After six rounds of ballots where Bob Barr and Mary Ruwart ran neck-and-neck, Wayne Allyn Root's declaration of interest in being part of a Barr-Root ticket gave the race to Barr. Here is the final vote:
Barr 324 (+101)
Ruwart 276 (+47)
I was very happy for this result. While Barr isn't the pure libertarian's dream candidate, he did receive better more and better press coverage on his entry into the race than all other LP nomination seekers had, combined. That is golden with me.
The message of liberty has to be heard by the American public, now more than ever. The coverage Barr generated indicates to me that for once, at last, this will be possible of our presidential candidate. LP press release.
We've had a lot of purists' dream candidates, including our last, Michael Badnarik, who got less than 1% of the vote nationally, was relegated to the kiddie table of debates, and was generally the prime example of a tree falling in the forest with nobody to hear it happen.
I was therefore also very relieved for this result. Anyone other than Barr was going to repeat past results: less than 1%, certain exclusion from the main debates, confirmation in the minds of Americans that the LP is a collection of tinfoil hat-wearing kooks.
Later in the evening, Wayne Allyn Root won the nomination for Vice President, edging out Steve Kubby.
I'm not nearly as excited about this outcome, as Root really wasn't generating any buzz on his own. At least he can go out and talk about Iraq, the financial crisis, and health care without having to answer baggage questions first. Kubby would have, being a virtual single-issue marijuana candidate. As much as I agree with his positions on those issues, it isn't nearly as important as Iraq, the financial crisis, or health care, and really shouldn't come up in any serious conversation about public policy until those issues are exhaustively probed.
There is a great opportunity to win the people over on these issues and the Libertarian solutions for each- then maybe they'll listen about pot. It doesn't work the other way. The average voter is not going to say, "Oh, you smoke pot every day? Well, we have to listen to your perspective on the dollar".
It's kind of depressing that these things have to be discussed as such. The LP is maturing, but at a snail's pace.