Buddy Roemer talks pork to the people: Buddy Roemer won’t be present at tonight’s Republican debate.
Although he served four terms in the House, then one term as governor of Louisiana, Roemer isn’t getting invited to most of these GOP sessions. But last night, he did a seven-minute interview with Rachel Maddow. If you have seven minutes to spare, we would suggest that you watch it—click here.
First, Roemer is very strong, at least in his rhetoric, on two extremely important issues. In this, his first response to Maddow, he explained why he isn’t getting invited to the GOP debates:
ROEMER (9/6/11): My suspicion is it might have to do with money and my approach to it. I could be wrong, Rachel. I’ve been out of politics for 20 years. I've been a happy man in Louisiana building a small bank, about $1 billion worth. We help jobs get created out in the real world. That’s what I do. I’m a jobs guy, not a lawyer, not a politician.Roemer was good last night when he talked about jobs, but he was very strong when he talked about “the corruptive power of big money in campaigns.” “It’s all about the money,” he later said. “It’s about the big checks and special interests, Rachel. And it’s Democrat and Republican. I see no difference.”
But I’m the only guy running who was a congressman and a governor. And I know this business, and I’m concerned about America, so I entered four weeks ago. I have slowly crept up to my 1 and 2 percent.
I will add to that over time, but here’s my difference: $100 limit, no PAC money, no Super PAC money, and I fully disclose every penny that I collect.
I will get on a debate, Rachel. It will happen. My issues are jobs and the corruptive power of big money in campaigns. Those are my two issues.
No one else talks about it, no one else cares about it. I mean, I want a president with passion about jobs, and that’s what I expect from Mr. Obama day after tomorrow. That`s what I’m looking for. Not a specific plan, but I want passion for jobs.
This country’s in trouble. I don’t see it in the Republican Party. I don’t see it in the presidency. I’m concerned. That’s why I’m running.
In part, we think this interview is worth watching because of Roemer’s discussion of corruptive power. But at the end of the session, we’ll suggest that you look for something else—for a skill which might be useful to progressives and liberals. That would be Roemer’s ability to speak in ways which might break down tribal walls among voters. You may get the gist of what we mean just from reading the transcript:
ROEMER: I’m a proud Republican, but I’m a prouder American. And this is about America, Rachel. Something’s wrong in our system. And it’s special interest money.“I’d support him if he did.” Given the state of our tribal politics, that’s a very old-fashioned approach.
Unfair trade with China? I’d love to talk about it all day. Now that’s a jobs program the president ought to stand for. He ought to protect American jobs. I’d support him if he did. Nobody else is doing it.
MADDOW: Buddy Roemer, Republican presidential candidate, former governor of Louisiana…
Progressives should learn to speak to voters in ways which break down walls of tribal resistance—in ways which stress and suggest similarities, not differences. We were struck by Roemer’s skill in this area, although this is unlikely to help him in the short run.
Ironically, we think Maddow is quite poorly equipped when it comes to this skill set. Among progressives, we think she embodies the self-defeating high-snark tribal instinct more than any other public figure. But we’re glad she had Roemer on her show. If progressives seek long-term success, we think the guy is worth studying.