Today, let’s do a round-up of recent political news stories.
1. The “Roemerlution” continues! Last week former Louisiana governor-turned- presidential-candidate Buddy Roemer took the guest seat on Comedy Central’s “The Colbert Report.” This probably marked the widest exposure Roemer’s struggling campaign has achieved to date. He took the opportunity to appeal directly to “regular folks” in the audience, pitching himself as an unbought and unbossed leader eager to defy the special interests that erode our freedoms.
Unfortunately, the spot ended with Roemer participating in a skit and getting confounded by an iPod pause button, inspiring Colbert to quip: “Just tap it, Grandpa.” (Watch the clip here, it’s well worth it.) So in just two short decades, Louisianans have gone from “just snap it, Guv” – remember the rubber wrist band that Roemer used to snap to cancel negative thoughts — to “just tap it, Gramps.”
(How much longer can it be before Buddy snaps and cancels the whole campaign?)
To survive as a presidential aspirant, Roemer is beseeching a few million people to send in contributions of $100. Perhaps he should sweeten the pot a little, and offer contributors an official Roemer wristband in exchange for some dough. It could be emblazoned with a slogan, such as “Goodbye to Me, Hello to We.” That would generate casual conversation, and perhaps word-of-mouth would ignite political grassfires for Roemer across the heartland.
2. Speaking of lark — I mean dark — horses, let’s do GOP Presidential hopeful Jon Huntsman the favor of spelling his first name correctly, which is more than his campaign staff can accomplish. After Huntsman gamed the results of the straw poll at the Republican Leadership Conference in New Orleans, he announced his candidacy for president near the Statue of Liberty. But his official press release spelled Jon with an H and also blew the staging, such that national TV cameras showed Huntsman against a backdrop of trees, rather than the Statue of Liberty, as intended.
The day of his announcement, I wrote: “National Huntsmania may never get more intense than it is right now, so let’s all savor this political apex. I suspect it will be fleeting.” That prognostication appears accurate:
Huntsman is one of the few candidates who became less popular after he launched a campaign, sort of a reverse buzz effect.
The Huntsman campaign reminds me of General Wes Clark’s short-lived effort in 2004: a good-looking candidate on paper gets undone by lack of national campaign experience and a fumbling staff. Still, beyond the bumblings and inexperience, the Huntsman campaign seems also to have been the target of some political hardball, as Peter Schorsch of the Saint Petersblog observes:
So let me get this straight: [Huntsman Campaign Manager] Susie Wiles… exits the Jon Huntsman campaign just eight days after her real boss, [lobbyist] Brian Ballard, officially joins the Mitt Romney campaign as Romney’s finance chair in Florida.
Any chance Ballard’s calling in a marker for his new friends in the Romney campaign?
As a Republican moderate, Huntsman was expected to draw support from (current) front-runner Romney, analysts said, and I’m sure the Romney folks noticed that potential, as well.
3. Lafayette’s The Independent Weekly featured former Louisiana Insurance Commissioner and ex-con Jim Brown on its cover last week, reprinting Gambit’s story about Brown’s tendency to lift text without attribution, a habit of his that I documented back in May. After Gambit published the piece, Brown told slabbed blog that his widely re-printed weekly column had been put on hiatus.
The hiatus lasted only two weeks. On July 27 Brown posted another column — which, I’ll aver, contains copious links, quotes and standard citations. But a quick Google search indicates that none of his previous outlets decided to pick up this latest commentary, suggesting that they’re taking a wait-and-see attitude to confirm that he’s finally got his act together. As I’ve said before, it’s in Brown’s interest to stop passing off other people’s texts as his own, particularly if he expects anyone to believe him next time he claims he got railroaded by the FBI for lying.
Jim Brown was in town the other day to roast another ex-con, former Governor Edwin Edwards. The occasion coincided with Edwards’ marriage to a young lady named Trina, almost exactly a half century his junior. Trina first met Edwards while he — not she — was serving time in the federal pen. She was prompted to visit him after reading Edwards’ authorized biography (published by The Lisburn Press, which is owned by Brown). According to Times-Picayune columnist Stephanie Grace, roasters made plenty of jokes about the May-December romance, and Brown even recycled one of the Silver Fox’s greatest hits:
Former Insurance Commissioner Jim Brown riffed on one of the roastee’s most famous quips, a claim Edwards made during his 1991 campaign against ex-Klansman David Duke. Brown asked Trina Edwards to report back after a year of married life whether, even at 85, Edwards is still also a “wizard under the sheets.”
That may be an oldie, but it’s a goodie.