into account that Bush did exist. We need to recognize what’s happened over the last eight years and put in safeguards to ensure it does not happen again, not simply hit the reset button.

Score: 3 / 5

Freestyle!

Bob Barr is certainly better than John McCain, but I do not believe he’s the best presidential candidate.

Score: 11 / 22

You can read more about Bob Barr at Bob Barr 2008.

Complete Score: 23 / 42 = 55%

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