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Libertarian provides alternative

Liz O'Donnell | Thursday, November 6, 2008

While much of the election coverage focused on the candidates of the two major parties, Libertarian nominee Bob Barr – the only candidate to visit Notre Dame – provided a refreshing alternative to both Barack Obama and John McCain, president of the College Libertarians Ben Linskey said.

“Bob Barr did a tremendous service over the past few months by opening up the political debate in our country and giving Americans a real alternative to the two-party system,” Linskey said.

Barr, who visited campus earlier this year, garnered 28,982 votes, which is about 1.1 percent of the popular vote in the state of Indiana. His showing helped contribute to McCain’s loss of the traditionally red state.

“The Libertarian Party is dedicated to the principles of limited government and individual freedom upon which our country was founded. We stand for free-market economic policies, low taxes, personal freedom, the preservation of our civil liberties and a foreign policy focused on defending America,” Linskey said.

The Libertarian Party tends to attract some of the more conservative Republicans. McCain, who earned the moniker “maverick” for his moderate viewpoints, may have lost some of his would-be supporters to Barr. Barr, however, was adamant he was not running to take away votes from any other candidate.

“Barr was a very attractive candidate to many Republicans. The GOP, once home to a number of Libertarian-minded voters and politicians, has redefined itself as the party of big government, economic intervention, and misguided foreign adventurism,” Linskey said. “With so little real difference between John McCain and Barack Obama, Bob Barr gave a real choice to disaffected Republicans who believe in small government.”

Barr’s platform included more dramatic governmental reforms than either of the two mainstream candidates.”

Barr’s campaign focused on the Libertarian principles of limited government and free market economics.

“Bob Barr’s campaign was focused on reducing the size and scope of the federal government in our lives,” Linskey said. “Unlike Obama and McCain, [Barr] vociferously opposed the massive Wall Street bailout passed by Congress last month. He called for tax cuts for all Americans along with major reductions in spending.”

Unlike Ross Perot and Ralph Nader, who ran multiple times, Linskey doubts Barr will run again in the 2012 election.

“I don’t expect Barr to run again. However, he will undoubtedly continue to work to expand the Libertarian Party and advocate for American’s freedom,” he said.

Nationally, Barr received 487,101 votes or 0.4 percent of popular vote.

Linskey said while Barr may no longer be a challenger in presidential elections, the Libertarian Party has firmly cemented its place in American Politics.

“As Americans will soon learn, Barack Obama’s promise of ‘change’ is just more of the same repackaged and rebranded. The next time we go to the polls, the Libertarian Party will once again be on the ballot, offering a real choice to Americans who are fed up with our government’s failed policies.”