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By KRISTIN TATE
What do a Minnesota governor, a pink boa-wearing pro wrestler, and a 9/11 conspiracy theorist all have in common?
They are all Jesse Ventura.
Oh, and “President of the United States” could be added to that list… If he decides to run and can win.
“2016 would be the time for me to do it,” Ventura told me, his voice booming with confidence. “I really believe I could win – I would tell the people they could make history with me by electing the first person since George Washington that does not belong to a political party. That would be enough to win right there.”
The ex-professional wrestler and former Governor of Minnesota has a remarkably colorful past. Ventura joined the Navy in 1969 and spent years as an elite SEAL Underwater Demolition expert. After leaving the Navy, his career took an unusual twist — he became a pro wrestling star, known as Jesse “The Body” Ventura. He quickly became famous for his flamboyant personality and pink boa.
After a long career in the wrestling world, Ventura went on to become the 38th Governor of Minnesota. He ran as a Reform Party candidate following a very unorthodox campaign (think bumper stickers that say “My Governor Can Beat Up Your Governor”). He described himself as fiscally conservative but socially liberal. Ventura often battled both Republicans and Democrats on issues, but he still managed to do a lot of good for Minnesota. For instance, during his administration, Minnesotans received a tax-free check each year. The state had a budget surplus at that time and Ventura wanted the money to be returned to the people.
He decided not to run again when his term ended in 2003, citing the media’s negative impact on his family.
Ventura has since authored several books, hosted his own show called Conspiracy Theories with Jesse Ventura, and remained vocal about his political opinions. He is especially noted for expressing his belief that 9/11 was an inside job. “You’re not allowed to ask about [9/11],” he said. “I have questions, but no one can supply me with an answer. If what they’re saying is true, why can’t they tell me about it?”
After a remarkable career path, Ventura may now have his sights on the Oval Office.
There is little doubt that he would be a drastic change from President Obama. Ventura wastes no time playing politics and fearlessly tells it like it is.
Referring to Washington bureaucrats, Ventura vehemently said, “They should all be fired. All of them. If you work for a business in the private sector, had a deadline, did not complete your work on time, and forced your company to shut down temporarily for not having your job done — don’t you think you’d be fired?”
Those annoying, yet necessary, things we call “rules” do not apply to bureaucrats.
Ventura said, “The key to the run would be giving the people the opportunity to elect someone who isn’t involved with these games. Everything about these politics is games. I think these two parties are destroying our country. They put their party first — not their country. That was shown with the government shut down. [Politicians] were willing to shut down the government for their parties. That is an act of treason. You know exactly where I stand with them. They’re criminals, a lot of them.”
When Ventura talks about the two party system, his voice becomes irritated and firmer than usual. Once he starts railing on the entrenched political system, it’s hard – no, impossible – to shut him off.
“Some people believe that if you change your vote from Republican to Democrat or Democrat to Republican, they’re going to get change,” he said. “They should know that’s not true and see it from the election of Barack Obama. When a Democrat and Republican tells you they’re going to give you change, they’re lying.”
Ventura said the first thing he would do as president is eliminate foreign aid.
“Foreign aid is bribery,” Ventura said. “We’re giving them money so they’ll support us. Besides, we’re broke. To put it in layman’s terms, it would be like you’re having your house repossessed and you’re three car payments behind but Uncle John wants to borrow 300 bucks from ya. Can you give it to him? No, no.”
Radio personality and the self-proclaimed “King of All Media,” Howard Stern, would come on board as Ventura’s Vice President. The legendary shock jock is a character of his own, being described by the Parents Television Council as having a “reputation for sleaze and misogyny.” Stern, who sometimes portrays himself as the character “Fartman,” offends certain groups on a regular basis — he has done everything from drop the N-word to mock school shootings. After racking up hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines for such quips, Stern switched to Satellite radio in 2004, where FCC regulations do not apply.
Despite being a controversial figure, Stern reaches millions of listeners each day and is undoubtably one of the most powerful men in media.
“If I run, I need Howard Stern,” said Ventura. “With his radio show, he could raise me all the money we would need for the campaign. If you appeal to all of his listeners, that’s how you start a grassroots movement. We could use his radio show as a platform right up until the day to the election.”
Instead of accepting money from Super PACS and corporations during his campaign, Ventura would seek lots of small donations from Stern’s listeners and supporters around the country.
Would Ventura be able to keep up with an exhausting presidential campaign on a shoestring budget? Maybe. But he’d have to take a cue from his character “Blain” from Predator… He “ain’t got time to bleed.”
His potential plans were best summed up when he said, “If I were to run for president, my campaign will be unorthodox and different — because I’m different.”
As for now, Ventura is gearing up to do his own daily internet show and just published his new book, “They Killed Our President: 63 Reasons To Believe There Was A Conspiracy To Assassinate JFK.”
The former Governor currently spends most his time in Mexico. “People many times ask me why I live in Mexico — what can I do there that I cant do here,” he said. “I can touch grey whales in the water. We need to understand something in the United States: we’re not looked up to like we were before. The most popular T-shirt in Mexico a few years ago had a picture of George W. Bush on it and said ‘Weapon of Mass Destruction.’ People fear us. They think if they go against anything we want, we’ll start a war with them. I don’t think that’s what we should be portraying to the world. Who is responsible? The Democrats and Republicans. It always comes back to them, doesn’t it?”
During our interview, I sensed that Ventura had the same passion for destroying the entrenched D.C. politicians as his rough-and-tumbl
Still, a lot of questions remain unanswered: could Ventura and his family handle intense scrutiny from the mainstream media that comes with a presidential campaign? Could he compete with establishment candidates, backed by major Super PAC money? Would his pro-wrestling background and controversial VP hurt his credibility?
If Ventura does decide to run, only time will tell.
A “Jesse The Body” and “Fartman” ticket may sound crazy to middle America. But a crazy shakeup may be exactly what this country needs.
One thing is for sure — 2016 may be shaping up to be one entertaining campaign season.
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