The crucial subjects of the day are whether or not Tucker Carlson wants to run for President and what will happen to would-be Barr voters if Barr doesn’t get the Libertarian nomination.  I’m afraid I don’t have much to say about the former. 

Oddly, I have some sympathy for the anti-Barr forces in the LP.  After all, Barr pretty much is hjiacking their party as a vehicle for his presidential campaign, and in some ways the LP’s usefulness as a vehicle is the main reason why he’s running as a Libertarian.  Certainly, Barr has moved in a pro-Libertarian direction to some extent on the war and drug war, and there is real common ground between Barr and most Libertarians on civil liberties, but it has to chafe long-time partisans to have someone new parachute in and try to seize control.  There is a certain logic to the purity-testing aspect of Libertarian politics.  After all, once you start introducing the ideas of pragmatism and expanding your coalition into a third party that exists in large part to provide a stark, uncompromising alternative, it can seem to threaten the entire reason for having such a party.  If the goal, on the other hand, is to provide representation for those who otherwise have none and to maximise the protest vote, Barr would be the logical candidate.  As for how Barr squares the circle of trying to satisfy McCarthy, me and Eric Dondero at the same time, I think it will have to be an odd sort of balancing act in which Barr rejects pre-emptive war and calls for ending the war in Iraq while tacitly rejecting the more full-throated non-interventionism that would compel him to talk about blowback and the costs of empire.  More likely than not, he won’t be able to keep both sides satisfied, especially if he tried to take a compromise route and spend the entire campaign talking primarily about the size of government and civil liberties.  These are important things to talk about, but they are not going to tap into the public’s discontent as well as using both the war and immigration against McCain.

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