Bob Barr Enters Presidential Race; Ron Paul Won’t Go Quietly

What a day for the Republican Party.

While Rush Limbaugh luxuriates in his Operation Chaos hijinks, it seems that some longtime GOP members have launched a new mischief-making campaign — on their own party. Former Georgia Rep. Bob Barr, a stalwart of the 1994 conservative revolution, announced today that he will seek the Libertarian Party nomination for president.

The blog notes that the room was positively crawling with reporters for Barr’s expected cross-over bid. The crowd demonstrates either that “Mr. Privacy,” a moniker given Barr for his long-time conservative civil liberties advocacy, still has some star power, or that a rain-soaked nation’s capital is hungry for any news today — political or otherwise — besides Weather Channel flash flood bulletins.

The ex-congressman wasted no time in launching the “Liberty for America” Web site following the introduction of his presidential exploratory committee last month. The issues page is a veritable siren song to the Libertarian movement: cutting government spending and supporting national defense, personal liberty and border security.

On the site, he also takes a swipe at his former hawkish congressional colleagues, stating that he joined the Libertarian Party “because at this time in our nation’s history, it is essential to join and work with a party that is 100 percent committed to protecting liberty.”

Now Barr must win the nod at the National Libertarian Convention in Denver on May 22-26. He will compete against a field of 10 potential candidates, including Vegas oddsmaker Wayne Allyn Root, Florida businessman Daniel Imperato, tech entrepreneur Michael Jingozian, ex-Democratic presidential candidate and former Sen. Mike Gravel, and “none of the above.”

Conventional wisdom, such that it is, predicts that Barr will siphon votes from Arizona Sen. John McCain, the presumptive GOP presidential nominee. And that’s likely to bring a smile to the face of Ron Paul supporters.

The LA Times blog posted a story today claiming that:

…the forces of Rep. Ron Paul have been organizing across the country to stage an embarrassing public revolt against Sen. John McCain when Republicans gather for their national convention in Minnesota at the beginning of September.

The Times also writes that Paul supporters have embarked on a deliberate strategy of wresting control of party committees from longtime Republicans — tactics not unlike those successfully used by the social conservatives in the 1980s to usher in the Reagan era.

The Paul-ites aim? To influence platform debates and secure a prominent speaking role for the congressman is a dual Republican and Libertarian party member. Barr gave up his GOP voter registration in 2006.

Stay tuned to Colorado Confidential for previews and on-the-ground reporting from the Libertarian convention later this month.

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Wendy Norris

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