2006.07.14: July 14, 2006: Headlines: Figures: COS - Malaysia: Writing - Malaysia: Humor: Election2006 - Friedman: Ether Zone: Sean Scallon writes: A Friedman Win could be the dawning of a new coalition

Peace Corps Online: Directory: Malaysia: Special Report: Author, Humorist and Malaysia RPCV Kinky Friedman: February 9, 2005: Index: PCOL Exclusive: RPCV Kinky Friedman (Malaysia) : 2006.07.14: July 14, 2006: Headlines: Figures: COS - Malaysia: Writing - Malaysia: Humor: Election2006 - Friedman: Ether Zone: Sean Scallon writes: A Friedman Win could be the dawning of a new coalition

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Sean Scallon writes: A Friedman Win could be the dawning of a new coalition

Sean Scallon writes: A Friedman Win could be the dawning of a new coalition

It wouldn't be all bad news for the Democrats if Kinky Friedman (RPCV Malaysia) won a victory in his quest for Governor of Texas as an independent candidate. They could find the seeds of a new governing coalition if they were smart enough to understand what it's all about.

When asked where he stood on the issue of homosexual marriage, Friedman responded with the line "Why not? They have the right to be as miserable as the rest of us." And yet when asked about his stand on prayer in school he said. "Why not, why should one atheist dictate something for everyone else? You know what they say about atheists when they die? 'All dressed up with no place to go.'"

It's these two seemingly contradictory statements that are at the heart of Friedman's campaign and the heart of a possible new coalition of voters. Simply put, it's "Do Your own Thing." Your town or state wants gay marriage? Fine then. Just don't make me recognize it if I don't want to. Your town wants prayer in school or the Ten Commandments on the courthouse wall? Fine then, too. It's your decision, not mine.


Sean Scallon writes: A Friedman Win could be the dawning of a new coalition

A FRIEDMAN WIN
COULD BE THE DAWNING OF A NEW COALITION

By: Sean Scallon

If you are an independent candidate running for public office, you know your campaign has the potential to win if a combination of three things happens: 1). You are well-known and charismatic; 2). You face a very unpopular incumbent and 3). One of the major parties is in rough shape.

Thus, for those reasons, does one Richard "Kinky" Friedman, find himself in the potential catbird seat in the upcoming Texas gubernatorial election. 1). Incumbent Republican Governor Rick Perry is unpopular, polling at 35%; 2). Friedman is well-known and charismatic and 3). The Texas Democratic Party is in horrible shape.

Friedman's now in second place in the polls. Yes, the man who once sung such classics as "They Ain't Making Jews like Jesus Anymore," and "I'm Proud to Be an Asshole from El Paso," and who once called the good citizens of his hometown of Kerrville, Texas "Kerrverts" could very well be the first independent governor of Texas since Sam Houston won as an indy in 1859. Given the fact that two of his advisers, Dean Barkley and Bill Hillsman, helped get the feather-boa wearing former professional wrestler Jesse "The Body" Ventura elected governor of Minnesota, then anything's possible.

The fact that Friedman and another independent candidate, State Comptroller Carole Keeton Strayhorn, in recent polls have captured 40% of the vote combined is just another example of how the once powerful Texas Democratic Party has been reduced to a shell. The Dems hold no statewide offices, no U.S. Senate seats, are a minority in the legislature and in the U.S. House delegation and outside big cities like Houston, Dallas, Austin, El Paso and San Antonio, barely exist. Their gubernatorial candidate, former Congressman Chris Bell, has only raised barely over $300,000 so far compared to Friedman's $1.15 million and many Democrat big shots in Texas aren't even supporting his campaign.

But it wouldn't be all bad news for the Democrats if Friedman won for in his victory they could find the seeds of a new governing coalition they could ride herd over if, and this is a big if, they were smart enough to understand what it's all about.

When asked where he stood on the issue of homosexual marriage, Friedman responded with the line "Why not? They have the right to be as miserable as the rest of us." And yet when asked about his stand on prayer in school he said. "Why not, why should one atheist dictate something for everyone else? You know what they say about atheists when they die? 'All dressed up with no place to go.'"

It's these two seemingly contradictory statements that are at the heart of Friedman's campaign and the heart of a possible new coalition of voters. Simply put, it's "Do Your own Thing." Your town or state wants gay marriage? Fine then. Just don't make me recognize it if I don't want to. Your town wants prayer in school or the Ten Commandments on the courthouse wall? Fine then, too. It's your decision, not mine.

All of this falls into line with Bill Kauffman's paleoconservative slogan "Let San Francisco be San Francisco and let Utah be Utah." For a public wearied of the seemingly endless Culture Wars and the polarization of U.S. society, such an attitude expressed by Friedman would, I think, be warmly welcomed and the basis of a new governing coalition. If conservatives can handle the fact that abortion will still exist even without Roe v. Wade, then there's no reason why liberals should go into an apoplexy if there happens to be just one little school district in one little town that allows for prayer before class. If such a truce could be called, could you not then combine locally empowered Democrats outside of D.C. and state capitols, along with Libertarians who may very well have shed the anarchic and unpalatable aspects of their party at their recent conventi on in Portland, along with just plain, old conservative boys and girls who are starting to have a hard time finding their place in a party of Baptists and county clubbers and the snot-nosed, bratty punks and asses who inhabit so much of the GOP and right-wing infrastructure from the punditry class to the office staffers who support a war they won't enlist to fight in? Could not the LP be a wing of the Democrats in districts that are demographically Republican?

It may very well be a long shot to put such groups together from a demographic standpoint, but Friedman could well be the one to do it. He seems to be the candidate the Democrats can only wish they had, someone who's just as comfortable in a roadhouse as he would be at a book reading with a quick wit and pleasant disposition. But more importantly, he seems to represent regular folks who are tired of being whipped up and used every two to four years by the major parties, consultants, special interest groups and other powers that be to work their rears off for campaigns that, even if successful, will never achieve the kind of society or policies they claim they want on a nationwide basis, never in a thousand years. If persons are willing to settle for their little corner of paradise in this big country of ours (and there's plenty of space to go around), then ultimately they'll support candidates who promise to create such spaces or at least let people be what they want to be without taking them to court. Of all the Democrats who are or are planning to run for President in 2008, only Sen. Russ Feingold (D-WI) has some grasp of this potential coalition (When asked if he supported homosexual marriage, Feingold said he wasn't opposed to it because "it doesn't hurt me." ). A Friedman win might alert others to it as well.

Contrary to popular opinion (popular on the left anyway) Texas is not a Talibanized state, at least not so long as Kinky Friedman is around to call it home. And he wants to make sure it stays that way along with end ing one-party rule. "I just want to get rid of the apathy," Friedman said, noting that only 36% of Texas voted in 2002. To most Texas voters, Chris Bell seems like just another politician and a weak one at that. Kinky comes across as authentic and honest and that's the only way and independent has a chance to beat the entrenched machine that the GOP has constructed in the Lone Star State. As one voter stated in a Time Magazine article during the last state-wide election in Texas from four years ago: "Unless you stand out or give people a reason to vote for you, people are going to vote the ways they've always voted." Or not even vote in that case. But just as Jesse Ventura was helped by a massive turnout of non-voters on election day, any increase well above 40% will help the Kinkster reserve a room in the governor's mansion. And perhaps help the Democrats find the majority governing coalition they've been searching for the past 35 years.


"Published originally at EtherZone.com : republication allowed with this notice and hyperlink intact."

Mail this article to a friend(s) in two clicks!

Sean Scallon is a freelance writer and newspaper reporter who lives in Arkansaw, Wisconsin. His work has appeared in Chronicles: A magazine of American Culture. His first-ever book: Beating the Powers that Be: Independent Political Movements and Parties of the Upper Midwest and their Relevance in Third-party Politics of Today is now out on sale from Publish America. Go to the their website at www.publishamerica.com to order a copy. He is a regular columnist for Ether Zone.

Sean Scallon can be reached at: pchsports@rivertowns.net

Published in the July 14, 2006 issue of Ether Zone.
Copyright © 1997 - 2006 Ether Zone.






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Story Source: Ether Zone

This story has been posted in the following forums: : Headlines; Figures; COS - Malaysia; Writing - Malaysia; Humor; Election2006 - Friedman

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By keven.proud (mail.monticelloacademy.net - 204.113.75.2) on Monday, May 14, 2007 - 2:06 pm: Edit Post

Utah state office of education not giving teaching experience for the two years served as a Peace Corps volunteer. I am really disappointed for the lack of recognition for the service rendered as a volunteer. I find it appalling that military is recognized for there service at every public event but as a Peace Corps volunteer you can not even get credit as a certified teacher in most states for the two years that an education volunteer has taught.


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