Former Congressman and 2008 Libertarian Party presidential nominee Bob Barr wrote an op-ed piece for the Daily Caller today praising the party’s selection of Gary Johnson and Jim Gray over the weekend.
“The selection of former Republican New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson as its presidential nominee, and former California Superior Court Judge Jim Gray as its vice presidential nominee, brings strength and credibility to the party,” Barr observed. “Whether the Libertarian Party’s rank and file will unite behind these candidates so as to maximize the appeal of the ticket — something the party faithful have not done in the recent past — remains an open question.”
With only a slight hint of bitterness about his own experience, Barr cautions that Johnson’s next challenge will be motivating and organizing the party, which he notes is made up of activists who “frequently demand a purity of allegiance to the party’s philosophy that is not always compatible with winning over voters in the real world.”
Perhaps the best sign that he’s already been successful in engaging the party’s base is that Johnson secured the LP nod with a big victory on the first ballot, while in 2008 it took Barr six rounds to eventually prevail.
Falling short of an outright endorsement of Johnson, Barr notes that the ticket “brings a degree of substance and a new perspective that all voters and media pundits should not only welcome, but embrace.”
Barr was a member of the Libertarian National Committee prior to accepting the party’s nomination for President in 2008. This year he drew significant criticism from within the party for backing former colleague Newt Gingrich over Ron Paul in the Republican primaries.