Former Republican Congressman, Libertarian Presidential Candidate, and now an apparent convert back to the Republican Party Bob Barr is speculated to make a primary run against Congressman Tom Graves in the new 14th Congressional District. I, along with many of my Republican cohorts, like both Graves and Barr, but I’m left scratching my head on why Barr is considering a run against one of the more popular conservative congressmen in Georgia? What makes me more curious is why Barr is apparently repenting of his 5 year stint as a “big-L” Libertarian to convert back to the GOP in order to run for Congress.
In a 2007 Salon article, Bob Barr said that he has multiple reasons for leaving the Republican Party:
“One, that the Libertarian Party, among all of the parties out there, is the only one that is true to my core philosophy of working to minimize government power and maximize individual liberty. None of the other parties, and especially the Republican Party any longer, is at all committed to that philosophy. And secondly, my great concern, manifested especially since 9/11, is the assaults on our fundamental civil liberties by this administration. [That’s] personified, for example, in the disregard for the rule of law as exhibited by the warrantless NSA [National Security Agency] electronic surveillance in violation of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. More recently, [there were] documented abuses at the FBI in carrying out certain of the expanded powers granted in the Patriot Act, namely, national security letters. And in January of this year, the testimony by the attorney general that this administration does not believe that the fundamental right to a writ of habeas corpus is an important, fundamental, constitutional guarantee. So what we have is a party, the Republican Party, to which I was very proud to belong for many, many years, no longer being committed to a core conservative philosophy. The Libertarian Party is so committed, and I felt that at the time that it was necessary to make a change because of the seriousness of the assaults on our civil liberties.
As much as I want to say that my party has totally learned its lesson from 5 years ago, I know that’s not a true statement. I believe we’ve gotten better and have elected more conservative Republicans to Congress, but we’re not there yet. If you haven’t noticed, there is some tension between the “good ole boys” in Congress and a few of those new bloods who are holding to principle within the Republican Conference. Has the GOP’s core philosophy changed enough that Bob Barr now wants to accept us, or are there folks behind Barr positioning him to become Georgia’s version of Congressman and Presidential Aspirant Ron Paul?
Regardless, I welcome Bob Barr back to the Republican Party. He has strong principles and has tremendous influence. I believe he would be a great asset to our Party once again.
Yesterday, Jim Galloway posted a “warning” from the Club For Growth to Bob Barr advising him not to challenge Tom Graves in the 2012 General Primary. It’ll be an interesting race if Barr does decide to jump in. The Tea Party(ies) and various allied organizations may not jump to the side of the libertarian Republican Barr and continue to support the incumbent Graves instead.