Contra Conventional Third-Party Wisdom
The typical left-right pronouncements are being made with regard to Bob Barr’s intention to run for president under the Libertarian banner:
On the ballots in 30 states so far, Barr has the chance to be a spoiler for McCain, the presumed Republican nominee, in several states, among them Alaska, Colorado and Georgia. Barr’s campaign advisers also assert he has similar potential in other mountain states, New Hampshire, Ohio and other swing states.
The Republican Party and the McCain campaign have swatted away the Barr candidacy, but some Republicans are taking it seriously. If the early polls hold up, and Sen. Barack Obama, the presumed Democratic nominee, pours heavy resources into Georgia, that state could be up for grabs, said Sen. Johnny Isakson, R-Ga.
I wonder if the peculiar dynamics of this particular presidential race oughtn’t turn such conventional wisdom on its head. A Barr candidacy could actually provide a protest option for disaffected conservatives and right-leaning libertarians that only benefits Obama half as much as he might otherwise manage to achieve. If Obama’s heavy investments in generally Republican regions were designed to emphasize the “change” motif, with the intention of gathering votes from the other side’s usual base, it’s conceivable that Barr would actually neutralize those efforts to some degree.