In politics, as in life, scarcity is the mother of invention. Texas Democrats face a paucity of money, candidates, and votes heading into the 2012 race for US Senate. Which has inspired liberal Houston radio host Geoff Berg to hatch a brilliant idea: Draft actor Tommy Lee Jones for the job.
"If he accepted our offer," Berg says, "I don't see how he doesn't immediately become the front runner."
Jones would certainly have a lot going for him as a politico in the Lone Star State. He was raised in Dallas, lives near San Antonio, and has a cattle ranch in San Saba. Between his Hollywood connections and Al Gore, his college roommate from his Harvard days, he'd rake in plenty of campaign cash. And perhaps most importantly, he looks totally natural in a cowboy hat. He need not share the fears of the competent-yet-bald former mayor of Houston, Bill White, a Democrat who rarely doffed the state headgear in last year's race against Governor Good Hair for worry of being labeled a poser.
No doubt, battling aliens with a J2 blaster in Men in Black III would be a lot more fun and lucrative for Jones than an uphill fight against hordes of tea baggers. (Jones' publicist did not return a call). And yet. . . maybe politics is in Jones' destiny. His filmography could be so effective against Texas Republicans that he might as well have orchestrated it to pad his campaign resume. Forthwith, a map of how Jones can use his movies to win Texas (elaboration below the jump):
How Tommy Lee Jones Can Win Texas
West Texas and the Panhandle: In Lonesome Dove, Jones plays an aging cowboy and Texas Ranger who decides to drive his cattle north to start a new life. In No Country for Old Men, he plays a West Texas sheriff hunting an assassin. In short, he's a homegrown law-and-order cowboy.
Fort Worth: In this country music capital, home to the iconic Billy Bob's Texas ("The World's Largest Honky Tonk"), voters will recall Jones as the hard-working husband of Loretta Lynn in this classic film about the making of a country western star.
Dallas: Voters in this self-conscious, Democratic-leaning town will never be able to forget the filming of JFK, when the oak trees at Dealey Plaza were cropped back to their 1963 size for the sake of realism. Jones played a businessmen accused of complicity in the execution. The movie helped Dallas exorcize its ghosts.
East Texas: Backwoods rednecks will appreciate this movie about a cowboy who must choose between his desire to remain free and the responsibilities of maintaining a family. One reviewer said, "One of the funniest scenes is when the outhouse got knocked down with the grandmother in it."
Austin: A movie about the abuse of prisoners in Iraq and post-traumatic stress disorder is red meat for the state's bluest town.
Houston: Jones might as well be the honorary mayor of Space City.
South Texas, San Antonio, and El Paso: Ranch hand Pete Perkins, played by Jones, looks to fulfill the promise to his recently deceased best friend to bury him in his hometown in Mexico. Viva the Hispanic vote!