Sharpening our wits on the grindstone of Life: The first step on the road to the White House .comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}

Sharpening our wits on the grindstone of Life

Friday, February 04, 2005

The first step on the road to the White House

Why not? It worked for that other clown.

"We're gypsies on a pirate ship, and we're setting sail for the Governor's Mansion," said Friedman, who calls himself "The Kinkster." "I'm calling for the unconditional surrender of (Governor) Rick Perry."

With a shot across the bow of the underachieving incumbent's struggling dinghy, Kinky Friedman throws his cowboy hat into the ring for the 2006 Gubernatorial election.
"We're definitely going to win this booger," Friedman said.

That remains to be seen, but at the very least, it'll be an entertaining race.

"There'll be no surrendering," said Luis Saenz, political director for Perry's Republican re-election campaign. "Kinky definitely has the potential to enliven the debate, and after watching him on the I-man show (Imus in the Morning) it appears the Democrats are not the only ones who've been smoking something."

Jason Stanford of the Chris Bell for Governor exploratory committee said, "Kinky's funny, but Rick Perry is a joke." Bell, a Democrat, lost his re-election campaign for Congress last year.

I, for one, think he'd be an improvement over Perry, and I've yet to see a viable alternative among Texas' Democrats or Republicans. Or, as Kinky labels the parties, ""decaf or regular, paper or plastic."

He says no one should consider his running just a laughing matter.

"Humor is what I use to attack the windmills of politics as usual".

Friedman said teachers, police officers and firefighters have been left behind in a state that is first in the nation in executions and trailing in education funding. He supports the legalization of medical marijuana and wants to increase public school funding through casino gambling. He also wants a return of nondenominational prayer in school.

So, go for it, Kink! Anything I can do to help, just let me know. I'll start by volunteering to help collect signatures to get on the ballot. Even if I don't end up voting for you, I at least want you in the race.

To get on the Texas ballot as an independent, Friedman must collect 45,540 signatures between March 8 and May 11, 2006, from registered voters who did not cast a ballot in any party primary or runoff. Friedman said he will use volunteers to collect the signatures and is predicting success.

Friedman sees himself as an intellectual version of a political outsider like actor Arnold Schwarzenegger, who won the California governor's office. Friedman had little good to say about Perry.

"This governor is more interested in ironing his shirt than ironing out the problems Texas has," Friedman told the Houston Chronicle.

Friedman said he uses humor to make people feel uncomfortable in an effort to challenge them to think about sometimes-unpleasant topics.

"The anti-wussification campaign is primarily against political correctness," Friedman said. "It's sad, people are afraid to say Merry Christmas. Particularly me. I'm a Jew."

For all of his cynical wisecracking, Friedman also has had a serious side.

He was a Peace Corps volunteer, and his father, Tom, a University of Texas professor in educational psychology for more than 50 years, ran Echo Hill as a summer camp for children in a Jewish social setting. Kinky runs Utopia Animal Rescue Ranch in Medina.

Finally, a candidate worthy of our trust. Whether he'll have the experience to get things done or the temperament to tolerate politics-as-usual is yet to be seen. At least he's honest. And that's a quality that is far too rare in politics these days.


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