Bob Barr gives speech

Bob Barr, the Libertarian candidate for president, spoke on campus Friday.

He talked about the Libertarian Party, his feelings on the economic bailout, and the issues that set him apart from John McCain and Barack Obama, the Republican and Democratic candidates for president, respectively. Barr was joined by Libertarian candidates for Pennsylvania offices, all of whom spoke on the need for a third party in the midst of bipartisanship.

Titus North and Davis Posipanka, the Pennsylvania Libertarian candidates for the Pittsburgh district in the U.S. Congress and the State House, respectively, spoke before Barr.

North spoke on the importance of the Libertarian Party, particularly in this election.

“This left-right dichotomy has been imposed on us,” North said. “They both want the bailout and an archipelago army. Have they talked about civil rights? No.”

Posipanka agreed with North. “Why is Pennsylvania and the whole country invested in just two parties?” he asked. Posipanka also brought up the fact that Ralph Nader, along with Barr, was not invited to the debates.

Barr’s speech followed those of North and Posipanka. He began his speech by explaining many of his personal characteristics that have led to criticism on the part of fellow politicians.

“I don’t wear a flag pin, I only have one house, and I don’t care how many houses other candidates have, I’ve had coffee with people of dubious backgrounds five, 10, and 15 years ago, and I am willing to operate outside of my comfort zone,” Barr said.

The Libertarian candidate noted that according to many politicians, these characteristics disqualify him from serving as president, although, as he argues, there is no reason that they should.

Barr has occupied a number of political offices and relevant positions before running for president in the 2008 election.

From 1995 to 2003, he represented the 7th District of Georgia in the U.S. House of Representatives, where he also served on the Judiciary Committee, Government Reform Committee, and the Committee on Financial Services.

From 2003 to 2008, he worked as the 21st Century Liberties Chair for Freedom and Privacy at the American Conservative Union.

Currently, Barr is an attorney with the Law Offices of Edwin Marger and runs a consulting firm, Liberty Strategies LLC.

According to Barr, one of his biggest assets lies not in his political positions, but in his ability to step outside his comfort zone.

“We have seen the election of our currently serving president, who does not have this ability, and is plunked in the midst of the world arena sitting across from Vladimir Putin, a man with such experience,” Barr said.

Barr criticized some of the other components of our current political system.

He spoke pointedly on the nature of this year’s presidential and vice presidential debates.

“The moderators ask the candidates questions they want to be asked. The debates don’t show one single thing about how these people will act as president. This shouldn’t surprise us based on the two-party monopoly,” Barr said.

He also spoke of the things he would do differently if elected president, including his plan for his first 100 days in office.

His top three priorities for these first 100 days are to order an immediate 10 percent cut in the executive branch budget, promptly evaluate and initiate withdrawal of the troops in Iraq, and send messages to Congress that he will approve no bills asking for further appropriations or a rise in the debt ceiling.

In the beginning of and throughout his term, Barr plans on evaluating each executive department — an area in which he believes the government is wasting large quantities of money.

“Why should we be spending $60 billion on a Department of Education that has failed to meet government mandates?” he asked.

Barr commented also on the current economic situation of the country. “The president of the Treasury is spending $7 billion with virtually no oversight,” he said. Barr spoke of holding corporate CEOs responsible for their actions and to be much more cautious when handing out blank checks to Wall Street.

“The modern Libertarian Party is not your grandfather’s Libertarian Party. We understand that we won’t be able to wave a magic wand,” he said.

Barr hopes to realize his mission on Election Day this November.