Everyone hates Kinky

The Houston Press wrote a five page cover story on the Democratic Agriculture Commissioner candidate everyone loves to hate, Kinky Friedman. A former independent candidate for Governor, Kinky Friedman garnered 12% of the vote in a year (2006) when the Democratic candidate lost to Rick Perry by less than 10%. Ever since, Democrats have unfairly bullied and criticized the man at every turn. Never mind that this irrational animosity ignores the fact that a huge chunk of Friedman’s supporters came from people who would have supported either Perry or the other independent in the race if he had not run.

Four years later, in 2010, he ran for Agriculture Commissioner, but as a Democrat this time. The Democrats were not quick to forgive, and he was later decisively defeated in the primary by Hank Gilbert. While I believe Gilbert was ultimately better qualified to serve, he was absolutely shellacked by the Republican in the general election because he offered nothing to stand out from the crowd. Kinky Friedman does stand out from the crowd.

Now he is running for the same post a second time, and he is running with a very interesting niche issue: pot legalization. Now, one may think that the legalization of cannabis is a dangerously extreme position to take in Texas, but this simply is not true. 58% of Texans support full legalization, the same percentage as medicinal legalization.

But you would think this was the worst idea in the world if you simply read what Lon Burnam and Elliott Naishtat, both Democratic State Representatives, had to say on the matter in the Press article. Each Representative castigated Friedman both for being the wrong candidate for the job and for moving too quickly on pot legalization. Complacency must come easy to the Austin crowd.

Burnt Orange Report, another TPA Blog, describes Friedman as a “perennial candidate,” a dismissive label typically reserved for those who have unsuccessfully run for office a half-dozen times (or at the very least, five). Most liberal activists are openly rooting for another candidate to jump in and defeat Kinky in the primary. Thus far, their only success has been an individual named Jim Hogan, for which I have found no credible information on the internet.

To their credit, I have to empathize at least a little. Friedman has a history of being allegedly misogynistic and racist, though I would counter that actions speak much louder than asinine words. He has long been supportive of progressive causes, is unapologetically pro-choice and I strong supporter of Wendy Davis. Considering many political prognosticators (including myself) think the Democrats will go down in flames next year, I doubt this has much to do with being an opportunist. And given that the likely Republican choice for Agriculture Commissioner is someone who has tapped Ted Nugent as his campaign treasurer, Democrats shouldn’t be so picky.

If you want a candidate who is not bought-and-sold by corporations, who stands up for what he believes in and will fight for actually progressive principles, look no further than Friedman. Sure he has his baggage, but who among us is free from blemish? We could do a lot worse.

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One thought on “Everyone hates Kinky

  1. Pingback: Quotes About Texas | Dispensable Thoughts

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