The real populist

Roseanne Barr picked the wrong year to run for president

Roseanne Barr. (Photo by Monika Fellner/Getty Images)

The caustic comedian launched an outsider bid for president in 2012 and, considering that 2012 was not the year of the outsider like 2016 has proven to be, she did pretty well. Barr only managed to get on the ballot in three states, but still amassed more than 67,000 votes. Not too shabby. Maybe it was the wrong year. Not exactly, according to her. Instead, Barr thinks she was a candidate ahead of her time — the one who set the stage for the unpredictability of 2016. That’s what she said in an endlessly entertaining Q&A with The Los Angeles Times that’s pegged to the documentary about her 2012 presidential run, Roseanne for President!, being released on Friday. In fact, Barr said Bernie Sanders, Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton are all borrowing heavily from her populist rhetoric in 2012. She even accused Sanders of flat-out ripping off her agenda, “like men do in Hollywood from the day I set foot in here!” She singles out some of the socialist rhetoric Sanders has used as having been first brought up by her.

Even though the film is about Roseanne the presidential candidate — a concept she found difficult to prove wasn’t a publicity stunt — she is basically unable to stop being Roseanne the comedian in the interview. “I think I’m Joan of Arc reincarnated into an old, fat Jewish woman. I think I’m a leader. I was always politically aware because my family were socialists,” was her response to a question about being politically engaged from a young age.

The Roseanne-isms keep on coming. For instance, in response to a question about whether her outspokenness has hurt her career in Hollywood at all: “I’m not going to listen to some snot-nosed 29-year-old … trying to tell me what’s funny.”

For all of that outspokenness, however, when it came to the presumptive Republican and Democratic nominees, Roseanne was just a tad dodgy. She alternately slammed and praised both Trump and Clinton. On Trump: “The [Republican] party is finished. It’s up for grabs. And he’s proof of it. He’s more progressive than Hillary. He’s got to please all those people writing that platform, but he’s left enough clues that when he gets in there, he’ll get everybody working together to solve problems.”

On Clinton: “The one thing I’ve always said about Hillary, though — and I’ve met her and had dinner with her and such — is she does listen. Because women listen better than men. Men can’t hear a thing over themselves talking. But Hillary does listen. I think she’s a ballsy woman, brave in a lot of ways.”

But which one of them will she be supporting? When pressed by L.A. Times reporter Josh Rottenberg, Roseanne came up with a creative response, to say the least.

Read the full interview at The Los Angeles Times.

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