While I have supported -- and continue to support -- a party stalwart for the Libertarian Party's 2008 presidential nomination -- I have to admit that I was excited at the prospect of Bob Barr entering the race.
Here was a guy with some juice -- beltway credentials, experience at actually winning elections, media access, the kind of fundraising chops to build a campaign with real potential to break out into millions-of-votes territory.
What made Barr even more attractive was the prospect of a "road to Damascus" story -- "how I gave up drug warriorism, gay-bashing, religious demagogism, Big Brotherism and military adventurism and learned to love liberty."
So, after months of rumors and backroom scheming, what's the sitch on our new shooter coming out? Well ... fizzle is the most gentle term I can come up with on short notice.
Not a campaign, but an "exploratory committee."
Not a "road to Damascus" story, but hands-down the mushiest bowl of "offend no one" pablum I've ever seen from any candidate of any party. Barr doesn't seem to stand for anything except, oddly enough, the big-government "Fair Tax" scheme.
There were always risks with a Barr candidacy -- the worst, to my mind, being that it would reinforce the false image of the Libertarian Party as the Republican Party's disgruntled conservative overflow area -- but I expected those risks to be somewhat balanced out by the benefits.
The response seems to match the offering -- more fizzle. Three days after his kinda-sort-maybe "announcement," Barr's fundraising meter stands at less than 1/10th of its initial $250,000 goal.
Iffen da EllPee treaten alla dem 'Pugnicans witda respects yusa showen Ja Ja, meetinks, yep, dat meyby okeyday ta tink?
I'm good with outreach to conservatives. I'm downright enthusiastic about showcasing prominent "converts." But gutless doesn't get it.