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Adam Kokesh relays his experience at the National Press Club

Iraq War Veterans Against the War member and independent blogger Adam Kokesh has provided his own account of the events leading up to the public retraction of his endorsement of Libertarian Presidential candidate Bob Barr:

Bob Barr just had to ruin it for everyone for his own selfish reasons. He had agreed to the platform, and agreed to be at the event, only to withdraw thirty minutes before it happened. There was an empty seat for him on the stage. Paul was gracious and kind, saying things like, “if he can make it,” but behind the scenes he was angry and hurt.

I went to Barr’s own press conference right afterwards still giving him the benefit of the doubt. I had hoped that he had a good reason for not being there that I was not aware of. Maybe he would say he had a personal issue. But instead, I sat there and listened to him prattle on about Ross Perot and getting votes and forcing policy issues and “principled leadership.” Then he asked Ron Paul to be his VP.

I was fuming. I had reservations about Barr before publicly endorsing him, but I even offered my support in a letter that was delivered through the LP staff which was ignored by the campaign. I thought his transformation was genuine and that it was a powerful sign for the LP to elect a newcomer, as if to say “we will embrace anyone who comes around to our principles.” Unfortunately, we picked Barr instead. He has since shown himself to not fully comprehend or endorse the philosophy, having praised the troop surge, argued for intervention in Iran and South America, and advocated a national sales tax. He has also run as far from the LP as possible, and there is still no link to the LP on his website. His lack of willingness to work with other people on key issues (issues any true libertarian would be passionate about) is very revealing.

Kokesh moves on to describe the scene where he and Barr campaign manager Russ Verney argued over eachother and gives the gist of his side of the conversation:

I don’t remember exactly what I said, but what I was trying to say went something like this:

“What Ron Paul was doing today was taking leadership on some issues that I know you agree with and your lack of willingness to be a part of a team and work with others on these issues is telling. You have spoken a lot just now about leadership and unity, but it is clear you care about neither, except when you are the leader, and people are united behind you. Good leadership includes good followership and today, you showed your lack of both, and a complete lack of integrity. I am retracting my endorsement.”

Kokesh closes stating that he remains an enthusiastic life member of the Libertarian Party, that he has signed the petition to remove Bob Barr from the national ticket, and has a few choice words for Russ Verney in response to today’s statement on “leadership.”


  1. mscrib mscrib September 12, 2008

    To be fair to Verney and the anti-Buchananites in 2000, the Reform Party’s top elected official, Jesse Ventura, and his party disaffiliated because, well, they weren’t cranky, bigoted paleocons. This was true for many ex-RPers.

  2. G.E. G.E. September 11, 2008

    Natural Law, not New Life.

  3. Fred Church Ortiz Fred Church Ortiz Post author | September 11, 2008

    Verney makes it pretty clear that it was his decision to pull out. I assume this nasty case of leadership going around came from him too.

  4. Sean Scallon Sean Scallon September 11, 2008

    Verney is a well-known figure to Buchananites because it was his back-room scheming in 1999-2000 that did much to turn the Reform Party nomination contest into a farce where Veney and the “Dallas Wrecking Crew” as they were called, were backing John Hagelin of the former New Life Party just to keep the RP out of Buchanan’s hands.

    Everything he touches he wrecks, that’s Verney in a nutshell and he’s wrecked Barr’s campaign. Something tells me, given the fact Barr’s pullout from the press conference was last minute, that there was some infighting going on about this decision.

  5. inDglass inDglass September 11, 2008

    Good leadership includes good followership and today, you showed your lack of both, and a complete lack of integrity.

    I love it!

  6. Sivarticus Sivarticus September 11, 2008

    Kokesh is a true hero of the freedom movement.

  7. LibertyScreams LibertyScreams September 11, 2008

    There is a link to the LP on his webpage.

  8. VTV VTV September 11, 2008


    Freedom minded people are the minority in every party. And now the LP is no exception. Ron Paul in the RP. Dennis Kucinich in the DP, and the third parties themselves.

    We have to be willing to band together on the issues we all agree on. We are all a fringe of a fringe. And while we bicker about socialism and enviromentalism, FASCISM is taking hold in this country! WAKE UP! We cannot afford to be fighting each other on these issues until we settle the issues of civil liberties and foreign policy. Like NOW.

  9. G.E. G.E. September 11, 2008

    Except it is a Populist Alliance AGAINST the Progressive policies of the Progressive Era embodied by the monopoly party.

  10. Ross Levin Ross Levin September 11, 2008

    Robert Milnes – are you there?

    Your Progressive Alliance idea is making inroads…

  11. G.E. G.E. September 11, 2008

    LNC needs to step to the plate and REPRESENT its representatives.


  12. Trent Hill Trent Hill September 11, 2008

    I wonder who Kokesh will vote for now.

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