Bob Barr the Republican…Reprise

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.


  1. jiminga says:

    Will Barr’s campaign slogan be “I’m more conservative than Graves”? Seems to me Barr should start by earning his re-entry to the GOP by working for the election of other real conservatives elsewhere in the state.

  2. debbie0040 says:

    Tea party activists are already rallying around Tom and we will pull out all the stops to see that he is re-elected. Barr would be making a big mistake getting in the race and getting defeated once again by a popular incumbent..

  3. Dave says:

    Barr had best sit on the sidelines pontificating on various issues. His time past him by back when he got smoked badly by Linder. He’d be labeled a party deserter and that is worse than any flip flopper. Give it up Bob.

  4. drjay says:

    it’s a shame really, i have always been very fond of barr–i never got the primary with linder, he basically ran in linder’s district–had he run in the 11th, it would have been open, and he could have run as the de facto incumbent…i remember seeing him at the state gop convo in sav’h a few years back and he was on the floor shaking hands and taking pix with folks and generally being loved on and giving love back, and this was a couple years after the linder primary–then he did the whole libertarian thing–i’m not sure he will be as well received this time around

  5. Christopher says:

    Bob Barr is a narcissist, pure and simple. He’s disingenuous and to be honest, I trust Obama more than him. At least you know Obama is a leftist and just tries to make it sound palatable. Barr tries to be whatever will get him the most attention.

    I wouldn’t vote for Barr for dog catcher and to be honest, I would probably vote for a democrat before I’d vote for Bob Barr. You just don’t know what he’d do.

  6. Justin Tomczak says:

    Not to pile on, but if my pastor leaves the church and publicly rejects what he once taught, then years later shows back up…I would welcome him back to the congregation but I would not immediately put him back in charge of the church.

    Barr trying to take back his public rejection of the Republican party and asking Republican primary voters to support his candidacy for a position of leadership is laughable.

    He should come back and serve the party he abandonded for a while before asking us to send him to Congress with an “R” by his name.

    • I don’t know that I’d say he so much rejected Republican principles as I would say that current Republicans are rejecting Republican principles. It’s funny how often I hear that the Republican Party is the party of limited government, yet they continue to do things like outlaw backyard chicken ownership, increase spending, increase taxes, etc. I’d say the libertarians and the stated fiscal goals of the Republican Party have a lot in common…. so much so that I’d say Barr is more of a Republican than plenty of currently and past elected Republicans (including Bush and McCain).

    • Doug Grammer says:

      I agree with Justin up to a point. His candidacy for a position of leadership isn’t laughable. If Congressman Barr wasn’t thinking about running against Congressman Graves, but against Hank Johnson or some other incumbent Dem., I’d bet Justin would hope he would get elected.

      I think it’s very unlikely that it will happen. Congressman Barr should build back a few bridges that he burnt before he tries to go anywhere on them. I don’t see Congressman Barr giving us any better votes than Congressman Graves has or will. The only thing Congressman Barr could run on is the whole bank loan thing, and I’m not sure that people will replace Congressman Graves with someone who left the party.

      As a side note, I like both men as good people, but neither of them are perfect. Who is?

  7. Wiregrass Dawg says:

    drjay is right in the above comments.

    Barr would do well to remember the Linder beatdown. It’ll only be worse this time.

  8. I would imagine Barr (as have many others) has considered a run under a third party / independent status. However, petitioning requirements in Georgia make running as a Democrat or Republican immensely easier than to try and run as an independent, Libertarian, Green, etc.

  9. Dave says:

    Barr’s comeback reeks of simple political opportunism. Just like that douchebag Charlie Crist who swore on Meet the Press in March 2010 that he would not run as an independent if Rubio got the GOP nod. What did he subsequently do….he ran as an independent. Just an opportunistic s**thead.
    Just admit it wasn’t your time, Charlie, keep your word and keep your support in the future. Now he could not get elected to any office whatsoever. If you want rehabilitation, Bob, start small and work your way back into the party. Take a couple of election cycles, work for other candidates. Earn it.

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