Mark at Publius Endures thinks that anti-war, civil libertarian Democrats should vote for Bob Barr this November:
… liberals/Progressives whose top priority this election is to restore civil liberties and put a halt to neo-conservatism ought to throw their weight behind a candidate whose entire campaign is built around the restoration of civil liberties and putting a halt to neo-conservatism. It may be that candidate will not win; however, if Obama loses or wins only narrowly, the vote for said third party candidate will send an effective message to the Dem Party that it needs to start taking a stand for civil liberties, in much the same way that the huge vote for Perot in 1992 sent a message to Republicans to start adopting stronger anti-immigration policies (few recall that until the mid-1990s, both parties were quite split on immigration), and to become bigger budget hawks (in which they succeeded for a few years). The result was a Republican Party that few would say cow-towed to the Dem President; indeed, I would even argue that the result was a Dem President who was forced to be the most economically conservative President in recent history.
And that is the opportunity I think Bob Barr may present to principled liberals – the opportunity to force the Dems to actually fight for issues like civil liberties and a less aggressive foreign policy. To be sure, most modern liberals may be ideologically closer to Ralph Nader than Bob Barr (though perhaps not as much as they think). But I do not believe that a vote for Ralph Nader would actually push the Dems to act more strongly on civil liberties and foreign policy – the man is too closely associated with economic issues for a Nader vote to be viewed as primarily a civil liberties and foreign policy vote. Barr, on the other hand, has made civil liberties and foreign policy the primary focus of his campaign, and a vote for Barr can only be interpreted as a firm rebuke of Republican assaults on civil liberties and foreigners, as well as Dem capitulations thereto.
I’d certainly be happy to see this happen, though I am sadly sure that it will not. That so many generally clear-headed progressives have been so incredibly soft on Barack Obama’s frequent slides into foreign policy
extremism “centrism” and capitulations to the Bush Administration on such things as telecom amnesty – not to mention his support for disastrous domestic policies like ethanol subsidies – has been deeply disappointing, and the fact is that if it keeps up the Democrats are very quickly going to find that they have become the very same sorts of blind, knee-jerk, unthinking supporters of “their guy” as those who drove the GOP coalition into the ground. Here’s a rule of thumb: if you’d write 1,000 angry words if John McCain said, did, or supported something, make sure you do the same for Obama, too. Take it from a former Republican – complacency is the seed of disaster.
Henley UqO’s Thoreau proposes a different route.]