Barr (2004), “The Meaning of Is: The Squandered Impeachment and Wasted Legacy of William Jefferson Clinton.”

Review of Barr (2004) Meaning of Is…

Bob Barr represented the Seventh District of Georgia in the United States House of Representatives for four terms between January 1995 and January 2003. He served in the 104th – 107th congresses. During his tenure, he was a senior member of the Judiciary Committee, vice chairman of the Government Reform Committee, and member of the Committees on Financial Services and Veterans Affairs.

Born in Iowa on November 5, 1948, Barr grew up in various locations around the world due to his father’s career as a civil engineer. He attended the University of Southern California as an undergraduate, and earned a master’s degree in international relations at George Washington University in 1972. He attended law school at Georgetown University, earning his J.D. in 1977.

Barr served in the CIA from 1971-1978 as a Latin American analyst. He then moved to Georgia and became active in Republican politics, chairing the Cobb County Republican Party. In 1986, President Reagan appointed Barr as U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Georgia, a post he held until 1990. The congressman served as president of the Southeastern Legal Foundation from 1990 to 1991.

Barr ran unsuccessfully against Paul Coverdell for the U.S. Senate in 1992. In 1994, Barr won the Congressional seat that had been held for several terms by Democrat Buddy Darden. When Barr entered Congress, it was the first time in forty years that Republicans were in the majority. He had a reputation as being the most conservative member of Congress. Barr may be best remembered for his initiative in pursuing an impeachment trial for President Clinton on charges of perjury in regard to the Monica Lewinsky scandal. One of three books he has written – The Meaning of Is – reflects on the Clinton White House and explains his motivations for pursuing impeachment of the president.

In 2002, the Georgia Legislature redistricted the state’s Congressional seats, resulting in Barr’s district being drawn into Republican John Linder’s district. A primary was held that summer in which Barr was soundly defeated. He left office in January 2003.

Since leaving office, Barr has continued to write and speak publicly on civil liberties, especially the right to privacy. He has been a contributor on CNN and writes a regular column for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution as well as maintaining a blog “The Daily Caller.”

Soon after leaving Congress, Barr also left the Republican Party. In 2008, Barr was the presidential nominee for the Libertarian Party. Currently, he heads a consulting firm called Liberty Strategies, and practices law with Edwin Marger in Atlanta.

In addition to his book on the impeachment trial, Barr has published Patriot Nation: Bob Barr’s Laws of the Universe Volume One, and Lessons in Liberty. He is an adjunct professor at Kennesaw State University just outside of Atlanta, where he has taught a graduate-level course on Privacy and Public Policy.

The political papers of Barr are available at the University of West Georgia’s Ingram Library Special Collections archive and may be accessed through Galileo.

Disclosure: From June to December 2012, I was a Graduate Research Assistant with the Special Collections at UWG. During which time, I was assigned to topics relating to Financial Services, Judiciary, and Firearms


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