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Barger Gets Hat Tip From Indy Star

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“The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, … who at the best, knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.” – Theodore Roosevelt

Some people just run their mouths. Al Barger does this with panache, but he also hits the pavement. This takes courage, and Al’s courage elevates him far above any would-be pundit you could place before me.

I have had an inside track on Al Barger’s US Senate campaign from the very beginning, as a Central Committee member of the Libertarian Party of Indiana (LPIN). Al has done us proud.

The issue of fielding a US Senate candidate to challenge revered Democratic incumbent Evan Bayh was a sticky one. Bayh has no weaknesses at home such that the GOP loathes to challenge him. In a cycle where there are Presidential and Gubernatorial candidates to vote for in Indiana, this race would be buried in the public’s consciousness, so it would be hard to make this a vehicle for party building.

Worse, the Bi-Partisan Campaign Reform Act (BCRA) made it incredibly difficult for the LPIN to work in support of Federal campaigns. The law says that any entity giving financial support, or anything that could be construed as a campaign contribution to a Federal candidate would be subject to the rules of BCRA- a hideous tangle of paperwork that wouldn’t be worth the effort to a third-party candidate, or any other candidate with a small staff, but easily handled by incumbents with millions of dollars on hand.

Al had conversations with me about the process. I tried to impress upon him that the gravity of BCRA was such that we wouldn’t be helping him much, if at all. He would have to deal with all of this.

No problem. Al has taken on all of the advice that has been given to him, whether on policy issues to attack, events to attend, website photos, and even in selecting Bloomington libertarian Margaret Fette has apparell adviser. The results are plain.

Wherever Al has gone, he has done an admirable job of extolling libertarian virtues. I have had the pleasure of crossing paths with him in a variety of locations: at 4-H Fairs, at candidate events, and at private parties, and Al has never failed to charm. Whenever the press mentioned Barger at all, it mentioned him favorably.

So, I was extremely pleased with his showing overall. Then the Indianapolis Star issued its endorsement for US Senate. I was expecting that Al Barger, Libertarian candidate would be marginalized in the editorial, as so many of our good people are. But, no! The Star included Al in the report, and put him on the same footing as his fellow challenger, Marvin Scott:

Bayh’s opponents in the Nov. 2 election, Republican Marvin Scott and Libertarian Al Barger, while waging respectable campaigns, have not made the case for unseating him.

That might seem like damnation by faint praise, but you have to understand the treatment third-party candidates receive at the hand of the Star. Utter marginalization is the usual M.O.

Fact is, neither John Kerry nor George Bush could have made the case for unseating Bayh here in Indiana. The man is just that popular.

Al is in the home stretch of his race, which means that due to the higher profile of the other races, he probably won’t get much more ink here. He’ll probably take 3-4% on November 2, and will wrap up the campaign unceremoniously. Thus, I’m saying it now:

Good show, Al! The Libertarian Party of Indiana is proud of you and of your great work.

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About Mike Kole

  • Its good to see a libertarian who is not only a theoretical one, but is a practical one as well. Any mention of a libertarian M.S.M outlets is always a good thing. Third parties of all ilks are good for democracy.

  • The editorial went on to say that Al Barger’s plan to eliminate Social Security makes no sense. It did not address Barger’s plans to stop all unemployment benefits, end all civil rights laws and his opposition to abortion rights. The Star was nice to a candidate who is utterly irrelevant to the election. If it had cared enough to give Barger a closer look, it would have called him a damn fool. Accuracy in the media, you know?

  • Antfreeze

    I actually thought this was serious until I came to the, “and Al has never failed to charm” part. Must be a different Al Barger.
    Just hacking on ya big fella. Great work. You’ve earned your stripes, just make sure they’re vertical not horizontal.

  • Al is irrelevant, but the Star should have cared more to give him a closer look… Diva, your logical processes do baffle a lesser mind such mine.

    At any rate, the irrelevant Libertarians sincerely thank MacDiva for her great contributions to our name recognition campaign. Of course, we’re left scratching our heads at how many responses we would merit if we were actually relevant. It boggles the mind.

    I know that facts and accuracy are not your strong suits, Diva, so I’ll lend a hand here. In Comment 2, you stated “that Al Barger’s plan to eliminate Social Security makes no sense”.

    In fact, the Star said that his plan “would be ill advised without an alternative set up to replace it”.

    So, Al! Do you have an alternative to replace it? Or maybe this was just another one of the things the Star didn’t report on for the irrelevant candidate.

  • Do I have an alternative to replace Social Security? Depends on what you mean exactly by “replace.”

    If you mean do I have a new government program to take your money instead of the current Social Security plan, then the answer is NO. I do not have an alternative government program.

    I do have an ANSWER to the problem, though. The basic answer is simple: privatization. Keep that 15% of money now being confiscated and squandered in your own accounts. Almost every single person investing their own money would do far better than Social Security ever could have done. They would certainly do better than absolutely NOTHING, which is what you have saved in Social Security now.

    Basically, the solution is perfectly simple, and will absolutely work. Of course, the difficulty is in the transition- current and near term retirees who have been left holding the bag under the current system. But also of course, there is going to be a big problem here no matter what kind of alternatives you come up with, because we’ve dug ourselves into such a deep hole by letting Congress spend all our retirement money as they continue to do.

    There are lots of ways to go about making this transition, and a combination of them presented as choices for the citizen stakeholders will be in order. One basic option: anyone who wants to can simply opt out of the system. A 30 year old would be way ahead to simply write off the money that’s already gone, and get a fresh start keeping the 15% that has been being confiscated.

    People who are already retired, or close will most likely just have to be paid out of general revenues. There’s no Social Security money put back, and it won’t be coming in fast enough under any circumstances.

    People in the middle, say ages 30 to 60 will probably be looking for some kind of buyout. One way of getting some of the hump money to dig out of the hole Congress has dug these last 70 years would be sale of government assets.

    The federal government has bunches of STUFF for no needful reason. Land, houses, cars, warehouses full of all kinds of stuff which cost us money to maintain. Sell a bunch of those white elephants, and use the funds to buy guaranteed private annuities. This would be real helpful in squaring some of these enormous unfunded liabilities.

    All this reflects my Social Security white paper.

    As to the Indianapolis Star endorsement, I take the glass as two thirds full. They were almost certain to endorse Evan Bayh from the get go. He’s just that popular. I doubt that Jesus of Nazareth could stop Evan Bayh from being re-elected, short of absolutely calling in those 10,000 angels as per the classic hymn.

    However, I’m pleased to see that they not just mentioned me and complimented my campaign, but actually specifically noted and addressed my main issue, Social Security.

    I didn’t expect them to actually endorse me. That would have been too much to expect. I’m just pleased that my issues and opinions were given a respectful hearing by the editorial board, and taken into consideration. That’s all you can ask.

    Oh, and thank you Mike et al for your kind words.

    Finally, Diva: There’s still time for you to make a difference. Don’t let people be suckered into voting for me! Write letters to the editors of Indiana newspapers exposing me as the neo-Bargerian I am.

    Of course, newspapers aren’t going to print anonymous/pseudonymous slanders. Getting your letters printed in the paper would involve actually putting your name behind your words. You should try it some time.

  • boomcrashbaby

    Don’t feel bad Mike. My ideology has been dismissed as being irrelevant for as long as I can remember. Majority rule and all that.

    What I could do, being the liberal I am, is offer you a sympathetic listening ear if you ever want.

    Or, if that makes you uneasy, I can give you the advice that the right gives me: “Suck it up. Life isn’t fair. You can’t make me like you. The Constitution doesn’t guarantee you anything beyond the right to own a gun and praise Jesus, bee-atch. Deal with it. Too bad, so sad. You’re one sick puppy.”

    Whichever! Just know that I can relate.

  • LOL! @ Steve (Boom).

    Uh oh! Mike Kole will be all over me for still being up at 12:25. (He’s appointed himself my timekeeper.) But, one of the benefits of being a divorced gal with no kids who does not work a 9 to 5 job is I can sleep whenever I want. Heck! Maybe I’ll stay up until one.

  • I guess I just slipped back into the liberal shoes I used to wear. After all, we are each other’s keeper… er, time keeper?