. . . by Bob Barr.
Yesterday I covered Bob Barr's PAC contributions to the re-election campaign of Republican Saxby Chambliss at the expense of Libertarian candidate Allen Buckley, noting especially that these contributions occurred while Barr was a member of the Libertarian National Committee.
Now, it is important to recall that Barr, in running for the Libertarian Presidential nomination, is trading heavily on his name recognition, his association with Ron Paul, and his presumed ability to bring a Libertarian candidacy into the news and past the million-vote threshold.
He's been asking for all those Libertarian pennies, nickels, and dimes to be directed toward his exploratory committee, pointing out in his cute (Ron Paul-like) graphic that he needs tens of thousands of dollars just to be able to set up an office staff and get the campaign off the ground.
Switch: let's look at the persistent, low-budget campaigns of Libertarian Allen Buckley in Georgia. In 2004, Buckley ran for Senate and scored 2%. Two years later, he managed 3.6% as a candidate for Lieutenant Governor.
This year, however, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution suggests that
In a year in which Democrats are floundering [in Georgia] and Chambliss has raised a pile of cash to defend himself, it’d be easy to write Buckley off.
But there’s a conspiracy of events out there that could — despite the traditional third-party disadvantage of no money and less attention — allow Buckley to make the best showing any Libertarian has ever made in Georgia.
Why? Buckley has seized on two critical issues--Saxby Chambliss's support of farm subsidies and the Fair Tax--with which he appears to be gaining some traction (especially since nobody in the Democratic Party seems at all enthusiastic about their candidates).
That's what makes Bob Barr's donations so troubling for Libertarians seeking to build state and local party organizations. Barr's PAC has given Chambliss a total of $3,500. Given that Saxby has raised over $4.4 million (including a cool million from the agri-business interests that benefit from his support for those subsidies), the Barr contribution is statistically and pragmatically inconsequential to the well-heeled GOPer.
Buckley's campaign, however, is another story. He hasn't made any FEC filings this year yet, but his filings from the Lieutenant-Governor's campaign indicate that he ran the campaign on just $5,000, and achieved more than 75,000 votes.
I can't help thinking that Barr's $3,500 would make a considerable difference to Allen Buckley this year.
More than that, imagine what might happen to Buckley's campaign if Barr either publicly endorsed him or solicited others to contribute to his campaign.
I realize that there might be personal issues of loyalty involved between Barr and Chambliss. But when you accept a position on the Libertarian National Committee you undertake the ethical responsibility--at the very least--not to hurt your party's candidates.
From that perspective, it takes a lot of damn gaul to seek the LP Presidential nomination.