Barr campaign: keep opposition off the ballot and out of debates?

Bob Barr is currently suing to remove McCain and Obama from the Texas ballot, alleging that they did not file their paperwork on time. Barr is also suing to remove George Phillies from the ballot in NH (Barr is already on the ballot separately in that state).

As most readers here already know, Barr has created controversy by
snubbing
Ron Paul and the Campaign for Liberty when they brought the presidential candidates of the Constitution and Green parties together, along with independent presidential candidate Ralph Nader, on a four-point platform of consensus on foreign policy, the national debt, privacy and the federal reserve.

Earlier in the campaign, Barr created waves by announcing he would be
refusing to debate other independent and alternative candidates
. Even earlier, Bob Barr delayed his official decision on entering the race for the nomination until May 12, 2008, the day after all pre-nomination state conventions were over for the year, and was the only candidate for the nomination to avoid all alternative debates in Denver.

It has been alleged by sources in the Boston Tea Party that the Barr campaign made attempts to remove the Boston Tea Party and Objectivist Party from the ballot in Florida.

Although Bob Barr supports states’ right to pass medical marijuana laws today, at one time when he was a staunchly anti-medical marijuana Congressman he made headlines by refusing to allow DC medical marijuana votes to be officially counted. While some Barr detractors may see this latest lawsuit from the Barr campaign as part of a long standing pattern to silence all opposition by keeping opposing views out of debates and off the ballot whenever possible, others would argue that it is simply a way of giving the Democratic and Republican parties a taste of their own medicine.

Here is the press release from the Barr campaign so readers can judge for themselves:

Bob Barr Files Suit in Texas to Remove McCain, Obama from Ballot

Suit alleges that McCain, Obama knowingly missed filing deadlines

Atlanta, GA – Bob Barr, the Libertarian Party’s nominee for president, has filed a lawsuit in Texas demanding Senators John McCain and Barack Obama be removed from the ballot after they missed the official filing deadline.

“The seriousness of this issue is self-evident,” the lawsuit states. “The hubris of the major parties has risen to such a level that they do not believe that the election laws of the State of Texas apply to them.”

Texas election code §192.031 requires that the “written certification” of the “party’s nominees” be delivered “before 5 p.m. of the 70th day before election day.” Because neither candidate had been nominated by the official filing deadline, the Barr campaign argues it was impossible for the candidates to file under state law.

“Supreme Court justices should recognize that their responsibility is to apply the law as passed by the Legislature, and the law is clear that the candidates cannot be certified on the ballot if their filings are late,” says Drew Shirley, a local attorney for the Barr campaign, who is also a Libertarian candidate for the Texas Supreme Court.

A 2006 Texas Supreme Court decision ruled that state laws “does not allow political parties or candidates to ignore statutory deadlines.”

Orrin Grover, attorney for Bob Barr and Wayne Root, said that he believes that the Texas Secretary of State is bound by Texas law to remove the Republican and Democratic nominees from the November ballot. “Either we have rules and deadlines, or we do not,” Grover said.

The Chairman of the Texas Libertarian Party, Pat Dixon stated, “Libertarian principles require personal responsibility for your acts and failures. Obama and McCain failed to meet the deadlines. They must follow the law like everyone else.”

The petition also alleges that the Democratic Party’s late presidential filing falsely claimed under oath that Senator Obama had been nominated hours before the nomination actually occurred.

“The facts of the case are not in dispute,” says Russell Verney, manager of the Barr campaign. “Republicans and Democrats missed the deadline, but were still allowed on the ballot. Third parties are not allowed on the ballot for missing deadlines, as was the case for our campaign in West Virginia, yet the Texas secretary of state’s office believes Republicans and Democrats to be above the law.”

Barr will be holding a press conference this Thursday at the Texas Supreme Court at 11:00 a.m.

Libertarian Party presidential candidate Bob Barr represented the 7th District of Georgia in the U. S. House of Representatives from 1995 to 2003.

For a high-resolution image of Barr, download here.

Lawsuit Contacts:

Pat Dixon
Texas Libertarian Party
Chair@lptexas.org

Drew Shirley, Esq.
Drew Shirley, P.C.
Austin, TX
512-417-6171

Orrin Grover, Esquire
Orrin L. Grover, P.C.
Woodburn, OR
510-872-6030

In the comments, Richard Winger provides some of the rationale for the lawsuit:

In 1964, the Democrats missed the deadline in Iowa and the Secretary of State put Lyndon Johnson on anyway. Someone sued the Secretary of State to make him obey the law, but the court sided with the Secretary of State. In 1988, both the Democrats and the Republicans missed the Indiana deadline, but the Secretary of State put them on anyway. Lenora Fulani sued the Secretary of State to make him obey the law, but she lost.

These cases were very worthwhile because they established proof, for the history books, that the Dems and Reps did mess up. Then, in 1996, the Arizona Libertarian Party turned in their electors 3 days late. The Secretary of State kept Browne off. He sued and won. A key in the victory was the evidence that when the same thing had happened in Iowa and Indiana, the major parties got mercy. John Buttrick did that 1996 case for Harry Browne; Buttrick, of course, is not an Arizona Libertarian judge.

The moral of the story is that these lawsuits are valuable, because they get the truth out into the public record.

Another asset of the lawsuit is that the Secretary of State will inevitably file a brief saying deadlines should be construed flexibly. Then, when the Boston Tea Party turns in its presidential elector candidates for write-in status, what will the Secretary of State do? The write-in filing deadline was also August 26.

43 thoughts on “Barr campaign: keep opposition off the ballot and out of debates?

  1. svf

    bad post title… VERY VERY BAD!

    While some Barr detractors may see this latest lawsuit from the Barr campaign as part of a long standing pattern to silence all opposition by keeping opposing views out of debates and off the ballot whenever possible…

    Who actually believes that? If you do, please make your case.

  2. paulie cannoli Post author

    Biased in what way?

    It presents a set of facts. Do you dispute any of them?

    Then, it presents two possible interpretations of the facts. One favorable to Barr, one unfavorable.

    Then, it presents a Barr press release in its entirety.

    However, I added a question mark to the title, so as to not to appear to take a side in the debate.

    I think it’s a debate worth having. Why would you disagree?

  3. johncjackson

    The post seems factual to me. If someone has a problem with the facts, take it up with the Bob Barr campaign.

  4. Trent Hill

    This is sort of an all-encompassing trash-Barr article. Throw in the Jesse Helms and Fed press-releases and you’ve got the whole shpiel.

  5. paulie cannoli Post author

    How would those press releases be relevant to the subject of the article?

    If I wanted to trash Barr, why would I include a Barr press release and propose a favorable interpretation as well as an unfavorable one?

  6. Fred Church Ortiz

    My comments on the article:

    1) Refusing to participate in something is not quite the same as keeping someone else out of it.

    2) “all” in the title is a bit much, I haven’t seen Barr actively try to keep anyone off the ballot besides Phillies in NH and McBama in TX. You mention sources in the BTP for another point, but I’m surprised they didn’t raise hell on the matter.

    3) I see where you’re going with the marijuana thing, but it seems kind of disjointed. But that’s a question of style, not substance.

    On the actual matter:

    I think everyone who wants on ballot should be on ballot, and efforts at removal are a waste. Third party’s at the disadvantage they’re at shouldn’t give the duopoly reason to say “well, you did the same thing in 2008”.

  7. svf

    If there’s only one thing that the third paries could agree on, I would think it would be a lawsuit holding the Ds & Rs to the same legal standards constantly impeding our ballot access. Barr’s attorney even uses Nader’s access woes as a point of reference in the lawsuit (have you read it?)

    Greens, Socialists, BTPs, Indies, Objectivists, and Whatevers should be heartily cheering on Barr for taking this bold action, no matter what you may think of him, his campaign, or the LP in general. And it’s already getting some press buzz.

    To suggest that the Barr/TX lawsuit is instead some bizarre manifestation of a refusal to accept competition… well, duh.

  8. paulie cannoli Post author

    1) Refusing to participate in something is not quite the same as keeping someone else out of it.

    Refusing to be on the same stage with other alternative candidates, whether at the Ron Paul event or in debates, would seem to me to be related.

    Staying out of debates with opponents and keeping them off the ballot would seem to have some similarity as well; both involve not acknowledging any validity of opposing views.


    2) “all” in the title is a bit much, I haven’t seen Barr actively try to keep anyone off the ballot besides Phillies in NH and McBama in TX.

    True, the Barr campaign does not have resources to keep ALL opponents off the ballot. I meant, as much opposition as possible.

    However, the criticism is valid, and I’ll remove all from the title.

    You mention sources in the BTP for another point, but I’m surprised they didn’t raise hell on the matter.

    http://totalactionradio.com/cj08/?p=15

    3) I see where you’re going with the marijuana thing, but it seems kind of disjointed. But that’s a question of style, not substance.

    In the MJ example, Barr did not want the opposition’s views to be acknowledged in any way, shape or form. Although he has changed his mind about that particular issue, the tactics can be said to have some similarity.

  9. paulie cannoli Post author

    If there’s only one thing that the third paries could agree on, I would think it would be a lawsuit holding the Ds & Rs to the same legal standards constantly impeding our ballot access.

    Another viewpoint might be that we should all agree that all qualified candidates should be allowed on the ballot.

    But, I did include the point of view you express in the article. Are you saying it should be the only point of view that can be acknowledged?

  10. svf

    Are you saying it should be the only point of view that can be acknowledged?

    No, I’m saying the point of view expressed by your article fails to hold water based on the preceding “evidence” you present.

    And saying it’s “simply a way of giving the Democratic and Republican parties a taste of their own medicine” simplifies, distorts, and belittles the real issues at hand here.

    But something tells me you realize that.

  11. Fred Church Ortiz

    1) I can see how it’s related, but again, it’s not the same as keeping them out of it. Though I’d wonder if Barr would accept other third-partisans in a full-blown open debate if he had the power to exclude him, so far all he’s actually done is make his own decision to avoid them.

    2) Thanks for the link! Maybe it should go up there for context, or did someone here cover that already? A bit of a point though is that Barr’s not actually mentioned in that post, even that’s what’s in between the lines.

    3) I agree, and I’m dropping it since it doesn’t seem lost on anyone, as I worried it might be.

  12. TheOriginalAndy

    I’m not wild about Bob Barr, but I see this as a case of giving the Democrats and Republicans a taste of their own medicine. I don’t fault the Barr campaign for that.

  13. paulie cannoli Post author

    No, I’m saying the point of view expressed by your article fails to hold water based on the preceding “evidence” you present.

    I’m not expressing one point of view. I expressed both points of view, and left it as an open question.

    Why is evidence in scare quotes? Do you dispute its factual truth?

    And saying it’s “simply a way of giving the Democratic and Republican parties a taste of their own medicine” simplifies, distorts, and belittles the real issues at hand here.

    How so?

    But something tells me you realize that.

    That something is mistaken.

    1) I can see how it’s related, but again, it’s not the same as keeping them out of it.

    Naturally, Barr is not all powerful and can not prevent other candidates from debating or appearing on the stage together. The most he can do is not participate, which he has done consistently.

    2) Thanks for the link! Maybe it should go up there for context, or did someone here cover that already?

    Yes, me.

    2) Thanks for the link! Maybe it should go up there for context, or did someone here cover that already? A bit of a point though is that Barr’s not actually mentioned in that post, even that’s what’s in between the lines.

    It was mentioned to me on the phone.

  14. paulie cannoli Post author

    I’m not wild about Bob Barr, but I see this as a case of giving the Democrats and Republicans a taste of their own medicine. I don’t fault the Barr campaign for that.

    I tend to agree, despite what some here have prematurely concluded.

  15. Mike Theodore

    Andy, I had the same feeling’s there when I first saw it. If the LP did what these two did, we would be left on the street.
    But then I started thinking, shouldn’t we be pushing the open choices that third parties generally believe in? I don’t want to tell a Dem or GOP that they have to go with Bob Barr or not vote at all, even though they don’t hesitate to do it.

  16. svf

    I tend to agree,…

    Then why did you construct an entire article devoted to the concept of Barr shunning all competition, culminating in the TX lawsuit?

    I’m I the one who’s an idiot here or is it not clear you were leading us down the path of “Barr wants everyone off the ballot and out of the debates”, alternately suggesting “a taste of their own medicine” as a mere afterthought…?

    Man, what is the point of all this conjecture and banter? And why the hell am I participating in it??? arg…

    In other news, Nader’s with Barr (and paulie?) on this too…

    …Ralph Nader threw his support behind Barr today. Nader — running as a write-in candidate in Texas himself — said of the two major parties: “They could take the same medicine they have been dishing out to grassroots candidates for decades, and have their candidates John McCain and Barack Obama join me as write-in candidates in Texas. But what is most likely is that they will choose the third option, which we have seen in the past. They will simply lean on state officials to ignore the law or direct the Texas legislature to push back the deadline after it expired.”

    http://blogs.courant.com/on_background/2008/09/bob-barr-sues-texas-over-ballo.html

  17. svf

    But then I started thinking, shouldn’t we be pushing the open choices that third parties generally believe in?

    Yes, meaning the ballot access laws should be changed.

    But now that the D & Rs got the restrictive laws they wanted, they need to deal with it.

  18. paulie cannoli Post author

    is it not clear you were leading us down the path of “Barr wants everyone off the ballot and out of the debates”, alternately suggesting “a taste of their own medicine” as a mere afterthought…?

    It’s not an afterthought. I see validity in both viewpoints, and think it’s a debate worth having.

    The “taste of own medicine” case does not take as much supporting evidence to make, so it got less space. That does not mean I consider it a less valid viewpoint.

  19. paulie cannoli Post author

    In other news, Nader’s with Barr (and paulie?) on this too…

    Nader is another candidate who has refused to debate with other candidates who were on comparable numbers of ballot lines in the past.

  20. paulie cannoli Post author

    Yes, meaning the ballot access laws should be changed.

    But now that the D & Rs got the restrictive laws they wanted, they need to deal with it.

    It’s not the only possible approach to bad laws.

    For example, libertarians generally agree that drug laws are bad.

    At times, the politicians who pass such laws get caught up for breaking them.

    Some libertarians say this is a taste of their own medicine, and cheer the prosecution. Others say nobody deserves to be victimized by a bad law, not even those who advocated and passed it, and cheer the defense.

    Both are valid viewpoints.

  21. Ross Levin

    I thought the post was a pretty good idea, but didn’t quite make it. There wasn’t necessarily a strong connection between Barr’s past actions and the current lawsuit, plus the medical marijuana bit seemed like it was out of left field. But the beginning of the post was great (even if it was kind of strongly worded), as it wrapped up many of the controversies surrounding Barr and tried to find a link between them.

  22. richardwinger

    In 1964, the Democrats missed the deadline in Iowa and the Secretary of State put Lyndon Johnson on anyway. Someone sued the Secretary of State to make him obey the law, but the court sided with the Secretary of State. In 1988, both the Democrats and the Republicans missed the Indiana deadline, but the Secretary of State put them on anyway. Lenora Fulani sued the Secretary of State to make him obey the law, but she lost.

    These cases were very worthwhile because they established proof, for the history books, that the Dems and Reps did mess up. Then, in 1996, the Arizona Libertarian Party turned in their electors 3 days late. The Secretary of State kept Browne off. He sued and won. A key in the victory was the evidence that when the same thing had happened in Iowa and Indiana, the major parties got mercy. John Buttrick did that 1996 case for Harry Browne; Buttrick, of course, is not an Arizona Libertarian judge.

    The moral of the story is that these lawsuits are valuable, because they get the truth out into the public record.

    Another asset of the lawsuit is that the Secretary of State will inevitably file a brief saying deadlines should be construed flexibly. Then, when the Boston Tea Party turns in its presidential elector candidates for write-in status, what will the Secretary of State do? The write-in filing deadline was also August 26.

  23. paulie cannoli Post author

    mental exercise… substitute “Ruwart” for “Barr” in the article above…

    Ok.

    Mary Ruwart is currently suing to remove McCain and Obama from the Texas ballot, alleging that they did not file their paperwork on time. Ruwart is also suing to remove George Phillies from the ballot in NH (Ruwart is already on the ballot separately in that state).

    I don’t know whether the Ruwart campaign would have done either, both or neither, do you?


    As most readers here already know, Ruwart has created controversy by snubbing Ron Paul and the Campaign for Liberty when they brought the presidential candidates of the Constitution and Green parties together, along with independent presidential candidate Ralph Nader, on a four-point platform of consensus on foreign policy, the national debt, privacy and the federal reserve.

    I’m pretty confident Mary Ruwart would have been on that stage and visibly happy to be there.


    Earlier in the campaign, Ruwart created waves by announcing she would be refusing to debate other independent and alternative candidates.

    I doubt Mary would have done that.


    Even earlier, Mary Ruwart delayed her official decision on entering the race for the nomination until May 12, 2008, the day after all pre-nomination state conventions were over for the year, and was the only candidate for the nomination to avoid all alternative debates in Denver.

    No. Ruwart was in several state convention debates, including several I attended. It is true that she joined the race later than some candidates, but not *that* late. She also participated in several alternative debates in Denver.


    It has been alleged by sources in the Boston Tea Party that the Ruwart campaign made attempts to remove the Boston Tea Party and Objectivist Party from the ballot in Florida.

    I’m reasonably sure that if Ruwart was the candidate, this would not have come up, because the BTP would have endorsed her.

    The section about MMJ would obviously not apply at all.

  24. G.E.

    Good for Barr for suing the Ds and Rs in Texas.

    Thanks for taking the heat off me for a little bit, paulie!

  25. svf

    I don’t know whether the Ruwart campaign would have done either, both or neither, do you?

    Nope. But if she were to do so (rightly, I believe) I have a feeling there would be widespread support among those who seem to be questioning Barr’s motives for doing same…

    I’m pretty confident Mary Ruwart would have been on that stage and visibly happy to be there.

    Well, maybe… then again, don’t you think Mary would (justifyably) have expected a more solid endorsement from Ron Paul, given their past history and her support of his campaign and what have you?

    I doubt Mary would have done that.

    True, she does not have the ego of a Barr (or Nader for that matter) to suggest that debating the “also rans” is “beneath” her or something. But since such debates have no measurable impact, it,s merely academic, don’t you think?

    It is true that she joined the race later than some candidates, but not *that* late.

    How late is too late?

    Anyway, yeah, the rest doesn’t really make any sense… but it is kinda fun, in a MadLibs kinda way…

    Now substitute “Christine Smith” for “Barr”… whee!

  26. svf

    It has been alleged by sources in the Boston Tea Party that the Barr campaign made attempts to remove the Boston Tea Party and Objectivist Party from the ballot in Florida.

    This whole thing by the way… I mean come ON, man! Are you serious? (and yes I read the allegations of devious doings at the link you provided.)

  27. paulie cannoli Post author

    Well, maybe… then again, don’t you think Mary would (justifyably) have expected a more solid endorsement from Ron Paul, given their past history and her support of his campaign and what have you?

    Chuck Baldwin also worked on Ron Paul’s campaign. But I think there is a fair chance Ron Paul would have shown her more support than he has for Barr.

    True, she does not have the ego of a Barr (or Nader for that matter) to suggest that debating the “also rans” is “beneath” her or something. But since such debates have no measurable impact, it,s merely academic, don’t you think?

    No. I think that participating in debates with other candidates on enough ballot lines to win is one of the more important activities an LP presidential candidate engages in, and I think failing to do so weakens our case to be included in major debates. See http://rockthedebates.org/getinvolved

    How late is too late?

    Past any state conventions is IMO too late, especially when not agreeing to any of the alternative debates in Denver.

    I would have preferred if Ruwart had decided to run earlier. This was one of the reasons I continued to back Kubby even after she got in the race.

    Now substitute “Christine Smith” for “Barr”… whee!

    Your turn.

    🙂

  28. svf

    I think that participating in debates with other candidates on enough ballot lines to win is one of the more important activities an LP presidential candidate engages in…

    maybe, but I’ve watched enough of these over the years to become perhaps jaded about it… I mean we’re all running against the establishment duopoly, so without them on the stage it just becomes kind of a pointless exercise (and needless to say receives absolutely no press whatsoever, save C-SPAN-2 on a Sunday morning or some such thing)…

    There’s pros and cons on either side, so I don’t think it’s fair to damn the candidate for taking one approach over the other on this one. The whole “what do we have to lose by trying a different path” argument seems valid. If it turns out to be a disaster, well we know better next time around.

  29. paulie cannoli Post author

    I think the thing to do this year would have been to have Barr, Baldwin, McKinney and Nader on a stage with a blue screen projection of the McBama-O’Cain debate, and have them answer the same questions as if they were there. Then put it on youtube, blogs, etc.

    Huge missed opportunity.

  30. svf

    have them answer the same questions as if they were there.

    the Barr campaign is working on something of that nature, I don’t recall the source of that info but I hope it’s true… I believe in conjunction with (t)Reason, and talk about buying time on a nat’l cable station (WGN, etc.) to broadcast it… (probably won’t happen but…)

    anyway… we shall see. Nader perhaps has the funds and/or following to do something similar or in collaboration, the others — nope.

  31. G.E.

    I think the thing to do this year would have been to have Barr, Baldwin, McKinney and Nader on a stage with a blue screen projection of the McBama-O’Cain debate, and have them answer the same questions as if they were there. Then put it on youtube, blogs, etc.

    AWESOME IDEA!

    Baldwin and McKinney should do this. (I think Nader would also blow it off, but maybe not).

  32. Steve LaBianca

    So then, if Barr, who failed to meet deadlines in several states and is suing to GET ON THOSE BALLOTS, even though he clearly missed the deadline, will be satisfied with any legal decisions which keep him off? It cuts both ways, yes?

  33. Steve LaBianca

    svf // Sep 17, 2008 at 8:48 pm

    I live in Florida, and I know that there was very definitely some action (at a minimum) to inquire (and maybe more) about the campaign filings of the BTP and Objectivist Party, by folks associated with the Barr campaign.

    . . . debating the “also rans” is “beneath” her or something. But since such debates have no measurable impact, it,s merely academic, don’t you think?

    By this logic, any third party CAMPAIGN is “merely academic”.

    I know that I am painted as a Barr detractor, but this type of post is self serving for svf and the Barr campaign . . . and “merely academic”. That is , useless and WRONG!

  34. Steve LaBianca

    When all is said and done, this “ballot listed in Texas” thing for the major parties (the IN-POWER parties) is a typical government/state/statist problem.

    Government and the state is NOT “for the people”; the state is designed for, and functions (very effectively, I might add) for the powerful to do an end around the voluntary nature of people and their society (unfortunately, a dwindling presence of it as the government grows and grows) to use it (the apparatus of the coercive state) for their own benefit. “Get on board” with this idea, or challenge the very existence of the state.

    I’ve gotten on board the (peaceful) efforts to influence others that the state must be eliminated!

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