WASHINGTON — Comedian-activist Roseanne Barr has failed in her bid for a starring role in Washington’s corridors of power, but the Green Party still hopes she’ll inspire other celebrities to join its ranks.
Barr had been on a short list of potential vice-presidential running mates for Jill Stein, a Massachusetts doctor with a long-shot hope of becoming the first Green president of the United States in this November’s election.
In the end, Stein, 62, opted for Cheri Honkala, 49, a former homeless single mother who is a community activist in Philadelphia and national coordinator for the Poor People’s Economic Human Rights Campaign.
“Our hope is that Roseanne will continue to be a strong voice on behalf of real political change and the Green Party,” Stein told reporters Wednesday ahead of the Greens’ national convention in Baltimore this weekend.
“We’re very grateful to Rosanne for the role that she’s played and wish that she would be a role model for far more people in her position,” she added, referring to celebrities.
“She’s not just sitting back and taking it easy. She’s really putting herself as an advocate for the kind of change we need.”
Barr, 59, best known for her hit 1990s sitcom “Roseanne,” registered with the Federal Election Commission in January as a Green Party presidential candidate, although Stein was already the hands-on favorites to carry the party banner.
She had previously told Jay Leno on his NBC television late-night talk show “Tonight” that she would make a run for the White House as leader of what she called the Green Tea Party.
Green Party campaign manager Ben Manski told AFP that Barr is expected to attend the Baltimore convention.
The Democrats and Republicans have an iron grip on American politics, with little if any room for third parties, but Stein and Honkala voiced optimism for the Greens on the back of last year’s Occupy Wall Street movement.
For the first time, the Greens will be on the ballot in 40 states with enough electoral college votes between them to capture the White House. It also succeeded this week in qualifying for federal matching campaign funds.
Its “Green New Deal” platform calls for the creation of 25 million jobs, Medicare for all, forgiving student debt, a 50 percent cut in military spending, and more investment and research in green business and technology.
“On several counts, the American people are hitting the wall… Our campaign is here to change that breaking point to a tipping point, to start taking back the promise of our democracy,” Stein said.
In the last presidential election in 2008, Green Party candidate Cynthia McKinney, 57, a former six-time Democratic congresswoman, received just 0.12 percent of the vote.
Consumer advocate Ralph Nader was the Green presidential candidate in the 1996 and 2000 elections. Most of the party’s victories at the ballot box since its founding in 1991 have been at the state and local levels.