John Schwenkler on why we need to have more than two candidates debating

John, in the comment box of his post-debate post:

[I]t seems to me that the major party candidates would be able to get away with a lot less of their B.S. if they had to share space with candidates who were offering something different. Obama would never have pressed McCain about, e.g., how his supposed “constructionism” squares with the free speech restrictions in McCain-Feingold or how his claim to want to shrink the size of government is empty in the face of the fact that he wants to, well, grow it, nor would McCain ever have pressed Obama on how the right to privacy permits abortion but doesn’t disallow domestic spying, etc. – but if they’d been up against a candidate who didn’t feel bound by those same rules, then the rules would have begun to change, and they’d have been pressed to be much more transparent and articulate then they need to be when both they and their MSM questions are coming at things squarely from the mushy middle. Doesn’t that seem reasonable?

          [My emphasis. – NPO]

Post-script: My humblest, sincerest apologies for the ultra-light (read: non-existent) web-logging lately; the workload has picked up, but in class and my assistantship, and the newspaper, which I hope to God on high we finish tonight, has occupied more time than I had ever expected. This weekend is me-weekend, though; well, me-plus-many, many-hours-in-the-studio weekend. 

Holy Smokes! Barr asks Paul to be running mate!

From Barr’s letter to Dr. Paul [PDF]

While ballot substitution is restricted for a presidential candidate and limited at this point in time, in many states, substitution is still permitted for vice presidential candidates. But time is short.

As my campaign staff has proposed to you, I ask that you join the Libertarian presidential ticket as the vice presidential candidate.

According to the campaign e-mail

Barr’s running mate, Wayne Allyn Root, expressed support: “As the Libertarian Party vice presidential nominee, I believe in one thing above all else-principle. There can be no compromise on the ideals of limited government, lower taxes, lower spending, and more freedom for the American people. Those are the principles to which I’ve dedicated my life. The GOP and Democratic candidates only give lip service-at best-to these ideals and principles. It is only an act at election time every four years.”

“I want to end the charade once and for all,” Root continued. “I am willing to sacrifice anything to advance the cause of liberty, freedom, smaller government and to enable the American taxpayer to keep more of their own money and property. Understanding Dr. Ron Paul’s reputation and name recognition in the freedom movement, I am willing to step aside as Libertarian vice presidential candidate if he would be willing to take my place. I will pledge to work day and night, just as I have as the vice presidential nominee, to support Dr. Paul. I believe this is a wonderful opportunity for the Libertarian and freedom movements. I encourage Dr. Paul to accept Congressman Barr’s offer. The campaign is making this offer because we believe there is no sacrifice too large when it comes to improving the lives of the American people and American taxpayers.”

I’m not sure that this would be particularly effective — assuming Dr. Paul were to accept — but it would be amazing, and Dr. Paul is, undeniably, a more appealing candidate than Mr. Root. And if anything can catalyze the sort of tremendous shift that we need to see in American electoral politics, this might just be it. I wonder what Chuck Baldwin thinks about this, and what he’d think would Dr. Paul accept.

Dr Paul declines. Expected, but disappointing, nonetheless. The press conferences seem to have been interesting, if not distressing to Richard.

Stop throwing your vote away!

So says Libertarian candidate for president Bob Barr, in New Hampshire:

“The definition of throwing your vote away is to go into that voting booth and vote for one of two parties that will not change the direction this country’s going in,” Barr told a crowd of about 80 at Murphy’s Taproom. “And that’s the Republicans or Democrats.”

If one more person refers to voting for Barr, Baldwin, or, perennially, Nader, “throwing away a vote”, I might scream. (I will concede that voting for Cynthia McKinney or Alan Keyes is as bad as voting for McCain or Obama, though.)

A tip o’ the hat to John Schwenkler.

My candidate

It’s late, and I want to read afore bed, so I won’t, despite various promises, go into detail, yet. But, after much consideration, I’ve decided that I shall vote for Bob Barr. Baldwin appeals to me, but is, perhaps, a bit too “Christianist” for me, and, I think, Barr has a better (though by no means good) chance of forging a coalition of libertarians, traditional and decentralist conservatives, civil-libertarian and decentralist progressives, and frustrated moderates and main-stream types. More later, I promise. Barr ’08! (He’s the least likely to ravage the Constitution, Baldwin and Nader, maybe, not-with-standing!)