The Reform Project
When I was doing the layout for this site, I ran into physical constraints with the template for the home page. I am only allowed 4 columns on the main page for the various groups. I used the first column for the flight – that left three, to the right, which I used for Rootstrikers, WolfPac and Represent.US. The Reform Project is listed on the menu of reform groups and it’s only out of necessity that I could not squeeze another column. The Reform Project got a tab to this page and menu listing with the other groups, which was all I can do. The menu is on the right – click on The Reform Project to get to that site. I sincerely hope Governor Roemer won’t feel slighted.
Buddy Roemer started The Reform Project. He’s the former governor of LA, and a former GOP candidate for President. He was one of the speakers in San Francisco at a conference hosted by Rootstrikers. The conference attracted an audience from all over the US – Mike Shanahan and I drove from Florida to attend. However, I don’t think I’d be wrong to say that the California site attracted a mostly liberal audience though reform is neither a liberal nor conservative issue.
Before the conference, I knew very little about the banker, X-governor, republican past presidential contender. I’m a democrat and I was prepared to be underwhelmed and determined to be polite – the ‘Conference to Save the Republic’ was not a venue to show partisanship and certainly not mean-spirited partisanship. I hoped the San Francisco liberals were going to be politically mature enough not to, well, not be ugly.
I was wrong about everything. Buddy wowed the audience and the audience gave him their enthusiastic approval. Nobody in the conference talked about issues – the purpose of the conference was to address corruption. I can’t tell you where Buddy stands on abortion or gay rights or school prayer. I can tell you he’s tuned in to democracy – what it should be – what it’s not – and specifically how money in politics corrupts what democracy should be. He ‘gets’ it and he’s a great communicator of the message.
I’m probably not supposed to give out any spoilers. (I wish everyone, particularly liberals, could hear him speak live.) Buddy campaigned for President and a big, perhaps central, part of his platform was honesty, He wasn’t going to sell out as part of the process of campaigning. Naturally every candidate will claim he’s independent of the groups who finance his political bid (and that’s a load or crap, regardless of party) but Buddy backed up his claim. He refused to acceptANY PAC money. He set a limit of how much any individual can contribute to his campaign. (I seem to remember $100 – it was way less than the $2500 limit that existed then.)
Critics will tell you that Buddy’s campaign didn’t get off the ground. Not true. You never saw him on any of the presidential debates – that is true. The GOP committee that ran the debates froze him out. Buddy showed that he had a huge following and the campaign chest was growing, all from small contributions. As the debate schedule unfolded, his campaign grew and the GOP kept moving the goal posts to keep him off the air. The media dismissed his campaign – a media block, with the party shutting Buddy out, forced the campaign to fold. The campaign was in no way a failure.
Buddy proved what will happen if you try to run an honest campaign. Voters will respond but the party and the media will kill your bid for office. It’s not hypothetical – Governor Roemer proved it. My appraisal of events is not an indictment of the GOP. So far, no democrat in my lifetime, (and I am 61 years old) has run for office with the integrity of Governor Roemer – committing exclusively to small individual campaign donations. The score on honesty here is republicans – 1 and democrats – 0. Even more noteworthy is the voter response from republicans in support of an honest candidate. Liberals tend to think this is their issue, but it resonates with conservative voters just as much.
Campaign Finance Reform is the key to an honest government. No one can explain that better than Governor Roemer. He has some solid proposals on campaign finance reform – that’s his strong suit and I won’t try to steal his wind. Ask him.