The Truth About Kinky Spreads Across the Blogosphere
The Phronesisaical blog has a discussion about a Kinky supporter who has become disenchanted with Kinky:
As someone who signed your petition the very first night it was possible to do so, I am very disappointed that you accepted the invitation to the Bush shindig in College Station.... I was hoping for you to be a true Independent. But I understand that there are several well connected Republican donators from Houston to your campaign.
Several blogs have reposted a great editorial entitled "Which side of his mouth is Kinky talking out of?" from the Houston Chronicle's Clay Robison:
Many people continue to laugh at the jokes, one-liners and other quotable quotes still being delivered by the Clown Prince of the Texas governor's race.... Some of Kinky Friedman's quips are funny (at least the first two or three times you hear them).... Without much of a political program to promote, he simply performs the role of Kinky.
Calling himself a "compassionate redneck," Friedman also has been outspoken on several other hot-button issues.
"I am going to see nondenominational prayer and the Ten Commandments put back in the schools," he told the Kilgore News Herald several weeks ago. "If you don't love Jesus, go to hell," he added.
He also has called for repeal of the top 10 percent law, which many minorities value because it gives the best students from poor, mostly minority school districts an equal opportunity with more-privileged young people for admission to the best state-supported universities.
And Friedman talks a tougher line than Gov. Rick Perry on border security. He told conservative TV commentator Bill O'Reilly last year that he would "seal the border" against illegal immigrants by bringing in the "National Guard, the Texas Rangers, the entire Polish Army, whatever it takes." "Good fences make good neighbors," he added. More recently, as quoted in the Dallas Morning News, Friedman said, "My immigration policy is 'Remember the Alamo.' "
Off The Kuff explains "Why Not Kinky":
To everyone who has a "K - The Governor" sticker on their car next to a Kerry/Edwards or KPFT sticker: You're not supporting some kind of freethinking progressive who shares your values. You're supporting Larry the Cable Guy. I'd say the joke's on you, but unfortunately the rest of us are collaterally damaged by it.
The Squawkboxnoise blog has a post rejecting Kinky's candidacy:
Kinky Friedman for Gubnor? I think not.... I lived through a president that was a hip slick cool cigar smoking don’t pin me down on the issues character. I cannot nor will I vote Kinky.
Kinky Friedman, has never waivered from his politically incorrect wisecracking schtick -- an amusing routine (until you have heard it for the fifth time), but is running nothing more than a joke candidacy.... Kinky will get some votes in November, but it is difficult to imagine that when push comes to shove, he will get the kind of support he has now. Historically, candidates like him get about half of what they poll.
McBlogger reminds his readers why "Kinky is Lame":
I know what the polls say about about Mr. Gimmick candidate, Dick Friedman. Sorry, y'all, not drinking the Kool-Aid on this one. I think his music is a joke and is writing is mediocre at best.... Kinky's going to be worse for Texas than Ventura was for Minnessota .... Sure, Kinky's dressed up in his Independent bullshit but I can assure you, he's not Independent.... Kinky charts WELL TO THE RIGHT of Perry on the issues that matter most to Texas voters.
The Re Collection blog warns against voting for Kinky:
You really shouldn’t vote for the Kinkster no matter how funny you think it would be to have a guitar-playing “Jewish Cowboy” for Gov. Enough with the damn cowboys already. Let’s let someone who believes in government run things for a while. M’kay?
Over at the Burnt Orange Report, peacearena (the genius behind the Re Collection blog reminds us that she figured Kinky out months ago:
his going for W in 2004 indicates a real lack of moral fiber, not to mention decent judgement of people (note the “humorous” quote about how Bush is a good man trapped in a Republican body).... There may be little chance of him winning and becoming governor, but I’d like to know that the person I vote for, if elected, is a member of the “reality-based community” and no one who willfully voted for George Bush, a known quantity, in 2004, can claim to be one.
Killer Alien has his Endorsement for Texas Governor up:
I have decided to endorse Chris Bell for Texas Governor. He stands the best chance at defeating incumbant Rick Perry. Why? Because it is a 4 way race: with Carol Strayhorn steeling votes away from Rick Perry this is the Democrats best chance to take back the Texas Governorship. What about Kinky Friedman you ask? I ask you the same question; what about him? can you tell me one thing he stands for? Can you let me know what his platform is?
Did you know that Kinky is a conservative? Did you know he once ran as a Republican?
Ones and Zeros tells us he's fallen off the Kinky wagon:
A long time ago, I was in favor of Kinky Friedman’s candidacy for governor of Texas. Now I’m not. I’ve been more and more unimpressed by his lack of an actual campaign as the race has continued, but his big “go to hell” to me and people like me was enough to make it clear that he’s not the governor I want for Texas.... We don’t need this guy, and voting for him only helps the marginally more loseriffic Rick Perry, so I recommend against Kinky.
Banjo Jones at The Brazosport News first told us why he is no longer supporting Kinky:
Some time ago I withdrew my support of Kinky Friedman's independent campaign for governor of Texas for the simple reason that his jokes were getting stale.
Later Banjo warned us of Kinky's future:
Kooky politicians don't fade away, they endorse Intenet gambling sites... what if Kinky Friedman is elected governor of Texas, serves one term (like Ventura) and then leaves office with his state holding a deficit (like Ventura). What then? Endorsements [for] Erectile Dysfunction aids? YES, great comic possibilities there. ... Comedy club appearances with Larry the Cable Guy? Sure, with an HBO special.
The Half Empty blog has a great post calling on Kinky to withdraw from the race:
Richard “Kinky” (Big Dick) Friedman seems to be acting to make certain that Richard Perry, will be a minority-elected Republican incumbent, who will be able to maintain his residence in the governor’s mansion in 2007. How will he do that? ... It’s almost as if he were secretly working for Perry’s re-election.
In Texas, the winner of the governor’s race is the one who gets the most votes, not the one who gets the majority of votes. There is no runoff. If Texans are thinking of casting a protest vote or a vote of fancy, they should remember that.
Friedman’s issues, like everything else in his campaign, are jokes. Where Chris Bell discusses serious issues, Friedman says he is serious in his plan to bribe 5 generals in the Mexican army to guard the Texas border with Mexico. He says he will establish 5 $1 million trust funds for the 5 generals, saying he will deduct $5000 from it for every Mexican citizen who crosses the border illegally. This is just the stuff of his campaign – a joke - but he says he is serious. Well, OK, if so, isn’t what he is planning to do a promotion of murder of Mexican nationals? A bullet in the back of an illegal immigrant crossing the border is the easiest solution in the preservation of a general’s trust fund. His plan is no longer quite the knee-slapper, is it?
Easter Lemming Liberal News reports:
Since 1994 Kinky has voted in just one election - 2004 in support of Bush. Not 2000 for Bush or Gore, not on the anti-gay marriage amendment, just that once."The voting record doesn't look strong, but my voting record is better than Dick Cheney's," he said, referring to reports in 2000 that Cheney skipped 14 of 16 votes in Dallas County - including the presidential primary in which he could have voted for his future running mate,Kinky is a sometimes funny cigar smoking Republican who wants to eliminate no-smoking ordinances.
George W. Bush.
According to Kerr County voting records, Friedman voted in the 2004 presidential general election but not in any other contest since 1994.
"I was for Bush in 2004," he said. "He's a good man trapped in a Republican's body."
Making Light drops a quick link to remind everyone "Kinky Friedman: no hero."
Eye on Williamson says:
The jokes were funny, like the article said, the first couple of times but for Democrats to vote for this guy, who has no chance of winning, is almost guaranteeing Rick Perry will be reelected. With ‘ol What’s Her Name now sinking and her, hopefully former, Democratic supporters coming back to Chris Bell, it’s time for the “Kinky Democrats” to come back too.
Finally, we have the double blow against Kinky's vanity campaign from The Burnt Orange Report.
Karl-Thomas Musselman tells us that Kinky is a joke (and a tired one at that) and he shares an email from his mother, a recovering Kinky supporter who has seen the light:
OK, I am done farting around. I am taking the Kinky bumper sticker off my car ... its now near 3 months until zero hour and I must take a stand. As much as I love to rally for the "outsider" with a good one-liner or three, (remember my flirtation with Ross Perot), my heart bleeds blue (ok sometimes burnt orange, too).
Bell's speech at the Demo rally in Bandera this weekend was a darn fine speech, he's making a lot of sense, plus I get his humor. What finally got my rear in gear though, was another Texas Democrat (not local), who was admiring my stickers in the parking lot this afternoon (thought at first it was an R fixing to key my car doors). He asked me was I REALLY going to vote for Kinky. Without another thought, I said, "No, I'm voting for Bell. The KF sticker was just for laughs."
In the most complete and devastatingly well reasoned rejection of Kinky's novelty campaign, Phillip Martin at The Burnt Orange Report begs voters not to thow their vote away on Kinky:
You're doing theater, when you should be doing debate...It's not honest. What you do is not honest. What you do is partisan hackery. --Jon Stewart, in his Oct. 15, 2004 appearance on CNN's "Crossfire"
Voting for Kinky, in no way, is voting against politics as usual or political theater -- it's voting for a hypocrite who's finally mastered it.
The Class Clown
I honestly believe Kinky Friedman is the class clown of this election cycle. He's funny, he's cool to be seen with, he's hip to be associated with -- but at the end of the day, all he has to offer are jokes and tired one-liners. Not constructive criticisms, not a real alternative voice, not new ideas or even different ideas than what is already offered. Just a series of jokes that sound good in TV soundbites and action figures.
In that sense, Kinky is the ultimate political hack. He's mastered the pieces of theater that are political campaigning. And for some reason, his biggest group of supporters continue to be progressives -- despite his decidedly non-progressive platform.
Kinky has an immigration platform that is more small-minded than Perry's. His education and health care platform is stolen from the headlines of Democratic press releases -- he didn't even bother to look at the substance. He is, by no means, a serious candidate. And he's proud of that. As he said in a recent Dallas Morning News interview:
Just because the other three candidates have had humor bypasses does not mean I have to be a self-important pompous ass. The circus needs clowns as much as donkeys and elephants. Besides, some things are too important to be taken seriously.
Kinky's got it, all right. He's got it completely backwards: some things are too important NOT to be taken seriously, and a lot of those things are the issues facing Texas today.
Why the Hell Not? Because People are More Important than Puns
I've spent the last two years working in the capitol, an experience that has changed my life, one that has shown me how good government can be. I've gotten countless phone calls from people whose electricity was turned off, and from folks who can't get to their homes because the roads are so beat up. One day, a teacher called me because she'd been administering the TAKS test for 9 hours. Why so long? A group of fourth-graders couldn't finish the test because they were afraid that if they didn't pass the test, they'd fail, lose their friends, and live a bad life.
What's Kinky's take on standardized testing? Well, the third bullet in Kinky's education "platform" gives a commentary on the TAKS test, but offers no solution. Chris Bell, meanwhile, has made standardized tests one of the center-points of his entire campaign. Bell advocates eliminating the highstakes nature of standardized testing by using it only as a measurement, and not a deciding factor, for student advancement. In the past year, since Bell first came out against highstakes standardized testing, countless editorials, articles, letter-campaigns, and teacher groups have made standardized testing important to this campaign.
That's taking leadership on an issue, and not just playing for headlines. Whether or not Bell wins, he's taken leadership on an issue that politicians can no longer ignore. I doubt Kinky can say the same thing.
Do we want someone who will make a difference, or make a joke?
As I said before, voting for Kinky, in no way, is voting against political theater -- it's voting for someone who's finally mastered it. You don't fix an old house by throwing stones at broken windows. You fix a house by rebuilding what is left so it's better for future generations.
In the end, voters will have to ask themselves which is more important: making a difference, or making a joke. Support someone who believes the issues facing Texas are important and serious, or someone that honestly believes that "some things are too important to be taken seriously."
I beg you: please don't vote for Kinky Friedman. You won't be throwing your vote away, but you will be throwing away a chance to make a difference.