Sunday, July 30, 2006

Why The Hell Not?

Just when I was beginning to give up hope on Texas, a state with a proud tradition for political characters, home of Sam Rayburn and Lyndon Johnson, but a state that has declined to such a degree that its most recent political alumni are Kay Bailey Hutchison and Rick Perry. If you haven't heard of them, it's probably not your fault - these anonymous Bushites are, respectively, Junior Senator for, and Governor of, the Lone Star State. It seemed, as elsewhere in the South, that the right wing get out the vote machine was going to make Texas a shoo-in for the GOP. Johnson, Rayburn and Lloyd Bentsen are long gone, and the Democrats have not won a state-wide office since 1994. Their nominee this time (a one-term congressman from Houston called Chris Bell), appears to have the charisma of a wet lettuce, and would be better suited to working in an accountant's office, than he is to running for state-wide office. The GOP dominates the socially conservative state, and the evangelical churches turn out its vote as reliably as the rising of the sun.

Step forward, Kinky Friedman.

This year, cigar-chomping, beer-swilling author and musician Richard.S. "Kinky" Friedman has declared as an independent candidate for state Governor, challenging Perry in his re-election bid. Initially derided as a joke candidate, he has already defied expectations by getting on the ballot, in spite of Texas' byzantine electoral laws which require an independent candidate to gather a large number of signatures by nominations deadline (45,540 this year) - from voters who have not already voted in either the GOP or Democratic primaries. Friedman turned in 169,574 valid signatures, of which over 80% were valid: more than three times the required amont.

Now, nobody's pretending that this guy's a socialist, or even a very orthodox liberal (he's probably the only candidate running anywhere in the USA that seems to support both gay marriage and school prayer). But viewed from the outside, it looks like he's the sort of person who just might break the GOP monopoly. His appeal over and above rigid conservative orthodoxies can be seen from the arguments he uses for his more liberal views - for instance on gay marriage, he's in favour because "they have as much right to be miserable as the rest of us" - and the ruthless mockery of the GOP establishment's politicisation of religion in his "Kinkytoon" campaign ads, is just delicious to behold.

And besides, any man whose campaign slogan is "Why The Hell Not?", just can't be all bad.

Good luck, Kinky.

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Blogger stroppybird said...

Sounds like a campaign worth watching . Could liven it up .

Love the slogan 'why the hell not?'

Think that could be a stroppyblog response to a lot of arguments :-)

8:02 AM  
Blogger voltaires_priest said...

Have a look at the cartoon ads on the site too Stropps, they're bloody hilarious!

Go Kinkster!

10:33 AM  
Blogger stroppybird said...

I watched the video , think it was episode 1.

I'll have another look.

Perhaps the left could be more imaginative in their campaigns, sorry but most slogans/demos/campaigns are dreary !

10:58 AM  
Blogger voltaires_priest said...

He's already running second to Perry, ahead of the Democrat and the other Independent!

2:17 PM  
Blogger stroppybird said...


Your friend Paddy The Puritan is going on about Yvonne Ridley on stroppyblog. I suggested you two swap notes :-)

1:33 PM  
Anonymous kinky's twinkie said...

Kinky's campaign kicks a$$ because he's making money while he runs for office.

As Fox News reported, "entertainer and Texas gubernatorial candidate Kinky Friedman, complete with cigar, black cowboy hat and Southern drawl, is about to star in his own reality show.

'Go Kinky,' airing on Country Music Television, follows Friedman, an independent candidate, on the campaign trail in the Lone Star State.

'Every crazy redneck in Texas is for Kinky,' Friedman told from his ranch in Medina, Texas."

As an added bonus, Kinky's official campaign website reminds you that Mr. Friedman has a new book coming out.

This pro-capitalism attitude influences Kinky's political views, too. For example, one prominent feature of Kinky's campaign has been Kinky's pledge to turn over Texas public school physical education programs to corporations and charge them whatever they will pay to "get their hooks into the athletes while they’re still young."


There is one concern I have about Kinky. The latest SurveyUSA poll show that Kinky could be doing better among Black voters. Kinky's support among likely Black voters is 6% and 4% among minorities who did not list their race. That's less than half the support among Black voters that even Governor Hairspray receives.

Kinky's support among likely Black voters was somewhat harmed as a result of this video from Kinky's appearance last November on CNBC's "The Big Idea with Donny Deutsch" where Kinky explained his view that criminals should be punished by locking them in prison and making them "listen to a Negro talking to himself."

It didn't help too much when Donny Deutsch asked if Kinky's statement was possibly a little racist, and Kinky replied that "Negro is a charming word."

The SurveyUSA poll also shows that Kinky has the least support of all the candidates among Hispanic voters.

Again, Kinky's support is harmed by newspaper interviews where Kinky says the Tejano protesters marching in favor of immigration reform were "half playing hooky" and other newspaper interviews where Kinky says "I will divide the border into five jurisdictions, assigning one Mexican general to each and providing a trust fund for that general" and where Kinky says "all of these politicians are afraid of offending Hispanics."

Obviously, Kinky is not "afraid of offending Hispanics" – or Black voters, for that matter. It's cool that Kinky's not politically correct, but it's affecting his appeal among minority voters in Texas.

On the bright side, Kinky has some awesome quotes:

Kinky said "I have mixed feelings on parental notification" about abortions for girls under the age of 18 and "on the counseling requirement, I'm not sure, but I know the less I talk to social workers, the better. No issue with the public-funding restrictions, but I would want to investigate further."

Kinky said "I am not anti-death penalty" (when talking to regular folks) and "let's do away with the death penalty" (when talking to liberals).

Kinky said of Bush's Iraq War "I agree with most of his political positions overseas, his foreign policy."

Kinky said what Bush has "been doing in the Near East and in the Middle East, he’s handling that well, I think."

Kinky said my "voting record doesn't look strong, but my voting record is better than Dick Cheney's."

Kinky said "I am going to see non-denominational prayer and the Ten Commandments put back in the schools."

4:01 PM  
Blogger voltaires_priest said...

Fox News?

11:28 PM  

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