Sunday, May 25, 2008

Party Troubles

Republicans and Democrats are not the only party struggling with party identity these days. I just watched the Libertarian Nomination for President. It took six ballots (I guess I only watched four). Former Republican Bob Barr took the early lead, but was tied with Mary Ruwart, a long time Libertarian, on the fourth ballot. She took the lead after the fifth ballot, picking up former Democrat Mike Gravel’s delegates. The fifth ballot eliminated Wayne Allen Root, who took the stage to address the delegates as the others before him had done. Root then endorsed a Barr – Root ticket in what for me was a surprise move. Root’s delegates followed his lead and Barr became the nominee. Earlier delegates on the floor could be over heard speaking with great outrage at Barr being the leading candidate. Barr did a lot of un-libertarian things while in Congress. He was a leader in the Clinton impeachment trial, which many Libertarian’s did not care much about. Barr was a leader against medical marijuana, which goes against the Libertarian ideal that drugs should be legalized. Barr has recently reversed himself on medical marijuana, but is still against total legalization and still favors funding other countries to help fight the “War on Drugs”. This is very un-libertarian. Barr also voted in favor of the Patriot Act, but again, has reversed himself on that one as well. Congressman Barr also supports a National Sales Tax and will probably not decrease spending on the military which many Libertarians desire. Barr joined the Libertarian Party only about two years ago. Mary Ruwart took her defeat rather hard as her endorsement of Barr went as far as "I will keep working" and "we will see what happens". Her speech was not a happy one, and she never said anything about supporting Barr. Root was also soundly booed when he endorsed Barr for President.

In the end, the Republicans and Democrats are picking the candidate that has the best chance of expanding their Party, and apparently so is the Libertarian Party. As for the over all effect of this nomination, it could actually play a major role. A recent Rasmussen Poll shows that Barr picks up enough of the vote percentage to tip the election to Obama. Barr is also from Georgia, where he is polling at 8%, and that may be enough to give the deep south state to Obama who will do well there with the high African American population. Either way, I find it interesting that the move of every party seems to be to a Big Tent status. Both major parties claim to be Big Tent, and the little parties are trying to claim ground from the disaffected leaving those parties.

By the way, I am not a Libertarian. I just found this interesting.