One of the great fears of the McCain campaign (and, conversely, a tightly held hope of Barack Obama) is that libertarian Bob Barr could somehow turn his campaign into a vote-siphoning, moderately influential electoral force.
Those fears rest, in large part, on Barr tapping into the grassroots efforts and fundraising apparatus of the libertarian community's true love: Ron Paul, the Texas Republican who raised copious amounts of campaign cash during the Republican primary and, in some states, earned a sizable chunk of the vote.
On Tuesday, a step was made down that road. Tucked into the Associated Press daily calendar of events was this little nugget:
Ron Paul supporters attempt Bob Barr money bomb. Money Bomb for Libertarian Presidential nominee Bob Barr, organized by supporters of former Republican Presidential candidate Ron Paul. Similar efforts for the Republican Congressman saw him break single day fundraising records during his Presidential bid.
Could this be the first major step in a political collaboration? Alas, the official answer seems to be no (though with a tinge of hope).
"This is something that [Paul's] are doing independently of the campaign," said Audrey Mullen, a spokeswoman for Barr. "We are not involved we are not coordinating, but certainly we are delighted that they are doing it... We don't know these people who are doing this money bomb thing and we didn't ask them to."
Still, events likes these may be worth keeping note of. For starters, if Barr is able to tap into Paul's money-raising connections, he could go a long way towards making a dent in McCain's vote totals. And the Obama campaign, in a memo sent to reporters, is clearly counting on Barr contributing to Democratic victories in several states.
Already Paul and Barr seem to be edging towards a pseudo-alliance. According to Mullen, the two have spoke to each other recently. Paul, moreover, has praised Barr in public; and the Georgia congressman has returned the platitudes:
"Congressman Ron Paul has fought tirelessly in both the Libertarian Party and the Republican Party to minimize government power and maximize individual liberty," said Barr, in mid-June. "I want to thank him for all that he has done for liberty in this nation, and encourage him to continue his fight through whatever avenues he sees fit."