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Bob Barr's nomination would offer conservatives a choice

By John Bender
web posted April 7, 2008

Congressman Bob Barr's announcement that he is seeking the nomination to run for president on the Libertarian Party ticket is bad news for John McCain and good news for conservatives.  Polls show Congressman Barr is the frontrunner in the race for the Libertarian Party nomination and very likely to get the nomination at the party's national convention in May.

None of the four conservatives in the Republican race were able to gain traction in the primaries for various reasons, leaving the conservative base with yet another election in which they can hold their noses and vote for "the lesser of two evils" or stay home.  Bob Barr entering the race changes that.  If he is nominated, conservatives will have the additional option of voting for a conservative. 

Congressman Barr is a solid conservative with a lifetime ACU record of 98%.  His last two years in office he scored an ACU record of 100%.  McCain's lifetime ACU record is 82% but his 2006, the most recent year for which ratings are available, ACU record was 65%.  Among Republican Senators only Lincoln Chafee, Susan Collins, Olympia Snowe and Arlen Specter had worse voting records. 

During his entire career Bob Barr has been a strong advocate for smaller government, lower taxes, strict adherence to the Constitution (including all of the Bill of Rights), and the rule of law.  He was the first elected official to demand Clinton's impeachment.

Democrats, with the help of some establishment Republicans, redistricted Mr. Barr out of office.  God knows the establishment hacks in both parties can't stand having an effective, fearless, constitutionalist in office.

Since then Mr. Barr has worked to advance liberty, protect our rights, and to restore the Constitutional restraints on government the Founding Fathers established.  These endeavors haven't gone over well with the Rockefeller Republicans who rule the Republican Party or with the far left who control the Democrat Party.

Neocons and statists in the Republican ranks have attacked Mr. Barr for joining Congressman Dick Armey (ACU record 97%) in working with the ACLU in defending the Fourth Amendment.  Even one of the smartest and most conservative talk show hosts to grace the air waves recently made the totally ridiculous statement that Congressman Barr isn't a "real" conservative because he has sided with the ACLU in that fight. Yet it is interesting that some, maybe even most, of those who have attacked Mr. Barr for working with the ACLU on protecting the Fourth Amendment and the rule of law had no qualms about siding with the ACLU themselves to fight the McCain-Feingold attack on free speech.

These hypocrites generally neglect to mention that Mr. Barr was not just siding with the ACLU in this effort to protect the Fourth Amendment.  He was also siding with groups like the American Conservative Union, Americans for Tax Reform, the Free Congress Foundation, the Second Amendment Foundation, and other solidly conservative groups.  Nor do they mention that bedrock conservative groups like the Christian Coalition, the National Rifle Association, Gun Owners of America, the National Association of Manufacturers, the Family Research Council, the Southeastern Legal Foundation, the Business-Industry Political Action Committee, the National Right to Life Committee, to name just a few, have also worked with the ACLU to protect a Constitutional right.

Of course, it's easier to attack one man than to attack scores of groups with millions of members and the resources to counter attack.  It is easy to demonize an individual true conservative, but very risky to attack groups with millions of conservative members.  Attacking every conservative leader or group who ever sided with the ACLU on an issue would immediately expose these hypocrites for what they are.  Some of the talk show personalities, bloggers, columnists and talking heads, who have attacked Congressman Barr as not being a conservative because he works with the ACLU defending the Fourth Amendment and the rule of law, by their own reasoning must not be "real" conservatives either, since they sided with the ACLU defending the First Amendment.

The truth of the matter is, if Bob Barr gets the Libertarian Party's nomination, he will be the only conservative in the race.  His candidacy will offer conservatives a choice of voting their convictions by voting for a man with an unblemished track record of supporting classical conservative positions, or voting for the lesser of two evils.

John Bender is a freelance writer living in Dallas.  He is a past staff writer for EtherZone.com and his columns have appeared in various print and electronic publications.






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