Sunday, June 01, 2008

Dear Media: Bob Barr's Votes Belong to Him!

In the first news interview I saw with Bob Barr, the question that always gets asked, and will probably get asked over and over and over and over and over was asked: won't you just be a spoiler and take votes away from McCain. This question carries with it the assumption that McCain deserves rather than earns the votes he gets. Also, it exposes the media bias against anyone running against the two ruling parties -- primarily in the number of times anyone running as a third party candidate gets asked this question.

Also, I keep hearing people say that while some third party candidates have done well at times (Teddy Roosevelt on the Bull Moose Party, and Ross Perot with the Reform Party), no third party has won. That is historically inaccurate. Abraham Lincoln won the Presidency running as a third party candidate. Once upon a time the Republican Party was a third party. Lincoln had been a member of the Whig party, but joined the upstart Republican party in 1854. Within six years, the Republicans would elect a President, and replace the Whigs as one of the two major political parties in the U.S.

Of course, the Republican Party had one major issue they were concerned with: preventing the spread of slavery, with the intention of abolishing slavery. And that issue was so big and polarizing, that it catapulted the Republicans into the White House in a few short years. I don't really think opposition to big government to the extent the Libertarian Party is opposed to big government is popular enough this year to send Barr to the White House. But with the Republicans trying desperately to emulate the Demcorats, with McCain being the posterboy of that move, and the unpopularity of the war, there may be something there a charismatic leader could pull together and turn into a large enough voting block to win. But it will take some major strategizing. A typical Libertarian wouldn't be able to do it, but a successful former politician could. Bob Barr may not be the dream ticket for many Libertarians, any more than McCain is the dream ticket for many Republicans -- but Barr may be the best chance the LP has ever had.

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