By Kevin Derby
With a recent poll from Fox News showing his bid for the Republican presidential nomination garnering less than 1 percent, former Louisiana Gov. Charles "Buddy" Roemer went on the attack Thursday, blasting the leadership of President Barack Obama.
"The president's policies are truly meandering through the wilderness," said Roemer. "The time is now for a true American leader, not the administration that most people are having buyer's remorse over."
Roemer, who is 67, was elected to the U.S. House in 1980 as a Democrat before running for governor in 1987. In his tenure in Congress, Roemer was one of the leaders of the boll weevils, the Southern Democrats who reached out across the aisle to work with President Ronald Reagan. During his term as governor, Roemer jumped over to the Republicans but lost out in his bid for a second term in 1991. Roemer backed Democrat Edwin Edwards over the Republican who bested him in the primary -- former state Rep. David Duke, who had been affiliated with the Ku Klux Klan.
Taking a page from Jerry Brown's presidential campaign in 1992, Roemer has made campaign finance reform one of the major focuses of his bid for the Republican nomination and, like Brown's campaign, refuses to accept any donations larger than $100.
Roemer has been focusing on other issues as well, including enacting a simplified federal tax code and supporting more energy exploration in the U.S., hoping for complete independence from foreign oil by 2020. Roemer has also called for reducing spending in all federal departments and cracking down on illegal immigration.
On Thursday, Roemer hammered Obama on a number of different fronts, including bringing up the president's academic experience and legal background when the Republican attacked Obama on the American military operations against Libya.
"Although he is a self-proclaimed "constitutional lawyer, instructor and lecturer,' the president would not answer the question on the constitutionality of the War Powers Act in regard to our actions in Libya," insisted Roemer, pointing to the president's comments to the press on Wednesday. "It was an unfortunate display as he said he didn't even have [time] to get to that question. The president proclaimed that we acted under a strong mandate from the United Nations, and we went in with no troops on the ground in a supportive role.
"My suggestion to the president is this: Read the statements of Senators Lugar and Corker, and you might learn that the approval of the United Nations -- combined with your personal opinion -- is not quite enough to ignore Congress," continued Roemer. "The question of constitutionality is relevant and must be answered. The time has come for you to lead, Mr. President, not dodge questions your administration might view as critical."
Roemer, who has been a bank president in Louisiana since leaving politics, also took aim at Obama's record on the economy and jobs.
"I recognize that I've been out of the governor's office awhile, but in that time I've been creating jobs. So here's some advice -- free of charge -- for the president," said Roemer. "Jobs growth doesn't come from the government, so government can't overtly fix it. The government can, however, create an atmosphere of growth by deregulation and permanent tax cuts. Read the Ronald Reagan playbook.
"Temporary tax cuts are always a risk and the business community will not count them as done. Regulations are the new taxes. Go back to all regulations placed on the books since Jan. 1, 2008, and take them off," Roemer advised Obama. "Then, review them all if you want to and put back on the books only those regulations that pertain to improving safety and that have a positive cost-benefit ratio. Essentially, you need to be doing the exact opposite of what you're doing now."
Roemer closed his advice for Obama with a call for offshore drilling and a tariff on oil imported from most other nations.
"Drill for oil in America where we know it exists -- both on and off shore," said Roemer. "Declare that we will be energy-independent as a nation by the end of this decade. Announce that we will tariff foreign oil, except Canada and Mexico, and raise the tariff as the end of decade approaches. The proceeds will pay down the national debt, not interest."
While he was one of the first Republican presidential candidates to have launched an exploratory committee, Roemer has not garnered much in the way of traction. Earlier this week, Roemer's campaign team told Sunshine State News that they were considering entering the Presidency 5 straw poll being held by the Republican Party of Florida in Orlando come September. Earlier in the month, Roemer told Sunshine State News that he was open to the possibility.