Tuesday, December 02, 2003

"He Ain't Kinky, He's My Governor"



As political campaign slogans go, it makes about as much sense as whatever the Bush/Cheney slogan is for '04 (last time I checked it was, "Vote Republican or else" but I could be wrong). But this is no mere flimflammery of a candidacy. This is Kinky Friedman, running for Governor of Texas.


...Kinky Friedman, the irreverent Texas author, songwriter and salsa maker, and self-described "Gandhi-like figure" at the animal rescue ranch he runs here in the Hill Country west of San Antonio, says the message could propel him into the governor's mansion in Austin.

*snip*

...the job ó heavy on ceremony in Texas, where the real power lies in the lieutenant governor's authority to control the Senate agenda ó does not daunt the curly-mopped Mr. Friedman, whose real name is Richard and who gives his age as 59, though adding, "I read at the 61-year level." Given those who have come before him, he said, "how hard could it be?

Still, garbed in cowboy black, bearing a large silver Star of David on a chain and tooling around in an old white Nissan pickup with a Don Quixote statuette on the dashboard and chewed stubs of Cuban cigars in the ashtray, Mr. Friedman does acknowledge some ambivalence about his quest. This is his second run for elected office; in the first, he campaigned in 1986 for justice of the peace in nearby Kerrville, where "my fellow Kerrverts returned me to the private sector."

*snip*

This is a man who, once he makes up his mind, is riven by indecision. So, he is often asked, is he serious? "Serious is not a word I would use, because I'm never serious," he said. "Some things are too important to be taken seriously." But, he said, "an alarming number of people think I could win."

"The question," he added, "is whether my candidacy is a joke, or the current crop of politicians is the joke."


He's got a point. I mean after the debacle in California, which gave us Governor Schwarzenegger, how could this be any worse? In my opinion, it would probably be better but than I'm a fan of the Kinkster, who's been a progressive activist since the sixties and genuinely likes people, horses and armadillos. Plus, being Jewish it's extremely unlikely that he would make any offhanded compliments about Hitler.

Snarky jokes aside, Governor Arnold has opened the proverbial box of Pandora, and whether we like it or not we now have to seriously consider the reality of Governor Kinky, Senator Jerry Springer, President J Lo and whatever other nonsense comes our way. Some say this is the end of Western Civilization or the collapse of our Democratic Process. At the very least, it is the Interesting Times of the old Chinese Curse. Personally, I think the advent of Celebrity Politicians will finally show just how ludicrous politics always has been. They certainly can't be any worse than the legions of lawyers and failed businessmen who have co-opted our policy making for the last two hundred years.

And if it really is the end of Western Civilization as we know it, all the better; wouldn't you rather we went out with bread and circuses instead of the long feared and hoped for atomic pissing match?

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