The Race for President: Bob Barr Analyzed

A few months ago, the Libertarian Party nominated Bob Barr as their candidate for president. So here is my analysis:

About the candidate: Bob Barr started his career with the CIA in 1971. He left the CIA in 1978 and began practicing law and eventually became a federal prosecutor. Barr was a member of the US House of Representatives where he represented Georgia’s 7th district as a Republican from 1995 to 2003. Barr attained national prominence as one of the leaders of the impeachment of President Bill Clinton. In 2006, he joined the Libertarian Party.

Issue/Voting Criteria Candidate’s Stance Candidate’s Record Grade
1. Strengthening the Family “School reform starts by shifting control over education from government to parents. We must abolish the Department of Education, eliminate federal grants and regulations, and begin moving power back to the states and local communities. States should consider tax credits or deductions for parents who home school or send their children to private schools. Public schools should be managed locally, increasing accountability and parental involvement.” -“He authored and sponsored the Defense of Marriage Act, a law enacted in 1996 which states that only marriages that are between a man and a woman can be federally recognized, and individual states may choose not to recognize a same-sex marriage performed in another state. At the 2008 Libertarian National Convention, he apologized for the part of the Defense of Marriage Act. He opposes the Federal Marriage Amendment, contending it is a violation of states’ rights.” From Wikipedia
-“In Congress, Barr’s strong stance against medical marijuana put him at odds with marijuana policy reformers such as the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP). Despite this historic antagonism, in March 2007, Barr reversed his stance on medical marijuana and began lobbying on behalf of MPP.” From Wikipedia
Barr “voted YES on banning partial-birth abortions. (Apr 2000). He voted YES on barring transporting minors to get an abortion. (Jun 1999).
He voted YES on banning gay adoptions in DC. (Jul 1999)
Voted YES on allowing vouchers in DC schools. (Aug 1998)
Voted YES on vouchers for private & parochial schools. (Nov 1997)
Supports requiring schools to allow prayer. (Jan 2001)” From

1A. Pro-Life/Anti-Abortion “The Constitution does not empower the federal government to regulate this issue, whether to ban or legalize abortion… Court decisions, beginning with Roe v. Wade, that restrict the right of states to decide the issue of abortion should be overturned.”
1B. Pro-Traditional Marriage
“Regardless of whether one supports or opposes same sex marriage, the decision to recognize such unions ought to be made by each state rather than imposed as a one-size-fits-all mandate by the federal government. Any federal laws that prevent states from determining their own standards for marriage should be repealed; the federal government should not define marriage, whether by statute or constitutional amendment.” C
2. Defending Our Country “It is time to reemphasize the word “defense” in national defense. By maintaining a military presence in more than 130 nations around the world in more than 700 installations, with hundreds of thousands of troops deployed overseas, the U.S. spends more to protect the soil of other nations than our own.” “In 2002 Barr voted for the Iraq Resolution. He has since called for withdrawal of U.S. forces from Iraq, leaving no permanent military bases. A press release from Barr’s presidential campaign stated: ‘The next president should commit to a speedy and complete withdrawal from Iraq, and tell the Iraqi people that the U.S. troops will be going home.'” From Wikipedia
-“He voted for the Patriot Act, but only after his amendments adding “sunset clauses” were added to the final bill…He now publicly regrets his Patriot Act vote.” From Wikipedia
“Barr sat on the Board of Directors of the National Rifle Association from 2001 to 2007.” From Wikipedia
“Voted YES on more prosecution and sentencing for juvenile crime. (Jun 1999)
Voted YES on making federal death penalty appeals harder. (Feb 1995)
More prisons, more enforcement, effective death penalty. (Sep 1994)
Voted YES on deploying SDI. (Mar 1999)
Voted NO on more immigrant visas for skilled workers. (Sep 1998)
Sponsored bill declaring English the US’ official language. (Jan 1999)”
2A. Defeating Terrorists “The invasion and occupation of Iraq were two separate mistakes, which collectively have cost thousands of American lives and hundreds of billions of U.S. taxpayer dollars. Every day that the occupation in Iraq continues without a withdrawal plan is a day that more American blood and treasure (some $400 million a day) is needlessly wasted.” C
2B. Protecting Our Borders “The government must balance security and sovereignty concerns, which necessitate controlling the border, with the economic benefits of immigration. The best policy would be to stop illegal immigrant flows while accepting more of the world’s economically productive who want to come to America.” A
3. Free Market Economic Policy -“The free market, driven by consumer choice and reflecting the real cost of resources, should be the foundation of America’s energy policy. The federal government should eliminate restrictions that inhibit energy production, as well as all special privileges for the production of politically-favored fuels, such as ethanol.”
-“Federal health care programs, most notably Medicare and Medicaid, have become financially unsustainable. These programs need to be transformed to emphasize patient choice, focus on the truly needy, and add cost-saving incentives. Here, too, market principles should be applied to bring better quality health care at less cost.”
“Voted YES on reducing Marriage Tax by $399B over 10 years. (Mar 2001)
Voted NO on $156M to IMF for 3rd-world debt reduction. (Jul 2000)
Voted NO on Permanent Normal Trade Relations with China. (May 2000)
Voted NO on $167B over 10 years for farm price supports. (Oct 2001)
Voted YES on $99 B economic stimulus: capital gains & income tax cuts. (Oct 2001)
Voted YES on Tax cut package of $958 B over 10 years. (May 2001)
Voted YES on eliminating the Estate Tax (“death tax”). (Apr 2001)
Voted YES on eliminating the “marriage penalty”. (Jul 2000)
Voted YES on $46 billion in tax cuts for small business. (Mar 2000)
Allow $3 on 1040 form to pay off National Debt. (Sep 2000)
Supports balanced budget amendment & line item veto. (Sep 1994)
3A. Lower Taxes -“Government should eliminate regulatory barriers that inhibit private philanthropy, and expand tax deductions to encourage charitable giving.”
-“Tax reform is desperately needed in the United States; but before we can reform the tax code, we must sharply reduce the tax burden on Americans made necessary. Second, we need a tax code that makes taxation fairer and simpler for all citizens. Meaningful tax reform begins with reining in government spending. “
3B. Smaller Government “The government cannot continue spending at this rate if America is to remain competitive in the global marketplace. The new administration’s number one job will be to drastically reduce spending by limiting federal outlays to only the government’s legitimate functions, as provided in the United States Constitution.”

On social issues, Barr gets mixed review. He seems to want to strengthen families, and when he was a congressman did a lot of good, but in recent years has repented of the good things he has done, all in the name of states rights. On national security issues, Barr again gets a mixed review. He voted for the Iraq War, but now calls it a mistake. Barr is pretty good on Second Amendment issues and has a record of being tough on crime. In word and deed, Barr is for the free-market and smaller government and has consistently voted to lower taxes.

All in all, Barr scores a very respectable 3.33 on my grade point scale. In fact, that puts him and the Libertarian party in the lead based on my system. My former leader, the Constitution Party’s nominee, Chuck Baldwin, got a grade point average of 3.22. The Republican’s nominee, John McCain got a score of 2.56. And of course the Democratic Party’s nominee, Barack Obama, scored a dismal 0.56.