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Thursday, December 11, 2008

The Nolan Resolution Against The Barr Campaign

Yes, the resolution was lop-sidedly rejected.

I'll ask yet again: where is the evidence that before the nomination the Barr campaign made "promises" of  "tens of millions of dollars in campaign funding and as much as five percent of the popular vote"?  Isn't this just an attempt to perpetuate an urban legend?

It's just bizarre to suggest that "lack of understanding of libertarian principles" is why the alleged goals above were not achieved.

The resolution makes no attempt to substantiate its claim that "libertarian principles were denied" by the Barr campaign. I agree with the criticism that our principles were "downplayed and obscured".  I especially agree with the criticism about avoiding the use of our brand name "Libertarian".

I still agree it was a mistake not to use the Ron Paul press conference to make the pitch that the Libertarian Party is closest to the principles that Ron Paul has stood for all his life -- as distinct from the principles that Paul chose to emphasize in his 2008 campaign commercials and in his endorsement of the candidate of the theocratic Constitution Party.  Of course, we all saw how much good it did Chuck Baldwin to get endorsed by Pope Ron Paul the First.

It is not quite accurate to say that Colbert asked Barr "why previous Libertarian candidates had not received higher vote totals".  Here's what actually happened:

Colbert: In the Sunday New York Times this past week, David Boaz of the Cato Institute said "Libertarians are a big swing vote this time." Why is that?
Barr: We're a big swing vote this time because Americans are finally realizing at long last the the current two-party system, the Democrats and the Republicans, have failed them, failed miserably, and simply will give them more of the same.
Colbert: Libertarians usually vote with the Republican party. Why don't they vote for the Libertarian Party? [audience laughter]
Barr: [during audience laughter] Well, we haven't had a good candidate.

Thus what Colbert asked was why libertarian voters had historically voted Republican instead of Libertarian. Barr's tongue-in-cheek answer had an element of truth to it -- no previous LP candidate was so clearly targeted at the 50% of all libertarian-leaning voters who self-identify as "conservative" or "very conservative" in the Zogby polls that Cato analyzes.  (Polling data is at  I agree it's a mistake to muddle the Libertarian brand by saying that conservatives should want to vote for us because we're a better kind of conservative.  However, I think the comedic setting and the context of the Cato polling analysis go a fair way toward excusing Barr's clumsy remark.  Note that his remark is simply a truism if the context defines a "good candidate" as one who could bring Republican-voting libertarians into the 'L' column, and Barr would surely admit that he wasn't good at that either.

Our best previous candidate was indisputably Ed Clark.  The next time I see him at an LPCA fundraiser -- of which he's done at least three lately -- I'll ask him if he finds Barr's comment insulting given the context.  If he doesn't, then I don't see why the LNC should be worried about it.