Sunday, October 13, 2013

Kinky's in for Ag Commish

As a Democrat. And he's running on weed.

"The better Wendy does, the better we will do," (Friedman) said. "And we will also be able to bring a lot of independent voters and people who have never voted before."

Friedman, who describes himself as "an old time Harry Truman Democrat," had been mulling a gubernatorial bid. He previously expressed interest in promoting the legalization of marijuana and casino gambling in Texas. On Saturday, he said that the two issues would remain a part of his platform as a candidate for ag commissioner, especially the idea that the state should "legalize, cultivate, tax and regulate marijuana."

"It could be an economic engine for the state, enabling us to do whatever we want to do," he said.

What's significant this time around is that Texans are polling solidly in favor not just of decriminalization, but legalization.  And half of those folks describe themselves as Republican.  Normalizing marijuana laws is, as we are all aware, a national trend.  It's building a head of steam in simliar fashion to the increasing tolerance for marriage equality.

The weed issue and the gambling thing are indeed big deals to people who aren't usually drawn to the polls.  And it's not like the TXGOP is going to have any advocates for those, anyway.

Friedman acknowledged that he is not currently an expert on major issues such as water policy, nor is he much of a bureaucrat. But like Jim Hightower, the state's last Democratic agriculture commissioner, he said he hoped to expand the scope of the state's Department of Agriculture to bring attention to issues he feels are important. "I would like to do something for rural Texas," he said, adding that he also hoped to reach out to people who currently felt left out of politics.

My emphasis.  That's Republican heartland, and if Friedman pulls soft Republicans and non-voters to the polls to vote for him... why, they just might vote for a few other Democrats as well.

I've been real harsh on Kinky in too many posts to count, so I'm going to soften up a little myself and say: let him run.  Why?

-- He draws earned media, and as long as he isn't making a racial joke, that isn't hurting.

-- There have been worse Democratic nominees for statewide office, Lord knows.

-- As it relates to his topics, most of the people I know personally who are smoking dope and eligible to vote live in the suburbs and vote Republican, if they vote at all.  The proponents of casino gambling, on the other hand, cut across all demographics, all classes, all geography.  The only people steadfastly opposed to these are evangelical conservatives, who have far too much influence in state government.  Pruning back that invasive species benefits all Texans.  And if Kinky will hire someone who can get him up to speed on the water issues -- and eminent domain -- then he might actually make a real difference in breaking the Republican stranglehold on exurban and rural voters.

That's not a bad thing.  A blue Texas, or a more purple one, has to see that sort of thing happen organically anyway, so why not let Kinky spread some seeds and see what happens?

(I hope I don't come to regret this quasi-endorsement.)

1 comment:

Gadfly said...

Does the "Harry Truman Democrat" and "new Jim Hightower" still want prayer in schools? Still want to tell non-Jeebus lovers to go to hell?

Let's hope an actual Democrat enters the race so you don't have to worry about Kinky.