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Now Not Clearly Pro or Con: Q: "Let me just follow up on the issue of abortion, when you said the Federal Government shouldn't have a role in it, should it be legal or illegal?..."
Bob Barr: "Well, again I am prolife, I am personally prolife. But this is, here again, a decision the states ought to reach."
Interview on Washington Journal, C-SPAN, May 26, 2008
[Editor's Note: Prior to Bob Barr's May 26, 2008 Not Clearly Pro or Con statement, he also made the following Jan. 22, 2002 Con statement made on the anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision.]
Con: "Abortion is not a 'choice', it is the deliberate killing of a human life. Yet, for the past 29 years, thousands of innocent lives have been ended as a result of this horrendous decision. Fortunately, the dedication and commitment of the pro-life community remains strong, and our efforts to protect life remain unbowed.
In the coming congressional session, I and my colleagues in the House Pro-Life caucus will continue to work hard against those actions which are at odds with protecting the sanctity of life. From our opposition to human cloning, to continued efforts to have the Democrat-controlled Senate pass a ban on partial-birth abortion, our commitment is strong, and with the help of committed citizens, such as those who support Georgia Right to Life, we will ultimately be victorious."
"Barr Rallies for Life," Bob Barr's US House of Representatives website, Jan. 22, 2002
Not Clearly Pro or Con: "A parent should expect to be fully informed of what is going on in their child's life, especially those areas that affect their health and well-being...The 'Child Custody Protection' Act ensures parents can rely on the law to protect their parental rights and the health of their children. Teenagers should not be permitted to cross state lines to have serious surgery, or to end a life, at least without their parents knowing about it."
"Barr Co-Sponsors Key Pro-Life Legislation," Bob Barr's US House of Representatives website, Feb. 7, 2002
Pro: "We ought to shore up our relationship and our commitment with Taiwan and with South Korea. We ought to speak out diplomatically as well as publicly against what the Chinese are doing. We ought to view the Chinese Communists, once again, as a very serious threat in our own hemisphere as well as in the Pacific Rim and take a very hard look at the trade policy we've implemented over the last several years."
"Bob Barr: Don't Forget Red China Threat," Human Events, July 22, 2002
Not Clearly Pro or Con: "During last year's debate over Permanent Normal Trade Relations (PNTR) with the People's Republic of China (PRC), supporters of PNTR told the American people that active engagement, a partnership for the future, was in the best interests of the United States. We were told it would promote democratization, improve human rights, promote free enterprise, and most importantly for our national interests, make the PRC less threatening to our country and our interests in the region. Reading the papers last year and this year, this week particularly, I see nothing to support these statements.
Communist China was, and still is, the world's worst human rights abuser. It is a Communist dictatorship...
I deeply opposed PNTR when it was passed ten months ago, and I continue to oppose it."
"Re-evaluating the Failed Experiment of Engagement with China," Bob Barr's US House of Representatives website, Apr. 9, 2001
Not Clearly Pro or Con: Voted Yes on HR 927 "Cuban Liberty and Democratic Solidarity (LIBERTAD) Act of 1996":
"Expresses the sense of the Congress that...the President should instruct the U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations to seek within the Security Council a mandatory international embargo against the Cuban Government...
Reaffirms a provision of the Cuban Democracy Act of 1992 that states that the President should encourage foreign countries to restrict trade and credit relations with Cuba. Urges the President to take steps to apply sanctions described by such Act against countries assisting Cuba...
Prohibits any U.S. national, permanent resident alien, or U.S. agency from knowingly extending any loan or other financing to any person in order to finance transactions involving property confiscated by the Cuban Government, the claim to which is owned by a U.S. national. Excepts from this prohibition any financing by the owner of the claim for a transaction permitted by U.S. law."
"H.R. 927 Cuban Liberty and Democratic Solidarity (LIBERTAD) Act of 1996," GovTrack.us, Sep. 21, 1995
[Editor's Note: HR 927 "Cuban Liberty and Democratic Solidarity (LIBERTAD) Act of 1996" is a 40 page piece of legislation that covers many issues, including but not limited to the Cuba embargo. Therefore, ProCon.org considers Bob Barr's vote on HR 927 to be a "Not Clearly Pro or Con" position on this question.]
Con: "America should not be the world's policeman. The American purpose is to provide a strong national defense, not to engage in nation building or to launch foreign crusades, no matter how seemingly well-intentioned."
"Bob Barr on: Foreign Intervention & Foreign Bases," Bob Barr's official candidate website (accessed Aug. 19, 2008)
Pro: "I am a firm believer in the propriety and historic soundness of the death penalty. But, as a proponent of our Constitution and its attendant Bill of Rights, I believe just as strongly in the fundamental fairness that lies at the heart - or should lie at the heart - of our criminal justice system. Because of its obvious finality, the death penalty must be employed with as close to absolute fairness and certainty as humanly possible."
"Troy Davis' 'Day in Court' Brought Travesty of Justice," Bob Barr's official candidate website, Aug. 8, 2007
Not Clearly Pro or Con: "The primary concern of the United States must be the protection of its citizens, and moving forward with a limited missile defense system is an essential step towards ensuring our future freedom and security."
"Barr Praises President's Decision to Withdraw from ABM Treaty," Bob Barr's US House of Representatives website, Dec. 13, 2001
None Found: [Editor's Note: ProCon.org emailed the Barr campaign on July 22, 2008 with this question. In an Aug. 19, 2008 email from Andrew Davis, Bob Barr's Deputy Press Secretary, ProCon.org received a statement from the article "Bob Barr on: Spending & The Economy" on Bob Barr's official candidate website. ProCon.org believes that the following quote we received does not address our question, therefore we have left the position as None Found: "We should seek to establish a wall of separation between government and the economy. The legitimate economic functions of government are to protect property rights, adjudicate disputes, and provide a legal framework in which voluntary trade is protected. The government should stop attempting to 'manage' the free market."]
Not Clearly Pro or Con: "Rather than passing new laws and calling for new strategies, the U.S. Congress should reduce trade barriers, which would help poor nations participate in the international marketplace, and fix America’s counterproductive tax, regulatory, and budget policies, which would spur growth at home and trade and investment abroad...What we need is change, but change back to an older policy of limited government and individual liberty, which is what turned America into the globe’s dominant economic power."
"Rely on Trade, Not Aid, to Help Third World, Says Bob Barr," Press Release, Bob Barr's official candidate website, June 29, 2008
Con: "Professional politicians -- especially those who live in Washington -- have a laundry list of bad habits. One of the worst, however, is making all sorts of wild promises about the things a piece of legislation will do, and then remaining silent as those promises go unfulfilled. If you're looking for an example of this phenomenon in action, you need go no further than the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA)...
Treaties like NAFTA force the United States to enter the competitive arena of international trade with one hand tied behind our backs. Similar trade privileges should not be extended to Latin America, Africa or the Caribbean basin. Additionally, the NAFTA treaty itself should be repealed unless its supporters can prove that it is having a positive effect."
"Free Trade Must Be Fair Trade," Bob Barr's US House of Representatives website, Mar. 5, 1999
Con: "Congress passed the $700 billion Wall Street bailout on Friday, supported by both Senators John McCain and Barack Obama. The U.S. stock market promptly dropped. Over the weekend the financial crisis threatened European banks, and stock prices across Asia and Europe tanked.
So much for the argument that the bailout was necessary to calm the markets...
There is much more to be done to clean up the economic mess flowing from the housing market crash, but the ill-considered federal bailout is likely to slow the process...
Companies now will run to the Treasury Department before taking tough steps to clean up their own balance sheets. After the automakers joined insurer AIG and investment bank Bear Stearns in winning their own federal bailouts, what company will not expect a handout from the taxpayer? Who will bail out Uncle Sam when all of his bills--well over $100 trillion in unfunded liabilities--come due?"
"Will Sens. Obama and McCain Claim a Piece of this Rotten Fish They Helped Produce?" Press Release, Bob Barr's official candidate website, Oct. 6, 2008
Not Clearly Pro or Con: "Simply put, survival of Big Labor is at stake. The union bosses in America have seen their ranks steadily shrink as years of unreasonable demands to work less and earn more have forced employer after employer to shut down domestic manufacturing plants -- particularly in the textile industry. This leaves labor union leaders with no choice but to expand abroad to maintain their customary lifestyles.
To do this, big labor is trying to organize a campaign to leverage easily duped or intentionally corrupted 'human rights' groups to smear the reputations of manufacturers in developing nations who refuse to cave in to forced unionization demands."
"Euro-Liberals' Extortion of U.S. Firms," Atlanta Journal-Constitution, July 9, 2006
Con: "The more we increase government control over education, the bigger the problem becomes. Turning education over to the federal government, as through such legislation as the No Child Left Behind Act has not worked. Trying to fix failing schools with more money and regulations also has failed to do anything other than waste taxpayer money without results."
"Bob Barr on: Education & Home Schooling," Bob Barr's official candidate website (accessed Aug. 5, 2008)
Not Clearly Pro or Con: "The free market naturally provides both choice and competition, providing goods and services of higher quality for less expense. These principles should be applied to education. Unfortunately, the government's near monopoly on education in the United States has seized control of our children's education from parents, and has trapped children in failing schools across the country."
"Bob Barr on: Education & Home Schooling," Bob Barr's official candidate website (accessed Aug. 19, 2008)
Pro: "While spending so much money on programs that should not exist, in 2003 the Congress created a small voucher program started for students in Washington, D.C., which has some of the worst schools in the nation. Now the Democratic majority is planning on killing the initiative, putting nearly 2000 students back into the failed public school system...The only federal education program Congress wants to get rid of is the one doing the most to help poor kids."
"Give Parents a Choice in Education, Says Bob Barr," Press Release, Bob Barr's official candidate website, June 24, 2008
Not Clearly Pro or Con: "The decision last week by a school in Portland, Maine, to provide students as young as 11 years old with the most invasive types of birth control, including pills, patches and even implants, has rekindled the debate over 'sex education' in public schools. The good news is that this debate has been turned up a notch or two by publicity surrounding Portland's decision...
What is particularly distressing about the Portland, Maine controversy is not so much that it is taking place at all, but that it is occurring even as those very same public school systems fixated on providing their young charges with birth control options, are failing miserably to provide students an adequate basic education in subjects that really do belong in schools...
Georgia public schools - while thankfully not yet doling out birth control pills and implants to 11-year old girls as in Maine - spend considerable time and taxpayer money meddling in these same areas, even as the state founders near the bottom of objective national education rankings. The Maine school scandal ought to serve as a clarion call to pay more attention to whether our kids can read, write and compute, and less to whether they know how to use a condom or pop a pill. After all, if they can't read the warning labels on a dispenser of birth control pills, do we really want them taking the pills?"
"SAT Doesn't Stand for Sex Aptitude," Bob Barr's official candidate website, Oct. 24, 2007
Not Clearly Pro or Con: "I am here today on behalf of Georgians for Verified Voting (GAVV). GAVV is a nonprofit, nonpartisan citizens' activist organization that advocates for voting systems and processes in Georgia that meet the requirements for democratic elections: these systems must be accurate, auditable (software independent), reliable, secure, transparent, and accountable..
When there are credible questions raised about touch-screen electronic voting, the state must confirm the source, identify the problem, and put into action a plan to correct the problem or to credibly assure the public the perceived problems were not in fact extant."
"Written Statement Submitted by Bob Barr to the Georgia State Election Board on Behalf of Georgians for Verified Voting," GAVV website, Mar. 13, 2006
Not Clearly Pro or Con: "I know that many conservatives for example say well we have to vote for McCain even though we don't like him because he'll give us different better judges. Well, ask people to think a little bit about what they're saying. John McCain gave us McCain/Feingold [S.27 "Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2001"] which is the most anti-freedom piece of legislation in many many years. And John McCain appointed judges could be certainly expected to be of the same mindset that would support and uphold intrusion into the first amendment such as McCain Feingold."
"Bob Barr on Brody File: McCain Can't Be Trusted on Judges," CBNNews.com, July 8, 2008
Con: "Unfortunately, too many people spend too much time prying money from the feds...And both parties are to blame. It's easier to list the groups that don't get federal handouts than those that fill their pockets every year. With a half-trillion dollar deficit and a $9.5 trillion national debt, we obviously can't afford to have all of these people breaking into the Treasury all the time...
But what can be more obnoxious than forcing taxpayers to underwrite other people's political opinions? As Thomas Jefferson told us: to compel a man to furnish contributions of money for the propagation of opinions that he disbelieves is sinful and tyrannical. You'd think someone who postures as an opponent of special interests and government pork wouldn't expect the taxpayers to subsidize his own very special interest political campaign."
"McCain, Obama Use Millions of Taxpayer Dollars for Self-Promotion," Press Release, Bob Barr's official candidate website, Aug. 13, 2008
Con: "In Kelo [Kelo v. City of New London, 545 US 469 (2005)] the Supreme Court held that government could take private property to give away ...That allows governments across America to ignore the Fifth Amendment's clear requirement that property be taken only for a 'public use'...
The president should direct all federal departments and agencies to avoid the seizure of private property except as a last resort, and for a legitimate public purpose...
Even though the Supreme Court has improperly minimized the scope of the Fifth Amendment, every public official who takes an oath to the Constitution has a responsibility to respect the nation's fundamental law...The president and members of Congress should act only in accordance with the Constitution's clear guarantee for the right to private property."
"Protect Private Property, Enforce the Fifth Amendment, Says Bob Barr," Press Release, Bob Barr's official candidate website, June 23, 2008
Pro: "The U.S. has large deposits of petroleum, oil shale, and natural gas. Barriers to their development in the Outer Continental Shelf, Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, and other federal lands should be lowered or eliminated, which would provide Americans with a more secure source of energy over the short term and help bring down today's high prices, which are causing such economic hardship to so many Americans."
"Bob Barr Statement on Energy and Global Warming," Press Release, Bob Barr's official candidate website, July 24, 2008
Not Clearly Pro or Con: "There are other steps we can and should take to address rising oil prices. The federal government can start by putting real pressure on OPEC [Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries] nations to increase production and exploring new sources of domestic oil. Washington can loosen restrictions in drilling in certain areas, to encourage exploration and production. The government can also take a look at the extent of our huge strategic petroleum reserves. And, we might start repealing gas taxes that were glibly added in years past."
"Costs of High Gas Prices Run Deep," Bob Barr's US House of Representatives website, June 26, 2000
Pro: "Congress should allow the exploration and production of America’s abundant domestic resources, including oil in the Outer Continental Shelf [between 3 to 200 nautical miles offshore] and Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, and alternative sources such as shale oil."
"Bob Barr on: Energy Policy," Bob Barr's official candidate website (accessed Sep. 23, 2008)
Pro: "The French recognized the efficacy of nuclear power for energy, energy production. They're decades ahead of us in terms of putting -- building nuclear power plants. The Japanese are, also. I mean, it`s mighty embarrassing for the U.S. to be taking a seat way at the back of the bus while France is driving it in terms of nuclear power."
"Honest Questions with Libertarian Presidential Candidate Bob Barr," Glenn Beck, CNN.com, June 6, 2008
Not Clearly Pro or Con: "Global warming is a myth, but yet it's being used by the environmental folks and by the internationalists. A lot of the pressure is coming from the United Nations and other countries, some of which, like China of course, are pushing the Kyoto Protocol. Why? Because they are exempt, it's going to saddle us..."
"Bob Barr on Glenn Beck 06/06/2008," YouTube video (accessed Aug. 12, 2008)
Now Con: "Government intervention, whether through more regulations or more subsidies (or both), hurts consumers in the end. The free market, driven by consumer choice and reflecting the real cost of resources, should be the foundation of America's energy policy. The federal government should eliminate restrictions that inhibit energy production, as well as all special privileges for the production of politically-favored fuels, such as ethanol."
"Bob Barr on: Energy Policy," Bob Barr's official candidate website (accessed Aug. 6, 2008)
[Editor's Note: Prior to Bob Barr's Aug. 6, 2008 Con position above, his position was Pro as indicated in his Aug. 20, 2001 statement below.]
Pro: "In order to avoid even more volatile prices in the future, America needs a balanced energy policy to promote conservation, increase production and protect the environment. That's exactly why I recently voted for, and the House of Representatives passed, the Securing America's Future Energy (SAFE) Act. Conservation features prominently in the SAFE Act. It mandates reasonable increases in fuel standards for sport utility vehicles (SUVs) that will save at least five billion gallons of fuel when fully implemented."
"Let's Enact the President's Energy Plan," Bob Barr's US House of Representatives website, Aug. 20, 2001
Con: "Mankind has done a lot of good in the world. They have done a lot of bad as well, but change in the climate is not one of them. I've seen no legitimate scientific evidence that indicates that the cyclical -- and they are very much cyclical -- you know, increases and drops in global temperatures over the decades and over the centuries is the result of, you know, mankind."
"Glenn Talks with Bob Barr," The Glenn Beck Program website, May 22, 2008
Con: "Access to affordable, quality health care is an important objective. For this reason, some politicians have pushed for government programs to extend health care benefits to those who cannot afford or who otherwise do not maintain private medical insurance. These efforts come on top of taxpayer-subsidized benefits in the form of Medicare and Medicaid...
Our health care policy should be reformed based on the principle of consumer-oriented health care. Regulations which mandate insurance coverage and inflate premiums should be eliminated...Moreover, current tax policy, which is biased towards employer-provided, comprehensive health insurance, should be reformed, encouraging individual purchase of less costly catastrophic policies...
Today's health care problems are complex, but the solution is not socialized medicine in any form. Countries that have nationalized their medical systems inevitably ration care through the political system; costs are driven down only by denying needed care."
"Bob Barr on: Health Care," Bob Barr's official candidate website (accessed Aug. 6, 2008)
Not Clearly Pro or Con: "The CDC's [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] now-infamous 2004 report on obesity ["State-Level Estimates of Annual Medical Expenditures Attributable to Obesity"]... concluded that 400,000 Americans a year die from obesity, a figure that threatened to make it the nation's No. 1 preventable cause of death. However, the basic research leading to this alarmist conclusion was deeply flawed, a fact later pointed out by The Wall Street Journal...
Just as trial lawyers are hoping to reap millions from litigation targeting fast-food purveyors and others, the CDC is pushing its publicly discredited study to improve its funding posture with Congress...
Congress should again remind the CDC to stick to its clear, core mission: disease prevention. We don't need to spend billions of dollars so publicity-seeking bureaucrats can tell us what good parents and common sense already tell children:
'Don't eat too much.'"
"Bureaucracy and Obesity," The American Conservative Union Foundation website (accessed Aug. 14, 2008)
Not Clearly Pro or Con: "Unfortunately, all immigrants do not enter our country legally. Some citizens of other countries don't come to America for the right reasons. Instead, they cross our borders to engage in criminal activities or benefit from the services American taxpayers pay for. In the process, they endanger public safety, drain government coffers, and harm the reputation of other foreign-born citizens who followed the law and entered America legally...
...[T]here are large numbers of people living in our country illegally, competing with Americans for jobs, and sopping up large amounts of our tax dollars."
"The Consequences of Illegal Immigration," Bob Barr's US House of Representatives website, Apr. 16, 1999
Con: "...[W]e must end government benefits and services for illegal immigrants. Many local communities and states have begun to reduce payments to those who come here illegally, but a 1982 Supreme Court decision mandates that we provide education to the children of illegal immigrants. This detrimental ruling should be overturned through another Court challenge or a constitutional amendment."
"Bob Barr on: Border Security & Immigration," Bob Barr's official candidate website (accessed Aug. 6, 2008)
Con: "[Glenn] BECK: Illegals, do you ship them home or not?
[Bob] BARR: When you find them, you ship them home, absolutely...
BECK: Do you build the border fence?...
BARR: No...First of all, I think it would be terribly costly. And whatever border fence you build, people are going to find a way to get around it, go under it, go over it, somehow. I think it would look absolutely awful. And even though it's a fence to keep people from coming in, as opposed to the Berlin wall, it gives the same impression. Not the impression I want to give the world about America. "
"Glenn Beck," interview on The Glenn Beck Program, CNN.com, May 14, 2008
Con: "Should Washington simply sit back and leave Iran alone free to support terrorist groups and regimes in other countries, including Iraq, and to develop a nuclear capability? Of course not. Even considering that our lengthy and continuing occupation of Iraq has greatly strengthened Ahmadinejad, the United States has a clear and legitimate stake in what happens in Iran and with regard to matters in which that regime is involved elsewhere.
What is important, however, should be to quell the simplistic blustering by the White House and by many presidential candidates designed to prove each will be tougher on Iran than the others. Also helpful would be putting a lid on unnecessary and repetitive insults and threats directed at the Ahmadinejad administration, a pastime that simply strengthens the regime in Tehran and does nothing to build support for legitimate efforts to weaken the regime.
Positive steps could include strengthening economic and political pressure on Iran, and increased efforts to quietly but actively build on the deep base of political understanding that already exists among a large segment of the Iranian population (and including the more than one million Iranian-Americans)...
It would be a shame if, in a rush to prove something politically at home or abroad, the U.S. were to initiate a military confrontation that would not only destroy that base of support, but lead to a conflict vastly more costly and lengthy than the invasion of Iraq has turned out to be."
"We Rush to War in Iran at Our Own Peril," Bob Barr's official candidate website, Oct. 10, 2007
Pro: "While the Bush administration has steadfastly declined to engage in talks with the government of Iran, five former Secretaries of State - Republican and Democrat - recently exhibited a great deal more judgment and understanding of world affairs in calling for actual talks with Tehran...
Talking does not mean sacrificing U.S. interests. Rather, talking is a means to further U.S. interests...
The failure to have serious and ongoing contact between the U.S. and Iranian governments makes any settlement much more difficult. One of the top priorities of a Barr administration would be to undertake a serious and substantive dialogue with Iran."
"Barr Says US Should Talk to Iran," www.independentpoliticalreport.com, Sep. 18, 2008
Now Pro: "The invasion and occupation of Iraq were two separate mistakes, which collectively have cost thousands of American lives and hundreds of billions of U.S. taxpayer dollars."
"Bob Barr on: the Iraq War," Bob Barr's official candidate website (accessed Aug. 6, 2008)
[Editor's Note: Prior to Bob Barr's Aug. 6, 2008 Pro position above, his position was Con as indicated in his Oct. 10, 2002 statement below.]
Con: "Today I voted in favor of the resolution authorizing the President to use U.S. armed forces to defend the national security interests of the United States, because I firmly believe the risks associated with inaction exceed the risks of taking action...
Saddam Hussein has proven he is not above using weapons of mass destruction - he has used them against his own people. If left unchecked, I am certain it will only be a matter of time before he unleashes them on the U.S., either through a direct attack or through funneling weapons of mass destruction to terrorist groups such as al-Qaeda. We cannot sit idly by and wait for another attack such as the one we suffered on September 11th. We must take the necessary steps to protect the American people. To accomplish this we must give the President the tools he needs to address the threat posed by the Saddam Hussein regime."
"Barr Statement on Iraq Resolution," Bob Barr's US House of Representatives website, Oct. 10, 2002
Not Clearly Pro or Con: "Tavis [Smiley]: Congressman Barr, one could make the case...that we are not altogether a safer nation. A few years later, you all chose this city as the backdrop for the President, one, to make a case that he's stronger on defense, can better fight the war on terrorism...
[Bob] Barr: Well, first of all, uh, I think we are much safer today than we were..."
Interview with Tavis Smiley, www.pbs.org, Aug. 30, 2004
Con: "My plan for Iraq is to signal immediately to the Iraqi government that they are going to have to start taking responsibility for their own security, their own economy, their own political development. That I, unlike President Bush but like candidate Bush, do not believe the responsibility of the United States government and military is to nation build and it is not to occupy foreign nations. And we will begin immediately a withdrawal. I would not set a timetable, I don't believe in telling your adversaries when you're going to do certain things, I think that's foolhardy and irresponsible."
"Bob Barr: Libertarian Presidential Hopeful on Barack, Borat, and Spoiling for McCain," Village Voice, May 9, 2008
Not Clearly Pro Con: "...[F]oreign aid has proved to be a drain on the U.S. economy while doing little good for the recipients. Aid is routinely used by corrupt foreign governments to oppress their people and enrich powerful elites. Foreign aid almost always discourages economic and political reform, while subsidizing nations which often work against U.S. interests."
"Bob Barr on: Foreign Intervention & Foreign Bases," Bob Barr's official candidate website (accessed Aug. 6, 2008)
Con: "When I authored the Defense of Marriage Act, which was passed overwhelmingly by both chambers of Congress and signed into law by President Clinton in 1996, I was under intense pressure from many of my colleagues to have the act prohibit all same-sex marriage. Such an approach, the same one taken by the Federal Marriage Amendment, would have missed the point. Marriage is a quintessential state issue. The Defense of Marriage Act goes as far as is necessary in codifying the federal legal status and parameters of marriage. A constitutional amendment is both unnecessary and needlessly intrusive and punitive. The 1996 act, for purposes of federal benefits, defines 'marriage' as a union between a man and a woman, and then allows states to refuse to recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states. As any good federalist should recognize, this law leaves states the appropriate amount of wiggle room to decide their own definitions of marriage or other similar social compacts, free of federal meddling...
Make no mistake, I do not support same-sex marriages. But I also am a firm believer that the Constitution is no place for forcing social policies on states, especially in this case, where states must have the latitude to do as their citizens see fit."
"Leave Marriage to the States," washingtonpost.com, Aug. 21, 2003
[Editor's Note: Bob Barr also made the following Feb. 6, 1997 Congressional Record statement titled "World Marriage Day" regarding his Yes vote on the 1996 "Defense of Marriage Act" (HR 3396) that establishes a federal definition of marriage as "only a legal union between one man and one woman as husband and wife": "...[W]e in Congress were forced to pass a law affirming a basic principle of society that has never before been called into question: marriage means the union between one man and one woman.
I applaud World Marriage Day, observed February 9th, as a celebration of the traditional family values that have made our country the greatest Nation on the face of the earth. The celebration of love and mutual commitment between a man and a woman is a welcome sign in a world where traditional concepts society are being challenged on a daily basis by all types of extremists. I pledge to continue my efforts to preserve and protect the institution of marriage..."]
Now Pro: "Medical marijana has a lot of efficacy, it should be supportive [sic], and it should be up to the states to vote and decide on those issues, not the federal government."
Interview on Washington Journal, C-SPAN, Apr. 12, 2008
[Editor's Note: Prior to Bob Barr's Apr. 12, 2008 Pro position above, Bob Barr's position was Con medical marijuana as indicated in his Mar. 27, 2001 statement below. Bob Barr became a lobbyist for the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP) in Mar. 2007]
Con: "The so-called 'medical marijuana' movement is nothing more than a front by drug users and drug dealers to hide their efforts to legalize and freely distribute mind-altering drugs. The medical-use argument is simply a contrived means to an end; using terminally ill patients as pawns in a cynical political game and misguided political philosophy.
Unfortunately, citizens of several states have been all to eager to buy the snake oil legalizers are selling, because it is tantalizingly packaged in fake compassion and false hope for the sick. This subversive criminal movement has also been exacerbated by the inexcusable positions taken by individuals such as the California Attorney General, who has announced his unwillingness to enforce the state's drug laws against traffickers who 'claim' to be involved with 'medical' marijuana. Ironically, this is the same state that has embarked on an obsessive campaign to eradicate cigarette smoking in public places."
"Barr Continues Strong Opposition to So-Called 'Medical Marijuana'," Bob Barr's US House of Representatives website, Mar. 27, 2001
Con: "'September 11' has become the catch-all excuse for virtually every proposed expansion of government power...One example is a national identification card and database, long desired by some in government, and which was mandated by legislation passed by the Congress in 2005...Although I was no longer in the Congress when this bad legislation was passed, I had vigorously opposed it in the years since it became law, just as I led the successful effort to rescind a previous mandate for a national ID card...
Creating anything close to a national ID card threatens Americans' basic civil liberties and privacy while doing little or nothing to make us more secure."
"Barr Blasts McCain, Obama for Supporting National ID, Again Urges Congress to Repeal Real ID Act," Press Release, Bob Barr's official candidate website, Aug. 1, 2008
Pro: "The U.S. House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly against legislation to reinstate the use of the draft to fill its military ranks. The vote was, of course, nothing more than an interesting bit of political maneuvering, orchestrated to embarrass a handful of liberal Democrats who were making off-the-wall political statements that Bush had a 'secret plan' to reinstitute the draft.
The bill never should have been taken seriously; the possibility of reinstating the military draft, as a necessary response to problems in filling the ranks of our armed forces, should be."
"Caught Up in the Draft," www.newsbull.com, Nov. 1, 2004
Pro: Bob Barr: "I think that the criteria for serving in the military ought to be the standard of does the behavior interfere with the good order and discipline of the military. So long as an individual's behavior within the military does not interfere with that and the military commanders are able to assure themselves and those with whom each individual works in the military that their behavior does not interfere with the discipline and good order of the military that that should remain the criteria."
Q: "Well, it sounds like you support 'don't ask, don't tell...'"
Barr: "I have actually written against that. I think it's an artificial criteria. What I support is to make sure that our military commanders and our military command is the finest, remains the finest, where you have a clear order of command and that the good order and discipline, the ability to assure that a command is carried out is done so without interference of personal relationships."
"The American View" radio interview with Editor John Lofton (accessed July 30, 2008)
Con: "...[S]ervice must be an outgrowth of the heart to be life-changing for both parties. It isn't possible to mandate generosity or coerce compassion...
...[I]t certainly isn't Washington's responsibility to dictate to every middle school, high school, and college across America the sort of activities they should require of their students...If local school boards and college presidents believe mandatory service to be a good idea, they can-as many have done-make it a graduation requirement. There's no justification for the federal government to set a national standard...
Everyone agrees that service is a wonderful gift from those with much to those with little. But we should not sacrifice the great value of voluntary service by turning it into a government requirement."
"Bob Barr Criticizes Obama Proposal for Mandatory Service," Press Release, Bob Barr's official candidate website, July 9, 2008
Not Clearly Pro or Con: "If I am elected, I will stop using the 'state secrets' doctrine to hide government misconduct, start following the Bill of Rights, urge Congress to roll back recent legislation expanding surveillance of American citizens under the Federal Intelligence Surveillance Act, order executive branch officials properly subpoenaed by Congress to testify, and stop misusing 'executive privilege' to avoid being accountable to Congress and the people."
"Barr Urges House Judiciary to Hold President Accountable; Testifies on Executive Branch Abuses," Press Release, Bob Barr's official candidate website, July 16, 2008
Now Not Clearly Pro or Con: "Unfortunately, Senators John McCain and Barack Obama remain mired in a government spending mindset. Indeed, the major parties have even worked to hook private agencies on public funds...[I]t would be far better for Americans to directly support such groups. Then politics would not determine the choices of recipient or affect the organizations' operations...
[W]e should consider creating a special tax credit for charitable giving, to provide Americans with a dollar-for-dollar tax reduction for money contributed to social services. We could then deduct an equivalent amount from the federal welfare budget. This would enable Americans to shift welfare from the public to the private sectors...
One of the worst is creating a bureaucratic state that has absorbed functions once performed by individuals, groups, and communities...We must begin to reverse this process."
"Encourage Private Charitable Giving, Says Bob Barr," Bob Barr's official candidate website, July 2, 2008
[Editor's Note: Prior to Bob Barr's July 2, 2008 Not Clearly Pro or Con statement, he also made a June 28, 2001 Pro statement made on faith-based initiatives.]
Pro: "One of the reasons welfare reform has been so successful is that private charities, including those that are faith-based have continued and expanded their role in helping the most vulnerable Americans. We need to encourage that success by opening the door to more charitable involvement for Americans. The best way to do that is by expanding the number of institutions that can -- and do -- help the most needy in our society.
This legislation [HR 7 "Faith-Based and Community Initiatives Bill"] accomplishes the important goal of ensuring the federal government cannot discriminate against faith-based organizations in competition for federal dollars to carry out social programs. At the same time, the legislation we passed today protects against federal funds being used for sectarian religious purposes."
"Barr Works to Advance President's Faith-Based Initiative," Bob Barr's US House of Representatives website, June 28, 2001
Not Clearly Pro or Con: "Of course, advocates of a radically secular society conveniently forget the fact that it is impossible to establish a moral, ethical and effective government without a belief in God. Without some bedrock guiding principles, human behavior is simply shaped entirely by the circumstances of the moment, without clear or lasting concepts of right and wrong, or the order that comes only through such a system. The end result is that human social behavior in the absence of religious belief inevitably becomes less controlled and more harmful to others; which is, come to think of it, what we see happening in the world today."
"Some Christmas Thoughts on Religion and Politics," Bob Barr's US House of Representatives website, Dec. 24, 1999
Not Clearly Pro or Con: "The glorious space dreams of the 1960s have become penny-pinching exercises in bureaucracy in the 21st century. Bureaucracy and budget cuts have held back needed funding for new programs, but something even greater has been hampering the space program - absence of vision. In the 1960s we had a clear vision to accomplish a goal, used the proper resources and did the job right. The program today appears to have become a bureaucratic stepchild on life support...
Serious consideration ought be given to the idea of privatizing a significant portion of the space program. At least with privatization, lessons from failures like we have seen with NASA would be quickly learned, and corrections made in order to stay in business and move forward. NASA has been allowed to accept mediocrity in its vision, its work and in itself. If privatization is determined not to be in the best interests of the country, then NASA needs to start running the program as if it were a business and not a fat, bureaucratic, government cash cow."
"U.S. Space Program Loses Lofty Status," Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Aug. 17, 2005
Pro: "Even though the traditional, bloated federal welfare system had been reformed in the late 1990s, other programs like Medicaid, Medicare, and Social Security are unsustainable at their current spending rates...
As for Medicaid, Medicare, and Social Security, government must emphasize private choice in health care and private retirement accounts."
"Bob Barr on: Entitlement Programs," Bob Barr's official candidate website (accessed Aug. 6, 2008)
Not Clearly Pro or Con: "Tax increases are not the answer to our economic problems...We must cut spending and taxes, and reduce both the burden and complexity of taxes. We can debate the best reform program, but the starting point of real change must be a steadfast refusal to hike taxes."
"Bob Barr Asks: Where Does John McCain Really Stand on Increasing Taxes?" Press Release, Bob Barr's official candidate website, July 16, 2008
Pro: Sponsored and introduced H.J.RES.190 "Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the United States to provide that no person born in the United States will be a United States citizen on account of birth in the United States unless both parents are either United States citizens or aliens lawfully admitted for permanent residence at the time of the birth":
"No person born in the United States after the date of the ratification of this article shall be a citizen of the United States, or of any State, on account of birth in the United States unless the mother and father of the person are either citizens of the United States or aliens lawfully admitted for permanent residence at the time of the birth."
"H.J.RES.190," Library of Congress: THOMAS website, Sep. 5, 1996
Con: "Waterboarding as an interrogation technique has been employed for centuries as a tool with which to elicit information from prisoners. The fact that the technique often achieves the desired result -confessions- even as it leaves no obvious physical evidence accounts for much of its popularity by practitioners, from the time of the Spanish Inquisition to Nazi Germany. Waterboarding causes excruciating physical pain as the immobilized victim's lungs fill with water. At the same time, the process inflicts profound psychological pain by creating the very real impression in the victim's mind that he faces imminent death by drowning. Waterboarding is, in essence, a torturer's best friend -easy, quick, and nonevidentiary. It had always been considered torture by civilized governments such as ours- until, of course, this administration...
While the extreme sophistry and word gamesmanship practiced to a fine art by this administration might make a high school debating coach proud, it does great disservice to the notion that we exist in a society in which there are rules and norms of behavior with clarity and definitiveness and in which government agents as well as the citizenry are held to standards of behavior. The use of torture will come back to haunt us in ways this administration apparently either doesn't realize or simply doesn't care about."
"No Torture. No Exceptions." Bob Barr's official candidate website, Mar. 11, 2008
Not Clearly Pro or Con: Chris Wallace: "What about voting...for the PATRIOT Act?
Bob Barr: "With regard to the PATRIOT Act I have fought over the last five years since leaving the Congress to limit or better even yet repeal the PATRIOT Act. I was able in the Congress to secure a number of sunset provisions for the provisions in the PATRIOT Act so we could have the opportunity to go back and review them and look at them. The powers in the PATRIOT Act have been used and abused by the Bush Administration far in excess of what the Congress intended for it. It's those abuses that have led I and a lot of other folks that voted for it, under false pretenses essentially, to work against it."
FOX News Sunday with Chris Wallace, FOX News, June 29, 2008
Con: "I see no reason to grant a category of commercial enterprises in this country immunity for violating the law. I think it is a slippery slope and a very dangerous precedent that the government would set by doing that. And it's unnecessary. If a company receives a directive or a request from an administration that it believes may very well violate a federal law then they have an obligation to tell that to the government and to refuse to violate the law. If they choose, voluntarily, to violate the law as some bureaucrat has told them, then they need to suffer the consequences. They should not be granted retroactive immunity."
"Bob Barr: Libertarian Presidential Hopeful on Barack, Borat, and Spoiling for McCain," Village Voice, May 9, 2008