¡Viva Jesse Libre!

Two cheers for the departing governor

His fabled and largely misdirected hostility toward the press helped undo him in the end. Now, there are plenty of good reasons to hate the media, but these were not Jesse's reasons. His was a personal beef. Years ago Ventura won a landmark lawsuit against a pro-wrestling promoter for the unpaid and unauthorized use of Ventura footage in a series of videos, and since then he has held the abiding conviction that he ought to be compensated, or at least consulted, every time his name is mentioned in a public forum. (When Garrison Keillor published his satiric novella about Ventura's rise, Jesse's first public complaint was that he wouldn't see any of the proceeds.) To say he hasn't chosen his battles well is a considerable understatement.

But he has shone a welcome and sometimes telling light on Republicrat business as usual. Ventura played a salutary role in demystifying the business of politics and reviving the forgotten figure of the citizen- politician. There is no great mystery to politics and governance, he told the audience of Politically Incorrect a couple of years ago; addressing his fellow panelists, he averred that "any of us could understand it." In its quietly perverse way, that's as radical a statement as any elected official has uttered in some time. I'll miss him.

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