Fox Business talk show host Don Imus has come out in support of Richard "Kinky" Friedman's campaign for Texas Agriculture Commissioner. He's also having some fun with it.
Imus had a phone conversation with Friedman on his show Wednesday morning. Here's a transcript the show put on its blog:
8:40:17 A.M. - The GREAT Kinky Friedman is on to discuss his bid for Texas Agriculture Commissioner. The I-Man's got a lot riding on this, because he's ready to plant a few acres of hemp in anticipation of Kinky's being elected and legalizing marijuana. At least we think it's Hemp. Deirdre could have substituted organic Kale for all we know, we won't until we put it in the bong with some Cholula and smoke it. Imus fears that Texas Voters don't know how brilliant the Kinkster is, what a humanitarian, and what a big heart he has for both humans AND animals. Of course, the name 'Kinky' might have something to do with that. Especially if you Google it the wrong way. Talk about "NSFW". Whatever you do, don't type in 'Kinky Texas', unless you want a bunch of photos of Cowboys with gag balls in their mouths.
Hairballs talked to Imus Thursday about Friedman and his recent statement during his campaign stop in Houston last Sunday that, if elected, he hopes Imus will apply for a grant to grow hemp on the ranch he recently purchased near Brenham. Friedman's reasoning was that such a grant would likely result in the Attorney General's office having to reexamine current law and issue a ruling in relation to hemp farming.
Commercial hemp farming (to replace cotton farming to some extent) is one of the planks in Friedman's platform. Friedman supports lifting the ban on hemp farming not only for economic reasons but also as a matter of water conservation and a significant reduction in the use of pesticides, which are intensively required in cotton farming but are not necessary with hemp since it is a weed and of no interest to bugs as a food source.
He also noted that China is the world's largest producer of hemp and that the U.S. is a major importer.
Laughing at our report of Friedman's proposal, Imus scoffed, "Well, that's a pretty interesting idea, but that's just hyperbole. I don't think my wife is going to let me do anything that might put me in jail."
Imus did go on to say he fully supports Friedman's campaign.
"Kinky Friedman is one of the kindest, most humanitarian people I've ever been around," says Imus. "I don't think the average Texan realizes what a great heart this guy has or just how smart and honest he is. I think he'd be great in any state office."
As noted in the blog, Imus does see an image problem.
"I'm sure a number of people are put off by the nickname Kinky," Imus observes. "But I know the guy and I'd support him for anything he ran for."
Friedman has also run into opposition, even within the Democratic Party, because he is viewed as "not serious" or as a "comedian, not a politician." In fact, the current slate of Democrats running for statewide office have either endorsed Friedman's primary opponent, wealthy buffalo rancher Hugh A. Fitzsimons, or remained silent on the race.
Lieutenant Governor candidate Leticia Van de Putte is typical of high profile Democrats. She endorsed Fitzsimons on Jan. 19. She told mysanantoini.com, "Richard 'Kinky' Friedman is a likable entertainer but not a viable candidate for agriculture commissioner."
She went on to characterize Friedman and his campaign along much the same lines other establishment Democrats have, as a huge potential "distraction."
Imus laughs those criticisms off.
"Like Kinky says, there's nothing more truthful than an angry comedian. And look where these mainstream politicians have gotten us. That's a bogus criticism to me."
Asked if he's familiar with the other candidates seeking the office Imus replied, "No, but I assume they're just more of the same old thing. Kinky's the only one willing to shake things up."
Imus stressed that his support is not because Friedman is considered a liberal by many.
"I'm still living in New York, so I can't vote in Texas, although that may change in the next couple of years," says the controversial talk show host who says he voted for John McCain in the last presidential election. "But it's not about liberal or conservative for me, I look at the candidate. The way I see it, Kinky Friedman's a common sense, middle of the road guy who's hard to label."
"I'm supporting another Texas candidate who's a conservative, Dr. Brian Babin, who's running for the House in the 36th District. His son Leif is a former Navy Seal, and I think Dr. Babin is a good, well-meaning conservative who wants to do what's right, so I'm supporting him in that race."
[The 36th District is the district currently represented by Steve Stockman, the Tea Party candidate who is not seeking reelection due to a run against John Cornyn for U.S. Senate. It includes a portion of eastern Harris County.]
Imus went on to note that his 15-year-old son is a world class calf roper and that the family may eventually relocate to Texas when he enters college at either Rice University or UT-Austin.
"It's highly likely we'll move down there eventually, but right now we go down every other weekend, usually for a competition of some kind."