Buddy Roemer Redefines the Political Circus

Gov. Buddy Roemer<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/gageskidmore/">Gage Skidmore</a>/Flikr

Let our journalists help you make sense of the noise: Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter and get a recap of news that matters.


“We’ve got to redefine America!” Buddy Roemer roars, sounding exactly like the former Congressman, ex-governor, and current presidential hopeful that he is. But what he says next is a bit of a departure from campaign-trail boilerplate. “Look at Southwest Airlines!” he shouts. “Who here likes Southwest?! I love Southwest! No numbers, no lines, you sit wherever you want! They’ve redefined the airline!”

“And look at Cirque du Soleil!” he goes on. “Look at what they’ve done! No popcorn, no sodas! No animals!” Roemer looks incredulous. “No animals!

Buddy Roemer, you might say, is seeking to redefine the circus. Having had it with both the Democrats, who first made him a Congressman in the 1980s, and the GOP, his party for the past quarter-century, he is running for the nomination of the Reform Party. It’s slow going—the campaign event I attended was held in a small classroom on the University of California-Berkeley campus, with maybe 30 students and aging hippies in attendance.

But Roemer didn’t let that slow him down. A banker by trade, he laid into Obama and his banker buddies: “After he signed financial reform into law, he attended a fundraiser that was $30,000 a head!” he said in a measured, yet disgusted tone before shouting, “Hypocrite!” Don’t let the elfin charm fool you—Roemer’s got a fire in the belly. His financial reform blueprint includes reinstating the Glass-Steagall Act, raising banks’ capital ratios, and outlawing big bank bailouts. He’s also calling for a ban on Super PACs, and large campaign contributions, instant disclosure of all political donations, and criminal penalties for violators. His own self-imposed donation limit? A hundred bucks. No wonder he’s won the love of the left, from Occupy to Maddow to Colbert.

But Roemer is quick to point out that he remains a conservative at heart: He’d cut entitlement spending and public employees, get that Keystone pipeline going and frack the country dry. “We oughta tap those wells out,” he says. The Pentagon budget deserves a “scrubbing,” he says, but the world is “a dangerous place” and we need “healthy” defense spending. 

He might be a mind-bender for Americans used to something a bit more traditional. But then, so is Cirque du Soleil.

IT'S NOT THAT WE'RE SCREWED WITHOUT TRUMP:

"It's that we're screwed with or without him if we can't show the public that what we do matters for the long term," writes Mother Jones CEO Monika Bauerlein as she kicks off our drive to raise $350,000 in donations from readers by July 17.

This is a big one for us. It's our first time asking for an outpouring of support since screams of FAKE NEWS and so much of what Trump stood for made everything we do so visceral. Like most newsrooms, we face incredibly hard budget realities, and it's unnerving needing to raise big money when traffic is down.

So, as we ask you to consider supporting our team's journalism, we thought we'd slow down and check in about where Mother Jones is and where we're going after the chaotic last several years. This comparatively slow moment is also an urgent one for Mother Jones: You can read more in "Slow News Is Good News," and if you're able to, please support our team's hard-hitting journalism and help us reach our big $350,000 goal with a donation today.

payment methods

IT'S NOT THAT WE'RE SCREWED WITHOUT TRUMP:

"It's that we're screwed with or without him if we can't show the public that what we do matters for the long term," writes Mother Jones CEO Monika Bauerlein as she kicks off our drive to raise $350,000 in donations from readers by July 17.

This is a big one for us. So, as we ask you to consider supporting our team's journalism, we thought we'd slow down and check in about where Mother Jones is and where we're going after the chaotic last several years. This comparatively slow moment is also an urgent one for Mother Jones: You can read more in "Slow News Is Good News," and if you're able to, please support our team's hard-hitting journalism and help us reach our big $350,000 goal with a donation today.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate