Philip, I certainly agree with you — and with a couple of Spectator readers — that at this point, Bob Barr’s Libertarian candidacy appears to have done no significant damage to John McCain. And you are also right that a Barr bid for the Ron Paul vote does nothing to attract those conservatives (e.g., Rush Limbaugh) who are disgruntled mainly because of McCain’s “maverick” departures from Reaganite orthodoxy. A cynic might suspect that the chief political object of Barr’s appearance at Monday’s let’s-talk-to-Iran rally was to convince Paul’s anti-war backers (and especially Paul’s donors) that Barr is “one of them.”
If that were the only thing that Barr were doing — if he were a single-issue anti-war candidate — then there would be no prospect that he would ever make any headway among disgruntled Republican conservatives. However, Barr is also reaching out to mainstream free-market groups like Americans For Prosperity, and will appear at an event in Marietta, Ga., next week during AFP’s hot-air balloon tour. An AFP official pointed out to me yesterday that John McCain was a co-sponsor of the Lieberman-Warner cap-and-trade bill that failed on a cloture vote last week.
To give you an idea of how Barr might make his pitch to disgruntled Republicans, look how he goes after GOP leadership in response to a question (1:55) during this interview with Bloomberg:
Also, you might want to check out Jeremy Lott’s most recent Politico column, which is only superficially about Ralph Nader’s 2000 campaign.
Notice to Readers: The American Spectator and Spectator World are marks used by independent publishing companies that are not affiliated in any way. If you are looking for The Spectator World please click on the following link: https://thespectator.com/world.