Buddy Roemer: The lost candidate of 2012

Whether you’re a Republican, Democrat, Independent, or member of any other political party, chances are that you will find at […]

Whether you’re a Republican, Democrat, Independent, or member of any other political party, chances are that you will find at least one member of the crop of the GOP candidates to be lacking in essential qualities to be President of the United States. Among Republicans, the choice “None of the above” or “Someone else” seems to be a rather popular candidate. But who could be the person to fill that void?

One is an announced candidate who is serious about being president. You may not know of him because he has not appeared in any of the debates. His name is Buddy Roemer, and he is a credible candidate.

More importantly, his platform addresses one of the key problems in American politics. He is four-square behind campaign finance reform. His commitment is beyond words. He refuses to take contributions of greater than $100. He sees money as the corrupting influence in politics that it is. Roemer knows of what he speaks, because he has successfully used large donations to win important elections. But that was then, and this is now. In the current era, in which Newt Gingrich can raise five million dollars overnight from one donor for a SuperPAC, Roemer plugs along seeking more $100 donations. This gains him considerable integrity, but still leaves him with a great deal of anonymity.

From 1981-1988, he was a member of Congress from Louisiana. After four terms in the House, he decided to run for governor of Louisiana and won in 1988, serving a four-year term. His background is impressive. He graduated from Harvard in 1964 with a degree in economics and three years later received his MBA in finance, also from Harvard.

While serving in the House of Representatives as well as Governor of Louisiana, Roemer was a Democrat. In March, 1991, he switched to the Republican Party, in part because of the urging of President George H.W. Bush’s chief of staff, John Sununu. His move was not uncommon among conservative southerners, as the region was still in the process of rejecting the Democratic Party because of its strong support for civil rights and economic fairness. But in some ways, particularly with regard to campaign finance, Roemer would probably feel more comfortable today as a Democrat.

Despite all of his credentials, experience, and contacts, Roemer has largely been off the radar screen for Republican candidates for president in 2012. The given reason for why he has not been invited to participate in any of the debates is that he failed to meet the 2% minimum criterion. Roemer asks the obvious question, “How can you receive votes in a poll if you’re not listed among the candidates?”

Clearly the Republican establishment does not want Buddy Roemer competing against the other candidates. Roemer feels that his rejection of large contributions is the reason; he is not playing the game by their rules.

Conspiracy or not, the Republican Party and the American people are at a loss by not having Buddy Roemer as a high profile candidate. The time has come and gone for Roemer to effectively compete with the others. Little is left except for the media to continue to provide forums in which he can speak. Someone with big bucks is going to win the Republican nomination and the same is true for the Democratic Party. But in at least one regard, campaign finance reform, Roemer offers a refreshing and needed change. It will be good to have that in our memory bank as we approach the 2016 election.

You can hear some of his wisdom in the interview below with MSNBC’s Dylan Ratigan.


EmailFacebookTwitterPinterestRedditGoogle+DiggStumbleUpon
Arthur Lieber

About Arthur Lieber

Since 1969, Arthur Lieber has been teaching and working in non-profit educational organizations. His focus has been on promoting critical, creative, and enjoyable learning for students in informal settings. In the 2010 mid-term elections, he was the Democratic nominee for US Congress from Missouri’s 2nd Congressional District.