Bob Barr's "no-show" at Ron Paul's major press announcement today this morning has been terribly conspicuous to many Ron Paul supporters who were there at the press conference. This latest snafu has sent shockwaves to the online news sites and the entire libertarian blogosphere all over the World Wide Web. Everyone who had been waiting for Barr to show up along with Paul, Green Party presidential candidate Cynthia McKinney, Independent presidential candidate Ralph Nader, and Constitution Party presidential candidate Chuck Baldwin.
Former Libertarian Party Vice Chair Chuck Moulton, a staunch Barr supporter, commented on his candidate's absence on the Independent Political Report. He noted:
Bob Barr continues to find ways to slap the Ron Paul movement in the face and embarrass the LP. Clearly he is in D.C. and at the national press club, since he has his own event there in 15 minutes. It is inconceivable to me that he would be a no show.
Interestingly enough this isn't the first time Barr has pulled a stunt like this. This past July, he was supposed to attend a Ron Paul R3VOLution March, but instead stood up Paul and his supporters by opting to attend Las Vegas' Freedom Festival, where he reportedly was "always accompanied by handlers" to keep away libertarians who would persistently question him on his statist, Big Government stands.
According to blogger CLS (who was also at the event) at his Classically Liberal blog, Marc Victor, a classical liberal attorney and occasional talk radio show host who was publicly at odds with Barr's anti-freedom positions, also attended the festival, in which he used an opportunity to try and question Barr on his anti-libertarian views. Upon describing the entire situation, CLS, in great detail, wrote:
Marc says that when he brought up Barr’s anti-libertarian position on drugs that Barr glared at him and then gave one of his handlers a signal. Barr is always accompanied by handlers whose job is to keep libertarians away from their presidential candidate so they can’t ask him questions about his Big Government positions. A rather large woman, working for Barr then pushed her way between them in order to push Victor off to the sidelines. Barr then turned tail and ran in the opposite direction.
Even libertarian land developer Treg Loyden received the same treatment from Barr's goons when he attempted the same thing. According to CLS:
Another libertarian I know, land developer Treg Loyden was later witnessed by me having a conversation with Wayne Root, the LP’s unlibertarian vice presidential candidate. I called Treg up this evening to ask what that was about. He told me and also pointed me to something he wrote about the experience.
Treg first attempted to speak to Bob Barr, a man Treg now sees as Little Napoleon. Treg too had tried to ask Barr about his anti-libertarian position on the war on drugs. And like Marc Victor, Treg got the same treatment. First, he told Barr that his position on drugs was not acceptable and then waited for Barr to respond. Barr looked at him silently and simply refused to say anything. Barr instead turned away from Treg and started talking to a conservative.
But that doesn't end there. Even Don Rassmussen, who is involved with the Campaign for Liberty organization (CFL), was "deeply disappointed" with Barr standing up Ron Paul. He wrote the following at a Ron Paul forum:
The following reflect my personal feelings and is not endorsed by Dr. Paul or Campaign for Liberty.
I am deeply disappointed by Bob Barr's decision not to participate in today's press conference just as I have been disappointed with the Barr campaign throughout this election cycle.
The idea that he was busy is absurd. I am sitting in the National Press Club right now waiting for his hastily called press conference to begin. This is the same building where Dr. Paul's presser just ended. Barr committed to participate, but had his campaign manager call us minutes before it started to tell us that Bob thinks "it just isn't worth it." I look forward to hearing him explain how breaking a promise to Congressman Paul constitutes a wise campaign strategy.
It is my great hope that the alternative parties will present the American people with quality candidates that offer a real option. Clearly the Libertarian Party has failed to do so. Bob Barr has repeatedly broken his promises to Dr. Paul, showed up uninvited at C4L events, and made statement contrary to Dr. Paul's beliefs while still claiming the mantle of heir to the R3VOLution.
Hopefully, the LP will find a way to reject this candidate without rejecting the idea of engagement in practical politics.
Bob Barr National Field Director Mike Ferguson went on the attack against Ron Paul and his supporters on his Myspace blog by ludicrously claiming that Paul displayed "a complete lack of leadership" and "has, again, blown a tremendous opportunity to lead and advance the agenda of the Constitution, and individual liberty." It's also interesting to note that, in the hours after his Myspace blog was leaked out and published on IPR and other related blogs, Ferguson quietly and swiftly removed his offensive Myspace blog post.
The original blog post hosted on Ferguson's Myspace account stated the following:
From Bob Barr 2008 National Field Director Mike Ferguson:
Earlier today, Congressman Ron Paul (R-TX) held a press conference in Washington, D.C. where he said…well, nothing…
He invited Libertarian Party Presidential nominee Bob Barr and independent Presidential candidate Ralph Nader along with the nominees of two small, minor political parties to stand behind him as he encouraged Americans to vote for anyone other than Sens. Barak Obama and John McCain.
Ron Paul wasted the press corps’ time with this press conference. It accomplished nothing and displayed a complete lack of leadership on Paul’s part.
Of the four invitees, only Bob Barr had the sense to skip the event. He held his own press conference, also in Washington, D.C., later in the day.
Among the things in Ron Paul’s statement was a reference to the “principled non-voter”, claiming they are sending a message and should start a “League of Non Voters” to impact the nation and government.
So, in other words, Paul stated that people should not vote for Obama or McCain and should vote for a third party nominee…unless they really don’t want to.
Allow me to set the good Doctor straight: “principled non voters” count the same, and have the same impact on America, as lazy, apathetic citizens who simply do not care enough to get involved and vote. There is no difference between the wannabe political philosopher who refuses to cast a vote “out of principle” and the lazy citizen who chooses to remain ignorant of the issues, the candidates and his or her government.
Keep in mind that some of Paul’s followers have placed his name on the Presidential ballot in two states (Louisiana and Montana). Paul could have kept his name off the ballot in those states by simply requesting that he not be listed as a candidate in the general election, but in an effort in ego, he chose to allow his name to go on the ballot in direct competition with the other candidates he claims to encourage people to consider voting for.
Ron Paul has, again, blown a tremendous opportunity to lead and advance the agenda of the Constitution, and individual liberty. Since he launched his Presidential Exploratory Committee almost two years ago, Ron Paul has repeatedly said this campaign is not about the man (him) but about the message (liberty and the Constitution).
Really, Dr. Paul? Your actions belie your words.
If he were truly serious about this being “about the message” and not the man, he would be making sure that the message is resonating far and wide through and during the Presidential campaign.
The Libertarian Party begged him to accept its nomination and continue his campaign through Election Day. He declined.
The Libertarian Party then nominated the only credible pro-freedom candidate in the Presidential race, former Congressman Bob Barr, but Paul refused to support him, saying he is working for freedom within the Republican Party.
Backing Barr would have taken courage on Paul’s part. Instead, today he took a cop-out course of action by encouraging a nondescript “vote third party” message that would water down the impact of the freedom vote. If Americans are serious about sending a message that demands the restoration of our civil liberties, an end to the war in Iraq, a foreign policy that makes sense and solid, realistic economic policies then there is only one option to vote for on November 4th – Bob Barr.
Ron Paul knows that. Instead, he encouraged watering down the vote while maximizing his marketing base for the Campaign for Liberty, his book sales, etc.
After Rep. Paul collected millions in donations from Libertarians, independents and Republicans during his campaign, he has since:
1) Sold his followers a book
2) Had people travel to (or donate to) a march on Washington D.C. that ultimately proved to be too small to even get noticed, much less have any sort of impact
3) Launched the “Campaign for Liberty” and hit up his followers, again, for donations to this organization that has made no noticeable effort to support liberty-minded candidates
4) Sold thousands of tickets to the “Rally for the Republic” in Minnesota, where he then sold t-shirts, more books, vendor booth space, advertising in the programs and a host of other things.
Ron Paul is now in the Ron Paul business – and business is lucrative.
As painful as it is to state the obvious: this campaign by the man is no longer about the message, it is about the money – lots of it. Other than in his pocket and in the pocket of his paid staff, where is all the money going?
No one seems to know for sure.
In a time of economic recession, Paul has found a way to keep going back to the financial well of his followers, creating yet another challenge for candidates who are still running for office at all levels and are unable to raise the funds needed to effectively spread the message of liberty and the Constitution.
I was among the first to donate to Dr. Paul’s Exploratory committee and I also donated to his Presidential campaign. Once he dropped out of the race, though, I did the responsible thing and got behind the only remaining credible candidate, Bob Barr, who is capable of injecting the message Ron Paul claims to want to spread through Election Day and beyond.
America still needs to hear that message and only Bob Barr is capable of taking the message further down the field. Unfortunately, it is obvious that Ron Paul is more interested in making money off the message than helping spread it through someone else. Maybe he is worried that Bob Barr will publish a book and compete for customers.
Thousands of Americans rushed to join Ron Paul’s campaign, myself included. For us, it has always been about the message. We were thrilled to have someone serve as spokesman for the cause of liberty and back a candidate who could leverage his position as a major-party candidate to spread our message to millions through the campaign.
That is why we donated millions of dollars collectively.
Since ending his Presidential campaign, though, Ron Paul has gone from being the hope for America to being a major obstacle to the message of freedom and the Constitution.
By contrast, Bob Barr showed that he is not just talking about and rallying for the message of freedom, he is doing something about the need to put liberty and Constitutional issues front and center in the Presidential campaign.
The Barr campaign continues to pick up steam in the national media and in the polls. People are listening and we cannot miss this opportunity to maximize our reach. The message is still getting out – because of Bob Barr.
Dr. Paul, where is the leadership from you? We certainly did not see any today in Washington, D.C.
Do Paul’s loyal followers, I ask one simple question: Are you serious about continuing to spread the message of Liberty for America?
If so, prove it. Go to www.bobbarr2008.com and sign up for our email updates. Then, look for a MeetUp group in your area – if there isn’t one already, start one. Also, make a donation to the campaign. In any event, get involved in the Barr campaign because this campaign is actually about the message.
Now, since the post was removed, a new post was put in its place, and it now reads the following:
September 10, 2008 - Wednesday
Where did THAT blog go???
Category: News and Politics
Wow...what a day. A blog that typically gets about 25 views per day received over 4,000 in a matter of hours.
The Bob Barr campaign has asked that I remove my blog posting from earlier today, so I have.
That post was written by me and reflected MY views - it was not intended to represent the Barr campaign.
So, feel free to continue to send the email replies, in support or in opposition.
Are we really that surprised that this happened? And, for some interesting reason, didn't we kinda, sorta expect this to happen in the first place?
I'm just as disgusted as any other libertarian and liberty-minded individual about this affair. But, really, I knew something like this would happen, given Barr's hostile attitude towards Paul and the Campaign for Liberty coalition. After all, Barr did recently slam Ron and alienate so many Paul supporters by taking half-statist positions on the Drug War, the War in Iraq, gay marriage, etc. After all, Barr is the one who keeps changing his positions as often as he changes his line of suits and ties.
But this is all a moot point, to be honest. What's done is done. The damage inflicted by Barr and his cronies to the Libertarian Party and the subsequent throwing Ron under a bus are strong indicators that the Barr campaign has never been interested in expressing the message, even especially "opening up the debates" as Barr contended early on in his campaign.
We are, after all, talking about the same Bob Barr who, of all people, claimed:
- That he regretted portions of the Patriot Act after he supported them, but since has shown no interest in repealing that law, despite his claims to the contrary;
- That he would repeal the DOMA law (he did say this early on), but then subsequently say that he would only repeal a portion of it;
- That he didn't support the federal War on Drugs but only supported drug prohibition at the state levels (more of that states' rights claptrap, because the Constitution didn't go so far enough to protect liberty and individuals have rights), but then I think he was merely saying this to buy votes and supports the entire federal program completely;
- That he was against the bail out of Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae because they are "bail outs from hell," yet Barr was the one who initially embraced the bail-outs in his campaign (a point that was conveniently swept under the rug and thus forgotten by the Barr campaign and his sycophants);
- That Jessie Helms, the former Democrat-turned-GOP senator who croaked on the 4th of July weekend, was, for the most, a great guy and it was too bad that he passed away; and
- That Ron Paul would make a great VP candidate on his ticket, which took place hours after he took the political equivalent of a crap on Paul and his supporters.
Oh, and let's not forget: one of Bob Barr's staffers even fired a volley of potshots at Ron the day this entire circus with Bob Barr's political "screw-you" to Ron Paul got off the ground. If that's not a greater insult, I don't know what is.
This is, undoubtedly, the fault of the delegates who, at the Libertarian National Convention in Denver this year, gave their political crown to Barr, all on the hopes that a "credible candidate" was needed to save the Party from the likes of Dr. Mary Ruwart whom they branded a kiddie porn lover. Their mindset was: "We can't have a pedophilia-loving candidate for President to have this ticket, so we'll give it to a candidate who's credible, who's been a congressman, and -- screw it -- who's not even a libertarian. Sorry, Mary -- you lose." Oh, and let's not forget the backroom deal that Barr made with Wayne Allyn Root: "If you support me, I'll make you get a lot of support as a presidential candidate in 2012 and I won't run against you." That was a deal closer right there for Root, and he went with it.
The Party nominated a man to be on its ticket by saying "We know he's not a true-blue libertarian, but who cares? We want more votes than ever, more media exposure than ever, and be taken more seriously than we would be if we had a Ruwart or a Kubby on the ticket." By doing that, they rejected the very core philosophy of an ideological party that has deteriorated into a political mess of epidemic proportions. Besides, the delegates, the campaign and LP supporters, and the membership have made their beds; now they have to lie in them.
Moreover, imagine the PR mess that Barr's campaign has created for the Party and its supporter and member bases. The LP's PR spin machine is in full operation as I write this, but that's not a surprise. This is a political train wreck waiting to happen, and that train has gone off the tracks and flipped over the ground. It's in shambles. There's nothing that the campaign and the Party can do to repair this, but even if they do, it'll be too late for them: the voters will reject them because they know intellectual dishonesty better than the Party and its cronies.
The Party can impose a damage-control operation all it wants, but its days are numbered. That is for definite certain.