Kinky and Political Theater

November 4th, 2009

By Tom Carter

kinky1The most delicious political news is that Kinky Friedman is running for governor of Texas again!  He’ll be running in the Democratic primary, and he’s convinced that he can beat either incumbent Governor Rick Perry or Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison, depending on which of them wins the Republican primary, which he calls “the clash of the plastic titans.”  Kinky might not do any better as a governor than Jesse Ventura did in Minnesota, but at least the campaign will be equally entertaining.

In other political news, unless you’re still still sleeping off a bad hangover you already know that the Republican candidates won in the Virginia and New Jersey governors’ elections.  In Virginia the Democrat was thoroughly thumped, and in New Jersey the incumbent Democrat lost by a smaller margin.

In New York’s 23rd Congressional District, the Democrat won after the Republicans split between a very conservative candidate and a RINO, publicly flagellating themselves along the road to defeat.

Predictably, the media pundits will spend a whole lot of time blubbling over the meaning of it all.  As Ruth Marcus observes in her column today, based on what has happened in the past, these results don’t mean much in predicting future election outcomes.  As she says, predictions based on what happened in Virginia and New Jersey have “scant basis in reality.”

An AP report notes two important factors in the Virginia and New Jersey elections.  They highlight the first, that independents in both states split evenly between Obama and McCain last year, but this time they went two-to-one in both states for the Republican.  The second factor, briefly noted further down in the report, is maybe even more important in thinking about 2010:

In both states, the surveys also suggested the Democrats had difficulty turning out their base, including the large numbers of first-time minority and youth voters whom Obama attracted. The Virginia electorate was whiter in 2009 than it was in 2008, when blacks and Hispanics voted in droves to elect the country’s first black president.

As if all that weren’t bad enough for President Obama, the debate over health care in Congress is beginning to look like a bad soap opera that may not end this year, the energy bill may have no chance of being passed until after the 2010 elections, and the cancelled presidential runoff election in Afghanistan further complicates a strategy decision on the future of our ill-fated involvement in that war.

Another cloud in Obama’s life is the doubtful effect of the $787 billion stimulus bill from February (remember that one?).  To make it worse, stories keep surfacing about how some of that money has been spent.  Not surprising, given the nature of the folks in Congress who wrote the law.  A couple of reported examples of where your tax dollars are going:

– $300,000 for a GPS-equipped helicopter to hunt for radioactive rabbit droppings at the Hanford nuclear reservation in Washington state. …

– $11 million for Microsoft to build a bridge connecting its two headquarters campuses in Redmond, Wash., which are separated by a highway.

Warms my heart to know that my tax dollars are providing some relief to the poverty-stricken folks at Microsoft.

And now comes a very timely new show on ABC called “V” (actually a remake of an old show that I never saw, so it’s new to me).  Here’s what the Chicago Tribune says about it:

Imagine this. At a time of political turmoil, a charismatic, telegenic new leader arrives virtually out of nowhere. He offers a message of hope and reconciliation based on compromise and promises to marshal technology for a better future that will include universal health care.

The news media swoons in admiration — one simpering anchorman even shouts at a reporter who asks a tough question: “Why don’t you show some respect?!” The public is likewise smitten, except for a few nut cases who circulate batty rumors on the Internet about the leader’s origins and intentions. The leader, undismayed, offers assurances that are soothing, if also just a tiny bit condescending: “Embracing change is never easy.”

So, does that sound like anyone you know? Oh, wait — did I mention the leader is secretly a totalitarian space lizard who’s come here to eat us?

Good politics is good theater, and the show is getting better and better.  Problem is, it’s also getting harder to tell the difference between fact and fiction.


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5 Responses to “Kinky and Political Theater”



  1. Lisa |

    We Virginians are partying! Yea!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The bottom line, the people of VA and NJ are concerned about the economy and jobs and the president and congress are concerned about healthcare and increasing the debt.


  2. Tom |

    Deeds ran a terrible campaign in VA, and Corzine was very unpopular in NJ, and that may explain part of what happened. But it’s also pretty clear that the folks in both states were unhappy with their Democrats. I don’t know if this really indicates anything for 2010, but I’ll bet Democrats in Congress who are from states and districts that are less than solid are paying attention.


  3. Brianna |

    Tom – I hope they’re paying attention. I also hope this ends up being part of a widespread movement to oust incumbents nationwide. Personally I think it’s time the nation reminded Congress who really rules around here. It’s gotten to the point where pretty much every national-level politician on both sides should go unless they have consistent records of opposing the insane spending levels that have been occurring in the last year and a half.


  4. doris |

    Kinky is a complete idiot, not even one part missing. Lord help us if he wins, what a fool and yet some will vote for the freak. Sad situation for people to be so desperate for a savior they will run to a snake, lizard or a weirdo whose headquarters will probably be in Hooters. Remember the mess we are in began with Republicans, so I don’t think they are going to save us, but please, not Kinky. You just like his name,Tom.


  5. Tom |

    I agree that Congress (and the President) need to start listening better to what the people want. Their hearing is usually best on election day, and I don’t doubt that lots of them were paying attention on Tuesday.

    I’m beginning to think there should be term limits on members of Congress. The biggest argument against that is the idea that the people have a chance to limit terms every election day. But that just doesn’t seem to be working where Congress is concerned, what with the gerrymandered districts, huge incumbent fund-raising advantages, etc. I can’t help but think it would be better to have a Congress of citizen legislators who have other jobs and careers instead of the professional politicians who rule today. It couldn’t be any worse.

    Doris, you got me. I do love Kinky Friedman’s name! I don’t really want him to be elected governor, but I’d love to see him in the race, in the debates, and calling these suckers out in general.


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