Following the nomination of former Republican congressman Bob Barr, many Libertarians are struggling with whether they’ll be able to support their party’s candidate.
Bob Barr’s positives are obvious to all. The 46% of LP delegates who rejected him on the final ballot were well aware of Barr’s pros, and decided they were outweighed by his cons. Many felt they could support the LP ticket if it were given balance by Steve Kubby’s nomination as VP, but the plan fell short by a few votes.
Still, the majority of Ruwart backers were begrudgingly willing to support Barr. This cohort was increased, no doubt, by Dr. Ruwart’s LNC election victory, and that of her campaign manager, Lee Wrights. But there remain many Mary supporters — as evidenced by the comments on this blog — who range from unsure to outright unwilling to support Barr. The question: Is Constitution Party nominee Chuck Baldwin a suitable alternative?
To most radicals, the answer is a firm no. Baldwin, a Baptist minister, is not shy about his religion. He is fervently pro-life and somewhat hostile to pro-choicers. His views on homosexuality will not win over many radicals, and his stances on immigration (seal the border, protect American jobs, protect American culture) and free trade (he’s for “fair” trade) are most troubling of all.
But now for the positive: Chuck Baldwin will be the only candidate on the ballot (where the CP has access) who is against fiat money and the Fed. After the educational gains Ron Paul made in this libertarian area, many radicals are disappointed that their candidates appear unconcerned by monetary reform. Secondly, Baldwin is a committed constitutionalist. He does not advocate unconstitutional measures to further his socially conservative agenda. He has opposed DOMA and the federal-marriage amendment, and also opposes a national abortion ban.
Finally, in contrasting to Bob Barr, Baldwin does not support the Fair Tax, and is not a former CIA operative. He is a firm non-interventionist and opposed the PATRIOT Act from day one. He’s against foreign aid, both military and monetary. And he has been unwavering in his political convictions for many years.
Many radicals have said they could never support Baldwin or any Constitution Party candidate. However, a subset of the radical caucus — call them the “Rockwellian tendency” — can overlook personal views they disagree with in deference to philosophy of governing. To this distinct minority of libertarians, Baldwin’s pro-life and anti-gay views are of little concern, but his anti-immigration and anti-free trade positions are and will be troubling. It will be a matter of weighing the pros and cons.
Murray Rothbard, hero to the radicals, supported Pat Buchanan with many of the same views that Baldwin now advocates. Will the radicals, at least those of a Rockwellian bent, throw their support behind Baldwin? Or will they be won over by Bob Barr? Only time will tell.