Will Barr Have an Impact on Presidential Race?
While a raft of presidential candidates have queued up to joust on the political playing field, each offering voters their own roadmap to a New Day of Change in the way our federal government operates, Libertarian hopeful Bob Barr has had his feet planted firmly in the past.
Far from being some sort of Luddite, Barr seeks a return to that which he has long held as the fundamental principle of conservatism: when the subject turns to governance, less is more.
Looking back upon his time as a conservative Republican in Congress, the candidate told this reporter during a recent conference call, "We no longer have representatives from either major party who have any serious interest in reducing the size of government, cutting taxes, or getting spending under control."
This is a salable sentiment among paleoconservatives, but some may wonder precisely how much one person -- even when seated in the Oval Office -- could accomplish toward such lofty goals. Barr insists that the very presence in the West Wing of an apostate from the two party system would send out a clarion call, shocking Congress into action. He also promised to lead by example, mandating a 10% cut in spending by the executive branch on his first day in office. This, he assured us, would be followed by a meeting with both houses of Congress where he would shame them into following suit.
I recently spoke with Derek Barr, the candidate's son and a campaign spokesman. He observed:
"When you have a Republican president who goes and meets behind closed doors with Republicans, or a Democratic president who meets behind closed doors with Democrats, nothing ever gets done. When Bob meets with all of them, Congress is going to see the writing on the wall. A Libertarian has just been elected president -- the first time a third party candidate has done this in more than a century. In two, four or six years, their time is coming up."
Derek went on to tell me that his father would also call on Congress to join him in a comprehensive review of every governmental department and entitlement program to determine which were constitutionally valid. Those failing to pass muster would be scheduled for termination, shifting those functions back to the several states. Barr clearly places his trust in the Founding Fathers when determining which matters should properly pry open the public purse.