- The Washington Times - Friday, February 11, 2000

Ric Flair apparently thinks he is qualified to be the next governor of North Carolina, and maybe he is.

He is a professional wrestler, and being a professional wrestler launched the political career of Jesse Ventura.

First the Body. Now Nature Boy. Two constitutes a trend in journalism. Who's next the Undertaker?

To be honest, the two arenas are not as dissimilar as they may seem.

Both are blood sports, although the blood in professional wrestling is usually fake. Both employ down-and-dirty tactics. Both pander to television cameras, and when push comes to shove, as it often does, you can't believe a word in either.

Wrestlers give you headlocks. Politicians give you head games.

Wrestlers wear outrageous outfits. Al Gore wears earth tones. Wrestlers are alpha males. Gore hopes to be an alpha male one of these years. Wrestlers believe they invented the bad attitude. Gore believes he invented the printing press.

Wrestlers are cartoon figures masquerading as athletes. Politicians are cartoon figures masquerading as Mother Teresa.

Wrestling markets its sex appeal, starting with the dominatrix-like Chyna. Politicians pretend that sex does not exist, which is not to take anything away from Ted Kennedy.

"I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Miss Lewinsky," one of Washington's political figures said.

Wrestlers and politicians try incredibly hard to please the masses, only wrestlers are more honest about it. At least wrestlers don't insist they have all the answers.

Wrestlers will bite you, if necessary. James Carville serves the same function for Democrats.

There is a place in wrestling for funny-looking guys. Carville is the quintessential funny-looking guy.

Wrestling reeks of testosterone. Politics sometimes just reeks.

Vince McMahon, wrestling's head honcho, bends the rules and language to advance his cause. The same applies to the head honcho in politics, Bill Clinton.

Wrestlers and politicians attempt to stay on message. Wrestlers follow their scripts. Politicians follow their photo ops.

Wrestlers snarl on cue. Politicians smile on cue. Wrestlers break hands and act like babies. Politicians, with the exception of the germ-obsessed Donald Trump, shake hands and kiss babies.

Wrestlers slam their opponents to the mat. Politicians slam theirs in duplicitous television ads.

Wrestlers lie with a wink-wink. Politicians lie with straight faces. Wrestlers sometimes throw chairs to make a point. Politicians sometimes hold filibusters to make a point.

You need a strong back in wrestling. You need a strong larynx in politics. You need an angle in wrestling. You need the same in politics.

Wrestlers traffic in outlandish claims. Gore believes he invented the phonograph.

Wrestlers take it one insult at a time. Politicians take it one campaign contribution at a time.

It's not whether you win or lose in wrestling, it's how many merchandise tie-ins you have. Winning is the only thing in politics. Losing is just another synonym for lobbyist.

Wrestlers play on people's basest emotions. Politicians play on people's darkest fears. Wrestlers live on red meat. Politicians live on pork.

Wrestlers are politically incorrect phonies. Politicians are politically correct phonies.

Wrestlers will do anything to generate a buck. Politicians will do anything to garner a vote.

Wrestling trots out hot babes. Politics trots out "that woman," America's newest diet spokeswoman.

But back to Nature Boy. Perhaps he is a natural politician, considering his background.

He is planning to announce his political intentions Monday. He says his political fires have been stoked by the Body, no broken bones about it.

Nature Boy plays a bad guy in wrestling, so a negative governor's race, if it comes to that, wouldn't be a stretch for him.

Win or lose, Nature Boy should increase North Carolina's viewing options, limited as they usually are to ACC basketball and NASCAR.

You have to like a political race that could dissolve into spandex and steel cages.

LOAD COMMENTS ()

 

Click to Read More

Click to Hide