Posted Friday, Dec. 23, 2011, at 1:44 PM
Photo by Steve Pope/Getty Images
“I should be president,” Buddy Roemer told Politico in March, “or somebody better than me should be.” Roemer is a former governor of Louisiana who hasn’t won an election since before Taylor Swift was born. But he had a few ideas about politics—radical campaign finance reform, withdrawal from NAFTA and other trade deals—and wanted them to get taken seriously.
Nobody took them seriously. Thus: Twitter. Roemer’s personal/campaign account became the running monologue of a guy who considered himself presidential timber and couldn’t believe the idiots he was losing to. He wasn’t in debates, so he had a lot of time to type out rants on his iPhone. He used it. After Newt Gingrich told a gay voter to go for Obama:
⚠ Newt is hazardous to himself ⚠
As Roemer watched MSNBC—he likes to tell followers what he’s watching—and learned of another Gingrich idea:
According to Newt, smaller government means squishing the Judicial branch of it. #edshow #NewtWorldOrder
A less imaginative fringe candidate might have left it there. Roemer, more than any politician I’ve ever seen, realizes how far you can get if you realize that Twitter accounts are attached to actual people. “I wonder what President the corporations are gonna buy us next year!” tweeted Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane. Roemer retweeted him and added “<-- Not this one!” He’s won endorsements this way, and likes to brag about it.
Still no lobbyist endorsements, but two comedian Twitter endorsements >> @michaelianblack @robdelaney #howcoolisthat
I’ve experienced the Roemer charm offensive, too. Over the summer, I invented the joke hashtag #roementum, a commentary on how every other candidate was getting a chance to surge, so why not Buddy? Roemer took over the joke, thanking me (on Twitter) for the neologism, and deploying it whenever he was about to make news. When he doesn’t want to make news, he tweets something anyway.
Have to be careful with these iPhone when signing my name. The "N" is dangerously close to the "B" #nuddy
I think I may be the shortest guy running for president in 2012 #ButTallerInSpirit
Matt Labash wrote once that it’s fun to cover outsider candidates because you can see people with healthy egos stumble, and you get to watch how far their ids can stretch before snapping. If you want to see this in real time, follow Buddy Roemer.