Bob Barr Announces Presidential Run * Updated *
As has been long expected, former Rep. Bob Barr has announced that he’s running for President as a Libertarian.
Former Republican Rep. Bob Barr has announced that he’s running for president as a Libertarian.
His candidacy would be a wild card in the White House race and many believe it would hurt Republican Sen. John McCain.
Barr made the announcement Monday at a news conference. He first must win the Libertarian nomination at the party’s national convention that begins May 22. Party officials consider him a front-runner thanks to the national profile he developed as a Georgia congressman from 1995 to 2003.
This is, I think, bad news for McCain. That said, I’m sure there’s a few libertarian-leaning Obama supporters who might find Barr’s run tempting if he can make a real go at it. (Like, for example, this writer.) Barr already has a website up here. All politics aside, let me just say that the design on his site is really clean and easy on the eyes. Campaign web designers, take note!
In the comments below, yetanotherjohn asks why Bob Barr as the Libertarian candidate really matters, given the poor performance of Libertarian candidates in the past. Here’s why I think it does:
(a) As a former Congressman, Bob Barr has more credibility than any Libertarian candidate in recent years. This will result in more and better media coverage, which translates into better returns.
(b) It’s about the electoral college, not overall popular vote, and Barr could make a difference in swing states. As my colleague Dave Schuler points out, rightly, this Presidential race is going to be won on the margins. Bob Barr is an attractive candidate for conservatives disaffected with McCain who wouldn’t dream of voting for a Democrat.
(c) If Ron Paul doesn’t pursue a third-party candidacy, Bob Barr is an attractive candidate for his supporters who, though small in number, are well organized and can raise money.
(d) I have seen Bob Barr on TV many times, and he does not come off as crazy. This is important. It ensures that he will be taken more seriously and lead to better quality coverage.
Obviously, Barr is probably not going to be elected President, but I do think that he’s a strong third party candidate. I’m hoping that he’s credible enough that his really strong, sound rhetoric on civil liberties will help both McCain and Obama strengthen their policies and rhetoric in that direction even more–both candidates already have strong civil liberty instincts, and it’d be nice if the political winds pushed them to coincide with those.