Bob Barr: Angry Conservatives Should Join Libertarians

Former Georgia Congressman Bob Barr spoke to a Libertarian Party conference in Florida said that conservatives are angry,  looking for an alternative to the intellectual bankruptcy of the GOP, and that the LP could be a new home for them:

“They are eager for a philosophical home,” Mr. Barr said. “There are enough of them out there that a significant number can be weaned away” from the Republican Party.

More than 100 Libertarian officials and activists attended the three-day event at the Orlando International Airport Hotel and Conference Center that included a Friday meeting of the party’s national committee and a Saturday presentation by longtime conservative organizer Richard Viguerie.

“Whenever conservatives are unhappy, bad things happen for the Republican Party,” said Mr. Viguerie, author of “Conservatives Betrayed: How the Republican Party Hijacked the Conservative Cause.”

Mr. Viguerie, whose pioneering direct-mail operations helped revolutionize political fundraising, emphasized the value of issue-oriented appeals in building a successful movement.

“You must give the voters a tune they can whistle,” said Mr. Viguerie, who drew applause when he said of the 2008 Republican presidential candidates that Rep. Ron Paul of Texas “is the best of the lot.” Mr. Paul was the 1988 Libertarian nominee for president.

As Brian Doherty points out at Hit & Run, there are plenty of reasons to be skeptical about the idea of conservatives and libertarians finding common ground. On some very important issues, most notably the War On Drugs, either conservatives would have to give up their strong law-and-order stance, or libertarians would have to  water down their principles. The first alternative seems unlikely, the second is simply unpalatable.