Top of the Ticket

Political commentary from Andrew Malcolm

« Previous Post | Top of the Ticket Home | Next Post »

Bob Barr -- no, not Ron Paul -- is Libertarian presidential nominee

Rep. Ron Paul had the job 20 years ago.

Now, it's former Rep. Bob Barr's turn. He's been chosen the 2008 presidential nominee for the Libertarian Party after numerous rounds of balloting that not many people care about.

Former Republican U.S. Rep Bob Barr of Georgia is now the new presidential nominee of the Libertarian Party

The Libertarians, convening in Denver, named him Sunday.

"I'm sure we will emerge here with the strongest ticket in the history of the Libertarian Party," Barr said in his victory speech.

Which may not be saying much, because as determined as many of its followers are, there simply aren't enough of them to elect their ticket to anything.

The Libertarians have been good for only around 3% of the vote in recent elections. However, 3% in a close election between the Republican and Democratic tickets could make the difference.

Much as Ralph Nader drew enough votes from Al Gore in 2000 to help George W. Bush win the White House, the little-known Barr could draw enough votes of dissatisfied conservatives to hurt Sen. John McCain's chances as the GOP nominee.

"I want everybody to remember," Barr told conventioneers, "that we only have 163 days to win this election. We cannot waste one single day." Mark Silva has the full story here.

-- Andrew Malcolm

Comments () | Archives (39)

The comments to this entry are closed.

what a shame! Mike Gravel had a real shot. that was the only reason why i joined the libertarian party. i guess i have to abandon them as well...

Ron Paul had more votes than the entire libertarian party will cast. How could you not back him?
This is why you people are ineffectual. You are almost random in your actions.

"Much as Ralph Nader drew enough votes from Al Gore in 2000 to help George W. Bush win the White House, the little-known Barr could draw enough votes of dissatisfied conservatives to hurt Sen. John McCain's chances as the GOP nominee."
Will the opinion making class or punditocracy ever cease with this manifestly untrue trope. GW was appointed president by the supreme court, the ballot count in Florida was never done, not to mention the prevention of thousands of registered black voters prevented from voting. Stop with this nonsense, please.

I would vote for him as a democrat simply because of his opposition to the patriot act.

Bob Barr is a social conservative and an interventionist. He lacks a basic understanding of libertarianism. I supported Ron Paul but I refuse to support this interloper.

What a strange lead: ...after numerous rounds of balloting that "not many people care about."

I was there, one of the few that cared, and we had a spot of excitement as Barr improbably tied (exactly!) for first in the 2nd last two ballots. It was the tighest convention - Libertarian or not - I've ever seen.

Obviously, few outsiders care about this party minutate, whether it's Libertarian, Democrat or Whig. Mentioning this in the lead (or at all) seems strange and dismissive.

I would call myself a Libertarian, so I find it horrible that this man has been choosen to lead the party. He is too much of a right wing nut to represent libertarian values.

If you mention one, then you have to mention the other....

If it's like Ralph Nader taking votes from Al Gore vs. George W. Bush in 2000, then you must not forget like that it's much like Ross Perot siphoning votes (much more than 3%) from George H.W. Bush vs. Bill Clinton in 1992...

Just wanted to mention that...anyway, Ron Paul could still be a write in, or there may be another party out there, and that may be about it...seeing as he wasn't invited to McCain's BBQ this weekend.

"after numerous rounds of balloting that not many people care about."

Stopped reading after that. Way to alienate some readers.

Unfortunately with our system of elections, the presence of these other parties can result in the election of presidents with less than 50 percent of the vote. We do not have a run off like many states or municipalities require when a candidate does not get 50.1 percent. The electoral college further complicates this. They should first seek a change in our election system before inserting themselves into the process and risking the election of someone most people do not want. That is the way some millionaire can game the system--by only getting 30 something percent of the vote--such as what Ross Perot almost succeeded with. This could have far more dire consequences than just electing Perot--this is how people like Hitler came into power. Our election system is very screwed up and it needs to be addressed before Michael Bloomberg tries this game.

He may not have the credentials of a constitutionalist that Ron Paul has, but Bob Barr is a hundred times more desirable as president than Clinton, Obama or McCain.
I would like to hear Barr's explanation of why a genuine Libertarian voter would want to vote for someone with a very rightist record, but if he comes clean and admits that he has erred in the past, I would be willing to "forgive" him. Barr would be a very strong, decisive leader in the White House.

Dr. Paul knows how biased our democratic process is for a 3rd party candidate through personal experience and will never run again as a 3rd party candidate. He has been elected 10 times as a republican for congress - he switched party to run for POTUS that one year in 1988 and he believes in individual LIberty so, why don't you leave him alone instead of labeling him a libertarian every chance you get. HE IS A REPUBLICAN AND WE ARE SEEKING REPUBLICAN PARTY NOMINATION. The race is still on, see you St. Paul.

As a Pro-Defense Republican, I refused to support Anti-Defense Ron Paul. But I can and will back Bob Barr for President. He seems like a sane libertarian on the issue of National Security.

The Libertarian Party is having something of a split itself, old party, new party. Of course, how old can you be born in 1971? LP's growing pains have to do with, shudder, electability!!! By definition, anarchists won't or can't govern. They've traditionally been useful to the sector that wants to de-regulate, which is everybody in heavy corporations and heavily depending on stock market profits and annual reports. Sorta the Exxon mobile group. Libertarians are useful to them. Still, I watched the convention with interest for there is a growing viability in a third party. Only trouble is, the Libertarians who want public office will have to govern. That gets the anarchist purist Libertarians confabulated. All they want is to be free of any and all regulation, taxes and government. I guess they drive on our roads but why should they help pay for them?

Eric Dondero, you know perfectly well that Ron Paul was not anti-defense. He was anti-offense or aggressive war. He is VERY strong on DEFENSE. Defense is not having an overseas presence that runs your military into the ground. Ron Paul got more contributions from members of the military than all the other candidates combined. You're just still angry that Ron Paul fired you.

the six rounds of voting was very exciting and made great TV, and was filled with suspence.

If you look at one thing, you have to look at another, as someone mentioned.

Ever thought about this: Maybe John McCain is siphoning votes away from Barr?

The simple fact is, why limit yourself to this mentality you have to pick a democrat or republican? That nothing else matters in the world? Does the big letter next to their name mean that what they stand for means nothing?

For example, while you could say Ross Perot cost Bush the election, you could also say Bush cost Ross Perot the election. After all, hadn't Perot led all through the summer in the polls?

Remember, every person running is just that- a person. Republicrats in no way are superior to other candidates- they only happen to be supported by the media. And it is America's fault they allow this too. Men like Gandhi in history understood something important: when everybody refuses to accept something, they truly can make a difference.

Refuse to accept the status quo, and make a decision not on the letter next to the name. Make a decision on what they stand for. And whether that is Republican, Democrat, Constitution, Green, Libertarian, or even Nader, be proud you didn't submit to the stereotype of an ignorant American, but rather a proud one.

i watched much of the libertarian nominating convention yesterday on c-span, enjoyed seeing the process, and was rooting for mike gravel!

i was listening to KFI talk radio yesterday afternoon when jesse ventura was interviewed, having been elected governor of minnesota on a 3rd party ticket. he said people should stop voting for whom they see as a "winner" and instead vote with their conscience. if more people did that, 3rd parties would have a lot more influence...

he also said NOTA (none of the above) should be included on the ballot to indicate a protest vote...

i'm still hoping ron paul declares himself a write-in candidate in CA come november, or else i guess i'll have to go with NOTA myself!

John McCain can't be spoiled. he started rotten and will lose to a tomato if it were a (D) Tomato.

I am an ardent and longtime libertarian.
I hold an official seat in our chapter and was an editor of our Party Newsmagazine. I ran for public office under the Libertarian ticket.

That said, I have been tired and impatient with the presidential nominees that the LP has traditionally endorsed; typified by the last one, where we had a true libertarian who had name recognition and a campaign infrastructure, an extroverted personality with a proven track record to get things done, and instead we chose a self-taught constitutionl lecturer who lived out of his car.

OK, I say, Bob Barr is not a fully transformed libertarian, yet. But he publicly declares to be, has washed himself down with the Libertarian moniker, has made publicly self-effacing apologies for his past anti-libertarian conduct and stances.
He has real name recognition in the real world outside of our insular camp, he has real world experience in prosecuting a political campaign, and he is just what I think the LP needs for purely practical reasons.
If he proves to be not the Libertarian he says he is, then he will be drummed out of his position in short order.
I say, although it is not the purest avenue, let's give Barr a chance to pull us out of our hovel, and parlay Ron Paul's popularity with the public's dissatisfaction with both of the Big Parties.
see my article at:

So is Mike Gravel now officially a 'former candidate'? Or is he going to run as an Independent? I need to update my scorecard for following along at home!

"The Libertarians, convening in Denver, named him Sunday."
You mean like Tuesday Weld?

I'm writing in for Ron Paul, unless Louisiana could possibly swing to Obama, in which case I'll vote strategically for him.

I'm typically registered as Libertarian, but feel no need to vote party-line...and as for this guy, I don't think he has his Libertarian bona fides in order to be running for _any_ office on our ticket, not to mention the Presidency.

In response to Gaiaschild: You don't own the roads, the military does. And until you realize that, you won't know why the "anarchists" don't want the public to pay for them.

That gets the anarchist purist Libertarians confabulated. All they want is to be free of any and all regulation, taxes and government. I guess they drive on our roads but why should they help pay for them?

GaiasChild, you obviously have no clue about Libertarians or libertarianism. No Libertarian would presume any right to travel on a road without the permission of it's owner. What Libertarians advocate is the idea that the people who use something should pay for it, and anyone who doesn't want to use it shouldn't be forced to pay for it through involuntary taxation.

We want legalized competition, a system where "The State" can't just legislate itself a monopoly on something (like, say, road building), we're not after a free-ride. In other words, it's about freedom of choice and freedom from coercion, nothing more, nothing less.

Remember fate is a harsh mistress. McCain could drop dead naturally. At the same time some power broker could decide to take out Obama ia la Kennedy style as described by Ms. Clinton, with the subsequent stinky fingers taking out Ms. Clinton from the race. Just one of these events would leave a very open race not to mention chaos going into November's election.

Currently, there will be only “ONE TRUE SAINT” in St. Paul and it ain’t Mac!

Both parties have US priorities “ALL SCREWED UP”
You don’t have dig deep to find truth. The information is out there!!!

“A freethinker always fascinated of seeking and speaking of truth” – Anonymous

So... we're going to have 2 mixed race (one self-hating from GA), and 1 old white man running for president. This oughta be good...

You need to stop blaming libertarians for Gore's defeat in 2000.

Over 50,000 black voters were purged from the voter rolls in Florida 2000. The democratic party failed to stand up for those voters, and they lost. The racist scum is just as thick in the democratic party as it is in the republican party. They would rather lose an election than fight for the rights of minorities.

Why do people think that income taxes pay for schools and roads? Our schools have dumbed down our population so bad that we cant even understand the difference between direct and indirect taxation. Indirects taxes like gasoline taxes (feds and states) and tolls pay for road repairs. The reason they are called indirect taxes is because we can avoid them. If we don't want to pay a tax on gas we can ride a bike or walk. Please, tell your kids not to sleep through history class, and ask questions about our revisionist history texts. Our founding fathers never anticipated such an ignorant electorate.

My prediction is that Obama becomes the next president of the United States and that Democrats sweep in this election thanks in large part to McCain who promises to be an extension of President Bush on so many levels.

Of the Republicans that do make it back to the senate and the house, they will be those Republicans that took a traditional stance of balanced budgets, sound money, spending cuts, adherence to the constitution, and a foreign policy of non-intervention.

Ron Paul's ideas (which are simply just old Republican values) will once again be embraced whole-heartedly in 2012 as Republican strategists attempt beat an overwhelmingly Democratic senate and house. If the Republican Party fails to do this, the Libertarian party will capitalize on its new popularity and, after garnering 5% of the vote nation wide, will launch an increasing number of elections at all levels of government.

"As a Pro-Defense Republican, I refused to support Anti-Defense Ron Paul. But I can and will back Bob Barr for President. He seems like a sane libertarian on the issue of National Security."

Vote for Bob Barr, but do so informed. You said Ron Paul is anti-defense. Somewhere along the line you've received bad information or you never knew or understood RP's stance on the military to begin with.

Ron Paul is for a strong military. Our military is stronger here at home training with increased numbers and better technology and equipment, than they are spread out over the globe in places where they are no longer needed and have nothing to do with protecting this country.

Ron Paul will defend this country against all attackers.

If there's a threat then Congress should declare war as is their duty and Ron Paul would be required to act. Its the Constitutional way. North Korea and Vietnam were undeclared like Iraq. Both wars were pointless for the protection of the US and killed many of our men.

Ron Paul suggests using Letters or Marque to go after the terrorists - which is Constitutional. So he's not for appeasement. He just does things Constitutionally - that crazy Ron Paul.

The Libertarian Party (RIP) has sold out for "name recognition" and allowed itself to be infiltrated by former CIA member and current pro-War on Drugs creep Bob Barr.

In fact, this creep is just plain pro-war in general -- just check out his article on his website warning that we need to start a war with South America because there's still (gasp) DRUGS in Colombia! (imagine that -- the War on Drugs still hasn't worked...)

And talk about anti-liberty and personal freedom!

Are you supporters really so gullible and trusting? You're STILL believing what politicians say and not what they do?? For shame. He's not fit to call himself a Libertarian and is a different species than the brilliant, principled Dr. Ron Paul with a perfect 30 year record of voting for the Constitution.

He's merely a plant by the neocons, you poor fools. Wake up.

Won't Get Fooled Again


I like the idea of a third party becoming stronger in this country. Now we have the illusion of THREE choices rather than TWO.

Nonetheless, I am sticking to Ron Paul because he has a more consistent voting record than Bob Barr. Sure people can make a moral 180, but that just means he can make ANOTHER moral 180 and turn into something else we don't support. Truth and honesty prevails.

I was at the LP convention. It was paid for privately, using no government funds (take that, DNC and RNC!). I also did not vote for Barr in any of the ballots, and I doubt I'd vote for him for President, either.

Barr only got the nomination by 10 votes, on the SIXTH ballot. His endorsed VP choice, Root, only got that nomination by 3 votes.

The LP could have had former drug warrior Barr with running mate MMJ advocate and CA hero Steve Kubby, but blew it.

Cyberbian, Dr. Paul was offered the nod and he turned it down. Are you so stupid as to suggest we force the nomination on him, we, the Libertarian Party, who doesn't believe in initiating force? Please, get a clue.

Gaiaschild, you too are clueless on the LP. Please go do soem research and talk to real libertarians and just maybe you'll abandon your big-government, socialist ways.

Gary Trieste, Barr is no Libertarian. He doesn't understand the basics, starting with the First Amendment, which is why he has not publicly apologized for his actions regarding Fort Hood, nor is his change on DOMA sincere. The LP sold itself out as Republican-lite AGAIN in search of a magic bullet that doesn't exist.

Phillip Rhodes, right on the money, couldn't have said it better.

Who let Eric Dondero out of the asylum again?

All that anyone would care about is a Barr/Paul ticket
-Mc Cain Loses
We get our voice heard.
They regret disrespecting RP and friends....

Let's get real

Voting for Bob Barr = Nationwide Ballot access for the Libertarian Party, and a better candidate in 2012. It represents building the freedom movement and not letting it die as a "cult of personality" but rather live on as a set of wonderful ideas.

If you favor a write in campaign for Paul, you are delusional. If you favor the Constitution Party, you are supporting a theocratic (Church + State) party that has minimal ballot access (~10 States).

To effectively grow the freedom movement, you must vote for Barr in '08. I'm not a Barr supporter, but I'm a realist. Ron Paul was the best candidate with the most realistic chance before super tuesday. I was asked to support him on the basis of logic, and I did.

When the logic changed, I stopped supporting him, and now support Barr, due to simple realism. Please, act in a way that actually damages the incumbent police state this November. Thanks.

For the person who stated "these people should think before they run and mess up our system", what is "our system". I thought the system was to have a fair electtion. I didn't know it was to have a democrat vs. a republican every 4 years, that seems like Communism plus one. You can either hang yourself or suffocate yourself which would you choose. Not the greatest two options is it, its nice to have more than 2 choices. You can't have an open and fair debate when there are only two points of view. Left and right wing, sounds to me like the same bird. I want to fly with a new bird that thinks outside the established idea lines

I am very disappointed by the Libertarian party's choice of nominee. Bob Barr wasted our tax payer dollars chasing down Clinton over the Lewinsky affair. He was a strong supporter of the war on drugs and advocated complete federal prohibition of medical marijuana. He voted for the Patriot Act. He proposed that the Pentagon ban the practice of Wicca in the military. He voted numerous times to uphold the trade embargo and travel ban against Cuba.

This man is not a Libertarian. If he was lucky enough to get elected, he would shame the party. Write in of Ron Paul for me.

I retract what I said about the Constitution Party only having ballot access in ~10 states. It looks like they're doing a better job on ballot access than usual this year. I also like their Presidential candidate, as a person, but I feel that dividing the LP is probably not very beneficial to the success of the freedom movement. I can not criticize the Constitution Party, as their people in WV have been decent and willing to cooperate on ballot access, and history has not proven them wrong, or me right.

I still support Barr and Root, but I no longer see any third party as an outright menace to freedom. Third parties are one method by which the uninformed masses of voters gradually and incrementally creep towards common sense.

As such, none are without flaws, and it's anyone's guess who will finally figure out how to tap into America's dying culture of freedom. Ron Paul did pretty well by advocating sound money. My guess is that there are a few intelligent and motivated people who don't want 90% of their labor going to Federal Reserve bailouts. That's the hot issue.

Read "The Creature from Jekyll Island" by G Edward Griffin for details.


I support voting for Barr, so that we can all have the opportunity to vote for Root in 2012. There is no better candidate for President of the US, and no candidate to better reinvigorate the freedom movement as a whole.

Bob Barr isn't a Libertarian. I know, because I am one. I don't understand this, but it's as simple as casting a vote for Paul or Baldwin. Problem corrected.

So let's see. He voted for the Patriot Act.
He voted to make marijuana illegal for the sick.

War on privacy, due process of law, and personal choice is a real problem for me.

The Patriot Act tried to nullify the Bill of Rights. The war on drugs might as well be a war on steak knives. In an open market, they would be cheaper and safer and it's none of your damn business anyway how people use them on themselves. If captain stupid wants to off himself, it means more oxygen for me.


Recommended on Facebook


In Case You Missed It...

About the Columnist
A veteran foreign and national correspondent, Andrew Malcolm has served on the L.A. Times Editorial Board and was a Pulitzer finalist in 2004. He is the author of 10 nonfiction books and father of four. Read more.
President Obama
Republican Politics
Democratic Politics



Get Alerts on Your Mobile Phone

Sign me up for the following lists: