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 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.

Arthur Lieber Arthur Lieber (310 Posts)

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.


  • Diogenes

    it is a gimmick.  The majority of the voters do not care about finance reform.  For example, do you think B.O. is going to lose support because he has decided to take the big PAC money?  When have the voters ever said (in exit polls or otherwise) they want a candidate who will not take big checks?

    Roemer claims he receives few donations and almost no votes because people do not know of him, because he was not on any debates. Why did Roemer not receive a lot of votes in N.H?  He spent several months there personally talking and meeting voters–powerful “retail” politics.  The voters knew of him, but they did not vote for him.  He did not even receive 1%.  And he received negligible donations, I think.

    If only he is free to lead, why  is it that his solutions to the economy, etc. are so much like the other candidates?  He is trying to claim that he is the only honest politician.  Hardly anyone is buying that slick pitch.  He revealed his true stripes when he said he might seek the Americans Elect nomination, which is simply a big money secret donor PAC operating as a political party.  By the way, it will do him no good, because Americans Elect want to pick (and own) a winner.  Roemer showed in N.H. and in every poll that he is a loser.

    Lieber, you’re too smart to be suckered by this guy.

  • http://www.facebook.com/alexander.thrasher Alexander Fisher

    If any other candidate talks about ending unfair trade with China, it’s a gimmick. No candidate who takes advice from Jeffrey Immelt (Obama) is going to end unfair trade with China, no candidate that takes money from the Walton’s (Romney) is going to end unfair trade with China. Has any other candidate talked about Nuclear Nonproliferation when talking about foreign policy? And how can you say the voters knew him? He had the lowest name recognition, he still does, despite the fact that he’s polling at 4%. Had be been allowed into even one debate, he would have placed significantly higher in New Hampshire. The South Carolina ballot would have cost $35,000 dollars to be on and the Republican Party of Florida just shut him out! For some reason the Establishment is afraid of him.

  • Chicora

    Well…in  a representative Republic(as we have today), you’re either part of the solution or you’re part of the problem. You Diogenes, with that attitude, appear to be part of the problem. None of the front runners in the Republican party can survive against the incumbent, way to much baggage with all of them for the middle, which will elect the next POTUS. But nothing beats a failure like a try. Roemer’s credentials surpass all of them….will the American people listen? Don’t know…will see….along way to November.

  • http://twitter.com/ArianaMBenn Ariana Benn

    The majority of Americans SHOULD care about finance reform! You cannot get anything done properly in Washington until you kick the lobbyists, the special interests & the big corporations out of the room. I am in NH and I’m one of the lucky ones that actually got to hear Buddy Roemer speak. Let me ask you a question.  Do you think it’s harder to get your message across meeting with a handful of people on a daily basis on say a Thursday at 11:00am (when most people are at work) like Buddy had to do?  Maybe you earn a vote or so.  Or is it harder to be on a debate in front of Millions of viewers while they watch from their couch on a Sunday at 8:00pm where you’d get millions of supporters to hear your message?  NO CONTEST! Buddy Roemer earned each and every single vote he had in NH which is more than I can say for the rest of them. You don’t have to support him, but you should as an American support his right to be up on that debate stage. How is it that a 4 term Congressman, Former Governor & Successful Businessman can’t get on that debate stage? Are they that afraid of his message of campaign reform?  Really makes you wonder. Maybe Americans should be more concerned with Finance Reform if it makes the media & the other candidates so uneasy.  Buddy Roemer is a true Patriot!  And I think he’s exactly what America needs.  Buddy Roemer may have a smaller following. However, each one of his supporters do the work of 10K other people.  We are small, but we are mighty.  America will fall in love with Buddy Roemer.  They just don’t know it yet as they are trying to silence him at every turn.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GglCUrH43ek&feature=youtu.be

  • Rocky Bellenger

    Campaign Finance Reform doesn’t matter? Ask Dylan Ratigan, Bernie Sanders, Sherrod Brown, Dennis Kucinich, and a host of others petitions to get money out I’ve signed. I bet combined there are several million signatures and around 80% of the country supports public financing of our elections.

    Diogenes somebody is blowing smoke up your tail pipe!!!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1178977980 Nate Borgo

    It is not “gimmick” to focus on the real problem with our elections.  Many do care about finance reform, but sadly they almost accept the status quo.  If a candidate was allowed to be on the national stage and in the debates to talk about this issue, than the people would rally behind him. 

    You are correct about him not receiving votes for the reason he was not in the debates.  The sad, and mean REALLY sad fact, is in this MTV, reality show culture a candidate HAS to be in the debates to be taken seriously.  Which is really sad since these debates are a joke. 

    You are wrong about his donations.  He is the only candidate that qualified for matching federal funds due to his broad support across the country.  He has raised over a half a million dollars on donations averaging around 50 dollars.  That is a way bigger feat than Newt Gingrich getting ONE 5 million dollar donation to keep his campaign going in SC.  That is better than Mitt Romney only receiving 9% of his total donations from small donors.  This is even when both of these men have been on TV for over a half a year. 

    His solutions to the economy are very different than any of the other candidates.  He talks about “fair trade” and getting out of these horrible trade agreements.  That issue along separates him from the rest of the pack.  He wants get rid of the foreign income tax credit.  He supports a 17% flat tax, with the first 50,000 being a deduction.  He wants a simple tax system, not one that is 60,000 pages.  Also concerning AE, what is the difference with them and the actual two political parties?  The GOP and DNC are just as much secret donor PACs when they have 501(c)4 corporations giving HUGE secret donations. 

    The sucker in this race are the American people that are not doing their own research in this campaign and rather listen to 60 second attack ads and talking point debates to pick the leader of the free world.    . 

  • guest

    Voters check the box on their income tax forms every year to fund federal elections. That is literally voting with their dollars. The problem is that they actually believe that if it was a major issue the media would be all over it, as would the candidates. When Roemer’s the only one not playing the game, he seems like the odd man out. But that game’s running in overtime right now and people who insist on being on the side that will, must, lose mystify me. Good luck with your desire for four more years of loss of civil rights and unfair tax avoidance by Mitt Romney and GE. You’ll have the government you deserve. For a little while longer.

  • Rothkid

    Thanks for bringing Roemer to my attention.  The MSNBC interview was lots of fun; I’m usually unable to watch a Republican presidential candidate speak without quickly shutting off the tv.

  • Llibnotgnimer11

    Don’t count Mr. Roemer out just yet. 
    Project Vote Smart .org has quite a bit of imformation about Mr. Roemer on its website.  Check it out.  Compare all the candidates with the Vote-Easy option.  Project V.S. is alot like Buddy, not too visible yet, but a very good choice.