MN Governor Jesse Ventura announced he will not run for re-election
June 18, 2002 9:39 AM   Subscribe

MN Governor Jesse Ventura announced he will not run for re-election -- Ventura said, "You've got to have your heart and soul into these types of jobs. You've got to want to do it. * * * I feel that it's time to go back into the private sector." (He also said that his decision was "partly tied" to allegations by former employees that his 22-year-old son had thrown parties in the governor's residence.)
posted by subgenius (15 comments total)
Best. WWF. Governor. Ever.
posted by tsarfan at 9:54 AM on June 18, 2002

Ventura holds the highest office of any third-party American politician. I voted for him in 1998, and have had a love-hate relationship with him ever since. While he had an unfortunate tendency to stick his foot in his mouth, he would also take principled stands that few other politicans would adopt: He refused to endorse a day of prayer, he vetoed abortion waiting periods, and he vetoed a bill that would require students to say the pledge of allegiance. His replacement will be a lot less interesting.
posted by subgenius at 9:56 AM on June 18, 2002

Thanks, subgenius, for explaining why one's first reaction to Ventura's decision shouldn't necessarily be "good riddance." That was my first thought, but I wish other politicians would have emulated his principled stand when he refused to endorse a day of prayer. When he vetoed an abortion waiting period, it was because the waiting period was a rider to an appropriations bill, and Ventura argued, correctly, that an abortion waiting period should be a stand-alone piece of legislation, subject to a vote on its merits.

Ventura has a habit of blaming the media for his problems, which annoys those of us who work in the media. On the other hand, he seems to be a principled guy who believes that church and state should be separate, and that people should be free to follow their conscience.
posted by Holden at 10:25 AM on June 18, 2002

The puzzling thing about Jesse was that in theory, with a solid background in several entertainment media, he would either know how to handle the press or have access to insider advice on how to do so. Instead, he's given a hostile media corps opportunity after opportunity to pile on him, never engaged in spin (at least, not successfully), and usually responded with an even more hostile "yeah, so what"? In Jesse's defense, I think he might have been trying to hold to a principle like "I'm going to be honest...I'm going to be straightforward and tell it like it is". Jesse, though, always takes things real personally--compare some of our American Masters of Teflon like Reagan or Clinton and, well, there's no comparison.

Jesse's never had a chance to accomplish much, due to a divided state legislature where neither side has much to gain from cooperating with a third-party governor. He hasn't done well at the "Washington Monument" game, either, lately. But as pointed out above, he actually does have ideas, and in other circumstances might be the voter's dream: a social liberal/near libertarian and fiscal conservative.

Eventually, I think we'll see Jesse doing a bunch of "I told you so" interviews, maybe nationally. In the short term, they're going to have a clearance sale on Jesse coffee mugs at the Airport.

(Yeah, I voted for him too.)
posted by gimonca at 11:33 AM on June 18, 2002

Excellent posts Holden and subgenius, and I'm also in the love-hate camp. Just when you hate him for his latest attack on the media (Holden, it's not just those in the media who were bothered his regular blame game.), you love him for the veto of the silly Pledge of Allegiance bill.

On preview: gimonca, would you have voted for him again this fall? He says if he wins a write-in campaign he would serve another term.
posted by dack at 11:45 AM on June 18, 2002

I love the guy (granted, I don't live in his state.)
Since his goal isn't to make politics his life (the way the founders thought it should be!), he makes less "political" choices and plays politics less. He's human and makes stupid mistakes, but overall, he's the least corrupt and slimy politician out there.

I wish there were more of Jesse types in politics today.
posted by aacheson at 1:22 PM on June 18, 2002

"These are people who live on the razor's edge and defy death and do things where people die. They're not going to consider grabbing a woman's breast or buttock a major situation. That's much ado about nothing," he said.

Grobel suggested that it wasn't trivial for the women.

"So? You have to create these people for your own protection," Ventura said.

i find this attitude a bit troubling.
posted by witchstone at 1:31 PM on June 18, 2002

Thing about when Jesse got elected in '98--it was a three-way race. He only got something like 38% of the vote, barely beating out the Republican. Both the Republican (Norm Coleman, former mayor of St. Paul, now running against Paul Wellstone for Senate) and the DFL/Democrat ("Skip" Humphrey, son of the former vice-president) were looking as lively as stale bread in the polls. Jesse stole votes from both of 'em, and snuck in when no-one was looking. Plus, the local papers were saying in the last week before that election that a Jesse win would cause plagues of boils, locusts and other retributions, so I think a lot of people voted for Jesse because they didn't like the condescending editorials they were being fed.

As for me personally, my basic desire is to vote against a Republican at all costs. In spite of Minnesota supposedly being a liberal "blue state", we have a streak of freaky, frightening, quivery, bible-thumping children-of-the-corn Republicans up here who really need to be kept as far as possible from executive government. Even if a Republican governor is reasonable and moderate, he'll have to throw a cabinet office or two to that faction to keep them happy. (Sound familiar??)

So, if voting for Jesse would prevent a Republican from
becoming governor, I'd be happy to deal with Jesse's eccentricities for another four years. If Roger Moe, the Democrat, has a better chance at beating the Republicans than Jesse, I vote for Moe. Now that Jesse's out of the picture, my choice is a lot easier. Note that Ken Pentel, the Green Party candidate, is said to be a decent fellow, but he's got to be more than just a spoiler to be interesting to me.

Those of you out there who aren't Minnesotans (there have to be one or two) attention. These same scenarios will be playing out in your area one of these days.
posted by gimonca at 1:33 PM on June 18, 2002

Darn! And just when the nation was hoping he'd make a run for the White House! I can't think of someone I'd rather see in the Oval Office than The Body. Failing that, it'd be nice to see him move out to California where none of the gubernatorial candidates appeal to anyone. They're just personifications of parties. Automatons.

The impression that I and most of the people I know have is that The Body might cheese off a few of his constituents, but generally has his head in the right place. S'more than I can say for a great number of the political figures out there.
posted by majick at 1:58 PM on June 18, 2002

Well, dammit. Like everyone else here, I've been annoyed with Ventura from time to time, but would've voted for him had he decided to run again. I'm especially going to miss his reasonable approach to transportation issues. (I wonder if his departure means we should give up on the NorthStar commuter rail line.) But if the write-in thing happens, I'm all for that.

At least we don't have to worry about Brian Sullivan running. What a narrow-minded, reactionary nitwit.
posted by mrbula at 2:27 PM on June 18, 2002

Thing about when Jesse got elected in '98--it was a three-way race.

That is how it tends to work with third party candidates (except of course in Massachusetts where the Republican party is something people talk about in conversation but doesn't actually exist.)
posted by ljromanoff at 7:06 PM on June 18, 2002

Another Minnesotan chimes in......

I think a lot of people voted for Jesse because they didn't like the condescending editorials they were being fed.

With the exeption of the people on Metafilter, I doubt that most of the people who voted for him even know what an editorial is.

Humphrey got my vote by default. I am an independant platform voter. I will never vote republican as long as they have a pro-life platform. I didn't vote for Jesse because I thought then and still do that he's an idiot. Humphrey has the personality of a rock.

That said, I also have conflicting thoughts about Jesse. He has an extremely delicate ego and is dumb as a box of rocks. Remember his Tonight Show appearance? He had a chance to talk about the mine closings on the Iron Range. Leno asked him what the companies mined and Jesse didn't even know. I sat there yelling "TACHONITE (sp?), YOU IDIOT!!!" It was painful to watch. He blew a good opportunity to get press and possibly some business investments on the range.

I have agreed with many of his stances. For the most part he got rid of those stupid ramp meters. He's pushed for better public transport. He vetoed the abortion waiting period. And, near and dear to my heart is his stance on the role (or lack of it) of the church. I simply just can't stand is personality.
posted by Juicylicious at 8:27 PM on June 18, 2002

I simply just can't stand is personality.

Which probably explains your extremely condescending attitude toward his supporters I would imagine.
posted by ljromanoff at 9:47 PM on June 18, 2002

Jesse is one of the few politicians I respect precisely because he isn't a politician. In the totem pole of moral righteousness, even pro wrestlers are above politicians.
posted by Loudmax at 5:55 AM on June 19, 2002

Relating to a previous thread, the Republican who lost to Jesse in '98 is the same guy running against Paul Wellstone this year, Norm Coleman. Or as a friend of mine insists on calling him, "Mayor Quimby" (unctuousness plus fake Kennedy accent and 'do).
posted by gimonca at 7:17 AM on June 19, 2002

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