09/18/2008 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Libertarian Candidate Bob Barr: A Day Late And A Few Million Short

Here I am checking email on Sunday morning, August 17, and up pops a new email from the Bob Barr for President campaign. The email says the Libertarian Party nominee for president is "fighting mad" because he's "been left out in the cold."

To be more specific, former Congressman Bob Barr was excluded from the first nationally televised event with Barack Obama and John McCain at Saddleback Church in Orange County, California, staged by church pastor and bestselling author Rick Warren.

"We've had calls placed to Pastor Warren from very powerful leaders from the left and the right," wrote Barr campaign manager Russell Verney. "We sent in our personal request, and placed numerous phone calls that have not been returned."

Put plainly, Barr was barred from the event.


Perhaps the reason is self-evident. In this same email, Verney reported that the campaign was in dire straights. "We've raised less than $1 million. We're blocked from upcoming debates. We're polling at 6% nationally."

Now I favor most libertarian stands on civil liberties and limited government (balanced with progressive values on social justice and environmental issues), so I am eager to read these Libertarian Party emails. Yet I base my view of reality on reason. I rely on logic and evidence. Sadly, I'm not seeing much of either from the Barr campaign.

Start with the claim of 6 percent support nationally. Show me the evidence.

According to an August 12 Gallup Poll survey of registered voters, 45 percent said that they plan to vote for Democrat Barack Obama in November, 38 percent plan to vote for Republican John McCain, 1 percent plan to vote for Libertarian Bob Bobb, 1 percent plan to vote for independent Ralph Nader, and less than 1 percent plan to vote for Green Party candidate Cynthia McKinney.

Also, 1 percent plan to vote for Hillary Clinton (write in, I guess). Five percent said they will not vote for any of these candidates. Two percent said they will not vote at all. Six percent said they have no opinion.

So here I am reading this email from the Barr campaign with an apparently inflated report on polling numbers. I'm reading an email complaining that Barr's supporters are not contributing the same tens of millions of dollars being contributed monthly to McCain and Obama. I'm reading an email complaining about Barr being excluded in the Saddleback Church event.

Then I spot a line in the email that threw me for a loop, setting off my logic alarm bells. Verney wrote, "As you read this, our attorneys are filing an injunction against Saddleback Church to include Bob Barr in their forum this Saturday."

Okay, I do not claim to have the greatest mathmind on earth, yet here I am reading an email sent by Bob Barr's campaign manager on August 17 saying that lawyers are filing an injunction today to include Bob Barr in an event that happened yesterday on August 16.

I can think of all sorts of reason for the timing snafu, yet it raises a central question. Is this the quality of thinking and performance behind the drive to place a libertarian in the White House?

Seems to me the Barr campaign is a day late a few million dollars short.