Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Crossing the Barr

Congratulations to former Cobb County, GA congressman Bob Barr, who just won the Libertarian nomination for President. It's kind of bizarre that the LP would nominate a Christian-rightist who voted for the Patriot Act, but whatever. He's at least a somewhat well-known name.

Now it's up to the Green Party to ensure that both the national small-party nominations go to wackjob former Georgia congresspeople.


Ben said...

Barr voted for the Patriot Act? That surprises me. He's made his post-congressional career out of criticizing what he sees as government infringements on civil liberties. He's even partnered with the Georgia ACLU. Quite a long way to go for the former Clinton Impeachment prosecutor.

Mike said...

I thought of Barr as a "Christian-rightist" as well, until I found out none other than Brad Ploeger was supporting him. He's definitely a Constitution nut (there aren't many members of both the ACLU and the NRA) and big on small government and states' rights. Overall, I think it's a good move for the Libertarian Party -- it might get them some looks they wouldn't otherwise get and ironically makes them look less nutty and more mainstream than before by emphasizing their core values rather than the "legalize it" platform.

jacob said...

Barr was a reluctant voter for the Patriot Act. I think the short version is that he voted for it as a means of keeping even worse things from getting into the bill.

Andy said...

I think Barr voted for it because it gives all Libertarians pause. It's a tough issue -- personal liberty versus personal safety.

IMHO, government is largely in place to protect me from dangers, foreign and domestic. To that end, the Patriot Act is useful (say, Titles I and IV). But I also understand the counterargument that it infringes on civil liberty (i.e. beefed-up interrogation and surveillance). So it's a tough line to straddle for the government: keep me safe vs protect the rights of others. I tend to lean toward the "keeping me safe" part because 1. I'm selfish and 2. the bad guys aren't typically US citizens, so me first again.

And to paraphrase the most-paraphrased of quotes, I can't say exactly where the line is for too-much government in this case, but I'll know it when I see it. Probably when the klieg lights on in my face.