Politics

Buddy Roemer is going warp speed without a plan in race for the White House

Photo of Alexis Levinson
Alexis Levinson
Political Reporter

Buddy Roemer doesn’t have a plan to run for president. He’s going to see how things go. But the latest entrant into the Republican primary race is undeterred by naysayers.

“I don’t have a plan, to answer your question, about, you know, you mentioned plan,” Roemer told The Daily Caller. “I don’t have to be at point A, B, C.”

He may not have a plan, but Buddy Roemer is a man with a mission: he wants to “challenge the system” and reform a Washington culture that he calls “institutionally corrupt.”

Roemer served as a congressman in the 80s, elected the same year as Ronald Reagan. Back then, he was a Democrat, and he beat another Democrat to get there in Louisiana’s open primary.

“Man,” he reminisced, dragging out the word with a southern drawl. “Tip O’Neal was the speaker. I voted against him my first vote; only Democrat to vote against him. And he said, ‘Buddy, you just don’t understand Washington.’ I said ‘oh yes I do. I understand it exactly. It’s you scratch my back, and I’ll do something for you occasionally.’ And I don’t think it’s changed a darn bit.”

Now Roemer wants to come back and be an agent of change inside the beltway, a place he describes as “kind of like Disneyland. It doesn’t seem to be real does it?”

The former Louisiana governor thinks that Washington has lost touch with the rest of the country.

“I’m one of these C-SPAN addicts,” he explains. “When I come home my wife says, ‘please, Buddy, it’s 1 o’clock in the morning, turn it off. You’re not a member anymore.’ But I watch them, and I grimace, I just rebel in my inside. They don’t know what’s happening.”

“I mean the Tea Party, as much as sometimes they can be over the top, they’ve at least added a sense of the common touch,” he said.

But Roemer is running to change the way Washington works, starting with the way he says money buys influence, and, he contends, legislation.

“I think there’s not a problem that’s facing the country that’s not tied directly or indirectly to the fact that money decides the issues in Washington,” Roemer said. “Not plain people, not people in need, not people with a good idea. Special interest money.”

“I’m a Republican,” he continues, in answer to the question of why he’s running. “And proud of it. But I don’t think that one party has a monopoly on the truth. I want a president who’s a Republican, no doubt about it. But just as importantly, more so, is that I want a president who’s free to lead, who’s free to do the right thing. And that’s what the campaign is about to discuss. What is the right thing? And what would you do? And then you send Obama up there talking about change and nothing changes.”

“I finally came to the conclusion that nothing was going to change unless we changed the system,” he went on. “And you know, I carry the constitution in a little handbook and the Declaration of Independence in my hip pocket. I’ve done it for 40 years. And I guess I’d be called a conservative, which I am in most things. But I am unafraid of challenging the system.”

“I forget your question,” he concluded after speaking for a few more minutes. “I felt like giving a speech.”