Friday, December 15, 2006

Bob Barr Joins Libertarian National Committee

Former U.S. Representative Bob Barr (R-Georgia) has surprised the political world by formally affiliating himself with the Libertarian Party and dissolving his ties to the Republican Party.

A news release on the LP web site explains that Barr has accepted a position on the Libertarian National Committee, as a regional representative of the party's equivalent of a board of directors.

The news release states in part:

LNC Chair William Redpath stated, "Bob Barr's willingness to serve as a leader of the Libertarian Party represents a significant and positive development for our organization. The Libertarian Party played a pivotal role in key races in 2006 and has emerged as a strong and principled political force."

Redpath continued, "The antiquated two-party system was dealt a blow today as we have welcomed a patriotic statesman into our ranks with the intent of using his vast experience and widespread respect to help recruit and elect Libertarian candidates of his caliber."

Barr's first official action as LNC representative will be to organize a meeting with state party leaders to address party building and political goals for 2007.

After accepting the position, former Congressman Barr stated, "I'm pleased to assist the Party of Principle in this capacity and hope to further our political success as we move closer to the 2008 election cycle. Being a member of this body is a serious and long-term commitment that I gladly accept. As importantly, I'm happy to announce that I am now a proud, card-carrying Libertarian who is committed to helping elect leaders who will strive for smaller government, lower taxes and abundant individual freedom. I encourage other Americans from across the political spectrum to join me."
The LP's news release also provided background information on the former legislator, who is the most prominent individual to join the LP in recent years. (Republican Congressman Ron Paul of Texas was the Libertarian candidate for president in 1988, when he was in retirement from Congress. In 1996, he regained a congressional seat despite virulent opposition from the GOP establishment.)

According to the LP,
In addition to having served eight years in the House of Representatives, Barr serves as a Board Member of the National Rifle Association and is Chairman of Patriots to Restore Checks and Balances. He also is a member of The Constitution Project’s Initiative on Liberty and Security at Georgetown University. He advises a variety of public policy organizations, including the American Conservative Union and the American Civil Liberties Union. Barr is President and CEO of Liberty Strategies, an Atlanta-based consulting firm with offices in the Washington, DC area. He practices both civil and criminal law.
Reporting on the Barr/LP announcement, the Associated Press said:
Barr became a darling of conservatives over his persistent attacks on President Clinton in the 1990s.

At the same time, Barr showed an independent streak that at times frustrated Republicans.

He has frequently criticized President Bush over privacy concerns stemming from the Patriot Act and other federal anti-terrorism efforts.

Georgia Republican Party Chairman Marty Klein called the move disappointing, saying -- quote -- "We're leading based on principles here in Georgia."
(The Washington Post has a somewhat different version of the AP story on its own web site.)

Although the AP also noted that "Barr said he has no plans to run for office," one has to wonder whether he might not be persuaded to seek the LP's nomination for a congressional (or Senate) seat in Georgia or even for President in 2008. We'll wait and see.

My question is: Has Barr reversed his pro-drug war positions, which he has defended so vociferously (such as in debates with radio talk-show host Neal Boortz)? I hope so; he's too smart to continue supporting such a miserable failure.

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