Roemer: Debate policies are ‘purposefully vague,’ process makes ‘no sense’
Former Louisiana Gov. Buddy Roemer believes that this early in the process — a time when no state has held a primary or caucus and the general election is 15 months in the future — all candidates with some experience should be included in presidential debates.
“They have some rules of engagement that include a national poll that has you at 4 percent or higher,” explained Roemer, who added that he has a different campaign approach by only accepting small donations, has only been actively campaigning for a month and only recently began appearing in national polls.
“We’ve tried to get in every debate,” he added, but the way the policies governing the debates are decided is “purposefully vague” and it has been difficult to determine who sets the rules and who can change them.
“It’s a process that makes no sense,” Roemer said of the debate qualifiers that seem to exclude certain candidates while favoring others.
While Roemer may be the most gentle in his criticism of eligibility requirements for the 2012 GOP presidential debates, he’s hardly the first of the candidates to level such complaints.
The presidential campaign of former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson has offered to bring its own microphone if funds prevent more from being added to the stage at the Reagan Library Wednesday night. U.S. Rep. Thaddeus McCotter mused that he, a Republican at age 21, was being excluded from the debate at the Reagan facility while two other candidates who weren’t even members of the GOP at the time of Reagan will appear on stage. Likewise, political consultant Fred Karger, a former member of the Reagan administration, is being excluded — as he has in previous debates.
Candidates appearing on stage will be former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann, U.S. Rep. Ron Paul, Texas Gov. Rick Perry, Atlanta businessman Herman Cain, former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum, former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman and former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich.
While not all of the candidates are currently at the 4 percent national polling threshold, they can all point to a poll — some months in the past — where they garnered the necessary support to qualify.
Roemer, noting that he is the only GOP presidential candidate who has both executive and legislative experience, agreed with Comedy Central’s Jon Stewart Tuesday night that there is an over-riding sickness within American electoral system. That sickness, according to Roemer, is the influence of money in politics.
“You can’t tackled the jobs problem, the budget problem, the tax problem or American rising without tackling the first problem — money in politics,” Roemer said. “It is corrupt. It is institutionally corrupt. They spend their time getting big checks from big special interests. It’s the special interests that write the tax code. … And nobody does anything. You know why? Corporations have never made any more money than they are right now.
“They wrote the tax code and they really don’t give a damn about the rest of America.”
Corporate or big money influence in politics is a key focus of Roemer’s campaign, which, as The Iowa Independent previously reported, has a self-imposed ban on special interest money. His campaign will only accept individual contributions of $100 or less.
“Electability should not be discussed in terms of who can raise the most money, but rather who has the best ideas to raise America,” Roemer said previously.
The Jon Stewart clip featuring Roemer is embedded below: