Raffi Khatchadourian's profile of Barr in this week's New Yorker depicts him—accurately, I think—as no more Libertarian than your standard Newt Gingrich clone. Barr, Khatchadourian reports, is against the legalization of such illicit drugs as crack and heroin. Khatchadourian continues:
[Barr] wrote the Defense of Marriage Act, voted for a constitutional amendment outlawing flag desecration, and even tried to legislate against Wiccan soldiers who wanted to practice their faith while in the service. A churchgoing Methodist, Barr rarely invoked religion when discussing policy with his aides, but he told constituents that "God's hand" was guiding his votes.
There's more bad Barr news. A Cato Institute blog item, reviewing Barr's House votes from 1995 to 2003, tags him an enemy of free trade. In 2003, Reasonmagazine called Barr "one of the most conservative members of Congress." In his defense, Barr told Newsweek that was then and this is now. He's grown! Since being voted out of Congress, he's laundered his hard-right résumé with a consultancy at the American Civil Liberties Union. He has stated his regrets for having voting for the Patriot Act.
Who is the real Bob Barr? When he was an unrepentant hard-right Republican, he did have notes of libertarianism to him. But in his libertarian rebranding, he can't quite mask his old, musky self. He's a fraud.
This much I know about Barr's opponents: Barack Obama proved in his acceptance speech at the Denver convention that he's a classic Democrat, a proponent of big government and economic intervention—just like George W. Bush, and we know what sort of misery eight years of those policies have brought. I love the way Obama sings but I hate the lyrics.
I'd like to say I have an equivalent sense of what John McCain stands for, but how can I, seeing as he has no clear idea of what he believes beyond what he shed in his last brain spasm? My friends in Arizona have always laughed about how easily the East Coast press fell for his straight-talk bullshit. You'll see, you'll see, they said. And they were right.
Which brings me back to Barr and the absentee ballot I cast for him this morning (Oct. 23). He gets my vote not because he'd be a good president. He wouldn't. He gets my vote not because he has a chance of becoming a president. He doesn't. And I didn't vote for him because he represents my views. He doesn't. I voted for Barr because he happens to stand adjacent to a set of values I cherish and that I've gotten into the habit of resubscribing to every four years—peace, prosperity, and liberty.
You got a problem with that?