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Which 3rd Party Candidate will spoil
the chances for Which Major Candidate?

You know, a while ago I heard that Ralph Nader was jumping into the 2008 Presidential elections, and all the pundits and reporters in the 24-hour drive-by media (you know, CNN, MSNBC, FOX News) could talk about was how this might destroy the chances for a Democrat to make it into the White House, because the only major party the Green Party would steal votes from is the Democrat Party. Of course, those news stations will then go on to say that although in 2004 Nader really didn’t make much of an impact at all, people believe that the Green Party really did have an adverse effect on the 2000 election with Gore and Bush.
They seldom mention the Libertarian Party — the only 3rd party ticket that actually could afford ads on election day in the 2004 election, and although they only probably got 3% of the vote it’s a ton more than the Green Party gets. But that party is brought up when someone (who was an Impeachment manager against President Bill Clinton) decides that after switching to the Libertarian Party, they may run for President in the 2008 election.
Bob Barr is the guy’s name, and he has started an exploratory committee for determining the feasibility and potential for running as the third party candidate. Now, I look at the Libertarian Party website, and thet have decided (strangely) that they are going to choose a presidential candidate for the 2008 election by having candidates not only meet criteria for running, but also that they get the most in donation money (because learning how to get the most money will apparently show the candidate how to compete in Washington).
The other kick in the pants I got when I went to the Libertarian Party web site () is that Mike Gravel (yes, if you even saw any of the early Democrat Debates, you’ve seen him) decided to switch parties and run under the Libertarian Party ticket. (In other words, he is running for President in this election under the Libertarian Party, but he hasn’t even made enough money to be one of the major contenders for the Libertarian Party ticket.)
Now, that Mike Gravel thing was just an aside, because as soon as I heard about Bob Barr, I thought of Ron Paul, a once-Libertarian who switched parties and has been running under the Republican ticket recently. Although he was at the earlier Presidential debates (yes, like Gravel), he was so straight-forward with his answers that although a lot of Republicans wouldn’t want him as their candidate for President, a lot of people fell in love with his beliefs. Ron Paul (whom I would like to call the Libertarian dressed in Republican’s clothing) was receiving so much money in donations to his web site that he even said that he didn’t know how to spend all of the money that he has received. Even in my primarily Democratic state of Illinois (because it seems that most everyone in the Chicagoland area is a Democrat), I can’t tell you how many signs for Ron Paul I saw posted in the grass at major intersections. Even when the Primaries came to Illinois, I knew Obama (you know, the guy from Illinois) would overwhelmingly win everything, so I voted for the only Libertarian on the two-party ticket — Ron Paul.
I mean, I thought Ron Paul had changed his ways when he decided to run on the Republican ticket. So after hearing Ron Paul say repeatedly that we should pull all troops out of Iraq, I went to the Libertarian Party web site, and saw splashed all over their front page the fact that we should pull all of our troops out of Iraq. So maybe Ron Paul partially decided to switch to the Republican Party because there was a better chance he’d get more name recognition, and a better chance to be elected for any political position if he was a member of a major party.
But thinking about how people seemed to love Ron Paul in the Republican Party debates, I wondered what Bob Barr’s thoughts on this election would be — especially when the Libertarian Party already has a strange and difficult way to get nominated as an official Libertarian for the candidacy. So I started searching for news stories about Barr’s “exploratory committee,” along with any other information about what Barr might be thinking when it comes to this election. And it was funny that since he used to be a Republican, the first news story I was able to check out was from the fair and balanced FOX News.
The first thing the FOX News article (
http://elections.foxnews.com/2008/04/01/report-bob-barr-weighing-presidential-run) pointed out was that “Barr, who joined the Libertarian Party after leaving Congress in 2003, is looking to attract conservatives who are unhappy with the choice of John McCain as the expected Republican presidential nominee.” And for that they’ve made a great point, because a lot of Republicans aren’t fond of McCain (who has appeared on the Daily Show with Jon Stuart so many times that McCain joked about being a staffer with the Daily Show); Rush Limbaugh had even said for I don’t know how long that McCain is not a good candidate (and oddly enough, people believe him blindly).
And FITNews (the first place that reported on the Bob Barr Presidential possibility) even reported that the Texas Republican Rep. Ron Paul would support him (how fitting). Barr even told FITNews (http://www.fitsnews.com/2008/03/31/barr-to-announce-presidential-bid-next-week) that he explained to “the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that his potential Libertarian bid for the White House would be an extension of the Ron Paul movement.”
It is true that when someone like Ron Paul is under the Republican ticket, he is constrained about putting forth his own agenda (as it seems evident that all Republicans other than McCain who were running for the Republican ticket were praising torture for detainees), so there is a chance that Bob Barr on the Libertarian ticket might get his point across in a more accurate manner. And as reported in the Western Standard (http://westernstandard.blogs.com/shotgun/2008/04/bob-barr-revolu.html, posted by Kalim Kassam on April 5, 2008), “On The Sean Hannity Show on April 3rd, Barr said that this election year was “a perfect storm” for a 3rd party like the Libertarian Party to make an impact.”
And yes, he may make an impact, but the impact wouldn’t be that he would win the Presidential election. And I don’t think he thinks he would win either, but what he is doing would help bolster the idea that the two party system America has clung to for so long might not be working so smoothly in the 21st century.
And it makes me laugh to think that in this presidential election, it might be a 3rd party candidate that might be making things difficult for the Republican party and not the Democratic party. With every major party candidate now espousing the beliefs that we should do more to conserve resourses and help the environment (thanks to Al Gore, the scorned lover of the 2000 Presidential election), Ralph Nader’s Green Party run for office probably won’t sway many Democrats to the Green Party ticket (you know, kind of like 2004). So it’s novel to think that the Libertarian Party, which has been the strongest 3rd party on the ticket in recent years, might actually hold the Republican party back, when they seem to already be shaking with McCain as their presumptive nominee.




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Chicago poet Janet Kuypers
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