Scott McKay, the proprietor of the superb Hayride blog in Louisiana, does a great job analyzing new presidential wannabe Buddy Roemer, here. McKay says that Roemer’s railing against “special interests”
certainly isn’t original, and it’s also not particularly courageous, either. You can decry special interests all you want, but if you don’t call anybody out by name, you’re just babbling on.
Roemer could have taken a shot at Billy Tauzin for getting in bed with President Obama as Big Pharma’s lobbyist, or he could have denounced Goldman Sachs. Or he could have hammered the unions for their role in the auto bailouts that raped the bondholders of GM and Chrysler. Or he could have questioned George Soros’ role in policy on things like monetary policy or domestic energy.
That would have been newsworthy, and it would have spoken boldly – and truthfully – to the people he needs to make an impression on. But he did none of that, and he came off like an ordinary politician – only in this case he’s an ordinary politician with no money and no means of raising any given the $100 limit he’s imposing on himself. Anybody can rail against “the special interests.” Voters don’t even get riled up about that anymore; they’ve heard it already.
It doesn’t help that Roemer came from a Democrat family (his father was Edwin Edwards’ campaign manager in 1971 and ultimately went to jail as part of the BriLab investigation), ran afoul of the state’s GOP muckety-mucks even when he switched over to the Republican Party and just last year endorsed a Democrat – his son-in-law David Melville as it turns out – for Congress in a race against incumbent John Fleming. Roemer’s endorsement of Melville was seen as a joke, and Fleming, who is a very popular, very conservative and quite effective congressman with a bright future, won the race easily.
Read his whole post. Good stuff. I’ll just add that Buddy Roemer means well, and that I like him personally. I worked in politics and as a journalist in Louisiana throughout his campaign for governor and his four years in office, and saw close-up his strengths and weaknesses. A lot of his ideas are decent. But he sort of flaked out as governor. He’s headstrong, and he listens about as well as the average door knob. One wag in Congress pronounced Roemer “often wrong, but never in doubt.” Actually, he’s right on policy more often than not, but the quip does capture a real aspect of Roemer’s personality. That’s how he managed to switch parties in mid-term while so angering his new party that it endorsed a small-town Congressman (Clyde Holloway) over him even with him as an incumbent, and then let neo-Nazi David Duke run laps around him in the fall. [Full disclosure: My father had a small role in trying to talk sense into Roemer when he switched to Republican, but to no avail.] Would I have supported Roemer if he tried a comeback for the U.S. Senate? Certainly. I would have been thrilled. He’s basically a good man. But President? Really? Seriously?