The Spectacle Blog

Bob Barr’s Flip Flops

By on 7.14.08 | 12:29PM

Thirsty McWormwood documents them in devastating fashion on the main site today (though I think he exaggerates Barr's shift on immigration and appears to invent one on abortion, where Barr remains pro-life*). But I am not as bothered by Barr's flip-flops as I might be, say, Mitt Romney's. For one, Barr has been evolving in a more libertarian direction for a longer period of time than he was expected to be a presidential candidate. More importantly, Barr isn't going to be elected president. Any major-party candidate might be. Thus what Barr would really do in office isn't a concern. The relevant question is whether any significant vote for Barr is seen as an endorsement of his platform, which is both more libertarian and more conservative than the one John McCain is running on, and creates any incentive for major-party candidates to woo small-government voters.

Conservatives not persuaded by this argument have two options: McCain and Constitution Party candidate Chuck Baldwin. I'm not sure what better choices libertarians who distrust Barr really have, besides not voting.

* Once upon a time, Barr did change his position on abortion. He ran for the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate in Georgia as a pro-choice candidate, though he did make a play for pro-life votes against his pro-choice primary opponent Paul Coverdell. Coverdell won the primary and the general election, the latter in a runoff.

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