With their respective candidates for president the Democrats and Republicans have given the American electorate a clear and meaningful choice to make: Vanilla or French vanilla? But before you flip a coin and enter the voting booth, you should know that there IS a third choice. Former U.S. Representative Bob Barr is running for president for the Libertarian Party.
Bob Barr was born in Iowa City in 1948 and spent much of his youth in places like Malaysia, Panama, and pre-revolution Iran where his father took civil engineering jobs. He earned a degree in International Affairs from George Washington University in 1972 and a law degree from Georgetown University in 1977.
From 1970 to 1978 Barr worked for the Central Intelligence Agency. He was a U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Georgia from 1986 to 1990. He then served as president of the Southeastern Legal Foundation which supports “the principles of limited government and individual freedom.” Barr has worked with groups as seemingly divergent as the American Conservative Union and the ACLU.
In 1994 Barr was elected to the U.S. House of Representative for Georgia’s 7th District during the “Republican Revolution.” He served on the Judicial Committee, Committee on Financial Services, Committee on Veteran’s Affairs and as Vice-Chairman of the Government Reform Committee. He led the charge to impeach Bill Clinton for committing perjury and later became a vocal critic of President Bush’s erosion of due process protections, showing that Bob Barr doesn’t like Executive excesses regardless of party.
In 2006 Barr officially joined the Libertarian Party. In May of 2008 he became the Libertarian Presidential Nominee. This may be a banner year for Bob Barr and the Libertarian Party as there seems to be growing frustration with the present mess created by the two ruling parties.
The young people now arriving on the political scene (who grew up with their choice of hundreds of TV channels, soda pop, etc…) are particularly dismayed with the lack of choice that the two-party duopoly offers them. They are also disgusted that they are already being saddled with the yoke of a crushing public debt that they didn’t create. Bob Barr offers them at least one more choice and he wants to cut government spending before Congress can completely destroy their future.
Goldwater/Reagan/Ron Paul Republicans who believe in smaller, Constitutional government are also frustrated with their current choices. While in charge of the federal government’s purse strings the GOP increased non-defense and non-security spending by so much that they made the Democrats look like penny-pinchers (which is no small feat). The Republican presidential candidate John McCain voted against the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts and supports a “cap-and-trade” (tax) on American industry. At a time when the overtaxed and overregulated U.S. economy is barely keeping its head above water, cap-and-trade would be like throwing it an anchor.
Bob Barr not only supports cutting taxes, he wants to completely overhaul the tax system and abolish the 16th Amendment (which authorizes the income tax). He would drastically cut federal spending and work for freer markets, not more regulations.
Many Democrats are disgusted with their party as well. Their candidates talk a good game about civil liberties and ending the war in Iraq while they’re at fundraisers and rallies, but don’t actually do anything about it when they get back to DC and even collaborate with the Bush administration on things like domestic spying.
Bob Barr would remove our troops from Iraq. While maintaining a strong military, he would reorient it toward its original mission: Defend America. And Barr’s fight against the increasingly Orwellian surveillance-state has earned him a reputation as one of the nation’s leading advocates of privacy rights.
Gun owners also face an odious choice with the two major parties. Despite his rhetoric, Barack Obama is clearly an anti-gun zealot. Unfortunately, John McCain isn’t much better.
The McCain-Feingold Act specifically sought to muzzle groups like the NRA from criticizing anti-gun candidates. NRA’s Wayne LaPierre called it “the most significant change in the First Amendment since the Alien and Sedition Acts of 1798, which tried to make it a crime to criticize a member of Congress.” The earlier McCain-Lieberman Gun Show bill supposedly sought to close the imaginary “gun show loophole,” but Second Amendment scholar Dave Kopel pointed out that the bill was “loaded with poison pills which would allow a single appointed official to prevent any gun show, anywhere in the United States from operating.”
McCain supported Bill Clinton’s Supreme Court nominees, who both recently voted AGAINST the Second Amendment in the case of DC v. Heller. McCain even did TV commercials for an anti-gun group. These and other actions earned McCain a grade of “F minus” from Gun Owners of America and the NRA’s official journal called him “one of the premier flag carriers for the enemies of the Second Amendment.”
Bob Barr is a committed supporter of the Second Amendment. The Libertarian Party was the only political party to file a legal brief in the Heller case, urging the Supreme Court to strike down the DC gun ban and uphold the Second Amendment. This brief was written by… Bob Barr. Rather than trying to torpedo the NRA, Bob Barr serves on its board of directors. Barr states his position succinctly, “I oppose any law requiring registration of, or restricting the ownership, manufacture, or transfer or sale of firearms or ammunition to law-abiding citizens.”
On these and other issues, you DO have a choice. When offered only vanilla or French vanilla, it’s time for a new ice cream shop. If you’re one of the many people disaffected by the “lesser of two evils” two-party system, please check out the Libertarian Party at http://www.lp.org/ and visit Bob Barr at http://www.bobbarr2008.com/.