I haven't seen anyone -- not even the libertarian blogs -- mention Bob Barr.
So, why not. Shouldn't take long.
There was a time when people thought Bob Barr might get three percent of the vote nationwide. (There was a Zogby poll at one point that showed him over five percent.) It was thought that he might swing various states -- Georgia, Montana -- from one party to another. That in a year when voters were nervous about both parties, he might be a strong voice for an alternative way. That he might be the strongest Libertarian candidate for President since the party started running back in 1972.
As it turned out, not.
Barr got 504,000 votes around the country. That sounds like a lot, but it's not. It's just 0.4% of the national total. He got fewer votes than Ralph Nader, which is saying something. In terms of raw numbers, he got more than any Libertarian candidate before... but only just; and in terms of vote percentage, he did worse than Ron Paul (1988) or Harry Browne (1996), both of whom got around 0.5%.
Worse yet, Barr didn't swing a single state. Democrats had been speculating that Libertarian votes, peeled away from the Republicans, might be a significant help this cycle. They weren't. Barr's vote was larger than the winner's margin of victory in only three states: North Carolina (Obama by 24,000, Barr got 25,000), Indiana (Obama won by 26,000; Barr got 29,000) and Missouri (McCain by about 3,000, Barr got 11,300). It looks very unlikely that Barr made a difference to any of these. Libertarian voters are drawn disproportionately from disaffected Republicans, but not entirely; the split is probably something like 60% Republicans, 20% Dems, and 20% people who wouldn't have voted. Break it down, and you see that Barr made no difference. Unless you count "turning narrow wins into slightly less narrow wins". Which I don't think we do.
(That 60/20/20 split is a guess, but it's a reasonable guess. You have to get very unreasonable -- like, assuming all Barr's voters would have voted anyway, and 90% of them would have gone to McCain -- to get him credit for flipping even one state.)
What's sort of confusing is that (1) Barr really seemed to want this nomination, campaigning for months and aggressively fighting for it at the convention; but (2) once he had it, he seemed to stumble or sleepwalk through the campaign. Being a third-party candidate in the American system is never much fun, but there are things you can do. Barr didn't. He didn't fundraise much, didn't travel much, and made no attempt to leverage his modest budget in swing states. A campaign year like this one, with much of he public holding strong doubts about both candidates, should have been a golden opportunity for the Libertarians. As it turned out, not.
If you really want to know more, here's an article from late October about the Barr campaign. Worth noting: Barr spent most of his campaign struggling with the legacy of Ron Paul. He never did manage to gain Paul's endorsement. Personally I think that, compared to Ron Paul, Barr is a solid mass of win. But anyway, this ended up not being Barr's year.
Two last thoughts. One, does this reflect a bad candidate, a bad campaign, or a public rejection of Libertarianism, even as a protest vote? In cameo, it's the same question that's currently vexing the GOP.
Second, it's worth recalling that Bob Barr was the House Republican's prosecutor in the impeachment of Bill Clinton. We all used to take him very, very seriously. That was less than ten years ago.
And away from politics again.