Matty, We Hardly Know Ye
“One of the penalties for refusing to partake of politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors.” - Plato
It’s late on a Friday and I am sitting here stewing over Matthew McConaughey and his political gamesmanship. Hell, I might just be pissed off. I’m taking several readings of my present attitude, to be sure. I like the guy as an actor, he’s deeply talented. But I don’t care what anyone says, he has no business even thinking about running for the governor of Texas, and frankly, I’m insulted by any person who has paid little to no attention to the issues and thinks he might be able to manage the job.
My first complaint about the guy is that he knows nothing about issues. Every analyst and political writer in the business is giving him a free pass on this failure. Kara Swisher, though, of the New York Times, made a good run at the Texan in her podcast but he didn’t answer a single goddamned question, and I think it’s because he doesn’t have any answers. He doesn’t know squat about issues, and, frankly, sounded a bit like a babbling frat boy pretending he knows more than he does. (Maybe he was more like Cliff Claven, the mailman on Cheers, the world’s leading authority on almost nothing and everything).
McConaughey is wearing out an old cliché’ about there being nothing in the middle of the road but yellow lines and dead armadillos. He seems to think that’s insightful and something someone told him that had never been previously voiced. The argument he makes is that he is in the middle of the road and all alone because the left and the right are so far to the extreme their wheels aren’t even on the pavement. What the actual hell does that even mean?
The fella has also decided that before he takes a stand on issues, he needs to answer the existential questions of “what is politics,” “what is progress,” and “what is democracy?”
The quote below will convey just how full of shit this particular Texas is.
“Taking sides on a political issue right now,” he said, “To me, precedes the discussion of something larger and much more important, like the questions we were asking a minute ago. The definition is, what the hell is politics? But you got to re— before we start saying, hey, this is where I stand, and this is where I stand, which creates, already, a divide where some of you— 50% of the people are going to come at you, let’s answer these other questions about purpose of democracy, right? What is progress? Or how about this question— do we really want to be a United States of America? And I don’t say that with arrogance or condescension. It’s a question we got to answer. What is leadership? Why is our nation’s trust level so low with our leaders, with ourselves, with each other? That’s more interesting to me, before I start hopping in the middle of politics going, well, this is where I stand here, and this is where I stand here. Everybody needs to be in the conversation to answer the questions that I was just bringing up.”
McConaughey did say he was in favor of mask mandates, (very courageous), but he did not go so far as to support women’s reproductive rights guaranteed under the Constitution. In fact, he flat refused to say where he stood on Roe v. Wade and suggested the implementation of the new Texas heartbeat law was “a little juvenile.” That’s all ya got, Matty? Criticism of its implementation? For fuck’s sake, even a guy sitting by his pool in Malibu in a constant state of self-congratulation knows enough to say what the bill does is heinous and turns Texans against Texas women. If you can’t stand up against that measure, you are a rank coward.
Unsurprisingly, he did not know enough about the legislature’s recently passed laws that restrict voting rights. (Yeah, this is the guy I want running for governor). But he wanted everyone to know that he’s being a brave soul by standing in the center, which is difficult to tell when he has not a position of relevance on anything of importance beyond masks. Fortunately, he explained the center to us, even though you can’t be placed in the center until you have policies that put you there. But he’s willing to put himself out there and go stand in the center on our behalf.
“I don’t know if you can walk down the center and not be in trouble. It can be very hard down the center. I’d say it’s the right kind of hard work. I mean, it’s— my centrist position is not necessarily— is a policy platform. It’s a common sense, relational position with respect to the left and right.”
Oh, really? So, that’s what the center is? It’s, like, in the middle of what’s on the left and the right? Dood, do you have to read instructions on the shampoo bottle?
I’m not sure how Swisher got through this interview without screaming out, “Are you fukking kidding me, pal?” She pointed out, as have I and many others, there simply is no voter fraud in Texas, or anywhere else, and she tried again to ask him about voting rights restrictions Texans will face next fall. The guy rambled incoherently, as if his LSD had just kicked in and he wasn’t sure how to keep in touch with the earth.
“And I know we’ve been chasing this down, and a lot of folks on the far right have been chasing these things down for a while. This little move we made, where Texas hopped out on a national level and said, you know— that was a bit of a trespass in my opinion, as well. You know, Texas is about independence. And when we did that, we stepped out on a national scale and tried to say, our brand is Republican. No, no, that’s the party that’s in office right now. Our brand is independence. And we kind of, in doing that, I think, belittled ourselves, our own identity of independence. You know, and Texas is it’s best— I like to say this— we’re here to lead, not secede.”
What in the hell was the “little move” Texas made when it “hopped out on the national level?” Good campaign slogan, I suppose: Vote McConaughey. No More Hopping Out on the National Level.” The Thespian Texan refused all parries on the matter of whether he was going to run for governor of his home state. Swisher’s persistence only led to him saying over and over that he was “measuring it.” When she finally asked, “What does that mean?” the poet philosopher of our age gave her the money quote.
“I like to measure things before I partake. And you’ve got to partake before you’ve partook.”
I mean, Jesus Christ at the Walmart! If you listen to the entire interview, you will conclude the only thing he measured was a full bowl before he did the interview. What he sees in politics is a “bag of rats.” But hey, he’s measuring the bag, I reckon.
“Well, again,” he tried to explain to Swisher, who surely must have struggled to understand. “I’m just— I don’t— it’s part— that’s part of my measure. Is it the right time, as well? I’m not a man who comes at politics from a political background. You know, I’m— I’m more of a statesman, philosopher, folk-singing poet—”
No, actually, you’re not, Matthew; you’re just an uninformed guy who is stroking his massive ego in public. None of this idiocy is in service of Texas, or the political process, or anything else other than your need for attention. The speculation about you running for governor is just another form of you being on the sidelines at U.T. football games, clapping and strutting. You’ve got about as much business there as you do in the governor’s mansion.
And now that I’ve spent all this energy bitching about Matthew Mac, let me say I’d prefer him as governor over our current waste of food and oxygen. Matty’s benign ignorance can certainly not be harmful as Greg Abbott’s calculated evil. The current officeholder is implementing policies that appeal to a radical right wing that he hopes will get him through the primary to the general election in 2022. Turning the border into a militarized zone, ending reproductive rights for women, restricting voting access, these are all designed to make happy a small minority of voters who comprise the majority of the GOP primary turnout.
And dopey Matthew is leading Abbott in current polling by a significant margin, a total of 12 points. A swamp potato who talks about armadillos and bags of rats and can’t even say where he is on abortion is leading the emotionally handicapped Abbott, who cannot think of a single way of helping the people of his state. That surely has the governor scared. Wouldn’t it be great, though, to have McConaughey living in the gov’s mansion, listening to lobbyists and taking their money and explaining to them about partaking and partooking and being careful to not hop out on the national level and just doing not a damn thing.
Isn’t a benign fool to be preferred over a proactive ass?
If Matty Mac runs in the GOP primary, he will definitely eff things up. There are already two candidates joining Abbott in the Republican primary, Don Huffines, a former state senator from Dallas, and Allen West, the recent head of the Texas GOP. They are both to the right of Abbott. If they can siphon off enough of the winger vote from the governor, Matty Mac might have a shot at carrying the primary. It’s not impossible. Regardless, it would almost certainly mean a runoff and those, as the Cruz-defeated former Lt. Governor of Texas, David Dewhust would affirm, are unpredictable.
It is also worth pointing out that Allen West is an idjit, as well. He recently contracted Covid after trying to protect himself using the Ivermectin horse paste and the Trump promoted Hydroxychloroquine, neither of which has shown any efficacy in the treatment or prevention of Covid. West issued a statement that he had Covid pneumonia and low oxygen and expected to be hospitalized. This came a day after a large, maskless rally in Dallas.
But hey, what about Beto? The former congressman, former US Senate candidate, former presidential candidate, is contemplating running for governor. My view is he would make a good one. My view is also that he has to run a campaign that speaks a bit more clearly to Latino voters. All of the shit being spooned out for consumption by Abbott, fundamentally, ignores the needs, and even abridges the interests of minorities. O’Rourke will get hammered on TV, though, for his comments about getting rid of AR-15s. Texas is gun country, and even though Texans have no goddamned need to own an AR-15, they, by God, want one in case the government comes to mess in their lives. (This notion has always made me laugh, as if the US military doesn’t have more weapons at its disposal than all the gun cultists combined). If Uncle Sam wants your gun, Tex, your AR-15 isn’t gonna stop him, and you can assemble all the fellas down the block with their bang bangs, and you are still gonna lose.
Back to Beto, though. He can raise money. He has proved he’s good on the stump and correct on the issues that matter to moderate voters and progressive thinkers. He’s just to the left of Matty Mac’s armadillo and yellow stripe. (Jaysus, how many times did I have to listen Jim Hightower use that phrase out on the hustings?) An abundance of luck will be required for Beto to win, though. If Matty Mac runs, Texans might choose celebrity over capability. He could become the latest icon of why our democracy doesn’t work: We pick famous and rich people to run our government and they don’t know a thing about the jobs before them and they are perfect targets for lobbyists, corporations, and issue shamans.
So, go ahead and jump in, Matthew, but do it as a Republican and not as an independent. You can talk that crap about being independent all you want but it’s certain defeat. Take on Greg Abbott, beat him in the GOP primary, and then run against Beto. If you defeat the Democrat, the Ds won’t be too bitter. They will have gotten Abbott out of the way, and you can do your thing, whatever that is. No way it’s worse than what we are getting from Abbott. We’ve never had too high of expectations of our politics in Texas. We know nothing good is going to happen, so we settle for entertainment from elected officials.
And you’re pretty good at that.