So far I’m leaning toward voting for either Libertarian nominee Bob Barr or possibly Constitution Party nominee Chuck Baldwin for president (I voted for CP candidate Michael Peroutka in 2004). Barack Obama at least gives me reason to smile on foreign policy, but is a disaster on illegal immigration. Maybe if he chose Jim Webb for VP, the conservative Southern Democrat could change Obama’s mind? It would certainly help with white working class voters. I won’t hold my breath.

And John McCain? Please – McCain is the worst possible choice on BOTH foreign policy AND illegal immigration (my two litmus tests, if I haven’t mentioned it). Simply having an “R” in front of your name will not suffice – sorry Sean Hannity.

That said, Dylan Hales at The Left Conservative has some interesting and poignant thoughts concerning Barr in the wake of the unpredictably successful and ongoing Ron Paul Revolution. While I agree with most of what Hales is saying, the pragmatist in me believes it’s worth seeing how the election plays out before making any final decisions on who to pull the lever for. If there’s a real anti-war, anti-government, conservative swell behind Barr, in opposition to McCain’s imperialism and liberalism and Obama’s welfare statism and liberalism – then Barr would clearly be worth voting for, despite any flaws.Nevertheless, Hales points are worth considering. Hales writes:

“In 2000 the “hip” third party candidate to cast a ballot for was Ralph Nader. While I believe that Mr. Nader is much more conservative than the overwhelming majority of the Republican Party-and is a true American patriot in ways that most modern politicians would find quant- there is no question that the majority of Nader’s supporters were liberals and/or leftists.

Eight years later though and the United States is in a totally different place. The massive expansion of government and draconian advances of the Homeland Security bureaucracy have turned huge portions of the traditionally big government left into skeptics. The office of the Presidency is now widely regarded as the most dangerous force on the planet, even by typically deferential American liberals. The military-industrial complex and the Empire are now openly attacked in books, magazines and even amongst certain sectors of the pundit class in ways that would have seemed unimaginable in 2000. In sum the tyrannical overreach of the Bush administration has taught many, including much of the American Left, that big government really is as bad as big business.

I am not going to waste time here ranting about the reason Congressman Paul’s campaign wasn’t able to fully capitalize on this authentic and spreading phenomenon, but I will say that the level of success reached by a candidate running primarily on an opposition to the Empire, the war on drugs and the Federal Reserve was largely a shock to the political know-it-alls and should be instructive. And that is why Bob Barr fails.

Bob Barr would have been a perfectly acceptable small government, conservative candidate in 2000 or 2004. Many of the ideas, and much of the language he is running on now, would have been revolutionary for the time. But in a post-Raph Nader, post-Ron Paul, political universe, Bob Barr is a step backward. Not back toward the traditional American Republic, but back toward the managerial state and the totalitarian status quo.

Read Hale’s entire column