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Honest Questions with Libertarian Presidential Candidate Bob Barr
Aired June 06, 2008 - 19:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
GLENN BECK, HOST (voice-over): Former congressman, Bob Barr, running for president. And this dark horse is in it to win.
BOB BARR (L), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We are not in this race just to send a message, although a very important message will be sent.
BECK: The former Republican from Georgia is now libertarian candidate. He says Washington is broken and a vote for the two-party status quo is a wasted vote.
BARR: The American people need a choice; they want a choice; they deserve a choice; and we aim to give it to them.
BECK: Barr`s belief in individual liberty, small government and a return to the Constitution sounds an awful lot like my America. So while everybody`s talking about Senator McCain and Obama, tonight I`m going to talk with presidential contender Bob Barr for a full hour of honest questions.
BECK: Well, hello, America.
For those of you who watch or listen to me on an irregular basis, you know that I deeply believe in our Constitution and the free market. Most of all, I believe in the American people. I believe that we, the people, are the answer to almost every problem we face. So if that sounds like you, then maybe you`re like me, and you`re having a hard time with John McCain and Barack Obama.
Tonight I`d like to present perhaps a third option. Somebody who says he knows how to get America back to its values and principles that we were founded on. Bob Barr is a former Republican congressman from Georgia, and now the Libertarian Party candidate for president of the United States.
Bob, welcome to the program.
BARR: Glenn, great be with you.
BECK: OK. You know, I want to take you through a whole bunch of different things that we have -- we have talked about in the past, because you`ve spent an hour with me on radio, half hour on television. I`m having a really hard time, and I think a lot of conservatives are having a hard time with John McCain. I don`t think I can pull the lever for John McCain.
But let me just start with the easiest thing first, I would imagine, but it`s the thing that probably would stop most people for voting for a third party, and that is, I`m throwing away my vote. A vote for John McCain [SIC] is a vote for Barack Obama.
BARR: A vote for John McCain is a vote for the establishment. It`s a vote for business as usual. A vote for Barack Obama is a vote for the establishment, for business as usual. You talk about throwing away a vote. That`s throwing away a vote.
The system is never going to change, Glenn, so long as we keep going back to the same dry well over and over and over again and voting for the lesser of two evils.
BECK: Why did you leave the Republican Party? Because you were -- I mean, you were a big guy in the Republican Party. You were the guy who brought the impeachment of President Clinton. Why did you leave?
BARR: Glenn, I was -- I was very proud to be a member of the Republican Party for over 30 years, worked in it, was part of the great Republican revolution of 1994. Unfortunately, it only lasted four years, but that`s part of the problem.
The Republican Party became the establishment. They became so enamored, so focused on winning election and winning re-election they forgot about principle.
When you had, for example, as we have with this administration, a president who stands proudly, apparently, before the American people and says, "Yes, I violated the law, but I violated it for you." That is, listening in surreptitiously to U.S. citizens` conversations without court order.
When you have an attorney general for this president, a Republican president, who sits before the Senate of the United States and says, "Don`t worry about habeas corpus. It`s not important."
When you have a president that calls himself conservative and oversees a 27 -- nearly 27 percent increase in non-defense discretionary spending during his administration, we don`t have a president that bears any relationship to the Republican Party that I used to be with.
BECK: OK. I agree with you on some of those things and I don`t agree on others. But let`s pull them all apart now. Start with oil. What the hell is going on with oil? Why haven`t we had a new refinery in this country for 37 years? Why is it that everyone is building new refineries? Europe is building four new -- 40 new coal-to-oil plants. Germany is building 27. You`ve got the Iranians building seven new refineries in the next four years. By 2012, they`ll have another seven refineries online.
The entire world is doing this, except for us.
BARR: Even -- even the French are, for heaven`s sake. 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.
BECK: So -- so what`s going on? Why can`t we get this done?
BARR: We have no leadership. As Lee Iacocca said, where are the leaders? They sure are not from aren`t in the White House; they aren`t in the Congress; and they aren`t waiting in the wings in this year`s election.
BECK: See, here`s my problem. You do need a leader, but, really, on this issue, all you need are good Americans that can see the trouble ahead. The trouble is, every American, every single one, knows what the problem is.
We all look at it and pay our -- go into the gas pump and pay for it, and we all look at each other and say, why are we still on 4-0-0. Why aren`t we drilling over here? Why aren`t we doing this? Why aren`t we building a new refinery? It`s Washington. So what`s the problem?
BARR: Part of the problem is, even though the price of gasoline has gone up tremendously in the last year and, even though every American that goes to the gas pumps recognizes that, I still don`t think there is a sufficient realization of the magnitude of the problem and the permanency of the problem that we`re facing and is going to befall us unless we do something about it.
BECK: How, Bob? Please explain to me. I`m a recovering alcoholic, former deejay. I am a self-educated man. I went to school, formal education, for one semester when I was 30. I can see it. I can do my homework. I`m not sitting here trying to say that I can help run the country. If I can get it, how come they can`t get it?
BARR: Well, a number of things are at play here.
First of all, most people really don`t care about what their government is doing. You know, as long as they get the handouts, as long as they get something from the government in their little world, their little part of the world, they`re OK with it. They don`t look down the road. As long as they have their Social Security, as long as they have their Medicare, as long as they get a tax rebate, which they -- or a tax refund, which they think is found money for them, they`re OK.
What we have to do is keep in mind that the environmental wackos have taken control of this government. We have one administration after another, and it doesn`t matter whether it`s a Democrat or a Republican in the White House, that are beholden into and are scared to death of the Sierra Club and the environmental organizations out there.
I saw it time and again when I served in the Congress. We would have an opportunity. A piece of legislation that would come up that would simply make a minor adjustment to the Endangered Species Act, to allow for private companies or the government to go in and take care of problems at flood levees. They wouldn`t do it. We couldn`t even get the votes. We couldn`t even get all of the Republican votes for that kind of legislation.
Until we get people in Washington who will stand up to these groups and keep the best interests of America in mind, we`re not going to see a change. I will do that, but Obama and McCain won`t.
BECK: OK. Well, you know what? Obama is -- Obama is exactly what I would expect Obama to be on global warming and taxing and redistribution of wealth.
McCain, unfortunately, is exactly, now, what I expect the Republicans to be. He is one of the guys pushing cap and trade and global warming. You don`t believe in global warming?
BARR: Global warming is a myth. And yet it`s being used by the environmental folks, 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`re exempt. It`s going to saddle us.
And what is McCain doing? He`s out there buying into this global warming, carbon emission cap and trade.
BECK: The global warming thing, I find it amazing that it really took root in the left, after we had the war start. There`s two wars going on right now. There are two wars happening. The right has the war in the Middle East, and the left has the war on the environment. And one will say, you`re not a patriot unless you fight it this specific way. And the other says, you hate the earth, and want the earth to die if you don`t fight it this way.
For the love of Pete, the answer is here. And oil solves both of them. If we would get off foreign oil, we could solve the problems in the -- in the Middle East. If we could find alternative energy, we could solve the problem that the left keeps yelling at.
BARR: And we know that it`s there. The oil is there. We know where it is. It`s offshore. It`s in Alaska. It`s in the shale in the west. We know there are alternative sources of energy out there. Let`s free up the market and let the market begin the development in earnest.
BARR: Take the shackles off them.
BECK: All right. We`ll be back in just a second. I want to talk to Bob about taxes, food prices and the war. How does a libertarian look at the war in Iraq and the rest of the world, coming up in just a second?
GRAPHIC: Which American president said he believed that "the very heart and soul of conservatism is libertarianism"? A) Abraham Lincoln; B) John Adams; C) Ronald Reagan; D) Richard Nixon.
GRAPHIC: Which American president said he believed that "the very heart and soul of conservatism is libertarianism"? C) Ronald Reagan.
BECK: Now I have to tell you, not only do I agree with that -- we`re back with Bob Barr, presidential candidate for the Libertarian Party. Not only do I agree with that, I think it goes beyond conservatives. I think the heart of every American is libertarian until they can benefit from the government. You know what I mean? Until -- until everybody is, like, oh...
BARR: It`s very corrupting, the power of government, to bring people in. To bring them back in. It takes a very strong mind to be able to resist that pressure.
BARR: And most Republicans succumb.
BECK: Do you think the problem I is -- with the Republicans, they got tied up into the compassionate conservative thing? Which is, the -- I don`t even know what that means. Is that an emission that conservatives are not compassionate? I think the most compassionate thing you can do is let a man fail. Let a man find himself. Let a man pull himself up by the bootstraps. That used to be something that was admired in this country. Now it`s not.
BARR: Well, it is among the libertarians, but certainly not among the two major parties.
BECK: But you know, the problem with libertarians is it`s -- you guys -- I mean -- look. You seem like a reasonable guy, Bob. We`ve had several times that we have been able to talk, and I think I agree on many of your points of view, but then the Libertarian Party is so -- divided. I mean, you`ve got people -- the guy who introduced you at the convention was a guy for legalization of pot.
BARR: Yes. It indeed -- some people think, well, that the Libertarian Party, just paint it with one brush stroke. It is -- it is a very diverse party. But there is one thing that has attracted me to the Libertarian Party. A number of things did.
First of all, they worked to defeat me back in 2002. And that caused me to sit down and take a real hard look at them.
The new leadership of the Libertarian Party is young. It`s energetic. It recognizes that you have to present these issues and the libertarian philosophy in a way that makes sense to real people in the real world and to present candidates to the people that people can feel comfortable with. Not somebody that you`d be afraid to have your daughter go out with. And that is the new -- the new Libertarian Party.
BECK: Here`s the problem that I see. Like, for instance, Ron Paul was talking about -- and you say the same thing -- about abolishing the IRS. That`s fine. I`m for that. Then you talk about abolishing all of these cabinets and pulling our troops out of everywhere in the world. Well, you can`t do all of that overnight.
BARR: Absolutely not.
BECK: It has taken us 100 years to screw this country up. You know what I mean? To build this infrastructure. You can`t do it.
BARR: You understand that by the very fact that you recognize that it started before FDR. It started long before that, and it`s going to take a long time to do it, but if we don`t start now, I`m afraid that, Glenn, that we will never be able to reverse the trend. It`s gone that far.
BECK: How -- how concerned are you that we are at the end of America as we know it? Yesterday a guest said to me -- I asked him, you know, if we don`t -- he`s an oil guy. And I said, if we don`t get on the energy band wagon, we don`t aggressively pursue nuke, wind, coal, et cetera, et cetera, we don`t do this, what rest of the world is doing right now, are we the same America in five to ten years? He said, absolutely not.
Are we? How far are we?
BARR: I think -- I think we`re that close to really becoming the sort of country that -- that no longer will take risks, that no longer will work for the future. And then what`s going to happen is you`re going to have a pervasive sense of pessimism setting in, and it`s going to get worse and worse and worse. That`s why I`m running this year. And that`s why we have to stand up and take control of this country back or we never will be able to.
BECK: Tell me the first thing that you`d do.
BARR: Issue a -- two orders. One, a freeze on spending in the executive branch and then a 10 percent cutback of discretionary spending in the executive office of the president, send a message to the Congress that no piece of legislation that comes to President Barr`s desk that purports to raise the ceiling on the national debt will be signed. It will be vetoed.
And any piece of legislation, any appropriations bill that comes to President Barr that increases federal spending over the last fiscal year, which by that time would be 2009, will in fact be vetoed.
I think some folks say, well, it`s a libertarian president. How are you going to get anything done in the Congress?
Well, Republican and Democrat presidents certainly don`t get anything done in the Congress. Part of the reason, Glenn, is the system has become so poisoned with partisanship there that a Republican president goes up and talks only to Republicans. The Democrat president talks only to Democrats. The president never talks to all of the legislators, except during the charade of the State of the Union. They don`t get anything done.
A libertarian president, Bob Barr, would talk to both sides. I wouldn`t go up to meet with one side or the other. Talk to all of them. And plus the fact that having a libertarian win the White House would send such shock waves through the Congress that they would recognize that, if they didn`t get their rear ends in gear and actually start doing something, they`re going to be out of office in two years.
BECK: I talked to the former chief accountant for the GAO, David Walker. And he said discretionary spending. That`s nothing. We`ve got this crushing debt coming down on us that we can`t -- I mean, you`re a guy who follows the dollar, and what the Fed is doing to the dollar.
There are theories out there -- and I happen to believe them -- that we are intentionally tubing the dollar because we cannot afford the interest on the debt. We can`t afford our dollar to be strong right now. The crushing debt that is coming our way, what do you do with that?
BARR: It`s well in excess of $9 trillion right now. And we have a...
BECK: No, no, no. I`m talking long term. I`m talking about the obligations. I`m talking about $54 trillion in Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid. One-third of everybody who lives here in Manhattan, one-third, currently living on Medicaid.
BARR: Actually, it`s even worse. If you calculate them all, project them all out, it`s over $100 trillion total. I mean, it is. It`s unimaginable. What you have to do is -- first of all, you have to do what George W. Bush, unfortunately, did not have the guts to do. And that is to do what you say you`re going to do.
You have to tackle Social Security. You have to tackle Medicare and Medicaid.
BECK: What do you do?
BARR: What do you is you institute, do everything you can, to immediately institute savings accounts that are credited against Social Security taxes as an initial step. You -- you then -- you take a look at who gets what, when they get it and start calculating it so that everybody, so that you don`t increase it every time there is a cost of living, or a raise in inflationary pressure. It just keeps -- it magnifies itself.
But the most important thing is to start getting that money and empowering Americans to get that money into their control, into the free market.
BECK: Do you index -- we index for inflation. Do you index for longevity? You weren`t supposed to get this money when it was first -- it was insurance. Now you`re guaranteed to get it. You go live in Florida if you`re lucky enough that you save some of your own money yourself.
Do you index it for life expectancy, as well? Do you adjust it on the upper end and say, "Sorry, gang. We can`t afford for you to retire at 65"?
BARR: I think you`ve got to look at all of those options. And this notion, well, we can`t do anything because it`s a sacred contract with everybody, that`s nonsense. You know, the voters nowadays, everybody that was born after the 1930s, when it went into effect, they didn`t contract for this. My son didn`t contract to pay me for the rest of my life and my -- my parents.
BECK: Jefferson and all the other Founding Fathers all talked about, you pay for it when you`re alive. You don`t drag it onto the next generation.
Back with the Libertarian Party presidential candidate, Bob Barr.
BECK: Back with libertarian presidential candidate Bob Barr.
Let me talk about food prices. They`re going up quickly. Why?
BARR: Part of it is because of ethanol. I hear, you know, our government bureaucrats, bless their little hearts, they decided that we need to produce more ethanol so we`re going to divert a huge portion, a huge percentage of our ag production of corn and other -- and other vegetables into ethanol.
What has that done? That`s reduced the supply of feed grains for -- for livestock. What has that done? That`s increased the cost of the farmer. That increases the cost of the meat and all the way down the line to the consumer.
BECK: So as the president of the United States, two things. Do you get rid of ethanol? And do you also get rid of farm subsidies?
BARR: Absolutely on the farm subsidies. The vast majority of farm subsidies, by the way, go to farmers and farm families, and corporate farms that have no need for it whatsoever. I think the average -- the average income for a farm family that receives a subsidy, 54 percent of them have incomes over $200,000 a year.
BECK: Do you -- do you continue to subsidize things for farmers not to plant things? Do you keep a regulation on sugar, for instance?
BARR: Absolutely not.
BECK: OK. I love that answer.
How about Bear Stearns? Would you have backed bailing out Bear Stearns?
BARR: Absolutely not.
BECK: What about people who are -- I heard Ed McMahon has lost -- I mean, Ed, how am I supposed to feel bad for you losing your house? How much money did you make for how long? I`m supposed to feel bad for you losing your house? I`m sorry. You`re a nice guy, but Publishers` Clearinghouse. You know what I`m saying?
Do you bail out the people who are losing their house because they, you know, were screwed by a bank or were just too stupid or just rolled the dice?
BARR: If they were too stupid, absolutely not. The federal government should not be there with taxpayer money to bail somebody out that made a mistake. Now, if they were defrauded out of their money, there certainly are mechanisms through our legal system to recoup.
BECK: OK. What about oil companies? Russia just started giving tax cuts to oil companies, over in Russia. I can`t believe they get more than we do. Just started cutting the tax cut -- of the oil companies to say go explore. Go find more oil for us. Do you do that?
BARR: In the short term, yes. In the long run we would hope to get away from this whole system of using tax incentives and disincentives to manage the economy, which is what`s happened with our current system. In the short term, until we can get to that point, absolutely provide the right incentives, not the disincentives.
BECK: So how is it that Russia has a flat tax? How is it that the rest of the world is going to a flat tax and we`re not? We`re going the other way?
BARR: Well, for one thing, Steve Forbes wasn`t elected president several years ago. That was his signature issue, as opposed to McCain`s signature issue, which is McCain/Feingold. That`s a real winner.
BECK: Would you say -- would you say that McCain/Feingold has done more damage is this -- these are people you work with -- done more damage to freedom of speech in this country than the ACLU has done in their entire history?
BARR: Absolutely. McCain-Feingold is the most -- not just free speech, but the right to assembly, to petition, all of those things that are part of the First Amendment, which is far more than simply free speech. McCain/Feingold has thrown cold water on it.
BECK: OK. I want to come back in a minute. I want to ask you about the ACLU, because we do the work at the ACLU drives me out of my mind. And then I want to get back into taxes, and the national defense and the border.
We have a lot more to cover. Bob Barr`s view on foreign policy, the Patriot Act and so much more. Stick around.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARR: Men, women, children, government leaders, all around this great world from all different countries will once again look to America not with fear in their eyes but love in their heart and respect what we will be fighting for. And I will be with in a Barr administration. That is to restore the buff rights, to restore the constitutional precepts for freedom and privacy and to restore liberty to America.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BECK: That`s the Libertarian Party presidential candidate Bob Barr. I want to talk to you a little bit about foreign policy, because this is -- this is the first place that people are usually shook from the libertarian tree, at least conservatives. Because there`s a time to fight. There`s time for war. There`s a time to get involved.
We are so deeply entrenched in the Middle East, and believe me, there`s nothing I want to be away from more than the dictators and the brutish thugs that run places like Saudi Arabia.
But right now we`ve got to be in bed with them for their oil. So you`ve got to build -- you`ve got to get us out of reserves, and then you can pull out of the Middle East. Do you want to pull us out of the Middle East and everywhere in the world?
BARR: Well, if you`re talking about all the -- some 700-odd places around the world, bases and other military installations where we have troops stationed, yes, we need to be downsizing significantly.
Does that mean pulling every U.S. armed forces personnel from everywhere in the world immediately? Absolutely not. We have to maintain a presence sufficient to defend our country and to defend our interests, but that does not mean occupying Iraq or some other nation.
BECK: I`m talking specifically about, let`s say, Iraq right now. We`re in it, and you know what? You got to win it. Go in. I can`t believe the United States of America is in a position where we`re like, "Well, we could lose." No, we don`t lose. You go in, you fight it, you win it. Once you decide you do it, you do it. Finish it. Come home.
BARR: What is the goal, is the problem. I had a debate with one of your broadcast colleagues not too long ago, and I used the word "occupation" to describe the situation in Iraq. He says, "Oh, no, no, no, no, no. It`s a liberation."
Well, we`re over five years from the liberation from so-called "mission accomplished," whatever you want to call it.
BECK: Bob, that`s unfair. And you know that is.
BARR: It isn`t. Because calling it a liberation when we have -- we have, in fact, accomplished the task that was -- that was the goal, and that is to get rid of Saddam Hussein. We`re over there trying to build a nation in a part of the world, and in a particular country where there`s no basis whatsoever to do that.
BECK: Because this is where the administration was lying to us. And I said this before we ever went in.
BECK: Do not listen to the weapons of mass destruction thing. I believed them at the time. Don`t listen to that.
BARR: In briefings.
BECK: Yes. The real goal here is to crush Iran. And the reason why we want to crush Iran is because of this Muslim extremist thing that is going on, and that our interests are sitting right there in Saudi Arabia.
BARR: Good point. First of all, you`re not going to be able to crush Iran. Iran is a very large, very diverse, very economically sound country in which there is, I believe, and I`ve lived over there, in which I believe there is a solid basis to find an awful lot of commonality of interests, not with Ahmadinejad but with the people and a lot of the younger leaders over there.
BECK: Wait, wait, wait, wait, wait. First of all, I don`t believe that Iran is an economically sound country. The people of Iran are our greatest allies, and the reason why the people are Iran are our greatest allies is because we haven`t screwed them by getting in bed with their leaders. They see us still as standing for something and standing against evil that their leadership, they are evil. We don`t get into bed with them.
But you can`t pull out at this point until you are secure in your energy. So don`t you see these two things connected?
BARR: Being secure in one`s energy does not require 150,000 of our troops over there and a cost to U.S. taxpayers. U.S. taxpayers are funding this, over $400 million a day.
BECK: It does until you get -- get Congress the hell out of the way and let us get some shale out of our own mountains! Let us get the oil under our seas. Until you have a radical difference.
BARR: We need to do that.
BARR: We ought to do that.
BECK: But until -- until you do that, where are you going to get the oil?
BARR: We get it from the Middle East. We get it from Canada. We get it from Venezuela, from a lot of different countries, and we need to continue doing that.
BECK: So when Saudi Arabia says to us, help us, help us. If we see that a dictator has nuclear weapons, wants to get into bed with other people. That`s what we thought. Biological and nuclear weapons. We thought that. Wants get to into bed with other people.
Let`s take Syria. Syria, Israel, just bombed a nuclear power plant there. You think that was for making energy?
BARR: Now they`re talking with them. You have to maintain a relationship with these countries. It is not in the interests of Saudi Arabia to see a regime in Iran that has nuclear weapons, which, by the way, they`re not likely to get any time soon.
But aside from the time frame here, we need to work with the other countries in the Middle East in, as allies to take care of the problem in Iran, not to go in there militarily and crush Iran.
BECK: I didn`t mean -- when I said they wanted to crush Iran, wanted to plant -- the idea was to plant democracy on both sides of Iran and let people stand up for themselves and show that freedom works. And hey, it`s sweet over here. That would have inspired the people in Iran to crush their own...
BARR: How many -- how many generations it would take in order to establish anything approaching our notion of democracy over there?
BECK: Bob, I`m not arguing that it was the right thing to do. I`m arguing that we`re there now. Finish the job. Stabilize it as much as you can. Help those people stand on their own. Because you cannot pull out and let that be -- nature hates a vaccuum.
BARR: It`s not so much pulling out as it is making clear to the Iraqi government that they are, in fact, going to have to take responsibility for their own economic well-being, their own political well-being and their own national security.
BECK: Don`t you think that`s happening now? I think...
BARR: It`s absolutely not happening now because they have a $400 million per day U.S. security blanket over there.
BECK: You don`t think we`ve made progress over there?
BARR: Absolutely. Absolutely.
BECK: You don`t think the Iraqis are taking Basra and Sadr City, you don`t think that`s progress?
BARR: These are great, and the Iraqi people and the Iraqi government, they don`t have any more use for al Qaeda than we do.
BARR: They don`t want to see al Qaeda, and they will take care of the problem. That`s part of the reason why they have made those games, because they want to go after al Qaeda as much as we do
BECK: So do you -- how do you get the troops out?
BARR: You begin pulling them out. I mean, what do you mean? I mean...
BECK: Day one as president you take the oath of office. One of the first things you do, is say, pull them out?
BARR: Sit down with military leaders and say, "I want a plan presented to me within 48 hours that outlines a process whereby we can responsibly start significantly and quickly pulling troops out."
BECK: Is it -- is it as judgment of the guy who could be a president of the United States, is it a sound idea to have that decoupled from an energy plan here in America?
BARR: you don`t decouple it, but I don`t think it`s necessary in any way, shape or form to maintain 150,000 troops in Iraq and spend $400 million a day of U.S. money that could be used here in this country for development of these resources over in Iraq.
BECK: OK. More with Bob Barr coming up in just a second.
BECK: Bob Barr on the post-9/11 world: "The post-9/11 world is very different world from the one I served in Congress. The threats to our liberty in a post-9/11 world are dramatically greater than prior to that. The changes have really necessitated a reevaluation of where I stand on a whole range of issues regarding government power really highlighted the need to start rolling those back with greater urgency." That`s May 13, 2008. What did you mean by that?
BARR: Darned eloquent. It means that, since 9/11, the tragedy of 9/11 was horrible experience for our government and our people to go through. And steps needed to be taken to make sure that that never happens again.
But that does not -- that does not -- that does not stand for the proposition that we should allow government to become so oppressive and so pervasive that it takes away virtually every freedom and privacy we have left.
BECK: I was against -- I was for the Patriot Act because you were the guy who got the sunsets in. I figure, if the sunsets are there, if they have to keep coming back every six months, if there`s a problem, I`m not giving them this power. I`m lending it to them with a certain end date. And I respected you because you put those in there.
Now you`re saying, Patriot Act, I shouldn`t have done any of it.
BARR: Well, what happened, Glenn, was that we received, for example, several assurances in addition to securing the sunset deprivations which we wanted for the whole bill, but we just didn`t have the votes for it. But we at least got some.
We were assured by the administration that it would not -- if the Patriot Act passed and we supported it, they would not seek to expand it. They immediately started to expand it.
Secondly, they assured us that it would be used, the powers that they were granted would be used for cases involving terrorism, serious cases, which they said was the reason they need the Patriot Act in the first place. They also said they would not abuse the provisions in it.
For example, the national security provision would be used sparingly. Well, they`ve used it about 30,000 times as year since then.
And they also said, finally, that they would in fact report fully, openly and accurately to the Congress on a regular basis as to how the act was being used so that we could evaluate properly whether or not it need to be continued, cut back or expanded in some way.
In every one of the instances the administration went back on its word. That is why I have been so strong in working to reform the Patriot Act. And I`ve come to the conclusion the best thing to do, Glenn, would be to get rid of it and look at those powers in the light of this year now, this year 2000 -- well, 2009, to see what we actually need.
Some provisions in the Patriot Act have worked very well. The other provisions, though, such as the sneak and peak searches, where the government can come into your house and your business and search and seize and never tell you they`d been there. The national security letters and so forth. The government doesn`t need those powers, and they have, in fact, been abused.
BECK: Tell me about Second Amendment? How -- how far away are you? Somebody said to me, and a well-known senator, he said to me off the record, he said, "Glenn, I think we are one real bombing or something away -- shooting -- before the government says, `We have to do these things,` and they start pulling in guns."
Do you believe that`s probable? I know it`s possible. Do you believe it`s probable in the United States?
BARR: I don`t -- not at this point. It is always a potential problem down the road. But the fact of the matter is that, through the tremendous work of organizations like the NRA, the Second Amendment Foundation, Gun Owners of America and a whole host of others, and because of the -- this is one issue where the American people are involved, are enjoined and do follow what`s going on.
There really has been built up such a strong and current base of support for the Second Amendment that I think we`re in a fairly strong position to resist that, at least in the short term.
BECK: Do you stand by the Minutemen, on the border?
BARR: Well, I think -- I think any citizen group that can get down there and prod our government into doing a much better job of protecting the border against illegal immigration has to be commended. And that would include them.
BECK: So you -- you would not -- you wouldn`t call them -- I`m trying to remember what this administration has called them.
BECK: Yes, vigilantes, thugs, racists?
BARR: No. I`ve worked with them. I`ve had them, you know, when I had a radio show, had them on. These are simply citizens who care about protecting the sovereignty of this country and are willing to take their time and they`re not armed. They don`t arrest. They just monitor, to help protect the border against the tremendous incursion of illegals into this country.
BECK: What is the -- why is this happening? Why -- why do we have 6,000 dead just within five miles of our border on the other side? Six thousand dead in the last 2 1/2 years. Why is this happening? Why are we allowing this to happen? Why aren`t we doing anything?
BARR: Let me give you probably the best example that I`ve seen in recent years. At the border checkpoint, where you have cars coming into the United States south of San Diego, at Tijuana, Mexico.
There at the border crossing, folks there are under orders, if the line on the Mexican side of cars gets too long and the wait becomes too long, they are ordered to just go ahead and let people in. We care more about inconveniencing people from other countries that want to come into this country that we are willing to suspend even the cursory efforts.
BECK: But I don`t...
BARR: Our government doesn`t care, Glenn. That`s what I`m saying.
BECK: But why? Why don`t they care?
BARR: Part -- part of it is because we have this -- this notion that, I mean we saw very, very clear with President Bush. I mean, he was meeting with Presidente Fox from Mexico just a few days before 9/11.
One administration after another, for some reason -- I can`t tell you why, because it`s not rational -- they think that we have to kowtow to Mexico even to the extent of bringing our sovereignty to theirs.
BECK: It`s not rational, which -- I`m a rational guy. I try to be. I tried to do my homework. I can`t come up with another reason. I don`t like this reason, because it puts me in a nut job category, so I`m begging people to come up with another answer.
But I come to the place to where I think, OK. The government of Canada, the government of Mexico and the government of the United States are in on a deal that says, we`re going to be one continent, one trading block, and we won`t have these borders, because we`re going to blend them all together eventually. Do you believe that?
BARR: Oh, I think it`s a very real possibility. And I think that the three governments that you mentioned. And a number of governors in this country are very much in on the deal on that. I think that is a process that they`re serious about, and they are moving forward with it very quietly.
BECK: So how -- how do you expose that? For instance, the NAFTA superhighway. Do you believe that`s being built?
BARR: That`s part of it. They`re already moving through eminent domain to start taking land in Texas to do that?
BECK: All that`s crazy talk. That`s crazy talk. It`s being built. You`re right; they`re moving on eminent domain. Rudy Giuliani`s law firm is part of this thing. And yet everywhere...
BARR: America`s mayor?
BECK: Yes. Yes, believe it or not.
BARR: He wants to be North America`s mayor.
BECK: Yes. He`s part of this thing. I mean, everybody has fingerprints on this thing, and yet everyone says, that`s crazy. That`s not happening.
BARR: This is an issue that needs to be on the table. We intend to put it on the table during the presidential -- hopefully, we`ll have a series of debates. And if not, then we`ll get it out there anyway.
It is not a nut job. This is a very real possibility that is moving forward, and if we don`t stop now it will be too late. We`ll wind up with something like the European Union.
BECK: When Ron Paul was running, I had several run-ins with these people called the 9/11 Troopers. They say we blew up the World Trade Center. You?
BARR: I don`t pay any attention to that. None at all. I`ve heard the same thing. We heard it when we did some investigations of Waco, the same sort of stuff. We`ve got to move beyond that. I mean, there are real problems facing us and the world that we can actually do something about without worrying about conspirators of things past.
BECK: Good. Come back in just a second. Final moments with Bob Barr.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
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BECK: Final minutes with Bob Barr, libertarian candidate for president of the United States.
OK, Bob, I got to ask you a couple things. Libertarians are rights. They are all about rights. They are a small government. Let people manage it themselves. Let people make the decisions. How does -- I mean, I can understand it when it comes to, hey, heroin should be available everywhere. I understand it there.
But when you come to something like abortion, a lot of libertarians say, "Excuse me. That should -- that is a right."
You are -- I mean, you are one of the strongest guys on abortion out there. Voted yes on banning -- banning family planning on U.S. aid abroad, yes to federal crime harming a fetus while committing other crimes. Congratulations on that. Voted yes on banning partial-birth abortion, again, yes on banning transportation to minors to get an abortion. A lot of libertarians are not happy with you.
BARR: They may not be happy with me, but I`m in good company. There are a lot of pro-life libertarians. And they look at it much the same way, the libertarians, generally, as one of the fundamental tenants, the use of force to take a life should not be countless. I mean, that should be -- if there`s one thing that should be illegal it`s the taking of life by force without justification.
And the same applies to the unborn fetus, which is a human being, human life, the same as it does to somebody -- I don`t know how old you are, but I`m 59 years old.
BECK: Tell me about -- tell me about the -- the people in Texas, the polygamists. The state seemed to me to clearly overreach. I -- I am not for polygamy. Is polygamy OK? Should we have that as a law, and enforce it? Or not enforce that law?
BARR: I don`t condone it and support it, and I don`t think we ought to move in that direction. What disturbed me and I think what disturbed you about what happened in Texas was the Children`s Protective Service, you know, storming in there based on what appeared to be now a -- a bogus tip.
But they -- I think they were just waiting for something to provide a trigger for them to go in there. They manufactured it and just ripped those children, hundreds of them, away from their families without any sort of due process or evidence whatsoever, that any of them were being harmed, had been harmed or were in imminent fear of being harmed.
BECK: Real quick, I`ve got about ten seconds. Do you have a Web site or anything people can go to to find out more information?
BECK: Got it. Libertarian presidential candidate Bob Barr. Thank you, sir.
BARR: Thank you.
BECK: We`ll see you again.
From New York, good night, America.