Their discussion centered around CPAC 2010, touching on the GOProud controversy, Ryan Sorba’s commentary, Bob Barr’s panel, torture, and a dalliance into a discussion on protectionism, free markets, and American jobs.
In a special podcast, Jason and Brett interview Bob Barr to further explore his thoughts regarding the plan to possibly bring prisoners detained as part of the War on Terror to the United States for trial.
On Monday, former Congressman Barr, along with Grover Norquist and David Keene released a joint statement supporting the proposal. In the interview, Barr discusses federal prisons, habeas corpus, and indefinite detention of these prisoners.
This week the National Rifle Association, universally considered one of the nation’s most powerful political institutions, endorsed Senator John McCain for President, a decision that has to leave many of its members scratching their heads. Whether or not you support the right of an individual to keep and bear arms, you have to question the reasoning behind the endorsement, given the specific candidate and the current political outlook.
Article excerpt from NRA’s Political Magazine “America’s1st Freedom” - June 2001
Wayne Allyn Root, 2008 Libertarian Party’s Vice Presidential nominee and political commentator, resigned this morning from the Libertarian National Committee (LNC) to, according to his resignation letter, “elect good people and change the direction of this country outside of a third party.”
In the letter to the LNC, which is available at Independent Political Report, Root explains that his decision much is not unlike those of previous Libertarian Party presidential candidates, including Ron Paul and David Koch; both of whom left the LP to become prominent Republicans.
When I asked if he was now backing Mitt Romney, Root responded, “I am,” adding, “I don’t deny that Romney and Ryan aren’t libertarians, but Romney is a pro-business capitalist and Obama is a Marxist-socialist.”
“The economy has been trashed. This is about my kids’ future, it’s about my businesses,” said Root. “There is no hope for America if Obama is re-elected.”
Root, who lives near Las Vegas, noted in his resignation letter that he “plan[s] to join Tea Party U.S. Senators like Rand Paul, Jim DeMint, Marco Rubio and Mike Lee in the near future, representing the great state of Nevada.” It’s obviously too late for him to run this year. It would 2016 before Root could make a run, presumably against Sen. Harry Reid; though Root told me that he believes the Democratic leader will retire.
Bob Barr, a former Republican Congressman from Georgia and the 2008 Libertarian Party’s presidential nominee, backed Newt Gingrich during the GOP primary. Barr has indicated that he will support Romney in 2012.
Disclosure: I served as campaign blogger for Barr/Root in 2008.
In what should be somewhat of an eye-opener for political activists from all points of view, Twitter recently revealed that it complied with 75% of requests for information on users associated with various threats or criminal acts:
Twitter received 679 requests for user information from the U.S. government in the last year, according to a report released by the company Monday.
The requests from the United States exceeded that of any other country, and Twitter released “some or all” of the information asked for in 75 percent of these requests, the company said. Twitter added that the requests for user information are typically connected with criminal investigations or cases.
The report represents the first time Twitter has made such figures public. The report included data from Jan. 1 through June 30 of this year, and was published just hours after a New York criminal court judge ruled that the company must hand over three months worth of tweets for an Occupy Wall Street protester.
The company reported that it has received more government requests for user information in the first half of 2012 than it did all of last year.
“These policies help inform people, increase awareness and hold all involved parties—including ourselves—more accountable,” wrote Jeremy Kessel, manager of legal policy at Twitter, in a company blog post.
Kessel also noted that the data guides the company “when making difficult decisions” and developing its policies, such as notifying users when their account information is being requested.
Wayne Allyn Root, who served as Bob Barr’s running mate on the Libertarian Party’s Presidential ticket in 2008 and now sits as a member of the Libertarian National Committee, raised more than a few eyebrows late last week when he essentially said on Bill Cunningham’s radio show (podcast here) that he’s supporting Mitt Romney for President this year instead of the nominee of the party he purports to represent:
I think the important thing now is to make sure Obama is not elected,and that means in my mind, I would love for a libertarian like Gary Johnson the two term governor of New Mexico would actually get elected President, but I think we all know that’s not going to happen so therefore it’s got to be Romney there is no choice.
Let’s leave aside the merts of Root’s argument for the moment. It is possible that someone who considers themselves a libertarian might decide in November that it is more important to keep Barack Obama from winning re-election by voting for the candidate most likely to beat him, even if that person is far from being a libertarian and isn’t likely to govern in a way very much different from George W. Bush. I happen to disagree with that conclusion, but I can understand why someone might beleive it, and that’s their right.
But Root isn’t just some libertarian off the streets. He ran for the party’s nomination in 2008, ran as Vice-President that year, and has said on more than one occassion that he intends to run for President against in the future, although apparently not in 2008. And he holds office on the party’s National Committee. It’s the equivalent of a member of the RNC saying that Republicans may as well just vote for President Obama in November.
Hooray! From Politico:
Gary Johnson will quit the Republican primaries and seek the Libertarian Party nomination instead, POLITICO has learned.
The former two-term New Mexico governor, whose campaign for the GOP nomination never caught fire, will make the announcement at a press conference in Santa Fe on Dec. 28. Libertarian state directors will be informed of Johnson’s plans on a conference call Tuesday night, a Johnson campaign source told POLITICO.
The Republican Party, although it has paid lip service to the notion of limited government and free markets for decades, has completely turned its back on such things. And that, as we have seen, has led the GOP to make a mockery of itself, and while it may win some temporary victories in 2012, long term, it does not bode well. The only other one in the race who has any sense is Ron Paul (and maybe John Huntsman), but as we seen from this circus, both the GOP Establishment and much of the base simply has no clue what’s happening.
Gary is making a good choice getting out of the GOP. It’s a sinking ship, and unless they get it back on real limited government principles and jettison the religious conservative wing, it’s going to go all the way to the bottom. I suspect many voters and perhaps even politicians will follow Gary—maybe not today, and maybe not necessarily into the Libertarian Party, but they will in the future.
The Independent Political Report is saying that Gary Johnson will announce his decision to jump to the Libertarian Party today, but then backtracks with an update that says no, he didn’t actually say it, he’s just hinting at it. As I’m writing this, it’s flopping around all over Twitter, but I’m not sure it actually means anything as of yet. Obviously, that may change.
I certainly hope that Johnson runs for the Libertarian Party. The RNC and the GOP have done nothing but ignore him and all but spit in his face. For a party that purports to be about cutting back government, they don’t seem to tolerate candidates who, you know, actually cut back government.
If Johnson runs on the Libertarian line, and even gets just, say, 2% of the vote, he’ll give the Libertarian Party badly needed publicity. (Could you imagine all the headlines from the Post and the New York Times? “Libertarian Party Candidate Breaks 1% Mark—OH NOES!”) And, hopefully, he can restore the smudge on their reputation after their last nominee, former Republican congresscritter Bob Barr (who just recently endorsed Newt Gingrich, of all people.)
While President Barack Obama recently announced the expansion of HARP — a mortgage relief program established in 2009, one of the frequent points of critics is that the impact of the move is limited to a small number of homeowners. Bob Barr, a former Congressman from Georgia, explained this point over at The Daily Caller last week:
The program itself suffers from significant limitations. Most notably, it applies only to mortgages backed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. According to Mark Calabria of the Cato Institute, the program “is available only to those who have already had a mortgage for over two years, are current on their mortgage, and have missed no more than one payment per year.” Calabria equates the program to “helping only those that do not need any help.”
James Pethokoukis, an economist at the American Enterprise Institute, explains that the idea behind HARP is full of holes, and that similar tricks in the past have not aided our sluggish economy. He notes, for example, that Obama promised that some 4 million homeowners would benefit with the creation of HARP in 2009. However, only about 20% took advantage of the program. Pethokoukis also concludes that the high-end estimate that 1 million homeowners will take advantage of HARP represents only a fraction of the 11 million property owners who are underwater in their mortgages.
But the point that this program does nothing really to lift the economy is further emphasized by the news that the housing market, which has yet to hit rock bottom, is heading for yet another dip:
Having only three years or so of libertarian experience, I sometimes find myself in the midst of a learning opportunity. This may well be one of those, but if it spurs some discussion, I am willing to be a martyr.
In the 2008 Presidential election, I was amazed at the intelligence of Bob Barr. I was constantly impressed at the depth of each subject he was asked about. How much basic sense each answer made even though some answers contained a level of sophistication that may have been over the heads of some.
Well, all except for one question.
In an interview with Sean Hannity fairly close to Election Day, Mr. Barr was put on his heels and frankly never recovered. Hannity’s style of attack, which one might term as that of an angry pit bull, didn’t help. That question of course was about the legalization of drugs.
Now don’t get me wrong, I have documented my struggle with this concept, and documented the “light bulb moment” I had - finally understanding that it was part of individual liberty, not to mention the amount of futile spending and creation of powerful underworld figures. It makes sense to me. I agree with it.
However, this question seems to take a serious, if not mortal, toll on all candidates running as small “l” libertarians within the Republican Party. In 2008, it halted what I believe might have been a staggering number of Independents and Republicans willing to vote for the Libertarian Party candidate when the best the Republican Party could offer was John McCain.
My theory is not about this question being asked… it’s going to be asked… but about the available answers. It’s about viable candidates explaining this concept in a thirty second sound bite or a timed answer during a debate that took me weeks, many hours of research and discussion with libertarians, to understand.