Thursday, September 14, 2006
At the risk of incurring more comments from the pro and anti Kinky Friedman corners of the blogoverse, I would like to take a minute to look at his strategy.

He has no money. Strayhorn has 10 million dollars, Perry has probably twice that, and Chris Bell probably has...something...

So he can't blanket Texas with TV ads, although he has a few running at the moment, and he can't mail 100 pieces of mail to everyone in the state.

But he can talk.

And he talks a lot.

Kinky is the King of Earned Media. Everytime he opens his mouth, whether to say something intelligent or just plain dumb, there are a dozen reporters there to jot it down. My Google Alert for him pulls down at least 15 articles a day; most of them are from across Texas, and I do mean across Texas, everywhere from El Paso to Lubbock to Laredo to Houston and back again. But he also pops up in California, DC, Oregon, Michigan---France, UK, Malaysia (it's true), the list goes on.

People hearing about him could be much better for him then people actually seeing or hearing him.

For example: This recent article,
This appeared in the Fort Worth Star Telegram, but was on the AP wire so will blanket the state and beyond.

Let's pull out some vintage Kinkyisms:
(This is the first line of the article)

Independent gubernatorial candidate Kinky Friedman said Wednesday he favored legalizing marijuana to keep nonviolent users out of prison and said he would push to release those already in prison for the offense to free prison space for more violent criminals.

"I think that's long overdue,....We've pretty well lost the war on drugs doing it the way we're doing it. Drugs are more available and cheaper than ever before. What we're doing is not working."

(I think he's right, and if everyone who actually did drugs would just stand up and admit it, then marijuana would be legal about 30 minutes later. But who would say that?)

He said one of the first calls he'd make as governor would be to Robert Muhammad, head of the Nation of Islam in Houston, who he said "the Lord put in my path at the Austin airport earlier this year."

"He's a very visionary man," Friedman said. "You would think we're at opposite poles, but we're not. That's the guy I would tap. I would tap him to help us get those gangsters and thugs and crackheads out of [Houston].

(So Kinky said Houston was full of "crackheads" who had to evacuate Louisiana last year and who were causing Houston's crime rate to go up. People got freaked out and his first response was: I can call them crackheads because I used to be a cokehead, I sympathize. And now he wants to talk to the head of NOI in Houston. How do you respond to that? Have you pissed anyone off? Or have you pissed off so many people that it balances out?)

"I don't mind being called a flip-flopper," he said, a description Perry's campaign has placed on him. "I think we actually could use a flip-flopper as governor because a flip-flopper is a human being open to change, and God knows change is what we need now. We don't need a guy who is driving this train into a ditch because he stayed the course. And I mean the governor."

(Why couldn't John Kerry have said this, just once!)

He also said he would use one of the governor's few powerful roles in appointing state board members to replace as many as he could...."You clean house," he said. "You get the old farts out of there. You put a bunch of young people in and you put a bunch of people who care about Texas. It's pretty simple."

(Hard to argue with.)

On the death penalty, he said he would more carefully look at capital cases approaching execution and suggested he would be more liberal in using the governor's authority to grant a one-time 30-day reprieve to condemned killers.

"I would be careful killing a guy," he said. "I think there are people who need to die, but the question I've asked mostly is: When was the last time we've executed a rich man in Texas?

"We're working with a very imperfect system and I think we've made mistakes. I would not say if it was good enough for the jury, it's good enough for me. I'm not Susan Sarandon. I don't think every murderer is innocent. I would take these case by case."

That's what he does so well; if a "Democrat" said we should take a close look at death penalty cases the Republicans would label them as soft on crime. But Kinky just states it plainly and phrases it in such a natural way that it seems like the only thing to do.

Sometimes he says really stupid things, the "crackhead" line was probably too far, but so much of what he says walks a line that very few candidates even try to walk. He's just being himself, but he's also discussing very serious issues.

I think Democrats should take note...

(oh, and by the way, Kinky is also up for the Thurber Prize for Humor Writing. Past winners include Jon Stewart, David Sedaris and Christopher Buckley. Just thought you should know.)

I like your blog. Will you start writing it again next year?
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