Saturday, April 12, 2008

Bob Barr enters the 2008 Presidential Election party

...and then came Barr.

As if the 2008 election weren't interesting enough, a new wrinkle has been added with the announcement from Bob Barr that he will seek the nomination of the Libertarian Party.

This is not some little known, political neophyte or radical. Bob Barr was not a foot soldier in the Reagan Revolution, he was a general. He was one of the handful of politicians responsible for the passage of the Contract with America agenda: balanced budget, welfare reform, lower taxes, individual freedom as well as responsibility, etc. These agenda items were not popular before Barr and company came together to get the vast majority of them passed. A few determined individuals brought about major change in the direction of this country, and Barr was one of them.

Barr does have some views on issues that would seem to be counter to the Libertarian agenda, but he has explained on the talk show circuit that Libertarians don't necessarily agree on specific issues, they just share the view that settling those issues is not the legitimate role of the federal government. He says that maximizing individual liberty and minimizing government intervention in the lives of individuals is something we should always be working toward. He doesn't expect victory in November (although he'd welcome it). The immediate goal is to establish a Libertarian Party that can be a real contender against the two major parties. Finding the key issues that individuals of very different minds can agree upon as the legitimate role of the federal government will be essential to making that happen. The recognition of issues that don't qualify and the clear communication thereof is just as important. For example - Gay marriage. Can you be against gay marriage and still be a Libertarian? Under the Barr model, I think you can, as long as you agree that the federal government doesn't get to make the call.

Barr is a very capable politician and could well become a major player in this race. Personally, my beef with the Libertarians has always been that they didn't seem to understand the necessity for a strong national defense. I'm anxious to hear some details on how Barr would define Libertarian Party national defense policy.

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