Barr: Obama better than McCain for civil liberties
Fox’s Chris Wallace talked Libertarian candidate Bob Barr about his views on John McCain and Barack Obama.
WALLACE: the last three presidential elections, democrats have faced challenges from independent candidate ralph nader. well, this time republicans have their own problem, bob barr, the former republican congressman from georgia, who is now the libertarian party nominee for president. he joins us from portland, oregon. congressman, you say the republican party has no vision, no agenda and a candidate who provides no excitement. what’s wrong with john mccain?
BARR: what’s wrong with john mccain is symptomatic of what’s wrong with the republican party in these first years of the 21st century. they talk one thing but do something different. and that’s become very obvious to the american people. and when you look, for example, at what the republican party and the congress has done since losing their majorities in 2006, you see absolutely no new program, new leadership or vision put forward. that’s one of the reasons, chris, why i think we see over 80% of the american people concluding that the country is on the wrong track and going in the wrong direction.
WALLACE: but in a race between john mccain and barack obama as a longtime now former conservative republican, don’t you think mccain honestly would be the better president?
BARR: this is very much a mixed bag, chris. for example, on some of the civil liberties and privacy issues with which i and the libertarian party are very concerned, senator obama clearly is much better. on other issues, those relating to the cost of government and government spending, while neither candidate is good, senator obama clearly would favor a more expansive federal spending policy. so it’s very much a mixed bag, but neither of these candidates is talking about the deep cuts in government spending and returning power to the people that we are.
WALLACE: what are your major beefs? you said they have retreated from principle, but you weren’t very specific. what are your major beefs with mccain and the republicans right now?
BARR: well, let’s take — it’s just one example, the foreign intelligence surveillance act. nobody is really asking the question why does the government, our own government, need to be spying on its own citizens, that is, u.s. citizens, in this country, without some good reason? the legislation that is now pending before the senate that just passed the house that senator mccain supports would provide the authority for the federal government to surveil american citizens in their own country without any suspicion whatsoever that they’re engaging in discussions with terrorists or about criminal activity. this is a fundamental issue that goes to the very nature and power of our government, but nobody’s really talking about it.
WALLACE: but in those cases, and correct me if i’m wrong on foreign intelligence surveillance, they cannot issue a wiretap, a warrantless wiretap, unless it’s communications between someone in this country and someone outside the country where they have reason to suspect that there is a terrorist connection.
BARR: the first part of what you said, chris, is absolutely correct. the second part is not. the government does not under this legislation need to establish any link whatsoever between the u.s. citizen that they’re seeking to surveil and suspected terrorist activity or contacts. all they have to do is establish that they think one of the parties to that conversation is not inside the united states. this is far too broad an authority for the federal government to have.
This video is from Fox’s Fox News Sunday, broadcast June 29, 2008.