Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Yesterday's big news

When the history of the 2012 Presidential election is written, few will note that November 28, 2011 was the day when it became unassailably obvious that Barak Obama would be re-elected.

What was the news break? Was it Manchester Union-Leader’s endorsement of Newt Gingrich? Or was it when Ginger White revealed her long and recent affair with Herman Cain?

None of the above.

Newt Gingrich was the soup de jour on the Any-But-Romney buffet. But New Hampshire is near Massachusetts, and the editorial board of the Union-Leader was familiar with Romney. Familiarity had the predictable multiplier effect on contempt, and nobody was surprised when the paper gave Mitt the back if its hand. That Gingrich would be the beneficiary, may have been an unforeseen godsend to the President. After all, Alex Wagner, hostess of the MSNBC morning news show, Now, actually uttered this sentence: “‘Loathsome’ is a word often used in connection with Newt Gingrich.” And yet, there are those who believe that Gingrich can actually win the election.

Herman Cain had no chance of being President for reasons too numerous to catalogue here. It could be argued that his demise as a candidate helps the Republican party because it shakes up the field and may advance the day when a real competitor will be sifted out.

The real news that was an answer to my question and to the President’s prayers came on the Rachel Maddow show, when guest Buddy Roemer announced that if he didn’t win the Republican nomination, he would run on the America Votes ticket.

Buddy Who? Roemer was a member of Congress before he became the governor of Louisiana. He was the CEO of a private company and made his fortune there. Legislative experience, executive experience in government and private enterprise – call it the tri-fecta. He has been an advocate for election reform for many years and he has limited contributions to his campaign to under $100. As a result, he has not been invited to any of the Republican debates because those who sponsor the debates only invite viable candidates and hold that any candidate who has not raised a certain amount of money is not viable. It has been said of Roemer, that he is “a dynamic orator who could light up an audience with his first two sentences. When he got wound up it was truly evangelical and, he made sense. His wiry, five foot seven, one-hundred thirty-five pound frame would seem to uncoil and grow as he outlined his vision as a fighter against crime, corruption and waste in government, poor education, taxes and industrial pollution.”

As governor, Roemer called a special session of the legislature to push an ambitious tax and fiscal reform program for state and local governments. He vowed to slash spending, abolish programs, and close state-run institutions. Voters ultimately rejected his proposals, but times have changed, and what he served up is just what the Republicans are hungry for. Roemer vetoed an anti-abortion law, on grounds that it was unconstitutional. His veto was over-ridden, but in the end, he was vindicated because the law was, in fact, ruled unconstitutional. Though he is twice divorced, and thrice married, his personal life does not have the baggage connected with the salacious details and hypocrisy of Newt Gingrich.

In short, he is a perfect match for America Votes.

America who? America Votes is a grass roots organization that seeks to change the way that we select Presidential candidates. It intends to have a national internet primary. It promises the victor 50 state ballot access. Given Roehmer’s go-go (good government) credentials, he seems like a prohibitive odds-on favorite to win the internet primary.

What does it mean? It means that in every state, Republicans who are disenchanted with their candidate will have a choice other than voting for the President or staying home. It is obvious that a lot of Republicans who don’t like Romney will hold their nose and vote for him. But a good two or three percent of Republicans are either too bigoted to vote for a Mormon, or just simply feel, as I do, that Romney doesn’t care about people like me. A one or two point decline in support for Romney in key states is all it takes to deliver them to Obama.

Gingrich’s road is an uphill, long shot battle as is, but if one or two percent of his hoped-for voters defect to Roemer, he can wave goodbye to any hope of being elected. Thanks, Buddy!

“… and tell ’em Big Mitch sent ya!”

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

All this drama is just making it into a circus. It's sad that the campaigns are migrating so far off the beaten path.

But your right. The more candidates, the less mass voters can coordinate.

Well, played