Newly announced presidential candidate Bob Barr of Georgia heads into next week’s Libertarian convention in Denver looking to build momentum and raise cash. To date, Ron Paul has been the darling of libertarians, and while he remains in the race and still has a pile of loot, I expect that Barr will begin to siphon off some of his support.
Since Barr has left Congress he has been an outspoken defender of civil liberties, attacking the Patriot Act and other post-9/11 anti-privacy initiatives. He is a staunch supporter of gun rights and limited government, among other favorites. Plus, he’s a little nutty.
In short, libertarians are going to love him.
And this is going to mean big trouble for McCain. My feeling is that since libertarians will shortly realize that Paul really won’t make a third party run, they’ll turn to Barr. If Barr can raise even 20% of the money Paul did, he’ll have enough to do damage. With a Republican Party that is fractured and reeling, and a population looking for alternatives, it’s easy to see Barr playing the role of spoiler. Pull 2% in Ohio and it may be the difference that swings the state to Obama.
You know McCain is pissed, and other Republicans are panicking. From an article by Aaron Gould Sheinin in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:
“No reasonable conservative is going to vote for anybody except McCain if the alternative is Clinton or Obama,” Gingrich said. “Barr is not an alternative.”
Define reasonable, Newt. If there is one indication that Barr will be trouble for McCain, it is this:
“Ex-Republican’s Libertarian presidential bid has GOP on guard, though experts say he may have little effect.”
If the “experts” think it, it’s sure not to come true.