You Can Lead a Politician to Water, but You Can't Make Him Think: Ten Commandments for Texas Politics

Kinky Friedman, Author . Simon & Schuster $25 (127p) ISBN 978-1-4165-4760-0

When satirist/novelist/musician Friedman declared his independent candidacy for Texas governor, nobody expected him to win—and he didn't. But he did get nearly 550,000 votes, or 12% of the total cast. He also collected rich material for his sendup of politics in Texas and other jurisdictions. Friedman's always irreverent, sometimes profane and occasionally sophomoric commentary won't appeal to everybody, but even those who refuse to laugh out loud can find verities worth repeating. His chapter about improving schooling for all children, for example, includes the observation that “No good teacher wants to teach to the test; no great teacher ever will.” The emphasis on classroom assessment, Friedman says, risks creating “a whole generation of supposedly college-bound kids who aren't quite sure if the Civil War took place here or in Europe. It wasn't on the test.” Given Texans' independent streak, Friedman correctly calculated his messages would get a hearing on the campaign trail. After all, he noted, professional wrestler Jesse Ventura won the governorship of Minnesota. Too bad he lasted only one term, Friedman quips: Ventura “never figured out that wrestling is real and politics is fixed.” (Oct.)

Reviewed on: 08/13/2007
Release date: 10/01/2007
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