I’ve spent the New Years with friends from DC who I think of as “Washington Insiders” because they work in or with various parts of the government. Unlike the people I normally talk shop with, they have never even heard of Richard Stallman. They are dismissive of the Occupy movement or just don’t want to talk about it. They are pessimistic about the next election, because they see it as a sure victory for Mitt Romney. Many of them were active in the Obama campaign, and will likely be involved in the campaign in some capacity this coming year. The are grim.
When I brought him up, one of them told me that “Buddy Roemer is a joke”–as if there was nothing at all sensible about a former Congressman running as a government reform protest candidate after two years of Tea Party and Occupy press. I have to remind them that Buddy was once Louisiana’s Governor, not just a Congressman. One friend jokes, “Good people don’t become Governor of Louisiana.” I don’t really know what he’s talking about, but Buddy seems like good people to me.
I ask if he could be a third party spoiler. “No, that’s unrealistic. I mean the last time there was a third party spoiler was…” It gets him thinking. “Well, there was a minor spoiler effect with Nader in 200, but the last real spoiler was Perot in 1992.” That sounds like once a decade to me. We’re due.
Let’s play it out. Roemer is running as a Republican currently. He has a slim to nothing chance of winning the primary. Suppose he continues to run as an independent. Suppose he is allowed to debate nationally and get public attention.
Buddy is an old Southern white man who will spend his time at the debate telling Mitt Romney that he is fake and bought, which is the elephant in the room around Romney and the root of the flip-flopping that so pisses of his base. No wonder the GOP won’t let Buddy debate with them. But in a national debate, Buddy could easily steal elements of the Romney’s base in addition to swing voters.
If things are as dismal for Obama as some say (though at the moment he’s InTrading at 51%…) then Roemer on that ballot could be the spoiler he needs to pull things through. Obama, after all, ran on “Change” originally, and could have plenty to agree with Roemer about, but with the spin that it’s only the Republican party that is as influenced by money in politics.
At this point, I don’t see a stronger move for the center-left than backing Roemer and helping him get on the ballot.