Dissident Kinky Friedman - Just What America’s Delusional Democracy Needs

I want Kinky Friedman to become Governor of Texas, do a great job, and then become a candidate for President of the United States. If the punishment should fit the crime, then cigar-chomping, joke-cracking Kinky Friedman is surely the ideal candidate for governor of the home state of George W. Bush, who should go down in history as the president that propelled our delusional democracy to new depths. Texas is the ideal place for Kinky-the-dissident to become politically kosher.

Knowing that opinion surveys repeatedly verify Americans' increasing disgust with both major parties is one thing. Knowing that 137,154 Texans had the wisdom to sign Kinky's petitions to get on this year's ballot as an independent candidate is even better, especially when only 45,540 signatures were needed.

"The other three candidates seem to have humor bypasses," he says. Funny is what Kinky is and funny is perhaps the least painful way these days to reflect on the state of American democracy, with all three branches of government plus the proverbial fourth estate failing to serve we the people. Remember that Texas also produced Ross Perot who looked at least as funny as Kinky and he got about 19 percent of the national vote for the presidency and 30 percent in some states. My hope is not merely that Kinky wins in November and becomes Texas governor, but more that he completely boggles the minds of Democrats and Republicans and does one heck of a job so that he then moves on eventually to run for president of the United States.

If all this sounds more than a little crazy, how else should rational progressives think about our political world? After all, when a democracy that for a long time seemed to have the energy, intelligence and commitment to keep making itself better changes direction and becomes delusional it surely reflects a degree of cultural insanity. That makes Kinky the ideal candidate for our times, a man who correctly sees the ludicrous actions of mainstream politicians yet is able to rise above his despair and keep making himself laugh, as well as other Americans who have not yet succumbed to the mass political misdirection and consumer distraction designed to keep the population obedient servants of the corporatist state.

Noting that in the last Texas election for governor only 29 percent of the voters cared enough to vote, Kinky is right on target when he declares: "Last time, they spent $100 million just to drive 71 percent of us away from the polls. This time, that 71 percent is coming roarin' back - with pitchforks! - to throw the money-changers out of the temple!" When you hear that, recall that George W. Bush won with just 31 percent of eligible voters in 2004. Kinky has a gut understanding of the enormous opportunity to turn on millions more Americans, but only by offering candidates that truly deservetheirsupport- andkeep them laughing all the way to the polls.

Kinky is not just about beating incumbent Republican Texas governor Rick Perry. It is about beating the two-party duopoly. Kinky is up against "Governor Good Hair" and "What's-his-name, the Democrat." Exactly the point.

Kinky has raised more than $3.4 million. John McCall gave $1 million to Kinky's campaign. He made his money in hair-care products and noted: "I have a business that deals with hairdressers. People talk to their hairdressers. And what I'm hearing is: Kinky's gonna win in a landslide." From his lips to God's ear I say. Because the Kinkster is the ideal candidate for our times, an irreverently serious candidate that ultimately makes a lot more sense than the humorless, corporate-kissing cowards of the two major parties. Kinky talks about a pig farmer he met who told him: "You ain't worth a damn, but you're better than what we got." Exactly the point.

Dean Barkley is Kinky's campaign manager. He was the architect of Jessy Ventura's successful capturing of the Minnesota governorship in 1998. Unlike Perot and Kinky, Ventura actually had some experience in politics, but a larger-than-life character he also was. If voter turnout rises to 40 percent, Barkley says "Kinky will win."

For the good of the country I hope so, and so should you. More than we need Kinky as Texas governor, we need him as President of the United States. This is the path to our much needed Second American Revolution that could restore American democracy. Kinky's brutal honesty and humor is just what we need to break through psychological defenses of Americans and get them to see the miserable state of our delusional democracy. I can't wait to see in a televised presidential debate (if only the two-party duopoly allowed independent candidates in) and being interviewed by Tim Russett on Meet the Press.

And if Kinky wins, the nation's other governors - who suffer through meetings of the moribund National Governors Association and normally doze off (e.g., Jesse Ventura), read newspapers to stay awake (e.g., George W. Bush), or escape to social functions (nearly everyone) - will eagerly attend meetings blessed by Kinky's attendance. Kinky will surely find NGA's activities new fodder for his comic wit. He might even try to change the name of NGA's Center for Best Practices to better reflect reality, making it the Center for Worst Practices.

Joel S. Hirschhorn

Formerly Director of Environment, Energy and Natural Resources at the National Governors Association, Joel S. Hirschhorn's new book is Delusional Democracy - Fixing the Republic Without Overthrowing the Government, to be released soon by Common Courage Press; he can be reached through ww.delusionaldemocracy.com

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Author`s name Dmitry Sudakov