Bob Barr Press Conference: Perspective from Both Sides

The Barr Campaign’s decision to shun Ron Paul’s press conference, hold their own and denigrate Ron’s efforts will have lasting effect- but will any prove positive for the Barr Campaign?

In the interest of full disclosure, I know Bob, like Bob, worked for his campaign up until a few weeks ago and planned on voting for him- a decision I’ll have to reconsider.  I also know Ron, like Ron, worked for his campaign and would still vote for him today if he were on the Alabama ballot.

If the Barr Campaign’s actions today has possibly lost the support of someone who knows and likes Bob, I imagine the fallout among the Libertarian Party members and Ron Paul supporters will make them regret their actions today.  Continued derisive actions and words from the campaign staff will only make things worse.

I called the Barr Campaign Headquarters and spoke to LP Communications Director, Andrew Davis, asking for an official statement from them.

We think holding our own press conference was the right decicion for our candidate and our supporters.

 

There’s no animosity towards Ron from the Barr campaign. Why would Bob ask him to be his VP if there was?

 

We are not about promoting 3rd party politics, but about getting as many votes for our candidate and our message as we can. A vote for Baldwin, Nader or McKinney is not a vote for Bob, so while we agree with the principles espoused today, we chose to focus on our candidate. It’s great to see 3rd parties coming together and we appreciate it. We know ballot access laws are terrible. We know it’s tough to get into the debates, but it’s not something that required a press conference.

 

We’re focused on the Barr Campaign and libertarian issues and that’s why we decided to have our own campaign.

One question that came to mind immediately after hearing that the Barr Campaign had blown Ron off was, “How does Ron feel about this?”  Since C4L staffer, Don Rasmussen has openly discussed what he witnessed this weekend, I called him to to hear what happened first-hand.

First Don cleared up Russ Verney’s claim that Bob had never agreed to appear at Ron’s press conference. “I know for a fact that Bob had agreed to be there today and Verney is lying by saying otherwise.”  I asked him how Ron reacted when he learned that his friend and one-time colleague would not be making an appearance as agreed.  “I’ve never seen him so upset.  He had to be reminded to lower his voice as there were reporters outside out door.  He was extremely disappointed.”

Don confirmed that Shane Cory did indeed tell Don to “go f#@k himself” when he asked Shane why he did this, though he admits that Shane also recited a list of perceived grievences, ie; lack of invitations to events, etc., that led to the decision to eschew Ron’s press conference and stage his own.

Adam Kokesh’s public withdrawal of his support of Barr was also confirmed by Don.  “When Adam stood up and said he was no longer supporting Barr, several others spoke up and echoed Adam.”

Lest anyone should accuse Don of simply not liking Barr and is now taking an opportunity to announce it, I can personally attest that Don supported Barr’s candidacy after Ron withdrew from the race.

For more comments from Don, read here and here.

I also just had the opportunity to speak to Adam Kokesh on the phone about his perspective on today’s drama.  He came to Ron’s conference as a supporter of both Ron and Bob, but left altogether differently.

“When it became obvious to the crowd that Bob was not there, immediately some buzz started. I gave him the benefit of the doubt and assumed he didn’t show up because of a personal issue.  I figured there was no way that he’d stand Congressman Paul up.”

“I went to Bob’s press conference still a supporter and still assuming the best.  When the real reason he didn’t show up became apparent, I thought ‘What the f#@k?’.  That’s when he lost my support.”

“Barr showed us today that he is not a team player for liberty.   Barr is far more concerned about votes than he is promoting liberty and the Constitution.  There’s a time to lead and a time to follow; today was a day to folllow Dr. Paul- to show some unity.  Barr missed his opportunity and lost my vote.”

This was a disappointing day for those who had hoped Barr’s candidacy would be a way to continue the freedom movement begun by Ron’s campaign.  And it’s a blow to the LP who finally had a candidate capable of capturing national attention and putting the Libertarian Party on the political map.  Don Rasmussen’s advice is apropos here-

“Hopefully, the LP will find a way to reject this candidate without rejecting the idea of engagement in practical politics.”

The lesson about putting too much stock into any candidate has been driven home today. The real goal is to promote liberty and the rule of law, no matter the candidate or the party.  As Ron has said many times, “It’s not the man, it’s the message.”


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