Libertarian Party Embraces Big Tent

Something really strange is going on with the Libertarian Party. I mean, more so than usual — I wouldn’t bother to point out the obvious.

Their annual convention is going on as I write. Some highlights:

  • Bob Barr, most famous for opposing medical marijuana and for his role in the impeachment of Bill Clinton, is running to be its presidential nominee.
  • So, possibly, is Tucker Carlson, the bowtied guy who filled the Pat Buchanan chair on Crossfire.

What in the world is going on here? These people aren’t even from the libertarian wing of the GOP, let alone honest-to-goodness, according to Hoyle big-L Libertarians.

The LP has always been something of a joke as a political party. Basically, they’re a bunch of folks who get into a room to debate which of Ayn Rand’s books was the best and to rail against the injustice that hemp is illegal. Why, the Founding Fathers loved hemp!

But at least they were predictable. You could always count on them being true to their principles. Indeed, it’s right there on the masthead:

Libertarian Party Embraces Big Tent

What’s up with this cast of characters? It’s not as if embracing these guys will suddenly make them legitimate contenders for winning the presidency. So, why compromise without some gain?

FILED UNDER: 2008 Election, Political Theory, The Presidency, , , , , , , , , , , , ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Brian K says:

    Satisfy the need for a little spotlight I suppose.

  2. legion says:

    I’ve always thought of Tucker as a sort of male bimbo – an immeasurably shallow brain, filling a chair and parroting whatever was whispered into his ear with no comprehension or active thought. Fielding him as the LP Pres candidate would not alter this view.

  3. Brian J. says:

    It’s Ayn Rand, you whim-worshipper.

  4. Floyd says:

    AHH….And so the day has arrived,so soon!
    Ann..UH..Ayn falls from notoriety into ignominious obscurity.
    The “Voice of Reason” is gone! and… “Atlas shrugged”![lol]

  5. I fixed the typo, thus making this discussion thread more interesting and effective than anything that the LP will accomplish this year.

  6. James Joyner says:

    Thanks. And, as Insty would say, Heh. Indeed.

  7. Bithead says:

    What in the world is going on here? These people aren’t even from the libertarian wing of the GOP, let alone honest-to-goodness, according to Hoyle big-L Libertarians.

    Yeah, no kidding.

    The supposed party of principle, though, does get something out of all of this. Think on it;
    They get:

    People. What little start power these fools have, brings in more people then the LP has gotten in years, on their own.
    Money. Such influx of people always brings in money for any party, and the LP is not unique here, nor are they unique in claiming that’s not what they’re about.
    Power. With added money and people parties invariably get more power from that combo. Which, apparently, is their biggest motivation, when you get down to it.

    So much for principle.

    Ask me again why I’ve never taken the Libertarian Party seriously.

  8. G.A.Phillips says:

    Liberal,Libertarian, whats the difference?

  9. Joey Panto says:

    Take this quiz and you’ll understand.

  10. G.A.Phillips says:

    Take this quiz and you’ll understand.

    I came in between Conservative/libertarian, but here is problem, This what I get from both Lib party’s, that they both believe in isolationism, they both don’t believe in evil, and they would both remove the Christianity that formed the fabric of this nation.