Showing intense, heroic bravery, Libertarian Party candidate Bob Barr has denounced two white nationalists who endorsed him, including one who is just a commenter on a message board (reason.com/blog/show/126790.html). Barr's campaign manager says:
The Barr campaign is not going to be a vehicle for every fringe and hate group to promote itself. We do not want and will not accept the support of haters. Anyone with love in their heart for our country and for every resident of our country regardless of race, religion, nationality or sexual orientation is welcome with open arms... Tell the haters I said don't let the door hit you on the backside on your way out!
While the message is largely commendable, there are a few minor sticking points.
1. The definition of what a "hate group" is seems to be quite fluid, and the definition seems to end up being "whoever opposes the ADL, SPLC or allied groups". By using that phrase, Barr is allowing the far-left to define what is and what isn't acceptable. Barr is playing on their field by their rules using their ball instead of pointing out how crooked their game is.
2. Denying that they're going to be a "vehicle" for such groups plays into the perception that they were previously considered to be a "vehicle", or that the Ron Paul campaign served in that capacity.
3. This opens the door to examining everyone else who endorses Barr or gives him money. (The fact that there will be few of both makes examining them easier).
4. When faced with a far-left group (e.g., the National Council of La Raza) that isn't as overtly racist and that's only "mainstream" because they're considered to be so by those in power, Barr's response would almost certainly be much less brave. In fact, it's not difficult to imagine Barr being like McCain and speaking to their convention.
UPDATE: For an example, back in 2006 Randy Graf of Arizona was endorsed by David Duke, which Graf denounced. No matter how many times he denounced it, the Dems continued to use it against him, with the Arizona Democratic Party even starting an inaccurate smear site. In conjunction with the denunciation, Graf should have viciously attacked the other side and worked to discredit them to the greatest extent possible, and that's the same thing Barr should be doing.
However, Barr has amply demonstrated that he's simply a mainstream hack who's running a vanity campaign. And, since I suspect that the goal of the campaign is something like helping him to sell books, don't expect him to rock the boat.
UPDATE 2: I'm sure it was clear to almost everyone, but for those not in the loop, the "Brave:" and the "intense, heroic bravery" bits were sarcasm, with the former being a takeoff on Fark tags.
Politics · Mon, 06/02/2008 - 13:34 · Importance: 1