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Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Bob Barr gets Libertarian Party nomination

On Sunday May 25, the Libertarian Party held its convention to select the parties Presidential and Vice Presidential candidate. After six rounds of voting, ex-congressman Bob Barr comes away winning the nomination 324-276 over research scientist Mary Ruwart. Ruwart also sought the party’s presidential nomination unsuccessfully in 1983. Endorsed by Bob Barr, Wayne Allyn Root will be his running mate as Vice President. Unlike the Democratic and Republican party, the Libertarian party does not hold primaries, delegates selected by the Libertarian Party show up at a convention and place their votes for the candidate they want. The candidates with the least amount of the votes gets removed from the ballot and if no one candidate holds the majority of votes in goes to the next round and the next until a candidate is selected.

“I’m a competitor and I’m in this to win. I do not view the role of the Libertarian Party to be a spoiler and I certainly have no intention of being a spoiler”, Barr Said. He expects the party will be on the ballot in at least 48 states and perhaps all 50 if the party can qualify in West Virginia and Oklahoma. Barr also said he expects to be invited to the national political debates by qualifying with poll support of 15 percent or more of registered voters.

Barr left the GOP in 2006 over what he called bloated spending and civil liberties intrusions by the Bush Administration. Barr represented a district north of Atlanta, and was first elected to Congress in 1994 where he served four terms. He is known for his role in the Clinton impeachment proceedings. Barr was defeated in 2002 after Georgia’s Democratic controlled legislature put him in a district in which he had to oppose a popular Republican incumbent, John Linder.

Sunday’s convention also ended the political career of the former Senator from Alaska Mike Gravel. Senator Gravel who recently dropped out of the Democratic presidential race said his political career is over. “I just ended my political career, he said. “From 15 years old to now, my political career is over, and it’s no big deal. I’m a writer, I’m a lecturer, I’ going to push the issues of freedom and liberty. I’m going to push those issues until the day I die” Gravel left the Democratic party after he was excluded from some Democratic debates because he failed to meet fundraising or polling thresholds.

The Libertarian Party and Presidential candidate has allot of work ahead of them. The last two Libertarian candidates, Michael Badnarik in 2004 and Harry Browne in 2000, drew fewer than 400,000 votes each. If Barr wants to be more than just a spoiler to the Republican race they will need to raise allot of money and get as much main stream media coverage as the Democratic or Republican candidates get. With a team like Bob Barr and Wayne Allyn Root anything is possible. Bob Barr is good at fund raising and Wayne Allyn Root has shown he can get the press.

What will this mean for all the Ron Paul supporters? There is no doubt that most of his supporters are Ron Paul for the long haul, however he no longer has his donation widget on his web page, he still has about $4 million in the bank and everyone is working hard to force a brokered convention at the RNC in September through the delegate process. Will Ron Paul endorse the Libertarian Party candidate, a party in which he was the presidential nominee 20 years ago? Will he endorse Chuck Baldwin of the Constitution party or no one? One thing is for sure, both the Barr and Baldwin are going to need money if they are going to compete. In order to do so they are going to need the support of those who are part of the Ron Paul Revolution. Almost every Ron Paul supporter I know believes we should have more than just a two party system. My question is can we work hard to get Ron Paul more delegates and financially support another party such as the Libertarian party or the Constitutional party? If we do this, it will be an election that goes down in history. Ross Perot in the 90s received of 18% of the popular vote, can the Libertarian Party finally do it too? Wouldn’t the elections be great if we no longer had to pick between the “lesser of two evils” and started picking between the “greater of two goods”? This year might be the year we get to shake things up and start taking away from the two dominating parties.

Many wonder if it can be done, if the Libertarian Party can get the job done. I often wonder. When I went to the websites of some of the popular news agencies in this country, the “main stream media” it was hard to find the story of the Libertarian Convention. I could not find a single announcement on Fox News dot com. On both the New York Times and Miami Herald homepage they did a nice write up about Syracuse Lacrosse team winning the title but I had to dig to find the news about the Libertarian Party convention and nominations. Politico and the LA Times both had a link to the story on their homepage and CNN.com had the story under their “Politics” page. To say the least the Libertarian Party needs to start thinking PR and very soon if they want to make a real impact.

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