Josh Marshall at TPM has a look at what his candidacy could do to the race.
Normally these third party candidacies don’t amount to anything. And I don’t expect this one to either. But on this one … maybe.
Barr is enough of a media darling that if he runs he’ll get a lot of free media. And there’s enough weirdness going on in the Republican party right now that I could imagine a few scenarios where he’d draw non-trivial numbers away from McCain. As always in these cases the place to look isn’t in aggregate national numbers but in particular states where a drawing off a few points in one direction could make a state competitive where it otherwise wouldn’t be.
And, as Josh points out later on, there’s enough of a difference between McCain and Barr to attract votes away from McCain, especially on such issues as the war in Iraq (Barr was against it) and bring in all but the most hard-core Ron Paul backers. Mr. Barr has enough libertarian credentials, including his stand on civil liberties and distrust of big guvamint, that he could drain away those on the right who were going to hold their nose and vote for McCain.
I’ve always had a soft spot in my heart for Bob Barr in a goofy sort of way; he’s a combination of Wally Cox and Col. Flagg, and he was fun to watch on Crossfire. I know he has absolutely no chance of winning, but he will up the entertainment quotient of the race.