Barr vs. Barr

More

Last week, the House of Representatives repealed a 10 year old provision of the D.C. appropriations bill that blocked implementation of a voter approved medical marijuana law for the District: joining the lobbying effort to repeal this amendment was its author, former Georgia Congressman Bob Barr.  Like Arianna Huffington, Barr once palled around with Newt Gingrich; but after losing his seat in 2002, he became a friend of the ACLU and the Marijuana Policy Project, a libertarian candidate for president (in 2008), and an opponent of anti-libertarian measures he once championed: Barr now opposes the federal Defense of Marriage Act (which he authored) as well as the war on drugs.
   
Maybe Barr had a genuine conversion experience after leaving Congress; maybe he was always a closet libertarian successfully passing as a right wing extremist; maybe he's a cynical opportunist whose shifting allegiances anticipated the power shifts reflected in the '06 and '08 elections.  I welcome his newly found or recently uncovered libertarianism, in any case; but -- like the Sotomayor confirmation follies or the extra-marital escapades of Senatorial bible thumpers -- the spectacle of Bob Barr lobbying against his former self seems unlikely to increase or restore faith in the legislative process.  
    
From afar, it looks merely like self-interested gamesmanship, which may be partly why people sometimes combine low opinions of Congress with relatively high opinions of their own representatives.  (Oddly enough, a glimpse of how the sausages are made can actually increase your regard for some of the people who struggle to make them.)  There are smart, thoughtful, hard-working members of the House and Senate who believe what they say and take seriously the burdens they promise to bear, and -- considering the company they keep -- must recognize we're in more trouble than we know.  

Jump to comments
Presented by

Wendy Kaminer is an author, lawyer, and civil libertarian. She is the author of I'm Dysfunctional, You're Dysfunctional.

Get Today's Top Stories in Your Inbox (preview)

What Crazy Tech Idea Could Become Real?

"There could be great intelligence enhancements, like infinite memory."


Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register. blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

A Time-Lapse of Alaska's Northern Lights

The beauty of aurora borealis, as seen from America's last frontier

Video

What Do You Wish You Learned in College?

Ivy League academics reveal their undergrad regrets

Video

Famous Movies, Reimagined

From Apocalypse Now to The Lord of the Rings, this clever video puts a new spin on Hollywood's greatest hits.

Video

What Is a City?

Cities are like nothing else on Earth.

Video

CrossFit Versus Yoga: Choose a Side

How a workout becomes a social identity

Video

In Online Dating, Everyone's a Little Bit Racist

The co-founder of OKCupid shares findings from his analysis of millions of users' data.

Writers

Up
Down

More in National

From This Author

Just In