Among the currently declared Republican candidates for that party’s presidential nomination, there are a variety of zany ideas. From stopping Muslims from getting presidential appointments to cutting corporate taxes while raising taxes on the poorest Americans, the Republican field seems to be competing for generating the most radical and least useful policy options it can.
Yet during a campaign announcement on Thursday that much of the mainstream media paid little attention to, one candidate began his race for the nomination on a platform based on battling one of the central problems in American politics: the undue influence of corporate power and wealthy special interests.
Former three-term congressman and Louisiana governor Buddy Roemer announced his campaign at Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire. In his opening remarks, he blasted “unfair foreign trade practices” and promised to challenge the power of wealthy corporate interests in the nation’s capital. He announced that his campaign would only accept donations of $100 or less, saying that it’s the only way for him to prevent being bought off by the sam interests that have dominated Washington:
In his announcement speech, Roemer said, “I run to prepare America to grow jobs again, beginning with the elimination of our tolerance for unfair foreign trade practices and the use of our own tax code to ship jobs overseas. I run to reveal and challenge the control of the special interest over our nation’s capital, and demonstrate the freedom to lead that can only come from refusing their money.” Roemer is pledging that he’ll take no money from political action committees and no donation more than $100.
Roemer appeared on Greta Van Sustren’s Fox News show to talk about his campaign. Roemer took a decidely different line on economic justice issues than the rest of his colleagues in the GOP field. “We let GE give away 15,000 American jobs and pay no taxes!” he noted. Watch it:
Due to the fact that he has not spent time developing celebrity status in the mainstream press and is rejecting large contributions from wealthy donors and political action committees, there are definitely a sizable set of obstacles in the way of Roemer’s run for the nomination of his party.
Yet the platform he is running on — blasting unfair trade policies, reining in corporate power, and attacking special interests — is one that is anything but fringe and he is the only announced Republican who has laid out an agenda that seriously takes on entrenched interests in Washington.
See Roemer’s thoughts on campaign finance here, where he writes about the issue as a part of a series for the Boston Review