Independent’s Day

YES, THAT’S GUBERNATORIAL CANDIDATE Kinky Friedman—four words I’ve yet to utter with a straight face—on our cover this month, dressed somewhat less outlandishly than in the past. The last time (July 2004), you’ll recall, he was elegantly done up like the queen of England, as feminine as a swarthy man with a Star of David dangling in his chest hair could ever hope to be. The time before that (January 2002), he played the dutiful daughter to Willie Nelson’s farmer in the classic American Gothic tableau. Future historians will note with amusement that the latter cover wasn’t our first choice. Originally we wanted both Willie and Kinky to pose in drag, but Willie nixed the idea; just Kinky in drag, however, sounded funny to him. And it was.

There’s nothing funny, by contrast, about Kinky’s independent bid to return Rick Perry to the private sector—and I’m not talking about the mind-numbing staleness of his one-liners. What began as a quixotic, Pat Paulsen—like campaign has turned into something … well, not exactly serious, but much more serious than anyone ever would have thought. Including me. I edited most of the 48 columns he wrote for the back page of Texas Monthly—three of which (“ Oaf of Office,” March 2003; “ See Kinky Run,” February 2004; “ Dome Improvement,” January 2005) can fairly be credited with planting the seeds for this race, as well as christening what now seems like the perfect slogan for our apathetic age: “Why the Hell Not?” All the while, despite his bluster, I imagined he would pull up short of running. Why would an irritating, do-nothing attention seeker want to get into politics? I dismissed him publicly as a joke candidate, which made him mad. In mid-May the polls had him right there in the

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