Ventura takes a swing at two-party system
STATELINE – If you stood back far enough and squinted, right there in the middle of the Edgewood Tahoe Golf Course driving range stood the most famous pirate of all-time: Captain Jack Sparrow of “Pirates of the Caribbean.”
Upon closer inspection, under the Navy SEAL cap, the middle-aged man with dreadlocks in his beard was former Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura.
The only governor in the history of the United States to gain fame through professional wrestling gave his view on a variety of topics as he began preparations for his third appearance in the American Century Championship.
“The Body,” however, was unable to answer one question: Are you going to run for president?
“I won’t decide for a while. But everywhere I go, people come up to me and say, ‘Run, Jesse, run … this country needs you.’
“Liberal or conservative, I get the feeling out there that people are not happy and that’s why 50 percent of us don’t vote,” Ventura said.
If Ventura doesn’t become a candidate for the November election, he won’t vote.
“I have no one to vote for,” he said. “Why do you think only half the country votes? Because of this horrible two-party system we have. I’m fiscally conservative and there’s not a fiscally conservative candidate out there. (George) Bush isn’t because spending is up 20 percent during his watch. I’m socially liberal and John Kerry is going to raise my taxes. For what? I pay enough already.
“Like the late, great Jerry Garcia once said, ‘If you’re picking the lesser of two evils, it means you’re still picking evil.’ “
Having sampled careers in politics and professional wrestling, Ventura was asked to choose which one is more honest.
“Wrestling is more honest than politics because with wrestling people know what they’re getting. With politics they are being deceived and they are being led to believe what they are getting,” Ventura said.
Ventura’s distaste for the Republican and Democratic parties intensified during his governorship. After lowering license tabs to $99, Republican leadership reportedly informed Ventura that it liked his idea.
“But they said they wouldn’t support me because I’d get all of the credit,” he said. “That’s what you have with these two parties of government. It’s all about who gets the credit and they would sooner see the public suffer rather than the wrong person get the credit.”
If Ventura runs, his running mate may also be in this week’s championship: Charles Barkley.
“I said in my getting-out party that if I ran, I wanted him as my VP,” said Ventura, who was Minnesota’s governor from 1998-2002.
Ventura said he hasn’t spoken to Arnold Schwarzenegger since the actor became California’s governor.
“He doesn’t need my help,” Ventura said. “He doesn’t need interference from me. It’s like jumping on a treadmill when it’s on seven and it’s going to stay on seven until you come off it.
“I support Arnold in that he’s bright, intelligent and highly motivated and he’ll do a good job, but I did not support the recall (of Gray Davis).”
Ventura said if Minnesota had similar recall laws, he would have been recalled as well.
“It was the most gross conduct I’ve ever seen on a recall … reason being that the state of California made a signature more powerful than a vote. All of the people who voted for Gray Davis, their votes were cast aside and people were allowed to sign a petition whether they voted or not,” Ventura said. “Don’t you think they would have recalled me if they could have? Sure they would have.”
Nearly out of answers, Ventura perked up when asked to explain his change in appearance.
“It’s part of my Bohemian heritage and I have one dreadlock for every member of my family,” Ventura said. “Besides, the Captain Jack Sparrow look looks good. My wife saw a picture of my grandfather who I had never met and she looked at it and said, ‘You’re a gypsy.’ “