OK, I was once a Republican too.

Lots of us started out as Republicans and then became disenchanted as first Goldwater and then Reagan were cast by the wayside as the party veered toward the middle of the road. But Bob Barr isn’t just a former Republican, he was a very un-Libertarian Republican. I was skeptical of his choice to run for President as a Libertarian and surprised when the Convention chose him.

But having listened to him recently, his conversion seems sincere, and he exudes the zeal typical of the newly converted. So, it would seem we have a candidate worth supporting. If he can make it into the debates, he will make fools of the major party candidates. (But then any Libertarian could do that.)

See campaign video here.


4 Responses to OK, I was once a Republican too.

  1. J. Tyler Ballance says:

    “If he can make it into the debates…”

    Currently the Presidential Debate Commission (run jointly by the Democrats and Republicans) have as one of the qualifying criteria, to be polling at least 15% nationally in several polls. Only Billionaire Ross Perot has met that sort of criteria in the modern era.

    Libertarians here in Virginia would have a greater impact by taking your libertarian principles and joining your local Republican Committee. For those who are disenchanted because their local Republican Committee is run by assholes, then your best bet is to recruit good people to displace the assholes with good libertarian-Republicans, who will respect the very libertarian oriented Republican Creed.

    Had just a few more Virginia Libertarians taken part in the Republican Convention, the candidate for U.S. Senate would have been, Virginia’s Champion of the Constitution, Bob Marshall, instead of the lackluster, Jim Gilmore.

    In rural areas, with as few as nine regular attendees, libertarian-Republicans could completely replace the local officers of those rural county committees. Had that simple step already been taken, several of our recent nominees would have been citizens who respect the Constitution and who are defenders of Liberty. Instead, we got another crop of Neocon “Bush-wannabes.”

    If the current Republican Party is too fascist for you, then join in and change it to a more libertarian organization. It is a long slog, but it is far better than standing out in the political wilderness backing infrequent candidates who poll in the single digits.

    Many Republicans have, like me, participated in the Libertarian Party and, like me, have also supported Libertarian candidates for local offices, when good candidates are available. However, the political reality is that we must unite behind one of the two major parties to have a significant impact. Purist will whine that one issue or another is repugnant to them and they use this as a frequent excuse to explain their inaction. Well, successful politics is about building effective coalitions, where you sometimes have to be satisfied with half a loaf, or even less on some issues, in order to build support for a share of the change today, and a larger change on the next time around.

    If citizens take their support and head for the far right and far left, those citizens will be ignored and eventually forgotten. However, if libertarian-Republicans stand tall and are fervent in their participation in the Republican Party, then we will again hear candidates who talk of ENHANCING our Liberty and returning our government BACK to within its constitutional limits.

    Speaking just for myself, I welcome members of the Libertarian Party in the Central Virginia area to participate in the Henrico Republican Committee. My view is that if we can have your support at least part of the time, that is better than none of the time. Besides, the Henrico GOP has a really nice breakfast buffet at The Place restaurant on W. Broad at 8 AM the first Saturday of each month. I have attended the VB GOP and they have a nice spread, too.

  2. Tyler,

    Would this be the same Republican Party that is about to nominate for President a man who acts like the First Amendment is an inkblot ?

    Sorry, no dice.

  3. Don Tabor says:


    I followed the path you outlined for more than 30 years until the Republican Party rotted out from under me. I have become convinced that if the Republican Party is to be saved, it must, like any other addict, hit bottom.

    I began my political life as a teenager distributing literature for Barry Goldwater. In those days, you could not vote until you were 21, so I never got to vote for him. When I could vote, I joined the GOP in Louisiana, at a time when Republicans had no better chance of being elected than a Libertarian does in Virginia today, so I know about uphill fights. But we elected Bob Livingston in the 3rd district, the first GOP legislator from LA since Reconstruction, and Dave Treen, similarly the first GOP Governor there since they were appointed by Yankees.

    I celebrated Reagan’s elections, and the GOP takeover of Congress under Clinton. but mourned the abandonment of Goldwater and Reagan under both Bush’s. Since Bush 41, things have gone steadily downhill. It is not that the GOP has become too fascist for me, it is that it has become too Democrat.

    The GOP has taken its conservative/libertarian wing for granted, assuming they have no place else to go and pandered to the ignorant middle. That is a formula for the final demise of the GOP. You cannot out pander Democrats. They are just too good at it. They own pandering. Calling it “Compassionate Conservatism” doesn’t change anything, it is still pandering top the populist sentiments of the middle while taking for granted the principled libertarian right. Every year, the thin difference between the GOP and the Democrats fades further and the Democrats ascend, dropping even the pretense of being capitalist and espousing the diluted socialism of populism.

    So long as the GOP leadership believes the conservative/libertarian wing has no where else to go, they will continue to pursue the populist center at the expense of everything it meant to be a Republican when I was one. Even as a Libertarian, I often voted for GOP candidates and urged fellow Libertarians not to support spoilers at the risk of electing a Democrat. I suggested that instead we act as the memory of the GOP, like the Monks who kept knowledge alive through the Dark Ages, reminding the GOP gently of its soul.

    No more.

    The GOP will not return to its conservative/libertarian roots until it learns it can not win an election without us. So, as painful as it may be, I call upon those Republicans who love the GOP of Goldwater and Reagan, as well as those of us who have left it, to vote for Barr for President, even if that means electing Obama. I also call on Libertarians to vote for a GOP Congress to limit what harm Obama could do as President.

    This strategy will either save the GOP by forcing it back to its core principles, or relegate it to third party status with the Libertarian Party taking its place. Either is preferable to watching the GOP I put 30 years of my life into devolve into “Democrat Lite.”

  4. Reid Greenmun says:

    Until I recently joined the Libertarian Party I was a life long Republican. So too was my mother and my father. In fact my father ran for local office as a Republican and won. Like Don, I finally realized that it is useless to waste my time attempting to reform the Republican Party. The party no longer cares about principles and exists simply to try to garner political power and control over the people’s wealth.

    Why waste my time dealing with GOP insiders and strategists that are no longer open minded and have become disciples of the “big tent” philosophy, embracing the label “moderate” as if it was a badge of honor.

    Jay encourages Libertarians to give up their principles in favor of “half a loaf”. No thanks, that path will never lead to a destination that any true Libertarian seeks.

    Our nation is crying out for “change” – but it is not the “change” Senator Obama and the DNC are selling – it is a change that is sought to break the stranglehold of the failed two-party monopoly and the lousy choices we find as we enter our polling places to cast our ballots.

    Moving to the center by compromising one’s principles is a loser’s strategy. It is the mark of an individual that thinks so little of themselves and their principles that they admit defeat before they even serious attempt to stand up a viable third party.

    The Republican Party strategists are depending on Conservatives and Libertarians voting for their ‘centrist” RINO “moderates”. Well, Jay, they made their decision to abandon the principles that Libertarians and conservatives hold dear, now they deserve to live with the consequences. What I am referring to is what Don phrased as “being Democrats”.

    The GOP leadership needs to learn from their mistakes. When they turned their backs on their base they should not be surprised when their base finally turns their back on the GOP.

    Any Libertarians that are persuaded to return to the Republican Party with the vague hope that they can “change the party from within” are being lead down the primrose path and are foolish to delude themselves into thinking that they can “change” the GOP without having the ability to write huge campaign checks.

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