Robert 2008,

The history of a unique presidential candidate



Terry Corkner

 I first heard of Robert in the midst of his boxcar campaign in August, 2008. After visiting his web page and following the campaign via his blog, I knew I had to meet the man.

The world hasn’t seen such a campaign mounted since Don Quixote, and that was a work of fiction. Here was a former homeless man jousting with the windmills of American political machines and like Quixote, Robert, at first appears foolish, broken, and dare I say, insane. But, that’s where the similarities end. Only the idea seemed insane. Over the course of his campaign, one in which not a penny of taxpayer money was spent, deeper truths about the man and our society emerged. It isn’t my place to say what they are, for I would deny the reader discovering those truths for themselves.

Like so many things about the man, his platform seemed a joke. But, like his nicotine stained beard, remove the obvious satire and there was something profound in what the candidate was preaching – the truth, as seen through the eyes of everyman.

At the time, I was working for the Purvis, Mississippi Independent-Republican. I contacted campaign manager Gregory Zambon to schedule an interview with Robert. “Good luck,” mumbled Zambon. “The man refuses to be ‘itinerarized.’ I helped plan his campaign and I don’t know where he was until he filed his daily report.”

I repeatedly attempted tracking down Robert only to be thwarted again and again. I wanted, needed to meet the man who jousted American Windmills on his own dime and walked away with a moral victory for the ages.

Not to be denied, I embarked on a trip to Montana to gain an audience with the man at the party’s convention which was to be held at campaign Headquarters – a dive bar in Piney Meadows, an old lumber town nestled within the mountains of western Montana. My interview with the candidate appears in its entirety later in the book. Upon meeting the man, I realized Robert was the face of Piney Meadows, and to a certain extend, the face of America – all three have seen better days, but, masquerading beneath gruff exteriors, the potential for greatness remains.

This book was the written history of the campaign as told to me by the participants. Robert’s blog and the Dirty Bum platform remain untouched and should be considered the definitive account of his experiences and believes. The ‘Robert blog’ encompasses the majority of this history.


Terry Corkner,

July 2011

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