In case you were wondering whether former Gov. Buddy Roemer, running for president under a banner-to-be-named later, has run out of hypocrisy during this campaign, in case you thought not, well, guess again.
Roemer, who got both his political and business careers started amid wealth and insider connections, has built a campaign railing against both. To demonstrate his fidelity to his born-again ideology, he refuses to accept donations higher than $100 to the effort – but when Republican voters showed they thought about as much of his conspiratorial mindset as they do black helicopters and the puerile class warfare worldview peddled by Pres. Barack Obama, Roemer began to sidle on up to an organization known as Americans Elect,funded secretively through many large donations from individuals who harbor leftist views.
After his thorough rejection in the New Hampshire primary, Roemer’s dalliance with the group, which states as its purpose to get a candidate onto the ballots of all 50 states and the District of Columbia selected by the public from choices it provides, became less restrained. Despite the fact that Roemer remains on the ballot in at least a couple of more states for the GOP nomination and plans to get on it and campaign in others, he now speaks of a simultaneous pursuit of the AE selection and, assuming he gets the nod from the Iorganizers, victory in the Internet-based public polling.
Which adds just another layer of hypocrisy to a campaign already immersed in it. No other candidate has attempted such strategy, and even all of those who have dropped out of the battle have exited this year’s presidential election rather than chase nomination under another label. By contrast, Roemer seems more interested in staying in the limelight than any principled approach, trying to find the best suitor to keep the romance going because it’s more about him than the agenda.
Even when he has misgivings about the suitor. He asked the group’s leaders to make public the donors list, which they refused. Nonetheless, despite all of his rhetoric about the influence of big, obscure money damaging the political process, Roemer plans to continue trying to head the AE ticket, perhaps creating an artificial distinction in his mind that because the interest group would pay only for ballot access it means he’s not getting campaign aid from them, if he were to get its leaders and subsequent public endorsement.
As George Bernard Shaw notes, “The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man.” But Shaw does not delve into the fact that “progress” conceptually exists only with correct diagnosis of the real world followed by change that depends upon that reality’s characteristics. Roemer’s problem is that the policy prescriptions of his agenda rest on assumptions fundamentally at odds with the real world.
Therefore, Roemer’s unreasonableness in agenda compels his continued quest either out of delusion or psychological imperative – to recapture former glory, to be felt relevant, to erase a negative record, or whatever. Not being Roemer, we can’t say what compulsion drives him, but we can say that his desire to keep going no matter what, even if it means being insincere to Republicans he asks to vote for him because flirts with another means to bring himself glory, shows a lack of principle.
Were Roemer trustworthy, he either would renounce any attempt win the AE nod or abandon his Republican quest. Or, he not cooperate with AE and highlight what it is, a big money attempt to influence an election, thereby refusing to play a useful idiot allowing those behind it to split support to assist Obama’s reelection. Instead, his action shows his winning is more important than honesty to voters, or perhaps even to himself. His action deviates from his argument that moneyed, special interests have too much control over politics in order to implement their particular agendas at the expense of a broader public interest. Again, the hypocrisy of his campaign thus starkly reveals itself.
by Jeffrey Sadow, Ph.D.
Read his blog, Between the lines