Sunday, April 05, 2009

You Can Lead a Politician to Water, But You Can't Make Him Think

It is a testament to my book buying addiction that I have absolutely no recollection of purchasing this book. Heck, I don't even remember ever seeing it before. With the subtitle "Ten Commandments for Texas Politics," it probably wouldn't get prominent display in an Illinois bookstore anyway. The price tag says I got it from Half Price Books (which one?) sometime after April 2008, but that's all I know. Anyway, I was looking for a book to take to dinner last week (I never dine alone, but I usually have a book for a partner since my wife works nights), and I found it on the "to read" shelf amid several hundred other volumes.

That's not to say that I didn't want this book. I have about 10 of Kinky's books, and I've even read most of them. If I lived in Texas, I would have voted for him for governor in 2006. And that's the focus of this book, Friedman's independent 2006 Texas gubernatorial campaign. It's not a straight-up memoir, but rather a collection of tales about campaigning and what he might have done if elected. I'd describe it as more of a campaign souvenir than anything else. It's even illustrated with political cartoons, photos, and magazine covers.

You Can Lead a Politician to Water is a quick read; by the time I finished my fifth or sixth Coke refill, I was more than halfway finished. Friedman actually has some good ideas about government, and it's a shame he didn't win. Following in the footsteps of Rick Perry and G.W. Bush, he couldn't possibly have done any worse! I like his "Five Mexican Generals" solution to the immigration problem. Kinky left me in tears at the end with his heartfelt tribute to writer Molly Ivins, who gave him one of his best campaign slogans: "Why the hell not?"

The book is thin, only 128 pages, and probably not worth the $22.00 list price to most people. Some of the material is recycled from elsewhere, and many of the jokes will be familiar to longtime fans. But if you voted for Kinky -- or would have if you lived in Texas -- or you care about Texas politics (which I do, for some odd reason), then You Can Lead a Politician to Water, But You Can't Make Him Think is worth checking out.

Current tally: 26 books finished, 25 books acquired

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