Roseanne For President!
The number two story on my Google News page right now is that Roseanne Barr has filed as a Green Party candidate for president. The #2 Google ranking is based on the number of web sites currently publishing stories about the topic. (The top story is New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg's announcement that he will make up $250,000 of the money for breast cancer screening cut from Planned Parenthood's budget by the Susan G Komen breast cancer foundation, which, despite an ever-changing series of excuses for the move, apparently bowed to political pressure from the right wing nut jobs).
As interesting as her entry into presidential politics is, what's remarkable about Roseanne's #2 Google ranking is the fact that the solidly Leftist Roseanne can draw so much attention, because that fact may have great significance for the presidential campaign. Roseanne might well steer the national debate to the left of where it would normally be.
Barak Obama, who, like all Democrats thinks he can take the votes of the Left for granted and tend to the interests of the wealthy, would be happier campaigning just slightly to the left of whoever the Republican candidate is, and to the right of him on some issues, just as he has governed. That may make strategic sense, it might be what's best for Barak Obama, but results in many issues never being mentioned and leaves the country dealing with business as usual and on the same downward, Neoliberal path.
The Occupy Wall Street movement has already forced some of the main economic issues onto the table. If a candidacy by the very intelligent, well informed and well spoken Roseanne is actually taken seriously, not ignored, not taken as a joke, her presence will reinforce that tendency and do the same for social issues. Together these two factors will force the two major party candidates to address the forgotten issues that most affect the forgotten 99 percent.
Obama, who, as preicted, is starting to sound more like a populist the closer the election looms, would have to campaign even further to the left if Roseanne, and Occupy Wall Street, continue to mobilize support and put issues in peoples' minds. And unlike in '08, Obama, if he wins again. wouldn't be able to give the finger to the Progressives who put him into office the minute the votes are counted.
Roseanne hosts a some time afternoon drive time radio show on the Los Angeles Pacifica station, KPFK, which is itself solidly Leftist. I've heard the show several times while trying to get out of town during afternoon rush hour and her politics, as voiced on the show, are somewhere between the left wing of the Democratic Party and Socialism. Very progressive. I never heard her talk about Palestine.
Roseanne also has a new book out, Roseannearchy: dispatches from the nut farm. Roseanne owns a macadamia nut farm in Hawaii, and in fact sometimes phoned in her radio show from there. I've not read the book but from scanning the reviews at Amazon.com it's a hilarious rendering of some of her political views. If Roseanne should happen to raise her campaign's profile enough to say, get into a presidential debate, the book will be widely quoted and sell many copies.
The book cover, with its in your face, over the top Socialist symbolism -- Fidel's cigar, Che's hat and the old Soviet red star -- is classic Roseanne humor. Ironic, but unambiguous about where she comes from.
The Green Party has its foundation in environmental issues but attracts people from all over the left side of the political spectrum. It has many members and supporters in the US but has managed to elect only a few candidates to city councils and school boards. In Europe it's a different story. The Green Party has elected members to the German parliament and to the governing body of the European Union. Ralph Nader was the Green Party's candidate for president in 2004. In 2008 their nominee was Cynthia McKinney, the former Georgia congresswoman whose congressional career was ended by truck loads of outside money supplied by the Zionist Lobby because of her support for Palestine.