David Nolan’s resolution condemning the Barr campaign

The following resolution was considered and rejected by the LNC in San Diego. During the live reporting of the event, the question came up from at least one of our readers what the resolution under discussion was, and I incorrectly determined that what was being discussed was another document that we had already previously posted (LNC resolution for the suspension of Bill Redpath). Here is what was actually under discussion.

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Author: David Nolan

Whereas Congressman Bob Barr obtained the Libertarian Party’s Presidential nomination by holding out the prospects of tens of millions of dollars in campaign funding and as much as five percent of the popular vote for President, and

Whereas the Barr/Root campaign failed totally to deliver on those promises, and

Whereas the failures of that campaign were due substantially to incompetence and lack of understanding of libertarian principles on the part of the campaign’s management, as summarized in the attached Bill of Particulars,

Therefore be it Resolved that the Libertarian National Committee hereby expresses it extreme disappointment at the mismanagement and ineptitude of the Barr/Root campaign, which resulted in the same 0.4% of the vote that previous Presidential candidates have achieved, even as libertarian principles were denied, downplayed and obscured by that campaign. Be it further resolved that we condemn the actions taken by Russ Verney and Shane Cory which resulted in the failures of the Barr/Root campaign, and specifically disavow any LNC responsibility for any debts incurred by the Barr/Root campaign or its agents and employees.

BARR/ROOT CAMPAIGN – BILL OF PARTICULARS

Specific shortcomings of the Barr/Root campaign which contributed to its failure to achieve its stated goals and disqualify it from receiving any financial aid from the Libertarian National Committee.

AVOIDANCE OF THE WORD “LIBERTARIAN”

The Barr /Root campaign went to great lengths to avoid using the word “Libertarian” wherever possible. The Barr ’08 website did not display the word “Libertarian” in a prominent fashion, and campaign material rarely included mention of the Libertarian Party. Our party was not mentioned in the Barr ’08 campaign brochure, on most signs or bumper stickers, and in many press releases. Often, Bob Barr was described only as a “former Congressman,” with no mention of his party affiliation. Campaign Manager Russ Verney has admitted that this was a deliberate strategy, stating that his goal was to build awareness of Bob Barr only, with no concern for building the Libertarian Party brand.

MISDIRECTION OF FUNDS

The Barr/Root campaign raised more than $1.3 million in contributions, but spent almost nothing on advertising to the voting public. Campaign staffers were paid inflated salaries; money was spent on refurbishing Bob Barr’s Atlanta offices; “political consultants” were paid at least $100,000; $19,000 was spent on limousines. But almost nothing was spent on promoting Barr or the Libertarian Party via paid broadcast or print advertising.

BALLOT ACCESS

Despite raising slightly more money than any other recent Libertarian Presidential campaign, the Barr ’08 team achieved ballot status for our ticket in only 45 states – the lowest number since 1984. This failure is due largely to ineptitude and arrogance on the part of Shane Cory, who began ballot drives late and refused the services of experienced petitioners. Some petitioners were not paid for services rendered, leaving the LNC in the embarrassing position of being dunned by those petitioners.

INSULTING TREATMENT OF RON PAUL

The Barr ’08 campaign team repeatedly and deliberately dismissed and insulted Congressman Ron Paul, who demonstrated an unprecedented amount of support in the months prior to the Libertarian nominating convention. When TV personality Stephen Colbert interviewed Bob Barr shortly after he received the nomination and asked why previous Libertarian candidates had not received higher vote totals, Barr replied that “The Libertarian Party has never had a good candidate before” – thus insulting Ron Paul and all of our previous Presidential candidates. In September, Barr agreed to participate in a press conference organized by Ron Paul, but failed to show up. This understandably enraged Dr. Paul and led to his eventually endorsing fringe candidate Chuck Baldwin for President. As a result, the enthusiasm and potential financial support of Dr. Paul’s thousands of avid supporters were lost.

26 thoughts on “David Nolan’s resolution condemning the Barr campaign

  1. Gene Trosper

    If I remember correctly, David Nolan stated that he would support having Root’s name removed from the resolution. I’m not sure because I was standing just outside of the room at the time and thought that’s what I heard.

  2. inDglass

    It appears that Barr’s sole purpose for running was to promote himself and get some cozy jobs for his friends. I am sure glad I didn’t waste any of my time supporting that.

  3. deselby

    Too little, too late… for the first time since 1988 I did not vote Libertarian and am unlikely to do so anytime soon. I don’t so much blame Barr, he’s just a huckster, but I do blame the LP for buying into it. At this point the LP is not fit to organize a trip to Disneyland.

  4. BrianHoltz

    Yes, the resolution was lop-sidedly rejected.

    I’ll ask yet again: where is the evidence that before the nomination the Barr campaign made “promises” of “tens of millions of dollars in campaign funding and as much as five percent of the popular vote”? Isn’t this just an attempt to perpetuate an urban legend?

    It’s just bizarre to suggest that “lack of understanding of libertarian principles” is why the alleged goals above were not achieved.

    The resolution makes no attempt to substantiate it’s claim that “libertarian principles were denied” by the Barr campaign. I agree with the criticism that our principles were “downplayed and obscured”. I especially agree with the criticism about avoiding the use of our brand name “Libertarian”.

    I still agree it was a mistake not to use the Ron Paul press conference to make the pitch that the Libertarian Party is closest to the principles that Ron Paul has stood for all his life — as distinct from the principles that Paul chose to emphasize in his 2008 campaign commercials and in his endorsement of the candidate of the theocratic Constitution Party. Of course, we all saw how much good it did Chuck Baldwin to get endorsed by Pope Ron Paul the First.

    It is not quite accurate to say that Colbert asked Barr “why previous Libertarian candidates had not received higher vote totals”. Here’s what actually happened:

    Colbert: In the Sunday New York Times this past week, David Boaz of the Cato Institute said “Libertarians are a big swing vote this time.” Why is that?
    Barr: We’re a big swing vote this time because Americans are finally realizing at long last the the current two-party system, the Democrats and the Republicans, have failed them, failed miserably, and simply will give them more of the same.
    Colbert: Libertarians usually vote with the Republican party. Why don’t they vote for the Libertarian Party? [audience laughter]
    Barr: [during audience laughter] Well, we haven’t had a good candidate.

    Thus what Colbert asked was why libertarian voters had historically voted Republican instead of Libertarian. Barr’s tongue-in-cheek answer had an element of truth to it — no previous LP candidate was so clearly targeted at the 50% of all libertarian-leaning voters who self-identify as “conservative” or “very conservative” in the Zogby polls that Cato analyzes. (Polling data is at http://libertarianmajority.net/libertarian-polling.) I agree it’s a mistake to muddle the Libertarian brand by saying that conservatives should want to vote for us because we’re a better kind of conservative. However, I think the comedic setting and the context of the Cato polling analysis go a fair way toward excusing Barr’s clumsy remark. Note that his remark is simply a truism if the context defines a “good candidate” as one who could bring Republican-voting libertarians into the ‘L’ column, and Barr would surely admit that he wasn’t good at that either.

    Our best previous candidate was indisputably Ed Clark. The next time I see him at an LPCA fundraiser — of which he’s done at least three lately — I’ll ask him if he finds Barr’s comment insulting given the context. If he doesn’t, then I don’t see why the LNC should be worried about it.

  5. hogarth

    Our best previous candidate was indisputably Ed Clark.

    I can’t believe you’d use the word ‘indisputably’ here.

    Hell, I can’t believe a Libertarian would ever seriously use the word ‘indisputably’.

  6. LibertarianGirl

    The resolution was poorly worded but honest and heartfelt .
    Concerning Root , it was apparent , while he remained professional and consummately polite that he was there to distance himself from the Barr campaign .
    It only made me like him more

  7. Steven Druckenmiller

    I liked this:

    In September, Barr agreed to participate in a press conference organized by Ron Paul, but failed to show up. This understandably enraged Dr. Paul and led to his eventually endorsing fringe candidate Chuck Baldwin for President.

    BaBarr did not bow down and kiss the ring of Pope Ron Paul the Ist (whoever said that on here, I’m using it) and endorse socialists like the Green Party. This must be a bad thing.

    And His Holiness’ endorsement of Baldwin is not really much of a surprise. RP’s an anti-drug, anti-abortion theocon; he just puts the Constitution above that…kind of like the CP in general.

  8. Gene Trosper

    LibertarianGirl // Dec 12, 2008 at 1:22 am

    The resolution was poorly worded but honest and heartfelt .
    Concerning Root , it was apparent , while he remained professional and consummately polite that he was there to distance himself from the Barr campaign .
    It only made me like him more

    He had the same impact on me as well. Funny: I wasn’t a huge fan of Root and didn’t even consider supporting him, but after watching his presentation at the LNC meeting, I came away kinda liking the guy. I never expected that.

    Ever.

  9. JimDavidson

    @12 Ron Paul is anti-drug? He’s against the drug war.

    Barr’s guy Shane Cory told one of Ron’s people to go f#ck himself. That’s a bit more unpleasant than your average reformer. Haven’t you read Hospers on discourtesy in our movement? Cory isn’t an anarchist, but there he was being incredibly rude.

    Barr not only didn’t show up, he first agreed to show up, then refused. Instead of making him look clever, it made him look like a jerk.

  10. cyrano3000

    I regret that David Nolan felt that it can label the Constitution Party as “fringe”.
    If there are Libertarians disparaging other parties then there is little we can complain about if others use the term to describe our party.
    Nolan’s smear of the Constitution Party’s Presidential nominee in a resolution that is supposed to be a critique of Bob Barr is telling example of how some Libertarians still haven’t learned enough from Ron Paul. You don’t need to tear others down in order to make your case.

  11. Michael Seebeck

    cyrano, re-read it. He labeled Baldwin “fringe”, not the CP. And considering Baldwin’s problems and the CP’s problems with the Keyes faction splitting ballot lines from Baldwin all over the nation, he’s right. As much as the LP has its problems, at least we had the same Presidential candidate on in 45 states instead of what the CP has, which is a split across the nation that is still unresolved.

  12. paulie cannoli Post author

    BaBarr did not bow down and kiss the ring of Pope Ron Paul the Ist (whoever said that on here, I’m using it) and endorse socialists like the Green Party. This must be a bad thing.

    Getting together to work on common goals =/= endorsing. Most Greens are not socialists; overusing the term is irresponsible, much as it would be to label minarchist libertarians as either anarchists (as non-libertarians sometimes do) or neoconservatives (as some radical libertarians sometimes do).

    And His Holiness’ endorsement of Baldwin is not really much of a surprise. RP’s an anti-drug, anti-abortion theocon; he just puts the Constitution above that…kind of like the CP in general.

    Ron Paul is anti-abortion in the same way as Bob Barr, minus the charge of hypocrisy – both favor state bans on abortion and both oppose a federal ban. Bob Barr remains significantly more prohibitionist than Ron Paul, although he has come a long way since his days as an unabashed and prominent drug warrior. He seems to have softened his stance on “defense” of marriage somewhat, but not entirely, and on at least one occasion has said he no longer supports official discrimination against Wiccans in the military (which I am not aware of Ron Paul ever supporting).

    The bottom line is that there are real and significant differences among the LP, CP and GP, but we can and should work together on issues where we agree and where the Democrats and Republicans oppose us. That is what the C4L event Bob Barr boycotted was about.

    Refusing to be on stage with people he does not agree with on everything does not speak well of him – would he have refused a chance to be on stage with Obama and McCain as well? (Of course not. So why not be on stage with McKinney, Nader and Baldwin?)

  13. paulie cannoli Post author

    As much as the LP has its problems, at least we had the same Presidential candidate on in 45 states instead of what the CP has, which is a split across the nation that is still unresolved.

    Keyes was on the ballot in three states, BTPer Jay in three as well, Objectivist Stevens in two and Phillies in one. Ron Paul himself was on in two states. Neither the LP nor the CP monopolized ballot lines among their supporters. I also know many active LP members who voted for Baldwin, and at least one who voted for McKinney.

    I don’t think labeling Baldwin as fringe is either respectful or accurate.

  14. Anarchist

    Cory isn’t an anarchist, but there he was being incredibly rude.

    He has an anarchist temperament, apparently.

    Shane Cory wouldn’t know an Anarchist if he met one and I take exception to the above statement that he has an Anarchist temperament. A true Anarchist would reject any association with a rude a$$hole. I didn’t leave the Republican, they left me. As a ten time Libertarian candidate (city, county, state and federal) almost since the beginning of the party, I didn’t leave the Libertarian Party they left me. For a party that was founded on Principals it sure has degenerated, with the exception of a few Libertarians, to a party of egos and pomp-ous personalities.

    Voluntary Association + Mutual Cooperation + 110% Personal Responsibility = 100% Individual Liberty.

  15. cyrano3000

    I also add that I find the statement “This understandably enraged Dr. Paul” to be assuming facts not in evidence. I watched the press conference in question and Dr. Paul pressed forward in the fashion Ron Paul supporters would expect.
    His endorsement for Baldwin was calm and reasoned without any hint of rage and to presume otherwise is presumptuous.
    Mr. Nolan is welcome to his complaints (I agree with some of them) against the Barr machine but I wish he could have done a classier job of expressing them.
    Is it time for a resolution condemning David Nolan’s resolution for lack of classiness?
    Thane Eichenauer, Phoenix, Arizona

  16. JimDavidson

    @22 I would say it was sardonic.

    @24 Yes, and I think there was a bit of upset about Shane Cory saying “go f#ck yourself” too.

    The whole snub gate was a massive cluster f#ck. There’s no excuse. And there has been no apology, no act of contrition.

  17. joetauke

    While I agree with the sentiment of the resolution – Bob Barr was a poor choice, and ran an even poorer campaign – I would suggest to Mr. Nolan that he may need to look a bit harder at the party that nominated Barr in the first place.

    It’ll be interesting to see if Barr apologists have anything to say in response, considering that Ron Paul is Rubber and Bob Barr is Glue.

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