Friday, November 10, 2006

The Twelve-percenters

(I’ve been told by friends that no matter how good the situation is, I always look for the cloud around the silver lining. They may be on to something . . .)

I should be happy. I should be freaking delirious. But I’m not. I’m cranky.

Yeah, I know, the Dems took the House and the Senate. We took six governorships and got Rummy fired.

And heaven knows watching The Little Dauphine mince to the presidential podium as if he’d just been kneed in the nads by a significant part of the voting public and then watching him having to make nice with the same Democrats he’s been shitting on for the better part of six years . . . yes, that was gravy.

And yet, I am not filled with joie de vivre.

The reason is, well, lemme ‘splain . . .

See, down here in the Lone Star state, we had a five-way race for governor.

The current governor, Rick Perry a.k.a. Governor Good-hair was being challenged by four competitors: Chris Bell (boring) (D), Carol Keeton Strayhorn whatever-the-heck-her-name-is-now-as-she’s-been- married-more-times-than-Erica-Kane (I), Kinky Friedman (I wear a black cowboy hat and smoke a big cee-gar so you know I’m quirky) (I), and the Libertarian Guy who pulled 1% of the vote and couldn’t get an invite to the only debate between the other four yabos (L).

Here’s how the voting shook out:
Perry: 39%
Bell: 30%
Strayhorn: 18%
Friedman: 12%
Guy: 1%

A whopping 61% of voters didn’t want Rick Perry in office. But there are no runoffs in Texas, so we’re stuck with him. (Perry’s the kind of well-dressed, impeccably-coiffed guy who you just know uses too much JOOP! cologne to cover up whatever his real man–scent is, no doubt, a cross between the hot fetid smell of sexual deviation and the corpses of his political foes.)

Now the reason Strayhorn (former (D), former (R), now (I)) was running as an Independent instead of as Republican (aside from her personal loathing for Perry) is that she needs political power like a junkie needs a dime bag. With Perry in her way as the Republican candidate, Strayhorn bolted from yet another political party to run for office. She’s spent 30 years as a career politician and ran her campaign as an “outsider.” The mind reels.

And then there’s Kinky.

I’m not here to debate Kinky’s motives for running. Perhaps he genuinely thought he could make a difference. But in the grip of his fevered ego he failed to see that he was in no way suited for the job.

The problem with dewy-eyed political wannabes like Kinky and his campaign manager’s former boss, Jesse Ventura, is that they don’t understand that governing is harder than running for office and getting your picture taken. Governing is damned hard work -- even in the weak governorship we have in Texas. But the governor has a powerful bully pulpit and putting the guy who filed ethics charges against Tom Delay in charge of that bully pulpit might have, you know, Sent A Message.

Kinky ran the “Kinky: Why the hell not?” campaign and sadly a whopping 12% of voters here bought it. Enough voters that had they voted for Bell, Texas would have a Democratic governor right now. Imagine how Dubya would’ve been walking had that happened.

Sour grapes? You bet your ass.

Kinky is a buffoon. A professional buffoon. He led a band called the Kinky Friedman and the Texas Jewboys which I think is hilarious. But I don’t find it hilarious when the same guy is cracking wise about how to fix the manifest problems in this state. We’re 50th in just about everything, except executions where we’re number one with a bullet . . . okay, lethal injection, but you see where I’m going. I think Kinky was concerned about these issues, but you have to know how to fix problems and how to implement those fixes. (And, no, his Five Mexican Generals Initiative, no matter how he cares to spin that statement now, doesn’t count.)

I watched the debate between these candidates and let me say, none of them covered themselves in glory. Strayhorn was jaw-droppingly bad. When asked, she couldn’t name the newly elected president of Mexico. (And if you don’t understand why that’s bad, stop reading now.) Perry and Bell tried to out dull each other, and Kinky, well, for a guy who is an alleged wit and a public speaker, it was nothing short of an embarrassment. You can see the debate here, if you’ve got the stomach to watch it.

The people who voted for Kinky weren’t interested in making a real statement. They could have done that had they voted for the person who could have won and made a difference.

And just so you know, Chris Bell is not an exciting guy. He’s not going to make women swoon and throw panties and subpoenas at him like Bill Clinton. (Bill, call me . . .) But Chris Bell is a big part of the reason Tom Delay isn’t in power right now. And for that alone he deserved a grateful nation’s vote, much less a few cranky pants in Texas. If Kinky voters had really wanted to clean up politics, they would have voted for the guy who actually did something about the appalling corruption in Texas.

Yes, all you Kinky voters, you had your “protest” vote. And you insured that that asshat Rick Perry stayed Governor. You showed those in power that you were just as easily manipulated as they thought you would be. For you twelve-percenters out there, let me say, Job Well Done. You voted for the clown. The spoiler. The guy in the black hat. I mean, good grief, didn’t any of you ever see a Western? The guy in the black hat is never the good guy.

P.S. I don’t hate Kinky. I actually think he’s a talented guy who has done some real good in the world. He founded the Utopia Animal Rescue Ranch which has done amazing work saving animals. Personally, I think the best measure of man’s character is how he treats animals. And by that standard, Kinky is absolute aces.


Steven Gould said...

Great post, Caroline--it makes one want to weep. Some other comments about a very questionable Kinky Friedman made months ago, using his own words to make the case against him.

Jayme Lynn Blaschke said...

Kinky's a closet wingnut, even if he doesn't fit the mold. He got in the race to win it, I'm sure, but after he realized it was a lost cause, he stayed in to make sure Bell wouldn't overtake Perry.

How else do you explain his standing on the Kerrville courthouse steps during early voting and announcing he'd just voted for Kay Bailey Hutchison and Lamar Smith (!!) to "send a message to Washington"?