American politics is a bottomless morass that will suck you in deeper the further you wade into it. Such has been my experience, and now one randomly-planned and hastily-written blogpost has become three. Ron Paul’s day, as ever, is not today. No, today is the turn of the little guys, four Republican Presidential candidates that you’ve probably not heard of, that don’t stand a hope in hell’s chance, but that have too important a message – or are too entertaining – to ignore completely.
Starting with the two that I might have seriously considered supporting, then, Fred Karger is not your average Republican. Like the sainted Reagan, he was once an actor, but then moved into politics. Unlike Reagan, he’s gay, and proud to declare himself as such – instantly dropping his popularity amongst the US right to next to nothing. Which is a shame as he has experience, having worked on nine previous presidential campaigns, on a senior position with the campaigns of Presidents Reagan, Ford and Bush Snr. He has declared himself the ‘anti-Romney’ candidate and apparently ran deliberately to wreck Mitt’s chances. He is very pro-equal marriage, in favour of immigration reform and opposed to nation-building in the Middle East – all laudable positions in my view, which deserve to be heard. If nothing else, he deserves mention for his work in fighting California’s Prop. 8 anti-gay marriage law. Watch an interview with him here. You’ll note that, like all of the other candidates here and unlike, say, Rick Perry, he is more than capable of stringing a sentence together – as the first openly gay candidate for President from a major party in American history his voice should have been heard in the debates, and it’s to the GOP’s discredit that it wasn’t.
Buddy Roemer is a bit of an enigma, a former Democrat who defected to Republicanism and is running for President after time spent as representative and governor of Louisiana. He failed to meet the threshold for the debates, and therefore his voice will not be heard by most in the 2012 election. Yet it deserves to be; he has crippled himself by limiting donations to his campaign to $100 per citizen, and all refusing all PAC, super PAC and corporate donations. This is deliberate, as part of his appeal are his frequent railings against money in politics and the great harm that (he claims) it does . Watch an interview with him here.
Moving on, Thaddeus McCotter was running for President, until he dropped out in September last year. He was an interesting candidate, simultaneously conservative on the issues, being pro-Afganistan and Iraq wars, yet also surprisingly pro-union in voting record, and even sponsoring a bill to allow tax breaks for pet owners. Clearly he’s not my ideal of the perfect candidate by any means, having also gone on record as supporting Mubarak over the democratic protesters. Yet there’s something of the Lembit to him, as he plays the guitar and announced his candidacy at a rock festival. Check him out here, doing some rockin’ on Fox News. No Jimmy Page, sure, but who wouldn’t want to see Fox doing this 24/7?
Finally, you may actually have heard of Jimmy McMillan – this video will jog a few memories. He’s now running for the Republican party’s presidential nomination. Why? Well, the rent is still too damn high. But he’s a wonderful candidate, a Vietnam veteran, former private detective, and karate expert, who has campaigned in the past by dousing himself with gasoline, climbing the Brooklyn Bridge and refusing to come down, and staying in homeless shelters. He wears gloves to hide (invisible) agent orange damage, believes that global warming is a natural occurrence every 15, 000 years, and supports same-sex marriage and free college tuition. I only agree with one of these, but find the others more sane than some of the mainstream Republican candidates’ pronouncements. His voice should most definitely have been heard in the debates, if only because I’d like to see Michelle Bachmann coming back on some of these points!