Tuesday, August 29, 2006

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.

Houtopia says:
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,
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."
Kinky is a sometimes funny cigar smoking Republican who wants to eliminate no-smoking ordinances.

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.

Monday, August 21, 2006

This Isn't The First Time Kinky Blamed His Staff

The San Antonio Express-News's R.G. Ratcliffe reports that Kinky will blame his staff for the ethics complaint Kinky filed against Strayhorn, but Kinky won't apologize:

Kinky Friedman has disavowed a criminal complaint his gubernatorial campaign filed against independent rival Carole Keeton Strayhorn, but he declined to withdraw it or to apologize to Strayhorn.

"That's not going to happen," Friedman said Saturday of an apology. "That's always bogus. It's meaningless. It's politically correct these days to apologize to the Indians and apologize to the Hawaiians for taking their land, apologize to the African Americans for dealing with them as slaves, and on and on without end.... Friedman said he was shocked to see headlines that indicated he was the one filing the complaint, ... but he said he will not ask Barkley to withdraw it because Barkley believes it has merit.

"I'm not totally convinced the charges aren't true, by the way. I'm just saying I did not want to be the one that's picking at the other candidates," Friedman said.... Friedman said he hired Barkley, who helped former wrestler Jesse Ventura win the governor's office in Minnesota, because he trusts his political instincts.

This isn't the first time Kinky's campaign issued a press release on Kinky's policy and -- after the policy went over like a lead balloon -- Kinky blamed his staff for releasing a policy (including direct quotes from Kinky) which Kinky later said he didn't support.

In March, Kinky released an immigration statement that he supported making illegal immigration a felony:

Kinky Friedman...supports a portion of the House bill, which calls for the construction of 700 miles of security fence along the U.S.-Mexico border and which would make illegal immigration a felony.

“I’ve been urging action on the border for over a year,” Friedman said.

After taking heat over the press release, Kinky withdrew it and blamed his staff.

Plus, Kinky can't very well make a big deal about complying with the laws of Texas when he's said "I've been stoned a lot of times ... and I don't regret any of it ... I quit doing cocaine when Bob Marley fell out of my left nostril" and he proudly flouts Texas law whenever it suits him.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Vote Bell or Strayhorn, but Defeat Perry

Rick Perry is the worst governor in recent Texas history, and that's really saying something.

Months ago, with the hope of defeating Perry, I made time to meet Strayhorn, Bell, and Kinky personally at campaign stops, and I tried to select which candidate to support based on two criteria: (1) who would best support my values on issues important to me and (2) who would have the best chance of beating Perry.

While evaluating the candidates on the issues, one fact became apparent. It was somewhat difficult to ascertain where Strayhorn stands on the issues because her positions on many issues have changed over the past few years and because her website isn't particularly issue oriented. It was comparatively easy to determine where Bell stands on many issues as a result of his tenure on the Houston City Counsel and as a Congressional Representative and because Bell's website has a good deal of information on various issues. It was most difficult to ascertain where Kinky stands on the issues because his positions have not been constant on many key issues and because Kinky generally gives either very general answers or jokes when asked serious policy questions. Early in the campaign, Kinky suggested that he wouldn't be trapped into taking stands on issues, but as his campaign has progressed, Kinky has answered more questions (but his positions still waiver back and forth with the wind on many issues).



Here is what I have learned about the three candidates' stands on issues:

EDUCATION

Strayhorn supports a $4,000 teacher raise, reducing reliance on TAKS (formerly advocated larger role for TAKS), opposing private school vouchers (formerly supported), opposing college tuition deregulation (formerly supported) (and has endorsement of TSTA and TFT).

Bell supports a $6,000 teacher raise, reducing reliance on TAKS, adopting career technology training programs vetoed by Perry, opposing private school vouchers, limiting State Board of Education censorship of textbooks, eliminating tax on textbooks, opposing college tuition deregulation, expanding Texas Grant program for low-income Texas students with academic achievements who seek a college education they couldn't otherwise afford.

Kinky supports a teacher raise (no amount specified), reducing reliance on TAKS, funding public schools by legalizing casino gambling, allowing corporate sponsorship of public school physical education programs.

HEALTH

Strayhorn favors restoring full collection of federal CHIP funds for underinsured Texas children (formerly advocated cuts in CHIP).

Bell favors allowing drug prescription to be filled from Canadian, expanding prescription drug benefit for Medicare recipients without limitations imposed under current law, expanding stem cell research, restoring full collection of federal CHIP funds for underinsured Texas children.

Kinky favors expanding stem cell research, restoring full collection of federal CHIP funds for underinsured Texas children.

TRANS-TEXAS CORRIDOR

Strayhorn opposes (formerly supported).

Bell opposes.

Kinky opposes.

WAR

No position from Strayhorn.

Bell favors state funding for premiums on $250,000 federal life insurance policies for Texas National Guard soldiers serving in combat (rated 100% by SANE, indicating a pro-peace voting record).

Kinky support Bush's foreign policy in the Middle East.

WAGES

No position from Strayhorn.

Bell favors increasing minimum wage (and has AFL-CIO endorsement).

No position from Kinky.

ENVIRONMENT

Strayhorn favors promoting coal gasification alternative technology, restricting coal burning, improving Texas Commission on Environmental Quality enforcement

Bell favors reducing CO2 emissions by 80%, lowering mercury emissions from coal plants by 90%, improving Texas Commission on Environmental Quality enforcement, promoting coal gasification alternative technology, restricting coal burning, tightening regulation of air permits for plants and refineries, raising the Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard to 10%, ending "grandfather" immunity from municipal regulations that protect the health and property of those near refineries, opposing acceleration of forest thinning projects, converting the state vehicles to green vehicles, providing incentives for green builders.

Kinky favors promoting wind, solar, and biofuels as alternative energy sources.

HOME OWNERSHIP

No position from Strayhorn.

Bell opposes insurance rate hikes, supports task force to instigate insurance rate rollbacks, supports audit of Texas Residential Construction Commission.

No position from Kinky.

IMMIGRATION

Strayhorn supports use of National Guard troops on US-Mexico border, opposes in-state tuition to Texas-born children of illegal immigrants.

Bell supports the McCain-Kennedy bill with pathway to citizenship, use of National Guard troops on US-Mexico border, opposes law requiring that illegal aliens who seek hospital treatment be reported to INS (rated 0% by anti-immigration organization, indicating a progressive voting record on immigration).

Kinky supports building a border fence, supports the McCain-Kennedy bill with pathway to citizenship (formerly supported House bill which did not include pathway to citizenship), says "my immigration policy is `Remember the Alamo'" (formerly supported hiring Mexican generals to enforce border).

REPRODUCTIVE RIGHTS

Strayhorn supports maintaining legal right to abortion.

Bell supports maintaining legal right to abortion, repealing law requiring doctors to misinform women seeking reproductive counseling of false link between abortion and cancer, requiring that abortion laws must include exception to protect mother's health (rated 100% by NARAL, indicating a pro-choice voting record).

Kinky supports maintaining legal right to abortion.

GAY RIGHTS

Strayhorn opposes right to civil unions.

Bell supports right to civil unions, co-sponsored the Permanent Partners Immigration Act.

Kinky supports right to civil unions.



Neither of these candidates reflects my own views of these issues perfectly, and I disagree with some portion of each candidate's positions. Measuring Strayhorn's current views against my own, she would be a very distinct improvement over Perry, but I am troubled by the number of significant issues on which she has substantially changed her position. Of the three candidates, Bell has the most detailed positions and his views on these issues are generally nearest my own. Finally, as compared to the other two candidates, Kinky's views on these issues conflict most with my own views, and Kinky is the least specific of the three candidates. Also, Kinky's views conflict with mine on other issues which are important but I have not listed them above among my highest priorities (like the separation of church and state, for example).

Moreover, when researching these issues, it became apparent that Kinky hasn't merely changed his mind on certain issues (like Strayhorn has); Kinky has been dishonest or two-faced about some matters. For example, Kinky has been dishonest about his prior votes in the 2000 election and the Texas constitutional amendment. In contrast to Strayhorn, who now advocates in favor of issues she used to oppose, Kinky appears to simultaneously advocate different positions to different groups on issues like capital punishment, immigration, and reproductive rights.

Also, when researching Kinky's statements on different issues, one cannot help but come across statements like (1) after losing an election where Kinky ran as a Republican, he said he was leaving "that worthless tar baby that is politics," (2) and said we should punish criminals by sending them to prison and making them "listen to a Negro talking to himself" and "Negro ... is a charming word," (3) and "I've been stoned a lot of times ... and I don't regret any of it ... I quit doing cocaine when Bob Marley fell out of my left nostril," (4) and "all of these politicians are afraid of offending Hispanics," and (5) the Tejano protesters marching in favor of immigration reform were "half playing hooky."


After determining that Kinky's views and his past statements poorly reflect the type of gubernatorial candidate I hope to support, I also considered which candidate is most and least likely to beat Perry.

Strayhorn presents a unique threat to Perry's re-election. When Perry and Strayhorn last ran for office, they appeared on the ballot together. Strayhorn, not Perry, was the top vote recipient among all Republicans (she also received the most votes of any candidate for any office regardless of party affiliation). Strayhorn captured 2,878,732 votes compared to Perry's mere 2,632,591. Not only does Strayhorn have proven appeal among Republican voters, she has some support from those who typically support Democrats, including the endorsement of the TSTA and the TFT as well as support from prominent Hispanic Democrats such as Tony Sanchez, Perry's last Democratic opponent.

In addition to these factors, Strayhorn has raised over $10 million to fund her campaign, and the majority of those funds will be spent on comparative advertising directed against Perry's abysmal record as governor. While Strayhorn's support in the polls has been erratic and the trend has generally been downward, she has the campaign funds on hand to mount a substantial television advertising campaign to address that trend.

Bell also threatens Perry. Several recent polls have identified Perry's current level of support at 35% with a continuing significant downward trend. This would be disastrous for an incumbent in most situations, but Perry is less threatened because the 65% of the vote which is currently "not Perry" is divided among three significant alternative candidates (plus Libertarian James Werner whose support is negligible). Of all the candidates, Bell's support is most consistently trending upward (most recent polls have identified Bell's current levels of support between 18% and 21% and raising).

There are two historical voting trends which strongly indicate that the upward trend of Bell's support will continue to even higher levels.

First, Perry, Strayhorn, and Kinky have very well established name identification among Texas voters. Bell, on the other hand, is identified by less than half of likely Texas voters. We know from previous elections, once a candidate achieves a very significant level of name identification with a likely voter without achieving that likely voter's support, it becomes substantially more difficult for the known candidate to win that voter's support. The fact that Bell has the most room to increase his name identification indicates that he also has the easiest task of building his support. Moreover, we also know from past elections that Bell's name identification will rise as the election nears as a result of the fact that Bell is the nominee of a major party. Among likely Texas voters who can identify the names of all four main candidates, Bell is polling at 28% to Perry's 32%, which is barely outside the margin for error.

Second, Bell (and Perry) will receive a boost from straight-party voting which polls undercount (people answering polls generally deny voting the straight-party ticket but past elections confirm that about half of Texas voters choose a straight-party ticket in a statewide election during a non-presidential year). In recent non-presidential elections, about 23% of the Texas electorate has voted for the straight-party Democratic ticket (and about 28% have voted the straight-party Republican ticket). Moreover, in recent past elections where the Democratic candidate has accepted the party's nomination but essentially chose not to campaign, those types of statewide Democratic candidates have nevertheless received about one third of the vote (despite the fact that pre-election polling consistently identified levels of support much lower than 33% of the Texas electorate for such non-campaigning Democrats). When statewide Democrats mount a campaign, they generally receive about 43% of the vote during non-presidential elections. Undoubtedly, if Bell could achieve Democratic Party unity, he would easily win, but Strayhorn and Kinky will certainly disrupt the party unity for both Democrats and Republicans.

Kinky is a unique candidate. Kinky's support has polled between 11% and 22% in polls that were conducted contemporaneously so his levels of support are obviously difficult to measure and highly dependant on the poll's method for identifying likely voters. But the prospect for Kinky's rise in the polls is not good. Of all the major candidates, Kinky has by far the highest disapproval numbers. Moreover, Kinky has very high name identification so his task of winning new supporters will be very difficult.

Kinky's campaign looks to Arnold Schwarzenegger's and Jesse Ventura's campaigns as models, but those campaigns are substantially different from Kinky's campaign.

Schwarzenegger's campaign differs from Kinky's mainly in the fact that Schwarzenegger enjoyed the strong backing of the Republican Party as that party's candidate (the California Republican Party and its prominent figures endorsed Schwarzenegger, including several other potential Republican candidates who dropped out of the race to avoid dividing the Republican vote). Interestingly, Schwarzenegger's campaign demonstrates how a minority party (whether Republicans in California or Democrats in Texas) can win a plurality election against a much stronger party (Democrats in California or Republicans in Texas) with strong party unity. Because the multi-party Texas gubernatorial race will be determined by a plurality (the eventual winner will likely garner only 33% to 38% of the vote) just as the recent California election, Schwarzenegger's model for minority-party triumph is more of a model for Bell's campaign than Kinky's campaign.

Ventura's campaign differs from Kinky's mainly in the differences between the manner in which Ventura achieved a third-party coalition and in the differences between Minnesota and Texas election law.

Like Schwarzenegger's Republican Party support, Ventura had the organized campaign support of the Reform Party (Ventura was the Reform Party's nominee, not an independent candidate) which was by far the most significant third party in Minnesota with a substantial party infrastructure and network of campaign workers. Moreover, Ventura won the support of the Libertarian Party and others who value the separation of church and state when he famously said that "organized religion tells people to go out and stick their noses in other people's business" and whereas Kinky has alienated that group by advocating prayer in school and posting the Ten Commandments in public school classrooms. Ventura won with 37% of the vote by running under a coherent platform as a fiscal conservative and a social liberal in a state with about one third Republicans, one third Democrats, and a full third of the electorate as Reform Party members or other Independents. In contrast, Kinky's platform is not coherent (socially liberal on gay marriage and legalized casino gambling to alienate social conservatives, but socially conservative on immigration and school prayer to alienate social liberals), and Texas is more like 50% Republican, 35% Democrat, with only 15% independent. Also, Minnesota's minority vote is much smaller than the minority vote in Texas, and Kinky has irreparably handicapped his candidacy among likely minority voters with Kinky's comments about "Negroes" and "tar babies" and politicians being "afraid of offending Hispanics" and saying the Tejano immigration protesters were "playing hooky." It is no wonder polls show Kinky with the least minority voter support of the candidates, and this problem with Kinky's campaign cannot be fixed.

Yet perhaps the more important distinction between Ventura's campaign and Kinky's is the election law differences. An Independent candidate's chances of success are much greater in Minnesota due to Minnesota's law allowing for voter registration at the voting booth on election day and Minnesota's public financing for state elections (which would minimize Kinky's current status as the candidate with the least funds on hand).

In light of these factors, the conventional wisdom of professional election analysts from Kinky's friend and "Texas Monthly" colleague Paul Burka, to Republican poll guru Mike Baselice, to the progressive Lone Star Project, to independent analyst Chuck McDonald all agree that Kinky will likely end up in the single digits on election day (and if he doesn't, Perry will likely win by default).



Just as my analysis of the candidates' positions on the issues led me to rank Kinky last among the candidates running against Perry, my analysis of the candidates' chances of beating Perry also leads me to rank Kinky last among the candidates.

In light of these views, I am trying to broadcast information about Kinky which may (or may not) cause other voters to reach the same conclusion that I have reached. Specifically, I have concluded that the anti-incumbent vote is very large, but it is not so large that it can be split by three alternative candidates who each attract a 15% to 25% following at the polls. As a result, I think Perry will likely be re-elected with significantly less than 40% of the vote unless one of the candidate's support drops into the single digits. I hope offering the fact-based reasons for my rejection of Kinky's candidacy may further that possibility (or maybe it won't, but I will not see Perry re-elected while I stand idly by).


Vote for Strayhorn or Bell depending on who stands a better chance of beating Perry on election day.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Kinky Flip-Flops AGAIN on Immigration

Here's Kinky's latest blather on immigration:

QUESTION: Other candidates have laid out policies on illegal immigration, including the use of the National Guard. Are you sticking by your idea of paying Mexican generals to keep would-be illegals on their side of the border?
FRIEDMAN: No. The Mexican government must step up to the plate. Mexico is a rich country, and they should pay their fair share. My immigration policy is "Remember the Alamo."

Would someone please tell Kinky that "Remember the Alamo" isn't an immigration policy?

Until this latest about face, Kinky had been bragging that his Five Mexican Generals plan was a great idea:
“When I talk about the five Mexican generals, people think I’m joking but I’m dead serious. I will divide the border into five jurisdictions, assigning one Mexican general to each and providing a trust fund for that general. Every time a person crosses illegally, we subtract $5,000 from the trust fund.”

Of course, this isn't the first time Kinky has flip-flopped in immigration reform. Kinky has also recently added amnesty for illegal aliens into his grab-bag of doubtable ideas regarding border security. With his announcement that Kinky now favors "amnesty for hard-working illegal immigrants already in this country," Kinky bragged that "I’ve been urging action on the border for over a year."

Going back and listing all the bad ideas that Kinky has proposed with regard to border security makes for very interesting reading.

For example, as the Austin American Statesman noted, "His position on immigration has been wobbly. On March 28, his campaign provided a statement describing Friedman as favoring a guest worker program and language classifying illegal immigrants as felons."

Kinky issued this press release supporting "the construction of 700 miles of security fence along the U.S.-Mexico border and which would make illegal immigration a felony," but Kinky withdrew this press release.

But Kinky has repeatedly mentioned building a fence, and after saying that he would seek the Mexican president's help, Kinky agreed with Bill O'Reilly that we cannot trust Mexico's President to assist with immigration enforcement:
FRIEDMAN: And I want them to help. I mean, good fences...
O'REILLY: Absolutely. That's what they're there for.
FRIEDMAN: ...Good fences make good neighbors, and, Mr. Fox, help us build that fence.
O'REILLY: Well, don't count on help from Mr. Fox because he's getting so much money from this illegal immigration back there.
FRIEDMAN: That's true.

I guess if you don't like Kinky's immigration policy, just wait a while and it will flip the opposite direction.