It may seem like a joke at first: a magnet for controversy who comes across as vulgar and trashy every chance they get running for the highest office in the land. But enough about Newt Gingrich. Roseanne Barr is the real deal.
Barr, the former TV star, now author, fierce tweeter and even more fierce Occupy supporter, announced her intention to run for the Green Party nomination to be their candidate for President of the United States. That’s the same Green Party who proposed Ralph Nader and Cynthia McKinney to the American public as an alternative to the “two” party system.
Now this doesn’t necessarily mean that we’re going to see her debating Obama and (insert walking wealthy or neo-con stereotyped Republican candidate here). The Green Party doesn’t always meet the requirements imposed by the networks to be included in the televised debates, and even if they do this time, there is another strong candidate in the field, Jill Stein, whom Barr would support if she doesn’t get the Greens’ nod herself.
But let’s say, for argument’s sake, that Barr wins the nomination. Her celebrity may just be enough to allow the Greens to qualify for the main televised stage. If it does, then we’d have a situation that would be interesting, entertaining and possibly comical at times but by no means a joke.
Yes, she’s a performer, but so was Regan. And let’s face it, in the US, the top political job has been all about performance and image for a while now. The real power and decision-making comes from the people the President chooses to surround themselves with.
For Obama, that meant people like Wall Street insider Timothy Geitner, the same type of people who ruined the economy in the first place and increased the divide between rich and poor. Not sure who Barr would surround herself with, but if her interactions with producers in Hollywood back in the 90s are any indication, she doesn’t seem like someone accustomed to giving in to or even endorsing the views of the powers that be.
Will she take votes away from Obama and effectively elect a Republican? That, after all, is what some argue happened when Nader ran against Gore and Bush back in 2000. The answer, succinctly, is no.
Never mind that Gore actually won so many moons ago, the past is the past. The real base of inspired, mostly young and all progressive voters who came out in droves in 2008, hoping for some change may very well sit this one out.
Disillusioned with a political process that brought more of the same save for a few improvements, it’s easy to see how many may decide to focus their energies on dismantling the state rather than trying to improve it again. Those votes were probably not Obama’s to begin this time around.
Instead, if there is a third choice, one who speaks bluntly to all the people fed up with Washington and who calls bullshit when she sees it, those now opting to stay home (or go out and occupy instead of voting) may start paying attention to political discourse again. It would start with those on the left of the spectrum, but it’s quite possible that some people on the right who remember her TV show with the same fondness they now offer to Fox News will listen to what she has to say.
Barr would force Obama to defend himself to the left, and offer solid plans he couldn’t back away from instead of moderate, centrist pro-corporate talk dolled up with dove-like platitude-ridden rhetoric. When the Republican, say Romney, tried to use what the President said in response to Barr against him, maybe implying that he’s some sort of socialist, I imagine Barr would respond in such a bare-bones way that such rhetoric would no longer work.
The corporate powers-that-be would have no choice but to abandon the Republican and put their resources behind Obama, the only candidate with some chance of maintaining the power structure. If he is re-elected, though, he would have to live up to at least some of the promises he made to fend of attacks from Barr.
Or maybe, just maybe, Barr wins and then we have a whole new ballgame.