Kinky Friedman for Texas Agriculture Commissioner

One of my personal heroes, Kinky Friedman, appears poised to win the Democratic nomination to be the party’s candidate for Texas Agriculture Commissioner.  According to today’s Wall Street Journal, Friedman knocked out the party establishment’s candidate and is facing a run-off against a little-known cattle rancher who has no plans to raise money or campaign for the office.  Kinky’s prospects in the general election may be weak, but it looks like he has a good shot at the nomination.  And Texas Agriculture Commissioner is no small job.  The WSJ describes it as “a powerful position that oversees an agency with 700 employees and a $550 million annual budget.”

Kinky’s likely nomination warrants national news coverage for two reasons.  First and foremost, he’s a very atypical political candidate.  He’s primarily known as a musician, comedian, and general rascal.  According to Wikipedia, his band,  Kinky Friedman and The Texas Jewboys, “toured with Bob Dylan in 1975-6. His repertoire mixed social commentary (“We Reserve the Right to Refuse Service to You”) and maudlin ballads (“Western Union Wire”) with raucous humor (such as “Get Your Biscuits in the Oven and Your Buns in Bed”). His “Ride ‘Em Jewboy” was an extended tribute to the victims of the Holocaust. One of his most famous numbers is “They Ain’t Makin’ Jews Like Jesus Anymore,” a song in which Kinky verbally and physically beats up a drunken white racist who berates blacks, Jews, Greeks, and Sigma Nus in a bar.”

His political views are also eccentric.  Again, according to Wikipedia: “On capital punishment, he previously summed up his position, ‘I am not anti-death penalty, but I’m damn sure anti-the-wrong-guy-getting-executed…. The system is not perfect. Until it’s perfect, let’s do away with the death penalty.'”  On gay marriage: “I support gay marriage. I believe they have a right to be as miserable as the rest of us.”  And: “According to Cigar Aficionado magazine, Friedman plans to roll back ‘any and all smoking bans’ if elected. One of his favorite quotes comes from Mark Twain: ‘If smoking is not allowed in heaven, I shall not go.’ Friedman supports the decriminalization of marijuana, though he doesn’t advocate making its sale legal. ‘I’m not talking about like Amsterdam,’ he noted, ‘We’ve got to clear some of the room out of the prisons so we can put the bad guys in there, like the pedophiles and the politicians.'”

But beneath Kinky’s politically incorrect music and public pronouncements is a serious agenda.  Watch the video above and you’ll learn that Kinky was an early Peace Corps volunteer in Indonesia.  And he’s concerned about President Obama’s lack of leadership in the Middle East and failure to connect with the “common man.”  He admires Winston Churchill and Harry Truman.  He’s a champion of the little guy.  Sure, his ideas are not carefully crafted, but that’s the point.  He’s a Jewish cowboy who pokes fun at everyone, including himself.

The second reason Kinky’s likely nomination is making news is that it’s posing problems for other Democratic candidates in Texas who had hoped to present a unified front in the coming general election.  How will they handle a candidate who has used campaign slogans such as “How Hard Could It Be?” and “Why The Hell Not?”

At the very least it will be very entertaining.  And if you’d like some entertainment in the meantime, enjoy this live performance from Ireland of Kinky Friedman and The Texas Jewboys performing “They Ain’t Makin’ Jews Like Jesus Anymore.”  Remember, he’s joking, but he’s also making a serious attack on racism.

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4 Responses to Kinky Friedman for Texas Agriculture Commissioner

  1. Connie Sadowski says:

    Nice, thank you Jay!

  2. Greg Forster says:

    It’s tragic this man has been denied The Al for so long. He’s clearly running for public office solely to prove something to the award committee. They should hang their heads in shame.

  3. rbatrice says:

    Kinky supports both decriminalization and legalization. He fully stands behind lifting the prohibition of both pot AND hemp. Thank you for the write-up, and we will work on removing the inaccuracies on Wikipedia!

  4. Jason Bedrick says:

    If you like Kinky, you’ll like Vermin Supreme.

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