Would Barr consider a GOP run in 2012?

I just heard from a friend of mine who stresses that he wishes to remain anonymous. He’s attending the convention as a delegate and told me about a conversation he had with a Barr supporter (late) last night over some drinks.

Apparently, the Barr supporter wanted to convince my friend to leave his candidate of choice and support Barr because it was the first step in a master plan aimed at getting Barr elected President. Apparently, as this Barr supporter saw it, running in 2008 as a Libertarian would give Barr a national platform for his ideas that he could then take and use in a 2012 Republican primary campaign. “Just like Ron Paul did,” went the argument in favor of this idea.

Now, I don’t think this is the official strategy of the Barr campaign. Or at least, I don’t think they would ever say this outloud. But as soon as I heard it… it clicked to me and actually made quite a bit of sense, which is why I wanted to post it on here.

Barr would gain libertarian cred, mailing lists, and a fundraising base that he could very easily transfer to a Republican bid in 2012. I’m not sure he could win the GOP nod… or even come close, but he’d probably make a pretty big splash similar to Ron Paul’s current campaign. Maybe he thinks he could win, who knows?

I do sincerely hope that someone brings up the idea of this scenario to Barr during the debate this evening. Just to gauge his reaction. I’m not saying it’s a bad strategy for Libertarians or libertarian ideas… but it certainly wouldn’t be great for the growth of the Libertarian Party as an entity. And the delegates ought to get a promise from him that he won’t run in 2012 as a Republican before giving him the keys to their store.

19 thoughts on “Would Barr consider a GOP run in 2012?

  1. Austin Cassidy Post author

    Is it a rumor that Barr has been confronted with at all yet?

  2. gregsarnowski

    Is it just me, or does this strategy make zero sense?

    Conventional wisdom says that Barr running on the LP ticket would pull votes from McCain, quite possibly enough to swing the election over to the democrat. This would make Barr hated within the GOP, not make for an “easy transfer”.

    Maybe Barr plans on dropping out after he gets the nomination and endorsing McCain? That’d be a way to get in good with the Republicans.

  3. trinman

    > Maybe Barr plans on dropping out after he gets the nomination and endorsing McCain? That’d be a way to get in good with the Republicans.

    That is what many of us have been predicting from the gitgo … in fact, ever since BobBarr jumped to the LP and suddenly became an LNC rep!

  4. Fred Church Ortiz

    Darcy Richardson would probably be able to correct me if I’m wrong, but I think this was the plan going in for Huey Long and George Wallace. Didn’t work out great for those two…

  5. trinman

    apropos of … nothing much!

    I took a glance over at TPW to see if they are even remotely up on these issues; they aren’t, and the discussion such as it is seems to be mostly rants from Dildero and that disinter creature, along with Holtz’s pronunciamentos and photoslams of us “radical anarchist” types …

    thank you for doing this, Austin!

  6. John P Slevin

    This article is nonsense.

    Austin writes:

    “I just heard from a friend of mine who stresses that he wishes to remain anonymous. He’s attending the convention as a delegate and told me about a conversation he had with a Barr supporter (late) last night over some drinks.”

    Well, that sure is important to repeat! A person who “stands” as a delegate but doesn’t want his name revealed and who has important information he picked up in a bar. Glad you brought us this one Austin, really getting at the truth. LOL.

    Do I follow your logic in this important bit of political journalism? Barr renounces the Republican Party, having been one of it’s most notable officeholders. And you want someone to ask Barr if what Barr really is after is to get in good with the GOP?

    Barr WAS in good with the GOP, and left it. What part of that don’t you understand and why do you not want to understand it?

    I’m glad to see you have started up this new site, and it is much needed after the obvious decline of your former site (ThirdPartyWatch) once you sold it…

    But, for contributors, can you do better than unnamed sources filing their hot tips from a bar…or some hapless candidate’s hospitality suite?

  7. LPiberty

    So there will be a Barr/Carlson ticket in 2012?

    Rumors are fun.
    Remember though, other Libertarian candidates for President later ran for the GOP nomination.
    If it is good for Ron Paul, should it be fine for Barr?

  8. Andy Craig

    This is absolute nonsense. I can see how a former Ron Paul supporter/activist (a group which I include myself in) could see the appeal of such a plan. But I’ve seen absolutely zero evidence that that’s what Barr wants.

    Barr wants the nomination, but if anything he’s one of the few candidates who aren’t running on some sort of “purge the heretics!” platform. Ruwart is another one. Root and Gravel are not, though I’m really not concerned about either one of them getting the nomination.

  9. Gene Trosper

    All the rumors I have heard so far haven’t had any real traction. I give this rumor the credibility the others have had, which is zero.

  10. Jerry S.

    I too, wish a byline would be added to all posts. Some might have the impression Mr. Cassidy is reporting from Denver when it is GE and ?

  11. trinman

    the only thing in favor of the “Barr drops out” scenario is the fact that virtually no other explanation for his entry into the race makes sense!

    Turning the LP into GOP lite (becoming what the Reps. once claimed to stand for?) would merely end the LP as we know it, and leave it as a pale echo of what most folks think of when they think “Republican” … I’d predict that the vast majority of those who’ve stuck around (watching good ideas tossed aside, and “politics as usual” becoming the operant condition) would finally decide it just ain’t worth the effort anymore — or they’d go out and start another entity for liberty.

    Many of us had been hoping for the success of some OTHER party — focused on promoting liberty, though willing to make a “big tent” out of the process … so the LP could maintain its initial charter, out on the edge of the playing field. It does not appear this is going to happen, so maybe the answer is recreating a libertarian entity along side the shell, after all

  12. G.E.

    Jerry – There is a byline on the posts. It doesn’t show up on the individual-post page, but it does on the main page.

  13. Austin Cassidy Post author

    It’s an anecdotal rumor and it says as much in the first 2 sentences. There are by-lines on the front page and will probably be added soon to individual articles.

    I am not in Denver but I know many folks who are and have been talking to them on and off during the last few days.

    Whatever the case, I presented this as a rumor and if anything I downplayed my friend’s account of it. He described the guy as a member of Barr’s staff… but without knowing names and such I’m sticking with the term supporter.

    I think there is a lot of sense in this line of thinking, and I’m surprised it never occured to me that this might be why Barr wanted to run.

    Fred just (sort-of) backed me up. I’d totally forgotten the historical lessons there, but yes. George Wallace did the same thing in 1968 and 1972… and he did quite well in the primaries until he was shot. And Long planned to do this exact thing (run against Roosevelt as a third party candidate, defeat him, and then lead a march back into the Democratic party and become the nominee four years later).

    Neither won the election, but had they not been shot who knows what would have happened.

    Nader is a different case because Nader didn’t have any interest in working with the Democrats and was far outside the “mainstream” to begin with.

    Barr is a former Congressman with relatively mainstream libertarian views. He could pull 8-10% this time around, sabotage McCain, and then in 2 years decide to run as a Republican and try to lead some realignment of the party.

    A modified version of this strategy is working well for Murray Sabrin in New Jersey. Former Libertarian candidate for Governor, he’s now raised over a half million dollars in a Republican bid for the U.S. Senate nomination, leaning heavily on his Libertarian ties and Ron Paul’s support.


  14. G.E.

    This was a perfectly legit story. Some rumors are true, others aren’t. Gene – Trust me, some of the “rumors” reported here are absolutely true. I can’t speak on this one, but some of them just haven’t come to fruition yet.

  15. Lance Brown

    I don’t have a problem with rumors being posted as rumors, but the title of this post doesn’t seem to accurately reflect the actual rumor. The title says that Barr is considering that strategy, but the post just says that a Barr supporter is considering it–not that he heard that Barr is considering it.

    The difference being that if Barr is actually considering it, it makes him seem slimy and opportunistic, whereas if it’s just the musings of a supporter, then it doesn’t reflect on Barr at all.

  16. Austin Cassidy Post author

    Lance, I think you’re probably right. Thanks for pointing that out to me.

    The person who told me about this was telling it to me as if it was the understood strategy of the Barr campaign. But I’m trying to be careful, because it’s all anonymous rumors anyway. Clearly the headline went beyond what I was willing to say in the article… so I’ve reworded it based on your reccomendation.

  17. Gene Berkman

    I don’t have any objection in principle to the idea of a real libertarian running first as a Libertarian, then seeking in a later election the nomination of a major party. This strategy has sometimes succeeded in local races.

    I don’t think this is Bob Barr’s plan.

    As for George Wallace, he may have had this kind of plan all along, but it is known that Richard Nixon threatened to prosecute Wallace on tax charges if he ran as a third party candidate in 1972. Nixon encouraged Wallace to run in the Democrat primaries in 1972 to disrupt the Democrats.

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