WASHINGTON — Bob Barr launched his Libertarian Party presidential bid Monday morning, and wasted no time taking aim at presumptive Republican nominee John McCain, whom he blasted as a “Johnny-come-lately” to the Bush tax cuts who doesn’t have any claim to the label “conservative.”
The former congressman from Georgia reiterated a series of stances on issues that could complicate his efforts to capture the Libertarian nomination later this month, but make him potentially dangerous to McCain in some swing states in the general election.
Barr remains pro-life, and is less extreme in his small government and antiwar views than purists within the Libertarian Party.
For instance, while Barr said he favored “reevaluating” government spending in the Departments of Education, Commerce, and Energy, as well as the need for U.S. bases overseas, he did not make a blanket statement, as past Libertarian candidates have, to eliminate such departments, and immediately close all overseas bases. Probably his closest bond with Libertarians is his strong stance against the PATRIOT Act.
On international affairs in general, his tone was a lot more measured than what we’ve seen from Ron Paul — there were no stinging critiques of U.S. as an imperialist nation.
Barr voted for the Iraq War, but now believes it was a mistake and wants to “set in place a plan” to “dramatically decrease the military, the economic, and the political footprint we maintain in Iraq.”
But his language remained cautious. He opposes precipitous withdrawal, and described it as “foolhardy” to announce a timetable for pulling out of Iraq. “Only a fool would signal to whoever their adversaries are when we would be drawing down our troops,” he said.
In response to another question, he added that “the doctrine of preemptive war has no basis in traditional and historical notions of America’s security.”
Such is the dance he is employing to mollify Libertarians while trying to appeal to a broader constituency than the typical nominee of the party.
WHEN I ASKED HIM how he would handle Iran’s quest for nuclear weapons, he opened with a dig at McCain, remarking, “First of all, I’m not going to go around making up songs about such a serious matter.” This was an obvious reference to McCain’s “Bomb, bomb Iran” ditty.
He said that Iran is a much different place from Iraq, and that military action there would have tremendous consequences, so it should not be taken lightly. He described the possibility of Iran obtaining nuclear weapons as “remote” and said he believes that there are many diplomatic avenues that have not been fully explored yet.
Aside from the issues, what struck me was how much more of his fire was reserved for McCain, with little criticism offered for Barack Obama. When asked what his problems were with McCain, he quipped, “How long do we have here?”
Barr declared, “Anybody who stands as the foundation of their domestic agenda, McCain-Feingold, today cannot lay claim, at least with a straight face, to calling themselves, or being labeled as a conservative.”
McCain was not truly committed to reducing the size of government, Barr said. He dismissed McCain’s opposition to earmarks as a “red herring,” because even if you eliminated all of them it would be a drop in the bucket in comparison to the overall budget.
Barr also said McCain was, “not committed to deep and significant tax reform. As a matter of fact, there are some legitimate questions that have been raised over whether McCain is simply a Johnny-come-lately to the modest tax cuts which have been the only area in which the current administration has done what it said it would do.”
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
The debacle of this president’s administration is both a cause and a symptom of the decline of American values. Unless Congress impeaches him, that decline will go on unchecked. An eminent jurist surveys the damage and assesses the chances for the recovery of our culture.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
The American Christmas, like the songs that celebrate it, makes room for everybody under the rainbow. Is that why so many people seem to be hostile to it?
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?
H/T to National Review Online