His crusade against corruption in politics has made him the invisible Presidential candidate. The mainstream news media have no interest in him. His anti-status quo message is probably the reason why. Andrew Kreig of Washington’s Blog reported that Buddy Roemer appeared with reformed ex-convict / former lobbyist Jack Abramoff before a cozy, standing-room-only audience of 120, convened on March 22 by the non-partisan Committee for the Republic. For those unfamiliar with Buddy Roemer, Kreig provided this summary of the candidate’s background and political perspective:
“I don’t think the answer is the Republican Party,” said the former two-term governor of Louisiana, who became a Republican in 1991 and returned to politics last year after a 16-year absence. Earlier, he served four terms as a Democratic congressman beginning in the 1980, running unopposed in his last three races.
“And,” he continued, “I don’t think the answer is the Democratic Party.” He says both parties are controlled by special interests and political action committees (PACs), whose checks he has refused to take since his first race three decades ago.
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The big knock on Roemer is that he lacks high poll numbers and name recognition, doubtless because GOP debate-organizers excluded him. Yet he was doing better in certain key criteria than some other candidates invited repeatedly for nationally broadcast debates. Roemer concluded that his basic problem was that GOP chieftains did not want him to describe his reform message.
Therefore, Roemer’s campaign is now focused on winning the Americans Elect nomination to be on the November ballot in all 50 states. Then he wants 15% support in poll numbers so he will be included in debates with the Democratic and Republican nominees.
On December 12, I discussed some of the criticism directed at Americans Elect. Most notably, Richard Hansen, a professor at the University of California at Irvine Law School, wrote an essay for Politico, which was harshly critical of Americans Elect. Professor Hansen concluded the piece with these observations:
But the biggest problem with Americans Elect is neither its secrecy nor the security of its election. It is the problems with internal fairness and democracy. To begin with, according to its draft rules, only those who can provide sufficient voter identification that will satisfy the organization – and, of course, who have Internet access – will be allowed to choose the candidate. These will hardly be a cross section of American voters.
In addition, an unelected committee appointed by the board, the Candidates Certification Committee, will be able to veto a presidential/vice presidential ticket deemed not “balanced” – subject only to a two-thirds override by delegates.
It gets worse. Under the group’s bylaws, that committee, along with the three other standing committees, serves at the pleasure of the board – and committee members can be removed without cause by the board. The board members were not elected by delegates; they chose themselves in the organization’s articles of incorporation.
The bottom line: If Americans Elect is successful, millions of people will have united to provide ballot access not for a candidate they necessarily believe in – like a Ross Perot or Ralph Nader – but for a candidate whose choice could be shaped largely by a handful of self-appointed leaders.
Despite the veneer of democracy created by having “delegates” choose a presidential candidate through a series of Internet votes, the unelected, unaccountable board of Americans Elect, funded by secret money, will control the process for choosing a presidential and vice presidential candidate – who could well appear on the ballot in all 50 states.
Roemer’s ability to survive this questionable nomination process is just the first hurdle. Even if he wins that nomination, he will be confronted by critics of Americans Elect to defend that organization’s controversial nomination procedure. Nevertheless, if none of his opponents from that nomination campaign step up to oppose the result, Roemer might just breeze through any questions concerning that issue.
One interesting way to get a look at Buddy Romer is to read his Twitter feed – (@BuddyRoemer). Roemer’s staff members occasionally post tweets about such subjects as the candidate’s desire to restore the “Made in America” label so that consumers would have the choice to buy products from manufacturers who employ their neighbors. Here are some of Buddy’s own tweets:
If Santorum and Gingrich don’t get the GOP nomination, will they return to lobbying? Or keep their records clean for 2016?
“Few men have virtue to withstand the highest bidder.” – George Washington
RT “@maximosis: The more people wake up from their tacit acceptance of the corporatocracy, the more apparent these abuses will become.”
“The people do not control America, the big checks do.”
From 1998-2010, the Financial, Insurance, Real Estate sectors spent $6.8 BILLION in lobbying & campaign donations.
Millions $$ in earmarks go to top Congressional campaign donors. Here are some striking examples >>http://thelobbyisteffect.com/2012/02/28/earmarks-are-a-microcosm-of-how-government-works/ #corruption
At his campaign website, supporters are encouraged to post tweets to Romer’s Twitter feed in addition to making contributions within the self-imposed, $100 limit. At the “Blog” section, there are links to videos of the candidate’s television appearances. A visit to the “Issues” section of his website will reveal Roemer’s position on banking reform:
As a small business banker, Buddy Roemer is proud to have chosen smart investments that kept his bank on solid footing while others were taking bailouts from the government to remain solvent. Banking is too important to be left to the bankers, but Buddy recognizes that regulation of the industry must be a fine balance between too much and too little.
That sure sounds better than Romney’s “regulations kill jobs” theme and Obama’s track record of giving the banks everything they want, with revolving doors connecting the West Wing to Citigroup and Goldman Sachs.
The big question will be whether (as the Americans Elect nominee) Romer could accumulate the support from 15% of poll respondents so that he could participate in the Presidential debates with Obama and Romney. It sure would be interesting to see him on the stage with those two. The public might actually take interest in the process.