New Orleans Buddy Roemer was a confusing and contradictory Louisiana politician as a one-term governor of the state several decades ago as he jumped from party to party and issue to issue. He just didn’t seem comfortable or made for the job, but in the strange way of public life, he has spent the last year trying to jump around and run for President in the Republican primaries or at least collect some press clippings along the way. Importantly he carved out a niche for himself by refusing to take any PAC contributions or much of any contributions above $100 or so. He showed up at the Occupy Wall Street locations. His defined the unique quixotic American race for the White House. Living in Louisiana we probably read more about it than others as the hometown papers reported on his pursuit, usually with tongue firmly planted in cheek.
Now Roemer has announced that he is abandoning his act within the Republican primaries and is now going to try to contend for nominations of some sort or another as an independent. He has set his sights on the nomination from Americans Elect and the Reform Party.
Americans Elect is a confusing, hybrid affair that has eschewed parties, it claims, in order to focus on a state by state process of gaining ballot access for an independent candidacy for the White House. In some ways the party-hopping Roemer should fit nicely in the anti-party Americans Elect. Roemer had served several terms as a U.S. Congressman from Louisiana as a Democrat and was elected as Louisiana governor as a Democrat but then changed parties in the last year of his only term to become a Republican. Now, it’s Republican to Independent. For Roemer certainly, it’s not the party, it’s all about him! Perhaps that’s the case for Americans Elect as well; it’s not about the party, it’s all about them.
The lack of transparency around their own financing gave rise to a fair amount of head scratching when trying to get a handle on Americans Elect, and now the irony of the Roemer jump to try and run on their line seems a piece with this. The Times reported Roemer’s leap with a straight face unlike the way the Times-Picayune would have run the story, but it was clear that the real issue was all about money for a candidate that has claimed that it can’t be about the money. Seems Roemer had qualified for public financing worth a couple of $100,000, but was on the verge of losing that if he didn’t hit a benchmark in upcoming Republican primaries. By jumping to this amalgam of Americans Elect, which doesn’t qualify for matching on their line, and the Reform Party, which does, then Roemer is still in the money and can keep on with his quixotic quest.
Not sure what principles or politics is really involved here for any of these folks at this point, but it is clear that it’s all about the money!