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Al Barger – Candidate for the U.S. Senate From the Great State of Indiana

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There are those who talk about politics – as most of us do here – and then there are those who demonstrate a level of commitment far beyond rhetoric, take the leap and actually participate in the bruising scrum that is the American political system.

Our own Al Barger is the Libertarian candidate for the U.S. Senate from the great state of Indiana. Al and I disagree on a fair number of issues, including vital ones like the standing of Elvis Costello in popular music history, the advisability of a strong national government, and the legacy of Abraham Lincoln, but I also know Al to be a man of intelligence, integrity, openness and curiosity, and humor.

Blogger and Hoosier Libertarian Mike Kole has the official announcement:

    One of the more satisfying outcomes of a recent meeting of the Libertarian Party of Indiana’s Central Committee was to nominate Al Barger for US Senate.

    Incumbent Democratic Senator Evan Bayh is as about as untouchable as they come. He is generally more conservative than the average Republican, both fiscally and socially. There were Reagan Democrats throughout the US, but in Indiana, there are Bayh Repubicans. So, why not run a colorful candidate such as Al? He’s endlessly quotable, and to make a dent in Bayh, you have to be noteworthy. The GOP’s challenger may as well be an empty Coke can. Dr. Marvin Scott has an excellent resume,’ but that and $4 will get you a latte at Starbucks. I’d give a week’s pay to have Bayh and Barger on the same stage for an hour, along with the Coke can. Sweat would definitely form under Bayh’s perfectly coiffed hair, and that rarely happens.

    As an internal matter, it was very satisfying that Al could be nominated and accepted despite having a favorable take on the war against Al Qaeda and in Iraq. He is as libertarian as John Hospers or Murray Rothbard ever were, despite straying from orthodoxy on this issue. It is satisfying that there are no purity police on the Central Committee. Other states would have refused to give the assent. Our group recognized that Al is the best man available for an impossible battle. I know I’d rather have someone like Al who is his own man with his own thoughts and reasons than a stiff dogmatic who can only spout platform bromides. That’s no different than the Coke can, and probably less effective anyhow.

Al’s pro-War on Terror stance is key: most non-Libertarians don’t realize that the party platform calls for limited government across the board, including military action, and that they did not support the invasion of Iraq. Barger’s strong pro-war stance demonstrates a fiercely independent streak we have seen amply demonstrated here over the last two years, and he and I agree that terror is the single most pressing issue facing the nation, indeed, the free world. His position:

    I favored the war in Iraq, and am open to the possible need for similar actions in Iran, North Korea, Syria, and perhaps other places. Protecting us from people who want to come kill us is the main one thing that the federal government is SUPPOSED to do. I don’t LIKE wars, but if there are people trying to kill us — and there are — then they have to be stopped, as Malcolm X would say, by any means necessary.

Though some might characterize Al’s campaign – under the banner of a “third” party against a hugely popular incumbent – as quixotic or as a form of performance art, he sees his highest duty as educating and informing the public as to the American Constitution and how far the political establishment of the nation has deviated from its most fundamental document.

Al Barger is an Eagle Scout, a member of MENSA, a proud graduate of Ball State University, and, extending his political vision outside of the narrow Libertarian realm, describes himself as a

    Goldwater Republican. To younger, cooler people, I would describe myself as a “South Park Republican.” Parker and Stone come closest of anything in the culture to my general sensibilities.

    I’m not reflexively hostile to authority, but I just presumptively don’t believe in it. If there is some clear necessary reason for it, I’m happy to work with it, but my default presumption is that much authority is arbitrary and unnecessary. I’m willing to listen to reason, but authority figures have to earn my respect. I would never presume to have any moral obligation to follow a rule merely because “it’s the law.”

    In short, I don’t generally just hate on authority figures, but I do love giving them a good tweak.

As to other matters of policy:

    Copyright reform: I will be advocating a return to US historic norms in copyright. The original idea of a 14 year copyright, with one 14 year extension seems about right. If 28 years of exclusive copyright isn’t enough to incentivize you to write that novel, then you can just go drive a truck for a living. That leaves a lot of details to figure out though, particularly about permutations of modern technology. I tend to favor recognizing non-commercial P2P downloading as protected fair use, though I recognize that there are legitimate industry concerns about this.

Barger takes a more mainstream Libertarian view of entitlement reform:

    We’ve got big fat disasters coming down the road with Social Security and Medicare that are simply not being addressed. I’m looking for how to make the point to voters that these are real, serious issues that we need to start getting a handle on NOW before it all hits crisis mode 10 or 20 years down the line.

    I will, naturally, be advocating working toward getting the government out of the retirement funds business. Social Security is a Ponzi scheme. Any private company that played with people’s money like this would land every one of their employees in prison.

    The 16th and 17th amendments to the constitution should both be done away with post haste. Between them, they have really messed up the whole poltiical system.

    I would most love to do away with the taxation of income entirely, and the entitlement programs that it supports. We’d all end up much better off.

    I favor legalization of drugs. Also, I adamantly oppose any military draft.

Much to chew upon.

Al Barger deserves our attention, admiration and respect for taking this monumental task upon himself against daunting, even insurmountable odds. How many people do you actually know who have run for the U.S. Senate? We wish him the best of luck in his quest and will be following his campaign closely.

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About Eric Olsen

  • http://www.bhwblog.com bhw

    Nice write-up, Eric.

    Al, your experience here at BC has more than prepared you, I’m sure, for the slings and arrows of a political campaign. Most people avoid entering politics for the reasons Eric stated, among them that it’s a brutal business.

    Congratulations on getting the nod from your party. But I’m sure you’ll understand when I say I hope you get your ass kicked in the election.

    No offense.

  • mike

    The Mouth That Roared.

  • http://www.tekwh0re.net Ms. Tek

    I commend him for trying. But I am with BHW. Hope he gets trounced.

    But, yeah for him for trying!

  • http://www.foliage.com/~marks Mark Saleski

    too bad al’s not from north carolina, he’d get to hang with the Ladies of Liberty

  • Shark

    Congratulations, Big Al!

    My advice:

    first thing —

    GET AN INTERN!

  • http://www.resonation.ca Jim Carruthers

    I endorse Al Barger for the Senate since it’s like serving a four year term in federal prison, but with conjugal visits, right?

    Plus, I can’t wait for the publicity photo with President Bartlet.

  • David

    As a proud member of a state other than Indiana, would you if elected do something about that poor excuse of a football team known as Notre Dame. Like having them dis-banned and explaining once and for all to the nation why people named Tyrone can’t coach.

  • Martin Blank

    Barger, from his campaign site, “My strange love for John Ashcroft

    I must admit to some grudging appreciation of Attorney General John Ashcroft.

    First, I feel compelled to list some complaints against his Justice Department upfront. For starters, in his first months on the job, he let his IRS absolutely steal a church…”

    IRS is Treasury, not Justice. Hopefully there will be some sort of orientation day, or something like that.

  • http://www.makeyougohmm.com/ TDavid

    Here’s to Mac Diva being Al’s campaign manager :)

  • http://www.makeyougohmm.com/ TDavid

    All kidding aside, let me chime in and say that anybody who runs for political office in today’s climate earns my respect.

    Congrats to you, Al and may the best man win (which rarely happens in politics)

  • Shark

    “…Here’s to Mac Diva being Al’s campaign manager…

    “Press Release: Mr. Barger plans to initiate the secession of Indiana from the Union; thereafter, he will work to make it a slave state, make the Confederate battle flag the State Flag, the dodo the State Bird, and Lynching the State Pasttime.”

  • http://www.resonation.ca Jim Carruthers

    What we really need to know, what’s his campaign song?

    Probably “Indiana Wants Me (But I Can’t Go Back There)”, but in his heart, I think Al is really all about “Little Pink Houses”.

    Of course he can always use fellow Hoosier (not that far from hoser, how bout that, Al?) Dave in “Hit Somebody (the Hockey Song)”, which has nothing to do with Indiana or the States.

  • http://macaronies.blogspot.com Mac Diva

    Lordy. Gramps is almost prescient. I guess those pesky holes in his memory aren’t bothering him. I will be contacting Indiana newspapers and sending them copies of entries from Al Barger’s blog, including his attack on President Lincoln and claim the Civil War had nothing to do with slavery. I think they will find the one in which he says Ghettopoly is a great idea of interest, too. And, let’s not forget the attack on Rosa Parks. His association with David Yeagley is bound to leave an impression, by the way.

    It is rather interesting that Eric Olsen managed to not mention any of these matters in his accolade to a fellow Right Wing white male. Instead, we get nonsense about Barger being admirable and a member of MENSA. Consider the omissions — which tell people what they really need to know about Al Barger — corrected.

    An accurate picture of Al Barger should be presented to voters. I will do my best to make sure that occurs. An accurate picture of Al Barger is not a pretty picture.

  • http://www.resonation.ca Jim Carruthers

    McD, why don’t you really raise the bar and also run for public office? It doesn’t have to be federal, say, a local school board, city council, sheriff, or whatnot.

    ohnighod, I just envisioned “McD: Dogcatcher” coming this fall on the WB.

  • Eric Olsen

    MD, I think Al was pretty much counting on your participation in the manner you outlined. And if I wrote an announcement that you were running for office, I would write it the same way.

  • http://www.tekwh0re.net Ms. Tek

    I think EVERY BLOGCRITIC should run for some office! Think of the traffic for Eric!

  • http://www.morethings.com/log Al Barger

    Oh Diva, my Diva. I look forward to your help in generating publicity. I don’t have a full media list, but THIS FORM should be helpful to you in contacting at least the top couple of dozen Hoosier newspapers. The only thing that I ask of you content wise is that you refrain from making up words that I didn’t say, then putting quote marks around them and attaching my name.

    I would also encourage anyone and everyone else to go there, and write letters to the various papers about me. Of course, it’s nice if someone had one or two kind words, but it’s all good.

    I would particularly encourage those of you displeased with my ideas to write to the papers specifically rebutting my published political writings. Quote me on, say, the Iraq War or repealing the 17th Amendment, and then explain exactly how I’m wrong.

    And thanks for your support.

    Let the adventure begin.

  • http://macaronies.blogspot.com Mac Diva

    Oh, I have contacts, Al. And, a policy of not accepting gifts from people I don’t like. So, no thank you.

  • http://www.tekwh0re.net Ms. Tek

    I’m from Illinois and not Indiana so I don’t care.

  • David

    Mr. Senator! What the hell are you gonna do about that Tyrone cat and Notre Dame football?

  • http://theapologist.blogspot.com CW Fisher

    This thread’s starting to read like a Capra movie.

    Al, I wish you the best of luck. This begins a great adventure. You’re going to meet a lot of new people who will hear your message for the first time.

    Always give them free stuff. When you gesture, candy should fly out of your sleeve. When you shake someone’s hand, whisper in their ear some hot stock tip. And when you meet the powers behind the powers, ask them specifically what they want from you.

    You can win this thing, Al. But stay away from politics! Nobody cares for politics. People like promises. And coupons! Give coupons.

    I’m proud of you, Al, honestly, mainly because you’ve demonstrated time and again that you don’t give a shit if people agree with you or not. Your stand is your stand. I prefer a more namby-pamby approach, but I’m a nobody.

    And the Libertarian thing, I can’t knock it, don’t know much about it, but I s’pose if you want to eat librarians, that’s your choice.

    Curt

  • http://www.gwbush.blogspot.com RJ Elliott

    “…explaining once and for all to the nation why people named Tyrone can’t coach.”

    HEEEEEEERRRRE Diva Diva Diva! ;-)

  • http://www.gwbush.blogspot.com RJ Elliott

    “I endorse Al Barger for the Senate since it’s like serving a four year term in federal prison, but with conjugal visits, right?”

    It’s six years, JC. (Shows how much you know about the US of A…)

  • http://www.gwbush.blogspot.com RJ Elliott

    I’m running for President…

    …of the Hair Club For Men!

    ;)

  • http://www.gwbush.blogspot.com RJ Elliott

    “Oh, I have contacts, Al.”

    Really? And I always pictured you with glasses…

  • http://www.andrewiandodge.com Andrew Ian Dodge

    Good luck Al. Unlike some of the others here I hope you win. Make good show of it and get the libertarian message across to as many people as possible.

    Politics is a hell of a lot of fun if you just take it too seriously. Just enjoy yourself and sod em’ all.

  • http://macaronies.blogspot.com Mac Diva

    Jim, dogcatcher would be raising the bar compared to anything Al Barger does.

    However, I am not a candidate type. Too soft-spoken. Too shy. An introvert.

    There is a possibility that reactions by media to Barger’s extremist views will be yawns. People expect Libertarians to be crackpots. Still, I’ll do what I can. Anything that gets attention paid to the neo-Confederate movement is good. With the Trent Lott debacle fading, new avenues are needed.

  • http://www.gwbush.blogspot.com RJ Elliott

    “However, I am not a candidate type. Too soft-spoken. Too shy. An introvert.”

    Maybe in “The Real World” you’re a shut-in. (Wouldn’t surprise me. They mail Welfare checks nowadays, right?)

    But on here you come across as rather … strident.

    Ah, the Internet. Allowing those with multiple-personality disorder to run free, undiagnosed.

  • http:macaronies.blogspot.com Mac Diva

    Speak for yourself. RJ Elliott. Or better yet, stop being a hypocrite and volunteer for service in Iraq.

  • http://none.com Bob A. Booey

    I’d offer the Cosby thread about race as an example of a discussion where you were rebutted into silence for your exclusionary views. I don’t think you’d be too proud of that Rosa Parks topic either.

    Evan Bayh would destroy you and make you look like a raving lunatic in a debate. TV has a funny way of favoring the cool, calm, and collected with a gift for persuasion and thought-out positions. I won’t even talk about looks.

    I think it’s irrelevant, though, because you’re running under an irrelevant party and won’t get any noteworthy attention. Enjoy the ride, though. I’ll give you credit for putting yourself out there even though no one will respond. MacDiva: it’s not worth pointing out his flaws to the media since that will only give their cult attention for controversy. That’s Al’s primary motivation, I’m sure he’d admit. Not that it’ll work in the least.

    Libertarian hawk … that’s rich. What a platform.

    That is all.

  • http://www.andrewiandodge.com Andrew Ian Dodge

    Um there are quite a few libertarian hawks. Not all libertarians agree on everything, thankfully.

  • http://macaronies.blogspot.com Mac Diva

    MacDiva: it’s not worth pointing out his flaws to the media since that will only give their cult attention for controversy. That’s Al’s primary motivation, I’m sure he’d admit.

    Good point, Bob. If I can frame the topic correctly, it will be in terms of how the neo-Confederate movement, quite a political force in some states and Washington, does harm. Currently, it is very successfully blocking efforts to add sites associated with helping black people during Reconstruction, such as Freedmen’s bureau offices and schools, to the national parks system. That, of course, is part of the perspective Al Barger heavily promotes that the North was the villian in the Civil War, Lincoln a tyrant and, as they say “the South was right.”

    Good news. There are two new books about Lincoln’s speech at Cooper Union, which is significant for describing why slavery had to end. I hope to read and review them as soon as possible.

  • http://www.gwbush.blogspot.com RJ Elliott

    “I hope to read and review them as soon as possible.”

    As long as the gov’ment checks and the BN.com books continue to arrive by mail, why not? :)

  • http://macaronies.blogspot.com Mac Diva

    You keep forgetting the Cadillac, RJ Elliott. On the other hand, you have held forth on ‘Tyrone.’ Keep digging.

  • http://kolehardfacts.blogspot.com/ Mike Kole

    “There is a possibility that reactions by media to Barger’s extremist views will be yawns. People expect Libertarians to be crackpots.”

    MacDiva: What you say is true in most states, but Libertarians have worked hard in Indiana to shed the crackpot image by focusing on issues that matter to voters and to court a solid constituency- small business owners- rather than our own pet issues. You might be surprised to find, as I have been, that the Democrats have been going after the crackpot label rather ardently lately, and succeeding. (Scroll up from my endorsement of Al on my blog for a recent case in point: http://kolehardfacts.blogspot.com/)

  • BB

    Give Me Liberty… OR Give Me Al!!!

    I’ve ran for public office myself Al and I must say you already have one-up on most candidates. You have the thickest hide I’ve ever seen.

    All the best to your endeavours in public life. Just remember the rest of us Blokes after you hit the big time.

  • Dan

    Run Al run! I’m excited you’re giving Hoosiers a principled choice this election cycle.

    I’m not sure how an anonymous lunatics threatend “goon squad” tactics might play in Al’s P.R. campaign, but any trail that leads back to Blog Critics and the forthright, consistent, and principled meditations provided in Al’s entries is sure to sway many conscientious Hoosier voters.

    One of the few Constitutionally designated functions of Federal government is to militarily provide for the safety of it’s citizens against it’s enemies. Reasonable Libertarians can disagree if the war in Iraq fits the bill, but it seems at least that one proven enemy, Al-Qaeda, doesn’t like it much.

  • http://none.com Bob A. Booey

    I’m now running for office under the Values Directorate. We believe all partying and talk of partying should be censored and verboten, so we also object to the word “Party.” Hence the name. We also dislike self-deprecating humor and irony in a time in which America’s moral fabric is too wrinkled.

    Our message is spreading amidst the loose morals of this site and throughout America. Do not try and resist catching the VD spirit. Do not try to object to the future that is censorship since your objection will be retroactively censored. IMMEDIATELY. Please monitor your neighbors, friends, and acquaintances to see if they have a proper level of enthusiasm for VD. If they do not have an appropriate quantity of VD materials, please bring the joy of VD into their homes and their lives.

    As a note to journalists and members of the media, our official campaign slogan will be: “It Burns.”

    Any attempt to ask what “It” means shall be stricken from the public record. College volunteers and youth organizers will not be allowed to use the official slogan but may petition to use the secondary slogan: “It itches.” Questions about what “It” means will be deferred to the official Directorate Community standards policy, which indicates that adults may advise children that “It” refers only to “our love for America and Community.” A failure to capitalize the latter term will result in forfeiture of the right to employ said clarification for a term of six (6) months minimum, at the discretion of VD administration. Adults are not to employ said definition in response to a query by a fellow adult, unless said adult is wearing an ill-fitting beret, upon which occasion the questioner shall be presumed developmentally challenged and shall be permitted to petition for an authorized reply upon verification of the beret.

    Questions about the direction of the campaign and the office being sought will not be addressed at this time for confidentiality and security reasons. The candidate’s filing forms have been placed on record with the Ombudsman of the Ayn Rand Colloqium for Objectivity, Indiana Chapter 47537, care of Elf King.

    This is my official press release and campaign announcement, so I expect glowing praise, Olsen. IMMEDIATELY.

    I hope I can count on each of you. Thank you.

    I’m Bob A. Booey and I approve this message.

  • http://none.com Bob A. Booey

    The VD has triumphed!

    Finally! At last!

    Thank you Phillip. And thank you Olsen.

    The golden age of censorship has begun.

    Let us all rejoice (in an appropriately polite and guarded way).

    Hallelujah.

    By the way, sweeties: I predict you will basically drive off all of your regular commenters and volume of postings. But free speech and vibrant dialogue isn’t as important as the Correction, the Ordering of the unruly.

    That is all.

  • http://none.com Bob A. Booey

    Please censor this comment about censorship if you please. Thank you.

  • http://calblog.com Justene

    Censorship is a highly charged word. You are implying that there is the type of censorship here that prohibits specific viewpoints, not styles of expressing those viewpoints. That’s not the intent or the application.

  • Eric Olsen

    I believe a more germane response to this would be to thank those who have so polluted the discourse here that we finally had to take some action.

    And quite contrary to the above prediction, I believe participation will increase as the many who have been driven away return.

  • http://www.morethings.com/log Al Barger

    I am less than impressed with the childish refusal to make the obvious distinction between censorship (which is a function of government operating under force of arms) versus common simple editorial control of your own newspapers or websites.

    That is all.

  • http://www.iamcorrect.blogspot.com Lono

    Someone above mentioned ‘I think all Blogcritics should run for office’. That hurts, for I have been in the write in game for months now. See my post here:
    http://blogcritics.org/archives/2004/08/10/011056.php

    Now, that Coors fellow has all the money in the world and will say things like this about my candidacy: he isn’t even registered, he is just a guy who writes when he is drunk.

    and to those accusations I can only answer: well, I am certainly not drunk on your shitty beer sir!

    anyhow, good luck to you Al. From what little I know you are a right wing nutjob. However, I totally respect you participating in the process.

  • http://www.morethings.com/senate Al Barger

    Lono, that’s Mister Right-Wing Nut Job to you. Is something like this what you mean by “right wing nut job”?

    XOX