Glenn Jacobs, the seven-foot-tall professional wrestler better known as Kane, just might be the next Republican senator from Tennessee.
The former WWE world champion (and uncompensated Daily Caller columnist) is already being touted by Tennessee tea-party groups as the man who can beat moderate GOP Sen. Lamar Alexander in 2014.
“It’s well known that Lamar Alexander is considered by most as a RINO (Republican In Name Only),” reads a late-May statement from the Tennessee Alliance of TEA Party & Liberty Groups. “If Mr. Jacobs actually announces his candidacy against Alexander, with such a famous name known around the world, this would be a prime situation for ALL of the Tennessee TEA Parties to strongly support his candidacy.”
Jacobs insists he has “no plans to run at this point.” But, at the same time, he is not prepared to rule it out.
“Of course I know what’s going to happen is the media at first would treat this like a joke,” Jacobs says of his potential candidacy. “There would be a lot of interest in it, but it wouldn’t be taken seriously in that respect, but that’s okay — because I think as it would move along they would find out that I do understand, and I do care, very, very, very deeply. But are those enough to be able to win? Because, frankly, if I’m going to do it, that would be my goal.”
“So you know, there would just have to be a lot of things put in to place, and certainly my family would have to be comfortable with it,” he added.
Jacobs says he’s always been interested in politics, but it wasn’t until around 2004 that he began reading economists of the libertarian “Austrian school” such as Friedrich Hayek, Ludwig von Mises and Murray Rothbard. He calls Henry Hazlitt’s Economics in One Lesson “one of the best books anyone can read,” and also cites von Mises’ Human Action and Rothbard’s Man, Economy, and State as personal favorites. And after listening to Jacobs talk for a while, it becomes apparent that, somewhere along the way, this leather mask-wearing pro-wrestler, who is famous for performing something called a “chokeslam” on his opponents, became a full-blown libertarian nerd.
“My interest in economics just basically comes because I think I’m a curious person, and I’m interested in how the world works,” Jacobs says. “I never studied economics in college because I thought it was all about numbers, and statistics and formula, and computer models. And then I heard about Austrian economics, and I was like, well that’s interesting. And then I started studying Austrian economics, and for those who aren’t familiar with Austrian economics, it’s completely different than the prevailing school of economics, which is Keynesianism. And Keynesianism is all about numbers and formulas.”
“The problem with Keynesianism is that we are not, human beings, are not numbers,” he continues. “We’re not atoms that bounce around without free will. Human beings have individual choice, we have free will, and we make decisions, and that’s what Austrian economics takes into account.”
Jacobs says he won’t run unless he thinks he can win, which he admits would be no easy feat. Alexander is something of a living legend in Tennessee politics, and his team says they’ve learned from the mistakes of Republican moderates like Sens. Bob Bennett and Richard Lugar, who both lost to tea-party-backed primary challengers.
“I’m running a Colin Powell military operation,” the 72-year-old Alexander said of his re-election strategy earlier this month, “which is assemble an overwhelming force, focus on a single target and have the stomach to see it all the way through to the end.”
But Alexander also has a reputation as a moderate in a state that has grown increasingly conservative, which could prove to be problematic if he faces a real challenge from his right.
“[Alexander] votes with President Obama 63 percent of the time, which is the highest percentage of any senator from the South,” Jacobs says. “A lot of these votes of course are about economic matters. Senator Alexander supported TARP and the bailouts. … Of course he also voted to confirm Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, who is maybe the most liberal Supreme Court justice we’ve ever had.”
“I think his performance has been abysmal,” Jacobs adds. “And I can understand why the tea parties and the liberty groups in Tennessee would like to see Sen. Alexander removed from office, or at the very least, you know, have this brought out and cause him a lot of political pain.”