Texas gubenatorial candidate Kinky Friedman visited the Texas A&M University campus last Wednesday afternoon. I've been loosely following Kinky's candidacy since he announced last year, and specifically didn't vote in the primary elections so that I could sign his petition to be placed on the ballot (though I never got a chance to actually sign on), more because I am convinced that the two-party system is broken than his merits as a candidate. In fact, I continued to hear rumblings into late summer that Kinky's run was a huge joke.
Joke or not, I'd been impressed with Kinky's no-nonsense answers to most questions, but hadn't made a decision to support him until Chris Bell's campaign sent a message targeted to Kinky supporters telling them to not waste their votes.
More recently, however, Kinky has been in the news for his indelicate references to race. His campaign released a damage control statement in response to the "Negro talking to himself" comment, but refused to back off of Kinky's lumping all Katrina refugees together as criminals until very recently (a quick search of his site only shows these comments in footnotes...looks as though Kinky's position statements on the issue have disappeared). During his visit to TAMU, Kinky made a joke that it didn't seem to be a fair trade that Louisiana arrested Willie Nelson in exchange for our taking in all of their criminals. Kinky did refer to the Katrina crime issue during the recent sham of a gubenatorial debate. In the debate, Kinky also defended his use of the word "Negro" as endearing by noting that he was raised by a black woman. As much as I can understand generational differences, I am still uncomfortable with his brazen indifference to the lingering specter of racial power difference. Perhaps it's just part of his non-politico schtick.
Kinky's comment in support of his non-politico status during his visit at TAMU just didn't ring true. He mentioned that the difference between himself and Perry is that he knows the diner waitress' name (apparently indicating that he is a man of the people, someone who understands local needs). Apparently this didn't apply to the rule of uncovering in the MSC out of the respect for Aggies who have died in combat (yes, I did ask him through his manager).
The bottom line is that while I did give financial support to Kinky's campaign early on, I'm not sure that I will vote for him...though I do think we need to knock out the two-party monopoly of our political system. And I'm certainly not going to campaign for him.
I did enjoy listening to Jesse Ventura..I think I could support his candidacy...