Thursday, May 8, 2008

Barr to end exploration, begin campaign

He'll announce Monday in Washington:
The Hon. Bob Barr will hold a press conference on Monday May 12 to discuss his future plans and the 2008 election. Rep. Barr . . . launched an exploratory committee last month to determine whether he should file as a candidate for the Libertarian Party’s presidential nomination.
Dave Weigel has more at Reason's Hit & Run.

A little birdie tipped me last night that this news was coming this morning, but the news was embargoed and I don't burn sources. Anyway, I was so shagged out from Wednesday's trip to Shepherdstown (following Tuesday's trip to Martinsburg) that I slept until noon, and got scooped on it. Eh.
At the AmSpec blog, Philip Klein says that "Barr has the potential to hurt John McCain in some swing states," and who can argue otherwise? The Ron Paul boom signaled that clearly enough.
To me, however, the real story -- and one that Jonathan Martin at Politico, for example, doesn't discuss -- is the very tough struggle Barr faces just to get the Libertarian nomination. (I wrote about that last month.) The more radical faction of Libertarians is not going to let an ex-Republican like Barr have the LP nomination without a fight.
The Libertarian radicals don't give a damn whether they nominate a candidate who can hurt John McCain. The radicals are fanatically committed to keeping the LP a cozy little discussion group for ideological purists like themselves. Having a political impact in the real world is less important to them than ensuring that the LP doesn't accidentally attract people with more mainstream views.
Of course, the LP radicals spew venom at Republicans and conservatives. But when a Libertarian candidate like Barr comes along, with the potential to be a torpedo that sinks the GOP and makes the LP genuinely relevant -- well, the radicals don't want any part of that.

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