Just when you’d filed him under Also-ran or Publicity Hound, Texas troubadour, novelist, and 2006 gubernatorial candidate Kinky Friedman is back, loaded for bear, and aiming for the pink dome. His latest zinger-driven treatise is accompanied by the news that he’s contemplating a second run for the Texas capitol, this time as a Dem.
Let’s talk about the substance issue. Were you frustrated with the way your campaign went and is there something you’d do differently next time around besides putting a D by your name?
I wouldn’t run as an independent again, and part of the reason is that the media is so lazy and they’re into such “gotcha” politics. They seem to give Perry a complete pass ... they still haven’t used any media zeal to investigate anything about Rick Perry and the toll roads.
I mean you’ve got a man who hasn’t worked in the `private` sector since he graduated college in ’71; he’s been in public service. And I’m not picking on Rick, it’s true of a lot of our elected leadership. These people, it’s time for them to go, and as long as they’re in power here, the real issues of the day won’t be addressed. I mean, you saw it with the immigration debate in Washington, didn’t you, real clearly?
You and I, even if we disagree, could resolve that issue pretty simply. We know what has to be done, and we know that the border’s got to be secure, and we’ve got to be humane to 11 million people, many of whom are working very hard in this country.
We’ve got Kay Bailey Hutchison actually offering an amendment to the bill that we deport the 11 million people to their countries of origin, get their wrists stamped, and then they come back. She’s actually doing this with a straight face. And these guys, these are the same people that couldn’t even evacuate New Orleans.
What are your feelings on the larger economic issues at work? NAFTA may be part of the problem, CAFTA may be part of the problem — that’s just gonna continue to drive people this direction.
I agree, the governor does very well with foreign governments — with the Mexican government, with the Europeans — he just doesn’t relate well to the people of Texas, he’s not representing us very well. Which is not unusual. This man looks like a governor just like Warren G. Harding looked like a president. And that’s one of the reasons he won; that and a hell of a lot of money.
When you say he does well with foreign governments, you’re saying he’s interested in the bigger economic deals that put money in his or his supporters’ pockets, but he doesn’t care what the dynamics are on the ground.
That’s right. The two border-patrol agents that are serving 12 years in solitary confinement right now, Compean and Ramos — pardoning those people would go a long way toward giving people a little encouragement, instead of making the situation we now have, where law enforcement is afraid to approach anybody near the border — they’re just afraid, hands off, oh my God — that’s the message that’s been sent: We’re not gonna protect our border.
It seems to me that’s a very difficult position running as a Democrat. You’ve got the Latino vote, and immigration is so hot-button.
Well, most of the Latinos I’ve talked to and most of the ones who are here who are Texas citizens agree with me on this. They’re losing jobs; César Chávez was against these waves of illegal immigration coming over — he thought that would be the end of quality of life for the Hispanics who are here, and he wasn’t wrong. This is not the Statue of Liberty talking here, this is the Alamo talking. This is just something we need to do if we’re going to be a state. We can’t wait for the cavalry to come bail us out. The other situation, dealing with the illegals who are here, I have great sympathy for them. They’re the ones who are building New Orleans right now. The Hispanics have proven that clearly, these are hardworking people and they don’t need to be treated badly by us.
So we give them a path to citizenship?
I would think so; I would think that’s inevitable. But if you do that, and don’t secure the border, you might as well not have any policy whatsoever. Then the people like the guy who I met the other day, the guy from Uganda, who was in Dallas, at the Dallas airport — his wife waited 10 years, she just became a citizen. Great, he’s so happy. Ten years! Why should people bother to do that, is what I’m saying, anymore if we’re gonna just let anybody in across our borders? •
You Can Lead a Politician to Water But You Can’t Make Him Think
By Kinky Friedman
Simon & Schuster
$22, 144 pages
7pm Wed, Oct 10
Barnes & Noble
321 NW Loop 41