A lot of Democrats groaned when Ralph Nader announced he was running for president yet again. But he’s not the only minor party candidate who could make a splash. Former Congressman Bob Barr of GA, who formally left the GOP for the Libertarian Party two years ago, is mulling a run for the presidency on that party’s ticket.
If he runs, he would draw on the celebrity he gained as a prominent media critic of the civil liberties abuses of the Bush administration. He’d probably attract much of the following of Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul, without bearing the burden of Paul’s unsavory association with racists.
Here’s what an anxious Washington Times piece said about Barr’s prospects:
“Barr obviously is dangerous. At least he negates any possible Nader benefit,” said David Norcross, a New Jersey member of the Republican National Committee and its Rules Committee chairman, arguing Mr. Barr would hurt Republicans at least as much as Ralph Nader, who has announced his own independent presidential bid, would hurt Democrats.
Republican campaign pros said a Barr bid could range from causing them some damage all the way to being the equivalent of Ross Perot’s 1992 presidential bid, which many Republicans think split their party’s voters, unseating then-President Bush and electing Democrat Bill Clinton.
“Sure, it will hurt. We’ll just have to see how much. Will it be like Perot’s run? Always that chance,” said South Carolina Republican Party Chairman Katon Dawson.
We’ll know soon enough. Barr may announce his candidacy as early as this weekend, and the Libertarian presidential nominating convention will be held Memorial Day weekend in Denver. At this point, Barr’s best-known rival for the bid would be the eccentric ex-Democrat Mike Gravel.
UPCATEGORY: Democratic Strategist