We’re always talking about the interplay of politics and wrestling, both of which are predicated on manipulating the emotions of mass audiences. There’s the involvement of former Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura and would-be senator Linda McMahon. And I thought the 2012 GOP presidential primaries were nothing but one, long false finish. (“Romney’s down. Santorum’s got him. No, wait, Herman Cain is entering the ring …”)
Which brings me to Man Mountain Dean, one of the focal points in The Pro Wrestling Hall of Fame: Heroes and Icons. Given his penchant for braggadocio, no one in the book required more fact checking. But the erstwhile Frank S. Leavitt appears to have been the first to try to parlay fame into elected office, making a couple of unsuccessful stabs at running for Congress and the legislature in Georgia, where he lived.
His campaign highlights didn’t make it into our 2,800-word profile, but take a gander at his campaign publicity flier (the grammar issues are his):
All in all, Leavitt has traveled many miles, and in his spare time has studied the problems of life and its needs, and there are only two sure things: death and taxes; eliminate unnecessary waste and office holders, thereby reduce taxpayers.
It’s not clear whether to which political party the Man Mountain belonged, since he ran for the legislature as a Democrat and Congress as a Republican. His progressive campaign platform included abolishing the Georgia poll tax, establishing a luxury tax, and quadrupling the size of the state highway corps. But he also came out against a minimum wage for workers. At least he threw out some good lines that wouldn’t be all that far removed from today’s political scene:
“I will undertake to throw any ten members of the Legislature out at the same time if they start anything.”
“When a wrestler gets personal in the ring, I let him have one right on the jaw. . . . If I stay in politics, I’ll slug somebody sure.”