The Dartmouth Review 10.31.2008 Volume 28, Issue 5.pdf
Page The Dartmouth Review October 31, 2008
The Case for Libertarian Bob Barr
By: Andrew B. Lohse
system has become so ingrained, it’s now endemic. I could by contrast, is for limited government and the protection
of civil liberties.
not support either of them.”
Editor’s Note: On October 21, The Dartmouth Review and
Bob Barr knows about intelligence, having served in
Barr left the Republican Party in 2006, or more ac-
Beta Theta Pi fraternity sponsored a speech and Q&A from curately, “The Republican
Libertarian Presidential Candidate and former Congress- Party left me,” he says,
mean, come on, when was the last time Barack Obama—former
man Bob Barr. This event was covered by NBC Nightly echoing Ronald Reagan.
Constitutional law professor—cited the Federalist Papers in his
News and broadcast in part with an NBC interview. Review Since 2006, Barr has hadno
writer Andrew Lohse also interviewed Congressman Barr problem angering the GOP stump speech? When was the last time John McCain mentioned
on October 9. The Dartmouth Review is not endorsing any establishment—he’s the
the Constitution or the Bill of Rights at a Town Hall meeting?
candidate this election season.
only true “maverick” in the
I have a problem. I’m voting for a third party can-
For a man who has
didate—Bob Barr. Barr is the Libertarian presidential spent his political career advancing conservative causes, Barr the CIA for eight years. After that, Barr was known as a
candidate. My parents, glaring speechlessly and wondering is exasperated that conservative ideals are suddenly on the firebrand in Congress and this reputation suits him, though
what happened to the young Republican who cried when “outside” of the Republican Party. It wasn’t Barr who changed he complements it with fact-based analysis and wonkish
Bob Dole lost in ‘96, tell me I’m throwing my vote away. I when he switched identification in 2006. If voters had each integrity. This sets him apart from his opponents, who, achaven’t even made this confession yet to my grandfather, candidate’s stances on the issues outlined before them in cording to Barr “don’t have the foggiest notion of the basic
the 2008 election, they would see elements of human nature and the role of government.”
On the “bailout” bill, Congressman Barr, a true conthat Barr is the only candidate who
ob Barr knows about intelligence, having served in the stands for mainstream ideas like servative, occupies the ground surrendered by Congress’s
CIA for eight years. After that, Barr was known as a smaller government, spending cuts, impotent Republican minority and its presidential canopposed the bill. Barr says that “The tone
firebrand in Congress and his reputation suits him, though a less interventionist foreign policy, didate—Barr
set in the bill is very disingenuous. The
increased civil liberties, and states’
he complements it with fact-based analysis and integrity.
is to increase control over the economy.
rights—all traditional conservative
are doing this is by using tactics and
positions that have been abandoned
the rhetoric of fear to get people to conclude that they
by the current Republican Party.
a lifelong “common sense” Republican, but I shudder to
However, even the rare principled politician like Barr must give more power to the government. This is a false
think what he’ll say. My other grandfather also cried when
can be deceived. In the first Bush term he voted for both premise. There is not a single example of a government
Clinton won in ‘96, so he might understand why I’m voting
the Patriot Act and the Iraq War, two votes he describes as that centrally controls and plans its economy that has sucfor the man who tried to send “42” back to Arkansas.
his biggest regrets. In his own words, “My vote to authorize ceeded.” Barr is a staunch supporter of fiscal conservatism,
This election season, Obamamania is feverishly hot;
in contrast to McCain and his proposal
news stories of women fainting at rallies,
to add an additional $300 billion to the
pious displays of Obama as the Messiah,
taxpayer funded bailout.
and even Obama’s own claims to “stop
Barr also boldly discussed the Federal
the sea’s rise” allude to the fact that the
Reserve, which is something most politiDemocratic party is obsessively consumed
cians either are too afraid to mention or
by the cult of personality erected around
do not understand. Clearly, the Federal
“The One.” “We are the ones we’ve been
Reserve is not a “hot-button” political iswaiting for,” he tells crowds of supportsue, as frankly no one really cares about it,
despite the fact that it is the most important
For the GOP, a party I no longer idenand least controlled currency regulator.
tify with, there is much less excitement.
Barr tells The Review:
McCain’s not exactly electrifying, and the
hype around Sarah Palin has fizzled out.
So few Americans understand the Federal
But what’s worse is that the Republican
Reserve. It will take a period of educatticket is confirming what the Bush II
ing the public about what it is and what
presidency already established: that to be
it isn’t. We should look at alternatives.
a Republican these days is to be something
For the people to blithely and blindly buy
different than a conservative.
into the notion that unelected people can
So to other disaffected conservatives
control their currency is outrageous—but
disgusted by the bailout, the Iraq War, the
again, there is so little understanding
Patriot Act, excessive spending, and the
about the economy or repealing the
Federal Government running roughshod
Federal Reserve, and that makes the
over the states, I offer you an impractical
alternative: vote for Bob Barr.
What I do think it’s about is con
Well known as a Congressman elected
trol—government wants to control. It
in the infamous Republican Revolution
has a desire for power; John Adams cau“Class of ‘94” to serve Georgia’s seventh
tioned against it, so did Edmund Burke.
district, Barr was a legislator of the highest
It’s just fundamental human nature:
degree who played a leading role in the
government exists to gain, exercise, and
increase power. Our founding fathers
I had the privilege of interviewing
understood that, so they instituted checks
the Congressman and seeing him speak at
and balances to mitigate human nature’s
Beta, and can honestly say that in Barr, the
American people can find a rare amalgam
of principle, persistence, and philosophy
Barr may not be the smoothest pothat no other major party candidate has.
litical candidate running in this election,
I mean, come on, when was the last time
but he is capable of discussing the issues,
Barack Obama—former Constitutional
government, and philosophy in a way that
law professor—cited the Federalist Pamost modern-day candidates are not.
—Congressman Barr believes you should throw your vote away!—
pers in his stump speech? When was the
With the election just around the corner,
last time John McCain mentioned the
and an Obama victory almost unavoidable,
Constitution or the Bill of Rights at a Town Hall meet- the war was a mistake, and I realize it now. The adminis- it is not too late to shift gears and send a message to the
tration gave inaccurate, unsound intelligence. I voted to
Republican National Committee that we true conserva
Watching Barr rail against the American two-party depose Saddam Hussein—the Bush administration used tives want Barr’s version of conservatism—not McCain’s or
system should have been inspirational for any politically- that resolution for a multi-year occupation of Iraq. Unlike Palin’s. The Republican Party needs to realign itself with the
minded Dartmouth student. When asked about the woes of McCain, I don’t appreciate the fact that the administration traditional political right, and the more votes Barr gets, the
this system, Barr points out that “the lesser of two evils is still did a bait and switch; but that bait and switch doesn’t seem more the RNC will understand that its version of pseudoevil,” and summarizes his campaign as “trying to convince to bother him.”
conservatism is no longer acceptable. This is not changing
When asked about how he is different from the two
the American people that they deserve better. They used
the Republican Party; this is reminding it of its roots.
to never be satisfied with that sort of notion, that they had major party candidates, Barr describes the philosophical and
Barr says it best: “I will not believe to my dying day
to pick between two poor choices, but since the two party pragmatic divides. Obama and McCain “both support the that America has passed a point of no return. Every day that
expansion of government powers to watch its own citizenry.
goes by is a chance to change America for the better and
This shows a fundamental lack of understanding of the fourth
return it to the way that its founding fathers and ConstituMr. Lohse is a freshman at the College and a contributor
Amendment and of our intelligence agencies; surveillance
tion envisioned it.”
to The Dartmouth Review.
should be about targeting and focusing resources.” Barr,