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Molly Ivins: Ring the Bell for a Texas Democrat

Posted on Oct 2, 2006

By Molly Ivins

AUSTIN, Texas—Chris Bell for governor! I know, I know, it’s stop the presses, Ivins favors Democrat! But the Kinky Friedman candidacy is worn thin and no fun. Besides, we actually have a good chance to get Rick Perry out of office. After six years in office, the Coiffure is at 35% approval. He gets another four years, I don’t think we’ll have a public school system left—he really does intend to destroy it, at far-right GOP donor Jim Leininger’s bidding, you know. We may never again get a chance to do our state such a great service. This could be the Alamo of elections.

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For those, like me, who believe in music and laughter in politics, Kinky Friedman appeared to be a natural—and besides, how hard can it be?

It turns out, a little harder than Kinky is willing to make an effort to go. In an excruciating interview with the Dallas Morning News, Friedman not only got about half his facts wrong (this is why we accuse Bush of misleading people), but also demonstrated that he does not understand school finance or taxes, nor does he have any intention of trying to do so.

I know this is coming third, but I also think Chris Bell is a good man—intelligent, knowledgeable and funny. You’d like him, honest. Although he would be a step down for us in the hair department.

One of the great mysteries of this race is why Carole Keeton Strayhorn has imploded almost as fast as Friedman. The only reason Friedman is still in the race is because of free media: Reporters were all so bored by the thought of another snoozer Republican victory, they fought to keep Friedman’s candidacy alive long past the point when it was clear that the Kinkster was in it entirely for ego and publicity. I still like the idea—maybe next time, we should get a funny, smart musician who cares enough to study up a little. Marcia Ball, anyone? Joe Ely?

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Strayhorn, normally a bulldog of a campaigner, does not seem to have persuaded many Republicans to her banner: She’s no Kay Bailey Hutchison. Since Republicans themselves are fed to teeth with Perry, aside from the right-wing Christian base, this looked to be a chance when they could reclaim their party, or at least redefine it some. Nope, no interest.

Bell is looking like a better bet because: (A) He has the Democratic base vote going for him, and (B) Perry is just so lame. As we start down the stretch, Bell is picking up on the outside, Perry is still at 35% after a year, Strayhorn is fading and Kinky stopped to poop on the track.

I’m all in favor of anti-political correctness—a great source of humor, it is. After using the N-word, Friedman claimed great comedians like him used such language. To belabor the obvious, Richard Pryor and Chris Rock are black—Kinky is not.

Take a line like, “As Jesus once said to the Mexicans, don’t do a thing till I get back.” A Chicano comedian with great timing could do it. It doesn’t work from Kinky Friedman. That’s why all his funniest stuff is about the weird existential dilemma of being a Texas Jew. Dropping the N-word into any sentence involving something black is just not funny. Unless it’s funny, you get no points for being anti-PC.

Right now, Bell’s biggest problem is perception. “Doesn’t have any money.” “Can’t raise money.” “Democrats can’t win.” Once you’ve lost to a clod like Perry, your confidence kind of slips and you think it can’t be done. Those who keep repeating these complaints about Chris Bell forget this is an entirely different race. Perry is running on a 35% approval rating and plans for 17 more coal-fired power plants. Not to mention seven special sessions and the Trans-Texas Corridor.

There was a bit of flap recently when Liz Smith claimed the late Ann Richards would have been in favor of Kinky for governor. Maybe Liz knew Ann better than I did. But I’d bet not. Listening to her memorial service, I was reminded how hard we fought and how tough it was. I thought of the slippage since she left office—blacks and browns left out again. All we have to do to win this is get Democrats to vote. Let’s make it a vote for Annie.

To find out more about Molly Ivins and see works by other Creators Syndicate writers or cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.


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By Scott, October 15, 2006 at 2:19 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I have voted independent in every election in the past decade, except when I found what I considered a moderate democrat. I can’t stand how much representation we have lost to these lobbyists in Austin. Austin needs to stop talking about taxing me and start getting these big companies to pay their share. It frustrates me to the core.

I refuse to throw my vote away on Kinky, this year I’m going straight democratic ticket.

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By david Hiles, October 10, 2006 at 11:11 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Another Mark White is not going to change things in Texas.  Kinky will shake it up.  Molly is wrong this time.

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By jackiesue, October 9, 2006 at 10:02 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

i watched the governor’s debate and it was like a 3-ring circus with 4 clowns…‘good hair’perry made my ass hurt, chris’im so bland i bore myself’bell,carole ‘i never met a political party i didn’t want to join for 3 weeks’strayhorn,and kinky’do’h 8 months ago i couldnt even spell politician now i are one’friedman…judas priest..we as texans should be ashamed of ourselves that these jackass’s are what we have to represent us..we deserver better..or do we..we have elected 2 republicans since annie that have done nothing but serve their best interests ...not the state of texas and her citizens…we need to take our state back from the money grubbers…which means a democrat worthy of the job..first get rid of perry then get a dem in their who cares about us first and not his pocket’s or his ‘buddies’ pocket’s…if we don’t we are ‘f*****..

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By Laura, October 9, 2006 at 7:35 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I am saying tentatively that I am for Chris Bell. I will look into it a bit more but Kinky has not left me feeling confident of the future. We need someone very educated about the facts, statistics, history and future. Kinky is funny and good hearted but that’s it.

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By concerned netizen, October 8, 2006 at 1:38 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I was watching the gubenatorial debate and when I first saw Carol Keeton-Rylander-Strayhorn, I couldn’t stop thinking “Man, I would really like to poop in her mouth”.  I usually don’t have scatterpheliac tendencies and maybe it was the 3 beers I drank, but then when Perry started speaking his nonsense, I though “I could poop in his mouth too”.  Metaphorically, maybe I am saying that our candidates are full of shit or maybe I think that they lave a bad taste in my mouth, but for hatever reason I kept thinking how disturbed I was at my own offensive thoughts.  My train of thought became more serious as I was ready for the candidates to actually address the issues.  Chris Bell had me rolling on the floor as he kept his confidence in this election with acountry accent worse than John Edwards.  He too, brings upon thoughts of oral defecation.  “Is it because he’s full of shit too?”, I thought to myself…“Or was his shit-eating grin?”, I ponder…  I dunno, but this election is fecal in nature and their is no denying it.

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By JohnHector, October 5, 2006 at 6:30 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

We love a wacko.  But sometimes it is time to get serious: about accessible health care; about free, quality public education; about protecting and preserving the environment; about financially responsible government; about fair employment opportunity; about ending state sponsored murder and mass murder.  I don’t think Kinky has the grey matter or the “I care” factor to get any of that done, or even stop things from getting worse.  RP and Stryhrn are shills for the elites.  Bell is actually a great man with ideas, forsight, and the compassion we need.  But if the win is going to happen we need to see him, on a statewide forum, confront the phonies.  Will that happen?  Or will we settle for the lowest denominator once again?  H

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By Lou, October 5, 2006 at 1:09 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I am all for Marcia Ball. A wonderful musician with a voice for the little people.  Check out her Ball Bearings on her website, http://www.marciaball.com

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By AlanSmithee, October 5, 2006 at 9:52 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Even for a democrat propaganda site like TruthDig, this is pathetic.  Molly has clearly lost what little relevance she ever had.  Being a shill for the dems is neither interesting nor newsworthy.  It’s just sad.

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By Neil Coleman, October 5, 2006 at 8:17 am Link to this comment
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Thank you for your insight regarding the govenor’s race.  Soon after Ann lost to Bush I had a sinking feeling about George’s agenda.  After Gore’s loss to Bush things seem to get worse.  Now is the time for all Democrats and Independents to put a stop to the onslaught of Republican control. We’ve had too many out of control “cowboys” in office already and don’t need to continue that by electing a “comic cowboy”. A vote for Kinky is a vote for Perry.  Time to wake up Texas!

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By Chuck Garner, October 5, 2006 at 5:43 am Link to this comment
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Thanks Molly, and all the commentators for helping the rest of us to see the true kinkster.
  Let’s hope that Chris Bell will help Texas get out of the “Thank God for Mississippi club”.

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By Mad As Hell, October 4, 2006 at 8:56 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

What is about Texas? The LoneStar seems to produce the loopiest politicians—and that’s saying something coming from New Jersey!

Even the sky-pilots from California seem to make more sense than the Texas pols!

Sure, there was Ann Richards—smart, funny, COMPETENT—so they threw her out to elect George Bush, who promptly emptied the billion dollar Univ. of Texas trust fund to give to his friends. Who presided over the disintegration of the school system. Who presided over 125 executions.  And got re-elected!

Here in Joisey, we just have corrupt pols.  Only Jim McSleezy can rival Texas nuttiness.

Sure, Floriduh has Mark Foley and Katherine Hughes, but even Floriduh got the younger, taller, better-looking and SMARTER Bush.

Maybe we need a Constitutional Amendment barring Texans from holding national office until they pass a stringent SANITY test (Mad King George would NEVER have passed that!)

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By Dudeson, October 4, 2006 at 7:43 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

OK, lets get behind Bell, We sure don’t need more of perry.

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By David Barton, October 4, 2006 at 2:35 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

When viewed from the other side of the Atlantic Ocean, Kinky looked pretty good. Then I got plopped down in Texas and exposed to what the Kinkster actually had to say on issues. Abortion? Troups to the border? Immigration? The man is a political moron and I could vote for him even if he were running as a democrat. I don’t think I’ll enjoy working for and voting for Chris Bell, I damn sure would rather have him than any of the other candidates running for weak-governor in Texas.

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By jackie, October 4, 2006 at 10:40 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

when kinky first came out I was all for him..went to see him at the heart of texas in waco, texas…after listening to him not make a stand on anything and shoot off funny remarks at every question..I finally told him…‘It doesn’t matter if your heart is in the right place…if your head is up your ass.’...he laughed…but I was dead serious…I continued to belive that he would adventually quit making this a 4-circus act but he never has…then I remembered a joke he told in Austin at Bull Creek on Lake Austin.it was a joke that used the n-word..and made fun of ‘big lips’..what was really un-funny was that there were blacks in the kitchen who had to hear it and that has always bothered me..mainly because I didn’t get up and leave..but stayed for the music.Well, this time I am leaving before the music….I will vote for Bell….(PS..does anyone know how to get bumper stickers off my truck?)

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By Texas Al, October 4, 2006 at 8:15 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Kinky Friedman is all things to all men.  When asked about his religion, he answered he’s Judeo-Christian.  Prays sometime, but doesn’t go to church or synagogue.  His bumper stickers have a Star of David.  His platform is reactionary and he’s fibbing.

Well, George Washington couldn’t tell a lie.  Richard Nixon couldn’t tell the truth and Kinky can’t tell the difference.  I’ll vote for Chris Bell, thank you.

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By Texas Al, October 4, 2006 at 8:11 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Kinky Friedman is all things to all men.  When asked about his religion, he answered he’s Judeo-Christian, whatever that is.  Prays sometime, but doesn’t go to church or synagogue.  His bumper stickers have a Star of David.  His platform is reactionary and he’s fibbing.

Well, George Washington couldn’t tell a lie.  Richard Nixon couldn’t tell the truth and Kinky can’t tell the difference.  I’ll vote for Chris Bell, thank you.

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By blank, October 4, 2006 at 5:48 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

anon, You didn’t really need to enumerate past item (1).

(1) Kinky voted for Bush

Though you should mention this vote was in 2004, not 2000, just to be clear.  If anyone honestly believes that Kinky has any inclination for progressive reform after voting for Bush in 2004, then I’ve got a 3-for-1 bridge sale for you.

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By leo, October 4, 2006 at 4:45 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

How many times can you say ‘35%’ in on article?

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By chase henderson, October 4, 2006 at 4:40 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

daddy always said “take a texas democrat & put them in any other state and they’d become a republican.  take a texas republican and put them in any other state & they’s become a nazi.”

what does that leave us?

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By Sharron Zeisman, October 3, 2006 at 10:32 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

What if all the smart, intelligent,bright,passionate,and concerned Texans voted and Chris Bell won? They would still tell us Perry won, at least this has been a feeling of mine for the last 5 years! I will vote, fight for the Dems, but with NO PAPER TRAIL, whom would you trust????!!!! It is enough to really make one sick! NOTHING could be worse for this country than this non democratic and secretive plot against the American people called Bush/Cheney/Rove/ Saudi’s?

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By J Marra, October 3, 2006 at 9:07 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Kinky brings Howard Stern energy into politics, which isn’t at all what I think the practice of politics needs these days . . .

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By lw, October 3, 2006 at 5:03 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Perry’s lame? Maybe, but Chris Bell is the biggest weasel on the planet. I can’t wait-Bell can hold the big “L” above his forehead one more time. Looosser!!!!

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By Matt Davis, October 3, 2006 at 3:39 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I feel deflated. I had a bunch of enthusiasm for the idea of Kinky taking the governors job away from Perry-winkle.

Honestly I still feel, even after reading what you have to say, Molly, that EITHER Bell or Friedman would be a few degrees of evolution above what we have. My worry is that I’ll swing my vote in behind a dead horse. If only Kinky could be convinced to throw his support to Bell?

Supporting Kinky is a guilty pleasure I guess. I imagine my dad, Carl, would have LOVED the idea of Kinky for governor… and that’s one of the reasons I supported him when he got started with this. But in the end, pop was also practical…. and would probably have agreed with you Molly. Along with Anne.

Well, damn, this sucks. Now I have to consider the salad and try to convince myself to skip the chocolate cake.

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By anon, October 3, 2006 at 3:13 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Great post.  Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

I have a friend who keeps telling me that Ivins endorsed Friedman and that Ann Richards endorsed Friedman and kept telling myself that I just couldn’t believe it after

(1) Kinky voted for Bush
(2) Kinky said Bush was an “honorable cowboy”
(3) Kinky said Bush was doing a good job in Iraq
(4) Kinky lied about voting for Al Gore
(5) Kinky lied about voting for Ann
(6) Kinky said he’d sign legislation completely outlawing abortion if Roe v. Wade is overturned
(7) Kinky wants prayer in school
(8) Kinky has endorsed the Minutemen border vigilantes and
(9) Kinky has made all those racially offensive comments.

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By Jan Schultz, October 3, 2006 at 11:31 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Thanks, Ann would be proud of you!

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