Bob Barr Discusses CPAC, Previews New Organization

An email broadcast today from 2008 Libertarian Party presidential nominee Bob Barr:

Dear Friend,

Over this past weekend, the annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) was held in Washington, D.C.  The event is a gathering of 10,000 activists, organizers and leaders from around the nation.

Since 2004, I’ve witnessed CPAC attendees go from a neo-conservative, pro-interventionist, mindset that was closely aligned to the Republican Party, to a gathering of folks who are waking up to liberty and increasingly finding themselves politically homeless.

This year, that shift was obvious to just about everyone.

As an example, Mike Huckabee, had this to say, “CPAC has become increasingly more libertarian and less Republican over the last years, one of the reasons I didn’t go this year.”

Huckabee’s statement is not only representative of the rise of our shared values; it’s also a telling example of how Republicans work.

For many years, I have chosen to attend and speak at CPAC and many other events – “conservative” and “liberal” –  knowing good and well that I may very well be booed for delivering a pro-liberty message.  I also know countless others who do the same.  Does the fear of facing an opposing argument keep us out of attendance?

Heck no!

Unlike Huckabee and his colleagues who feel entitled to respect and a cheering crowd, we embrace the opportunity to deliver a pro-liberty message to those who may not want to hear it.

That’s one clear difference between them and us.  We’re willing to fight to get our nation onto a path of liberty, while they walk off of the field when times get tough.

This year, I had the opportunity with former Virginia Governor Jim Gilmore to debate Congressman Dan Lungren and former Bush Department of Justice Official Viet Dinh on the topic, “Does Security Trump Freedom?”

The lively debate was a prime opportunity to deliver a clear, pro-liberty message.  Yes, I was booed by some and cheered by others but, in the end, I was able to voice an opinion on individual liberty to those in the room and many others watching on CSPAN.

Here’s a brief clip of the debate on YouTube (take note of the headline).

While this year’s CPAC was telling, our work is just beginning.

Later this week, I will be launching a new organization that allows us to carry our fight outside of the political arena and into the communities and courts around the nation.  Please stay tuned.

In Liberty,

Bob Barr

10 thoughts on “Bob Barr Discusses CPAC, Previews New Organization

  1. Brian Holtz

    Note this part:

    Mike Huckabee had this to say, “CPAC has become increasingly more libertarian and less Republican over the last years, one of the reasons I didn’t go this year.”

  2. Trent Hill

    Bravo to Mr. Barr, I was ashamed that my friends (and I knew probably half the Paul-people there) didn’t go to Mr. Barr’s panel and cheer for him.

    Whatever organization he starts, I’ll support, assuming it has the same pro-liberty views he has had recently. He’s a good man, at his core.

  3. paulie

    It’s actually pretty short so I’ll post it here, but go to the original for embedded links…

    Fear and Loathing at CPAC
    Posted on February 22nd, 2010 by William Upton

    CPAC 2010 was my first CPAC ever. For most of my life I have run in local conservative circles, but never really had any interest nor ambition to throw myself into the chaos of CPAC, but when I did, I was taken for quite a ride. The highlights of the event for me were watching your typical establishment, beltway conservatives try to hide their unease and even disdain for the energetic youth of Campaign for Liberty, Students For Liberty, and the Ladies of Liberty Alliance. These three, mostly youth based, organizations made their presence thoroughly felt at CPAC.

    Campaign for Liberty dominated the libertarian and antiwar presence. Congressman Ron Paul spoke before a packed crowd, and the cheers reverberated throughout the building as he spoke. The energetic followers of Ron Paul went on to propel him to victory in the CPAC straw poll with 31% of the vote – Mitt Romney came in second with 22%.

    Students for Liberty, an international libertarian organization drew a diverse and colorful crowd to a CPAC that was dominated by older establishment activists. Between the hordes of pudgy Dick Cheney fans, you would occasionally run into a 20-something-year-old with long hair, sometimes bearded face, wearing a t-shirt and jeans. Yet while the Cheney crowd was only interested in getting Ann Coulter to sign a book, or finding the next free buffet, these youth were moving about the crowds handing out literature about the illegality of the wars, the government’s clampdown on civil liberties, and other issues dear to libertarians.

    The Ladies of Liberty Alliance provided perhaps the most shocking clash, at least in fashion, with your typical CPAC’ers. Their members had variations of pink hair, tattoos, piercings, and other characteristics one would not normally think to find at CPAC. They even convinced me to buy a LOLA Calendar, featuring some of their members in suggestive and, in a few instances, down right risqué spreads, though each page contained a fun but serious message about the Constitution and freedom.

    With the libertarian contingent out in full force – and despite the rather harmonious weekend at CPAC – there was bound to be a scuffle or two, but I do not think anyone thought it would go down in front of CSPAN cameras. Proceeding Ron Paul’s fiery speech on Friday night, CPAC had a feature called “Two-Minute Activist: Saving Freedom Across the Nation”. Thirteen youth each were given two minutes to give a speech describing their different causes across America, expressing how they became student leaders, and where they saw the conservative movement in the years to come. Students for Liberty Executive Director Alexander McCobin took the stage and praised CPAC for reaching out to GOPride (A Gay Republican group), suggesting that freedom cannot come in pieces, but is a unified force. McCobin’s speech was met with cheers from the audience. Following McCobin was Ryan Sorba of California Young Americans for Freedom. Sorba angrily denounced CPAC, received boos from he audience, and shouted back at his hecklers, “The lesbians at Smith College protest better than you do!” Additionally, Sorba ended his vindictive rant by launching a confused attack against Young Americans For Liberty (a subsidiary of Campaign for Liberty) and their Executive Director Jeff Frazee. The only apparent reason for Sorba’s concluding comments was that he could not discern Young Americans for Liberty and Students for Liberty. Note: Sorba I was informed does not reflect YAF in general, many YAF members spent Saturday trying to mend any wounds Sorba may have caused.

    Despite the one instance of real public discord, the Campaign for Liberty events went off without a hitch, including “Friend of Foe? Abraham Lincoln on Liberty” with Dr. Thomas DiLorenzo of the Mises Institute and “ You’ve Been Lied To: Why Real Conservatives are Against the War on Terror” with TAC’s own literary editor Kelly Jane Torrance moderating and Philip Giraldi participating on the panel.

    A few other observations from CPAC that I found interesting:

    Despite chants of “Run Dick Run” on Thursday night, Ron Paul seemed to be extremely popular with most CPAC attendees.
    Robert Stacy McCain was everywhere at CPAC and caught a photo of me at David Frum’s happy hour Saturday night (I was there for the same reason Stacy was… free beer). All I can say is that Frum’s party was populated by many Ron Paul supporters but we held back rubbing in Paul’s straw poll victory out of respect for Frum giving out free beer. It felt good to be able to walk around a neocon party and be surrounded by libertarians not neocons.

    On Friday afternoon, I actually met Congressman Paul as he entered CPAC along with our literary editor Kelly Jane Torrance. He was, unlike many speakers at CPAC, more than happy to stop for a photo, shake some hands, and sign books, pamphlets, shirts, or whatever material someone had handy for him to sign – and unlike the security many other speakers had, Paul entered with only one member of his staff at his side.

    On Friday morning I had a quick chat with the very busy former Congressman and 2008 Libertarian Presidential Candidate Bob Barr. Barr seemed excited about CPAC but was off in blustering speed to a meeting with supporters.

    Throughout the weekend I spoke with many congressional candidates, they were thoroughly uninteresting.

    I stopped by the John Birch Society’s booth in the exhibit hall and had a nice chat with several of their representatives including Chris Bentley, JBS Operations Manager and Production Manager of Liberty News Network. JBS, though much older in membership than many of the other liberty oriented groups, still had a strong following with plenty of materials on the pitfalls of American empire and the cause of liberty.

  4. AroundtheblockAFT

    We need another organization why? What niche isn’t being filled? Someone’s pockets perhaps?
    Maybe Bob Barr should figure out how to help the LP become visible and known in communities and before local groups all across the nation.

  5. Peter Gemma

    What Huckabee said beyond his criticism of libertarians getting a bigger share of the CPAC spotlight, was that the whole conference had become a money-making machine. He’s right: “Because of the way that it solicits sponsors, it’s almost becomes a pay-for-play,” Huckabee said. “It’s kind of like, who will pay money to be able to be a sponsor and get time in the program. That’s one of the things that has hurt its credibility in the last couple of years.”

    I’ve been a CPAC exhibitor or attendee for 25 years or more, and it’s morphed from a real diverse confab to a meeting of Republican elites – where grass roots “little people” are allowed in to hoot and holler. In light of the Ron Paul campaign, the CPAC corporation has now found a new constituency to exploit: young libertarians have money.

  6. Don Lake ........... More Anti World Police Perspective

    1 response so far ?
    1 Gary // Feb 23, 2010 at 12:45 pm
    “The GOP should be worried. They are liars.
    Endless hot air at election time about wanting “small government”, but once in power they vote for and protect every liberal spending program.”

    Nah! Nixon, Viet nam, Nixon, Cambodia, Nixon, EPA, Nixon, Water Gate, Nixon, HEW, Nixon.

    America: Low IQ! Laziness! Bored!

    Based upon the shabby shabby past of the 20th Century GOP, the Republicans, due to the indifference of the American public, will be around [darnit!] for years to come.

    “We have met the enemy and he is us! “——Pogo, 1963

  7. Ralph Swanson

    I read a book by Huckabee the other day. He went out of his way to misrepresent and trash Libertarians.

    He’s good at personally trimming the pounds, but less so on public issues, bless his heart.

  8. LibertarianGirl

    Bob Barr is winning me over. Ill say it again , anyone that can get a roomful of neocons booing at them for speaking out against torture gets some kudo’s from me.

    ** now i dont want to hear about he just said this fucked up thing or this paper said that , im sure he stil aint perfect , but he’s def proving himself*

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