The Body’s Impolitic (Again): Why Is Jesse Ventura Running For President?

Former Governor of Minnesota Jesse Ventura is back in the headlines. He plans to run for President in 2016, if Howard Stern would be his running mate. But why, when he has no chance to win?

The former James George Janos is an interesting man. Jesse “The Body” Ventura has been a former lots-of-things: Navy Seal, Professional Wrestler, Professional Wrestling Color Commentator, Mayor, Governor, Harvard University Lecturer, Actor, Author, Syndicated TV Show Host, Radio Talk Show Host, NFL Color Commentator, and Conspiracy Theorist. Any one of those professions is a career for most people, but not him.  Jesse Ventura Being Impolitic

I had the chance to interview then-Governor Ventura when I was managing editor of a business publication. He was generous with his time and spent  one hour with me. I was impressed about the scope of his knowledge and intensity. Ventura discussed the impact of his property tax reform on business growth, his “contentious” relationship with the Legislature and press, and his efforts to expand agricultural trade relations with Japan. He bristled when I asked if his professional wrestling experience helped with the wrestling-obsessed Japanese. His booming voice rattled me, “Are you insinuating that I’m not capable of negotiating trade deals?”

No, Governor, I wasn’t insinuating anything. I was asking a pertinent question. He went to Japan unannounced and was ignored by the leading Japanese political and business figures. The Minnesota press had great fun at the Governor’s expense on this misadventure.…

As much as I enjoyed Jesse Ventura’s work in the World Wrestling Federation and respect most of his accomplishments, he’s become just another media whore needing the spotlight. Whether or not he’s being serious about running for President, he’s very serious about getting the attention.

Jesse “The Body” is well known for stating his opinions and making impolitic statements.

He knows he’s a “man without a party.” When he won election in Minnesota, he ran as a Reform Party candidate. Neither the Democrats nor the Republicans wanted him. And he didn’t want them, either. These quotes would come back to haunt him throughout any future election campaign.

“I don’t believe we need the government’s help as much as some think we do. That belief sets me apart from the Democrats, since their way of dealing with everything is to tax and spend.”

“I also believe that government has no business telling us how we should live our lives. I think our lifestyle choices should be left up to us. What we do in our private lives is none of the government’s business. That position rules out the Republican Party for me.”

Nor would the right-wing Evangelicals and the conservative Catholics want him:

“Organized religion is a sham and a crutch for weak-minded people who need strength in numbers. It tells people to go out and stick their noses in other people’s business.”

Nor women:

“If I could be reincarnated as a fabric, I would come back as a 38 double-D bra.”

And certainly not the National Rifle Association gun nuts:

“You need to hunt something that can shoot back at you to really classify yourself as a hunter. You need to understand the feeling of what it’s like to go into the field and know your opposition can take you out.”

This quote is not directly political, but it’s my favorite Jesse Ventura quote:

“Win if you can, lose if you must, but always cheat.”… has a better political translation of that quote.

“Winning is what counts. Your primary and general election opponents will go negative, play wedge issues that work for them, and raise money wherever it can be found. If you aren’t willing to do all three enthusiastically, you’re going to be a high-minded loser. Nobody who listens to the campaign-trail scolds wins. In the general election, if you don’t convey to voters that you believe in your heart that your opponent is a dangerously misguided choice, you will lose.”…

Another outrageous, but more sagacious political character, former Bill Clinton adviser James Carville has said, “When you become famous, being famous becomes your profession.”…

Jesse Ventura is now relegated to that group of desperate men and women who need the spotlight, and the political arena shines brightest of them all.  Is his heart really in running for President? Does he really want to be President? I don’t think so. If he was, he would never have  mentioned his cockamamie idea of having Howard Stern as his running mate. No, Ventura was once famous, he was once powerful, he was once taken seriously. But no longer.

I truly doubt that another former governor’s heart was in being President, either. Willard Romney may have thought he was entitled to be President, and he could have been President, if he really wanted it deep down inside.

The same question needs to be asked about the potential 2016 presidential candidates: Biden, Hillary Clinton, Christie, Paul, Santorum, Huckabee, Cruz, Cain, and so on and so forth. How many are running to get the political media spotlight, albeit briefly? Only three have any serious chance of raising the money and gaining the widespread political support needed to become President: Biden, Hillary and Christie. And, it is not coincidental that only those three have the experience and policy substance to govern as President.

The rest, like the sad Jesse Ventura has become, need to be famous because being famous has become their real profession.

Image: Eshelman/FilmMagic

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