As I noted below, Libertarian Party Presidential Candidate Bob Barr failed to appear at Ron Paul’s press conference this morning.
Instead, he held his own:
Barr opened with a statement on how he’d gotten to this point, and why he’d not attended the Paul event.
– In December 2007, he authored the LP’s statement of intent to nominate Ron Paul for president if he lost the GOP nomination. Paul turned it down.
– Yesterday Barr sent Paul a letter (which I have a copy of, and I’ll scan in a bit) asking Paul to run as Barr’s vice presidential nominee. Wayne Allyn Root agreed to step aside if Paul wanted the job. Paul turned this down.
– Barr signed onto the statement of principles that Nader, McKinney and Baldwin signed, and stands by it. But he declined the offer to appear this morning.
“This is no reflection, certainly, on the tremendous and positive leadership that Ron Paul has provided to the liberty movement over the years. He recognized, for example, the strength of that movement, which has to come from the outside, back in 1987,” when he left the GOP. What Barr is offering voters is…
bold, focused, specific leadership. That is not the amorphous kind that says “any of the above” or “none of the above.” That’s not leadershp. What is leadership is what I, and our campaign, and the LP are doing. Putting before the American people not a wish list, not a menu of things you can pick and choose, not a group of candidates, but a candidate for president, Bob Barr, who stands for very specific programs and policies and direction for this country.
Some of Paul’s supporters, sitting in the back of the room, snickered at this. Barr pushed on. “The primaries are over” and the only measure of libertarian success will be how many votes the LP gets.
Atlanta, GA – Bob Barr, the Libertarian Party nominee for president, has invited GOP Congressman Ron Paul to be his running mate in the upcoming election. In a letter sent to Paul, Barr called Paul one of the “few American patriots” who exist in today’s society, and asked him to “seriously consider this final offer as an opportunity to show true, lasting leadership beyond party politics.”
Barr cited Paul’s 1987 letter to then-GOP Chairman Frank Fahrenkopf, in which Paul stated that, “after years of trying to work through the Republican Party both in and out of government…[Paul] concluded that [his] efforts must be carried on outside the Republican Party.”
Though recognizing Paul’s personal investment in the Republican Party and his recent attempts to reform the party from inside, Barr said he disagreed with Paul’s strategy. “Better options remain that will carry a message of liberty onto the ballot in November and beyond,” Barr stated, adding at a news conference called today at the National Press Club, that “change in politics and public policy in America cannot and will not be done from within the current, two-party system.”
Barr continued, “‘The status quo will not change the status quo’ and impact comes entirely from gaining votes in the General Election.” That is why Barr said he would remain focused on the Libertarian Party’s electoral effort and clear message, and why he invited Paul to join him.
“While you declined my offer to seek the Libertarian presidential nomination many months ago, I ask that you seriously consider this final offer as an opportunity to show true, lasting leadership beyond party politics,” Barr stated in his letter to Paul.
Barr’s running mate, Wayne Allyn Root, expressed support: “As the Libertarian Party vice presidential nominee, I believe in one thing above all else—principle. There can be no compromise on the ideals of limited government, lower taxes, lower spending, and more freedom for the American people. Those are the principles to which I’ve dedicated my life. The GOP and Democratic candidates only give lip service—at best—to these ideals and principles. It is only an act at election time every four years.”
“I want to end the charade once and for all,” Root continued. “I am willing to sacrifice anything to advance the cause of liberty, freedom, smaller government and to enable the American taxpayer to keep more of their own money and property. Understanding Dr. Ron Paul’s reputation and name recognition in the freedom movement, I am willing to step aside as Libertarian vice presidential candidate if he would be willing to take my place. I will pledge to work day and night, just as I have as the vice presidential nominee, to support Dr. Paul. I believe this is a wonderful opportunity for the Libertarian and freedom movements. I encourage Dr. Paul to accept Congressman Barr’s offer. The campaign is making this offer because we believe there is no sacrifice too large when it comes to improving the lives of the American people and American taxpayers.”
Barr’s letter to Paul can be found here.
Paul’s letter to the GOP can be found here.
Barr does have a point, of course. There’s nothing in the platform of either Cynthia McKinney or Ralph Nader that is even tangentially consistent with the libertarian principles that Ron Paul ran on, and Chuck Baldwin is more of a religious nationalist than a libertarian. Why he won’t just stand up and endorse Barr is, to say the very least puzzling.
But I’m not sure about this tactic of inviting Paul to join the ticket. He’s unlikely to do so, and this is only going to annoy whatever might be left of his supporters.