Skip to comments.Friedman's past racial comments spark fresh criticism [tx Gov Race]
Posted on 09/19/2006 7:43:04 PM PDT by Dubya
AUSTIN - Kinky Friedman has thrived on brash commentary, outlandish attire and crude humor. But some critics say the independent candidate for governor has gone too far with his comments about African-Americans.
Friedman, in a video clip that some of his opponents began circulating Tuesday, calls Negro a charming word and uses it in an explanation of what he would do to sexual predators if elected governor of Texas in November.
Throw them in prison and throw away the key and make them listen to a Negro talking to himself, Friedman said in the TV interview, which CNBC broadcast late last year. The comments hardly made a splash at the time, but the video, posted on the www.youtube.com Web site, is sparking fresh criticism.
Last week, Friedman came under fire for calling Katrina evacuees in Houston thugs and crackheads. Critics said he had unfairly stereotyped the evacuees, who are disproportionately black, as criminals.
Friedman offered no apologies then and offers none now, saying he is generating controversy only because he is doing something so rare in politics today: telling it like it is.
Anybody who feels that anything is offensive about this should definitely vote for one of the other three candidates, Friedman said in an interview Tuesday. If Ive got to lie to people, sweep the truth under the rug and worry about offending people, Im not going to be very effective.
He said he had no regrets about using the word Negro and stood by his remarks.
State Rep. Garnet Coleman, D-Houston, immediate past chairman of the Black Caucus in the Texas Legislature, said Friedman has been using such inflammatory comments in a pathetic attempt to appeal to narrow-minded Texans in his attempt to unseat Republican Gov. Rick Perry.
Yet, because he is an entertainer and celebrity, Friedman has not been held to the same standard as other candidates, Coleman said.
If Rick Perry had said this he would have been strung up by the media, Coleman said. Friedman has gotten a free ride. Hes trying to say, Im a comedian, not a politician. Every other politician I have seen that has said things like that have been blasted.
The way Friedman sees it, thats just the problem. He said politicians are so afraid to offend somebody that they dont discuss the real problems - including, for example, crime tied to Katrina evacuees in Houston.
According to records released by the Houston Police Department, Katrina evacuees were suspects or victims in 59 killings in the first eight months of 2006. That represents the amount by which homicides increased over that period, the figures show.
But critics have said Friedmans comments and language are hurtful and wont help solve the issue of evacuee crime.
State Rep. Senfronia Thompson, D-Houston, current chairwoman of the Texas Legislative Black Caucus, said in a recent statement that black leaders will no longer sit idly by while Mr. Friedman makes sport of persons of color.
Friedman has built his entertainment career on crude humor and off-color jokes. He has taken that same comedic style into his race for governor.
Friedman says, for example, that he would divide the Texas border into five districts, assign each one to a Mexican general and give them all multimillion-dollar bank accounts. Every time an illegal immigrant is apprehended, Friedman would deduct $5,000 from the general who let the immigrant through.
Friedman has also proposed making his friend Willie Nelson, a big promoter of bio-diesel fuel, the states energy chief. And Friedman supports legalizing marijuana, gay marriage and casino gambling.
Although some have written off his unusual candidacy as a joke or publicity stunt, Friedman has performed well in public opinion polls - one showed him in second place, behind Perry - and the candidate says he is serious about trying to win.
Friedman has taken many of his cues from the campaign of former Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura, the one-time professional wrestler and actor who shocked the political establishment in 1998 with his upset victory over better-known Democratic and Republican opponents.
But along with Friedmans drive for political success come increased scrutiny and criticism. Sanders Anderson, a political analyst at Texas Southern University, a historically black college in Houston, said Friedman cant have it both ways.
Is he serious about running for governor, or is he running to entertain himself? He cannot entertain himself at the expense of an entire group of people, Anderson said. He has chosen to run for governor of Texas. If he is serious, he must look at all of the issues seriously. He must understand that words mean a lot in a race like this.
Independent gubernatorial candidate Kinky Friedman is drawing criticism again for comments he made about African-Americans during an interview on CNBC. To see a clip, visit www.star-telegram.com .
Jay Root, 512-476-4294
The Associated Press / Harry Cabluck
Texas independent gubernatorial candidate Kinky Friedman, left, is shown with singer-songwriter Jimmy Buffett before a benefit performance for Friedman's campaign Tuesday in Austin.
Well, if he's got Jimmy playing for him, he's got the Parrothead vote locked up.
This guy can't actually win the race, can he? Or can he pull enough votes from Perry to hand the race to the Rat?
It is amazing that Texas has as much patience and interest as it does, with this circus act. I thought my state was had more affinity for that.
If Jimmy Buffet is supporting him, then he is a freakin' lefty.
Texas needs a gov like Kinky, Yee-Haw!
Can you imagine what kind of hissy the libs will fling if he gets elected? Sheeeee-it!
If they think that they're going to beat a PC apology out of a guy who called his band Kinky Friedman and the Texas Jewboys, they're probably mistaken.
But people ought to look at Minnesota's experience with Jesse Ventura. Ventura came out of that not only reviled as a pol, but even his fellow SEALs can't stand him now.
Criminal Number 18F
I don't know. At first I didn't think but people are really fed up with what we have and a lt of people I know say they are to vote for hm.
Of course, he would have. He's a Republican.
And Friedman's not.
The man wrote a song called:
"They ain't Making Jews Like Jesus Anymore"
No. It's a novelty show. But a good one.
The fun thing is that Kinky will probably run 2nd -- ahead of the Democrat.
No one thought Ventura could win either - thought Minnesota's registrer at the pooling place law helped him pick up a TON of college-age voters who went out to vote for him on a lark.
Can't see Friedman winning in Texas, but it ought to make things interesting.
From what I've learned recently Perry is getting a bit of a raw deal here....
Back in the 70's part of The Texas Jew Boys shtick was to wear nazi stuff. Kinky's father used to come into the store where I worked. He sometimes mentioned his embarrassment, and shame at his son's antics.
I would tend to agree. The thing about a 4-way race -- with everybody funded and with ample media attention -- is that Perry becomes the target for three campaigns.
They're all running against Perry and he's taking it from all sides, so to speak.
It's Ben Barnes and his crowd that is financing her. For some unknown, but doubtless nefarious, purpose...
Friedman offered no apologies then and offers none now,
Now I'm definitely voting for him. Anyone taking this much flak is over the target, and I like un-PC politicians not afraid to speak the forbidden truths.
This guy can't actually win the race, can he?
It may not matter too much. If we survived Ann Richards (God rest her soul), we can probably survive most anything.
Texas govenors have considerable power through the appointment process, but that's about it. If someone wants to try to demonstrate that Rick Perry's appointments have been better than Kinky's would be, I'll sure listen; but it's pretty far from obvious--to me, at least.