One of the challenges that an insurgent campaign from newly minted Libertarian candidate Bob Barr will present for GOP nominee John McCain is an authentically conservative voice that offers many clean breaks with the notion of a "third Bush term." Barr's regrets over voting for the Patriot Act are well-storied, and led to a collaboration with the American Civil Liberties Union and the formation of his own foundation, Patriots to Restore Checks and Balances.
Of greater import for McCain - who recently ceded nearly a quarter of GOP primary votes to candidates who have already lost the GOP nomination - is Barr's clear break on the Iraq War. It was a topic that Barr wasted no time in engaging:
BARR: The American people, as do I, do not believe in precipitous action. I believe in responsible action. First of all, you don't signal to your adversary, regardless of the circumstances that brought you into that adversarial relationship, what your future plans and future timetables are. That is foolhardy. Only a fool would signal to whatever our adversaries are, whoever our adversaries are, exactly how and when we would be drawing down our troops. But I do believe that it is extremely important, and in the best interests of America's defenses and our security, and our relationship with our allies, that we do begin immediately setting in place a plan to draw down, dramatically decrease the military, the economic and the political footprint that we maintain in Iraq. Currently there is absolutely no incentive whatsoever for the Iraqi regime, the Iraqi government to assume responsibility for its own economic affairs, for it's own political affairs, for its own security affairs. So long as they have the American people and the taxpayer dollars --
Barr has a host of positions on key social issues and taxation (like Mike Huckabee, Barr is a "Fair Tax" proponent and an antagonist of the IRS) that will prevent a migration of Democratic votes to his corner. But his out-of-Iraq message, tied to the indisputable observation that our relationship with the putative Iraqi regime has reached an almost intractable level of codependency, seems like a natural fit for the isolationist strain of conservative, as well as your typical Ron Paul voter, who continue to turn out in significant percentages against McCain.
Get top stories and blog posts emailed to me each day. Newsletters may offer personalized content or advertisements. Learn more