Bob Barr running for president as a Libertarian

Scout Finch put up a link to this article about Bob Barr announcing his presidential candidacy:

He first must win the Libertarian nomination at the party’s national convention that begins May 22. Party officials consider him a front-runner thanks to the national profile he developed as a Georgia congressman from 1995 to 2003.

Barr, 59, helped lead Bill Clinton’s impeachment. He quit the Republican Party two years ago, saying he had grown disillusioned with its failure to shrink government and its willingness to scale back civil liberties in fighting terrorism.

I despised Barr during the 1990s, and I still think impeaching Clinton was an abuse of the process intended to punish presidential “high crimes and misdemeanors.”

But I have to admit that he has shown a sincere belief in conservative principles during the past few years. Read this article about the reception he got at the February 2006 Conservative Political Action Conference:

“Are we losing our lodestar, which is the Bill of Rights?” Barr beseeched the several hundred conservatives at the Omni Shoreham in Woodley Park. “Are we in danger of putting allegiance to party ahead of allegiance to principle?”

Barr answered in the affirmative. “Do we truly remain a society that believes that … every president must abide by the law of this country?” he posed. “I, as a conservative, say yes. I hope you as conservatives say yes.”

But nobody said anything in the deathly quiet audience. Barr merited only polite applause when he finished, and one man, Richard Sorcinelli, booed him loudly. “I can’t believe I’m in a conservative hall listening to him say [Bush] is off course trying to defend the United States,” Sorcinelli fumed.

Even if he only gets a percent or two of the vote, Barr could throw some states to Barack Obama this November.

John McCain still has problems with some elements of the conservative base, including libertarians who voted for Ron Paul in the primaries. In a few states, such as Nevada, Paul outpolled McCain in the GOP primaries.

Neiaprogressive noted that Paul got 8 percent of the vote in the Indiana and North Carolina GOP primaries last week. That’s after he received nearly 16 percent of the vote in the Pennsylvania primary.

It will be interesting to see if the beltway media give Barr more coverage than a minor-party presidential candidate would usually receive. He was an important figure in Washington for many years.

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