Some Were Dying, Some Were Weeping, Some Were Studying, Some Were Sleeping, Some Were Shouting "Texas #1!"


Ex-Congressman Martin Frost of Dallas wishes the media wouldn't pay so much attention to the gubernatorial campaign of Kinky Friedman, the cult country singer turned mystery novelist. "Much of the national press is treating Kinky as the second coming of Jesse Ventura, the former professional wrestler who was elected governor of Minnesota as an Independent a few years ago," he writes at "Nothing could be farther from the truth. All polls in Texas have consistently shown Kinky running fourth in a four-person race."

That is true only if "all polls" does not include SurveyUSA, which currently has Kinky running second. (Granted, the margin of error is big enough to push him back down to fourth.) At any rate, Frost argues that Friedman's support boils down to a batch of Austin liberals and a contingent of "rural voters who are down on everyone currently in government." In other words, the candidate has reassembled the grand coalition of urban ironists and back-country militiamen who made the '90s so interesting. That's reason enough for me to back the man—though as it happens, I have three other reasons as well:

1. I support any offbeat celebrity running on a third-party ticket, regardless of platform.

2. Friedman once rhymed "Baruch atah Adonai" with "What the hell you doin' back there, boy?" That's worth at least five votes right there.

3. My brother once bought me Kinky's book Blast from the Past and stood in line so the author could sign it for me. He wrote:

Dear Jesse–
Any brother of Andrew is a brother of mine!

I never finished the book—I prefer Friedman's songs to his novels—but that's the funniest inscription I've ever seen.

Frost may well be right about Brother Kinky's chances, but he's wrong to attribute reporters' fascination with Friedman to a habit of treating Texas like "some erratic third-world nation." They just like to write about an entertaining guy who keeps spouting funny one-liners; if John Waters was running for governor of Maryland, they wouldn't treat the Free State any differently. Either way, Frost's defense of Texas' honor isn't doing his state any favors:

The remarkable thing about the national media's blind spot about Texas politics is that so many nationally prominent politicians have come from Texas during the last 50 years. During that time, three U.S. presidents have been Texans: Lyndon Johnson, George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush; two U.S. vice presidents have been Texans: Johnson and Bush Sr.; Texans have served as speaker of the U.S. House: Sam Rayburn and Jim Wright; three Texans have served as majority leader of U.S. House: Wright, Dick Armey and Tom DeLay; one Texan has served as chairman of the Democratic National Committee: Bob Strauss.

Many nationally prominent television journalists have also come from Texas: CBS's Walter Cronkite (University of Texas), Dan Rather (Houston) and Bob Schieffer (Ft. Worth); ABC's Sam Donaldson (El Paso) and PBS's Jim Lehrer (San Antonio and Dallas).

LBJ? Tom DeLay? Are you trying to make your state look bad? I'd take Kinky Friedman over all those schmoes put together. He's an heir to the other great Lone Star political tradition: the one that elected Pappy O'Daniel.

Finally, I'm not sure what to make of this passage:

Kinky is exactly the kind of candidate for whom my 26-year-old daughter–who is single [and] socially liberal and has read all his books–would vote. There is only one problem. She lives in Santa Fe, N.M., and is not registered to vote in Texas. There are a lot of out-of-staters who would vote for Kinky if they only could.

Oh, I understand the point that Frost is making. I just don't know why he threw in the bit about his daughter being single. You think you're reading a political column, and suddenly you're in the middle of a personals ad. SWF. Liberal. Kinky Friedman fan. No smokers. She's only 26, Dad. You don't need to rush things.

NEXT: Why the Close Elections?

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  1. C’mon, politics is Serious Business. We can’t have any interesting, offbeat folks running for office.

  2. I may be out of state now, but my driver’s license doesn’t expire for another year and I’m registered to vote in Harris County, so you can be goddamned sure I’m giving Kinky another 0.0001% of the vote.

    The truth is, politicians are becoming more and more afraid of Kinky, because he might just try what his campaign says, and hire people that actually know what they’re doing. Imagine that, no political cronies, people hired on merit. If he gets in and it works, the people of Texas might just conclude that its the right way to go. And that in reality is a tragedy that no politician could stand.

  3. “The Kinster never says ‘fuck’ in front of a c-h-i-l-d”

  4. “Much of the national press is treating Kinky as the second coming of Jesse Ventura, the former professional wrestler who was elected governor of Minnesota as an Independent a few years ago,”

    It’s about fuckin’ time. I might even move down there if he wins.

  5. That’s Kinkster.

    If the Jewboy ran for president with Tom Robbins as VP, tell me this country wouldn’t be a better place.

  6. The thing I like about Kinky is he makes conservatives annoyed and democratics flabbergasted. Yes, I know most of his platforms are platitudes to appeal to his populist message, but he seems committed to restoring a sanity to the government, or atleast driving everyone in Austin insane, keeping with the town’s motto “Keep Austin Weird”

  7. I am not sure anyone knows Kinky wants to do. I am not even sure Kinky does. I have had it with the Texas Republican party over their refusal to disavow the undercover arrest drunks at bar program.

    If Kinky is an Austin liberal, he will, if given the opportunity, fuck up the entire state with nanystate regulations and taxes. It is difficult to imagine a more narrowminded, economically ignorent and dogmatic group than Austin liberals. They make the KOS Brigade seem enlightened by comparision.

  8. All valid reasons for support, Jesse.

    However, his platform leaves plenty of room for skepticism from libertarians…more State funding for public schools, closing the border, more “animal rights” laws, and no mention of reductions in spending. On the other hand, he supports gay marriage because “they should have the right to be as miserable as the rest of us”, casino gambling (to pay for education spending increases), a general respect for individual freedoms, and is an honest and charismatic guy (so far at least).

    Overall, I suppose the balance tips his way for me (Austin libertarian)….at least enough for my wife and I to give him a few hundred bucks. His campaign slogan is appropriately “Why the hell not?” Indeed, why not?

  9. John,

    I’m not sure what you’re trying to say, but I don’t believe Kinky plans to socialize Texas. I think he just wants to have fun and possibly make Texans happier.

    Remember how the government found a surplus of property tax money. His first reaction was “hey, apparently we had more money than we needed, how about we refund it to those that paid” Doesn’t sound Austin liberalish to me.

  10. This blatant anti-semitism on the part of the ex-Congressman is made even worse by the fact that Martin Frost is Jewish. Goddammit, when will the Jew-on-Jew violence finally cease?

    Speaking of Jew-on-Jew, as a single 27 year old male of the Jewish persuasion, I will gladly fuck Representative Frost’s daughter, sight unseen. I’m a big man that way.

  11. I live in Montgomery County, TX, myself. I’m drawing a blank on why any libertarian would be interested in this campaign. Because he’s amusing? So are Pat Buchanan and James Carville, but I wouldn’t vote for either.

    Really, all you have to be is entertaining and you can sneak a closed-borders, free-spending guy into peoples’ hearts, here? 🙂

  12. “2. Friedman once rhymed “Baruch atah Adonai” with “What the hell you doin’ back there, boy?” That’s worth at least five votes right there.”

    That may be, but I doubt he ever penned:

    The legend lives on,
    From the Chippawa on down,
    To the big lake,
    They call Gitche Gumee.

    Superior, I said,
    At her offer of head,
    So all through the night,
    The bitch, she blew me.

  13. Texas elections are becoming fun.I loved helping kick Martin Frost to the curb in the last election. In the governor’s race we have the Adios Mofo Aggie Cheerleader, 1 Tough Texas Grandma, and the Texas Jewboy.

  14. I’m curious to see a better choice Eric.

    And because he’s for increasing teacher’s salaries, he’s free spending?

    Yes, I know he’s an unknown, but when the knowns are not appealing at all, why not take a chance. Hell, you know Texas is already screwed up in spending and civil liberties, what harm will he do?

  15. I’m curious to see a better choice Eric.

    Likewise, but why glom onto a second-tier stunt candidate who doesn’t represent what I want? It’s not idealistic voting, it’s not pragmatic voting, it’s not tactical voting – it’s just celebrity-worship.

    Hell, I’d be better off voting for whatever loon the Texas LP puts up. At least I’d have a ghost of a reason for doing so.

  16. I predict Kinky will win. I base this prediction on my proven ability to get celebrity governors elected. I lived in Minnesota and Jesse Ventura got elected; I moved to California and Schwartzenegger got elected; I moved to Texas last year and Kinky Friedman jumps into the race. The writing is on the wall, folks.

    Jesse sucked, by the way. He talked a good game, but when his grand plans of unicameral government and a third-party revolution didn’t turn out (surprise!), he got this it’s-my-ball-and-I’m-going-home attitude and spent the rest of his time taking sullen potshots at the press and Garrison Keillor.

    Wait, what am I saying? That was awesome! Anybody who could piss Garrison Keillor off like he did couldn’t be too bad.

  17. “It’s not idealistic voting, it’s not pragmatic voting, it’s not tactical voting – it’s just celebrity-worship”

    That about hits the nail on the head. Look at it this way, if Kinky Friedman were exactly the same person except that his talent, rather than in music, was being a great auto mechanic, and he ran the exact same campaign, would his campaign generate its own thread on Hit and Run? I didn’t think so.

  18. And how is a talent in music different than a talent in speaking? What qualities do any of the other candidates possess that makes them infinitely more qualified.

    I’ll be honest, if a lifetime civil engineer or economist ran for government on straightforward platforms that play to their strengths, I’d vote for them. They have the knowledge and expertise to execute their so called objectives and atleast something positive gets done. When another bored lawyer-millionaire or professional politician runs, I ask you, what strengths do they possess other then the ability to get themselves elected? In my opinion, a celebrity like Kinky (who is not exactly hollywood A-list, is he?) feels like he can do the job and lists a few objectives that I agree with, I’ll vote for him if the other candidates don’t offer anything that I want.

    Some people want to vote for politicians because they feel those are the only people that can run government, when really all you need is a good attitude and professional bureaucrats to handle the day to day stuff.

    See, its really not that hard, so Kinky, “why the hell not?”

  19. Kinky’s great virtue, from a libertarian standpoint, is that if he’s elected he’ll essentially be a cheerful version of late-governorship-Ventura. That is, politically ineffectual but highly entertaining for the entire country. Texas should suck it up and elect him on our behalf.

    A bonus for Texas: the legislature will have nothing to do with him, so his anti-libertarian measures will go nowhere. As will his pro-libertarian ones, if any.

    Negating that bonus: the governor of Texas is already neutered by the state Constitution, and possibly by political tradition.

  20. Eric, if he doesn’t represent what you want, vote for whatever loon the Texas LP puts up. Thats fine. I’ve looked at what Kinky proposes and it makes sense to me. Yes, I don’t think he’ll accomplish most of it, seeing as the governer can’t legislate, but atleast he’s got the right idea, one that I agree with. Even if he can’t accomplish his goals, maybe atleast he can stifle the rediculous attempts by the legislature to rule over our lives intimately

    So you see, I’m very pragmatic when it comes to voting for him. Yes, he’s got a good personality, which gives me more confidence that voting for him isn’t throwing my vote away with all the other

  21. damn these server squirrels, it cut off half my post, arrrgh

  22. The last poll of Texas I saw on had Kinky in second place, ahead of the Democrat and the other “independent.” But a lot of people probably told pollsters they would vote for Kinky as a joke, since his campaign appears to be a joke. Look at his website for confirmation.

    Humor does have a place in politics, but Kinky does not appear to have the substance to back it up. The Libertarian Party has put up software saleman Jim Werner for Governor – for info go to

  23. unfortunately the Texas LP is a joke too, but nobody gets it.

    Maybe Kinky is a joke and maybe it’ll be 4 more years of Perry ,cause strayhorn and bell don’t have a snowflakes chance in hell (or Houston), but atleast I’ll vote for someone more charisma than a box of raisin bran who might be a way to throw a wrench in the gears of the money conveyer to the Austin black hole.

    And cuban cigars for everyone.

  24. I intend to vote for Kinky principally because I have an actual direct connection to him. I used to work for his old college roommate, and his sister is a good friend of mine, and Marcie will be his official hostess if he wins. (I work across the street from the Governor’s Mansion and relish the idea of telling my coworkers, “I’m going across the street for lunch.”)

    Actually, Marcie would have by a huge margin the best resume ever for Texas government. She used to be the highest official for the American Red Cross in Vietnam back until 2003, and for a few of those years actually was the highest ranking American in the country. She directed Red Cross relief for Hurricane Iniki in HI, for Mitch in Honduras, and worked for eight months in Guantanamo Bay, when it was only used for Cuban and Haitian refugees. I can’t say enough good about her.

    And as for the campaign being a joke, well, is he any worse than the guy who tried to ban sexy pom-pom routines?

    Oh, the lyrics titling this section are from “The Ballad of Charles Whitman,” who you all can read about today on the News 8 Austin website. My favorite rhyme is this one:

    “If there’s one thing I can’t stand, it’s an ethnocentric racist.

    You take back that thing you said about Aristotle Onassis.”

    No, I won’t post the name of the song. I’ll get banned forever.

  25. Karen, you mean “The ***hole from El Paso”?

  26. L.I.T., the one I quoted is “They Ain’t A Making Jews Like Jesus Anymore,” which, really, I guess, sorta, maybe if you squint and look sideways, isn’t that bad. Also, you have to pronounce the Greek shipping magnate’s last name “Oh-NAY-sis” to get the rhyme.

    “A**h*** from El Paso” would probably be good now, since it has the great line about “where the wetbacks still get $0.50 cents an hour.”

    And yes, I know W—A—-Y too many Kinky lyrics.

    It occurs to me while I write this that I probably met Martin Frost’s daughter once. I believe she went to Echo Hill, the summer camp owned by Kinky’s father. Doc bought the camp because none of the existing ones permitted Jewish kids to go during the 50’s so he bought a defunct dude ranch and operated it as a summer camp for anyone. It quickly became principally Jewish, but really was non-sectarian. My husband and I taught craft classes for three or four summers out there. (He had taught birdhouse building and I taught cookie decorating and herb crafts. Not that kind, these were 10 year olds) Anyway, I’m pretty sure Congressman Frost’s little girl was a counselor when I was there. If she’s the one I remember, I’m quite surprised she’s not married already.

    Okay, that’s enough of me bragging. I’ll tell jokes tomorrow or something.

  27. No, L-I-T, that’s from They Ain’t Makin’ Jews Like Jesus Anymore.

    Truer words…

  28. I’m planning on moving to Texas just so I can vote for Kinky. Right after I move to Colorado so I can vote for whoever is running against Tom Tancredo…

  29. It’s cool with me, Karen. I always like hearing about people’s brushes with folks you normally only hear about on tv, or maybe see from afar, who have some notariety.

    I think most of us have those kinds of stories, and I think they’re fun.

    I love the song title (…Jews Like Jesus…)!

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