Yesterday Riptide had some fun with Bobbie Bean, the mallet-waving, melon-farming outsider Senate candidate who snagged a spot on the ballot above Gov. Charlie Crist. Bean hadn't returned our call, so we didn't have much to go on for our piece beyond his colorful website.
Well, this morning Bean got back to us. Turns out he's a passionate crusader against bullying in schools with a compelling personal tale. Click through for a Q&A with Bean, who clarifies why he wants to kill a prohibition against sex with porcupines and what that huge hammer in his YouTube ad is all about.
Bean grew up in Davie and spent years running a print shop in Fort Lauderdale before buying land outside Sebring to start his melon farm.
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The incident led Bobbie Bean to spend four years lobbying in Tallahassee for an anti-bullying bill and to become deeply disillusioned about Congress.
New Times: So why did your experiences in Tallahassee lead you to run for U.S. Senate instead of a more local race that might be more realistic?
Bean: As you can read on my website, we have a lot of local corruption and dysfunctional government here in Florida. Say I won a county seat here near Sebring. The other commissioners would be pleasant to me, invite me to their barbecues, but then they'd ignore me. I knew I couldn't overcome that.
I also see the direction this country is going in. I want to bring simple and basic government back to America. And I don't feel like either party is doing it right now.
What specifically concerns you about America right now?
When I go to churches and talk to people, the number one fear I keep getting from everyone in those churches is... socialism and Marxisim coming into America. They're afraid they'll have to start practicing their religion, whatever it is, be it Christianity or Judaism or whatever, in closets. I hear it from the deacons, from the pastors, and they're afraid they'll have to practice the Bible in the closet. I think it's a very realistic fear.
On your site, you promise to get rid of some outrageous-sounding laws on the books, like a ban on sex with porcupines. What's that all about?
With a ridiculous law like that, you have to think of all the lobbyists and all the time that it took in Tallahassee to put it on the books. It's foolishness. I heard the other day that someone was studying some worms and spent $9 million on it. Right now, with the way our country is going, I'm all for saving animals and all that, but do we have the money to spend $9 million to find out if the worm has to be so long to breed? It's ridiculous.
Those are just a few of the ignorant laws, the ones that I mention on my site. Here's a true story. On the third year we were working on the bullying and harassment bill, we're sitting there, waiting to be heard, and they're down there on the floor discussing how many egg whites it takes to make a key lime pie fluffy on top so they can make it the official state pie.
We knew the next bill they would get to was our bullying bill, and they guaranteed us we'd be heard before the session ended. Then the buzzer went off, and they never heard us. We were stunned. Everyone was on the floor. All they had to do was hit their gavel, extend the thing by 45 minutes, and help a lot of kids. Instead, they're talking about pies. Wasn't there a certain amount of blood on their hands for that?
In your YouTube video on your site, you wave this giant mallet around. What's the idea behind that?
It's a reference to [Speaker of the House] Nancy Pelosi, from when she was doing the hearing on health care and she picked up the mallet and waved it around and said, 'You should vote this way on it.' My theory is, I got a bigger mallet, baby. My mallet's bigger. Pelosi actually backed a couple senators up against the wall and got kind of physical. I just want to say, 'You're not going to do that to old Bobby Bean.'"
So you wouldn't be intimidated in Washington, in other words.
I've been through the grinder so much -- I've been scared, shaking, crying -- and it made me stronger. I've got a big pair of brass balls now. I'm going to represent the working class and the people of Florida.
Why should voters here in Miami cast a ballot for you? Wouldn't they be tossing their vote away, in a sense?
I don't believe I'm splitting the vote. Rubio and Crist are splitting the vote. The question is, what violin do you want to play? The Democratic violin and the Republican violin all sound the same, in my opinion. As splintered as things are now, a guy like me could win this race with 22 precent of the vote. If you're tired of being poor, upset, angry, and you're upset with the government -- and I'm using nicer words here than I hear out on the street -- then go for a change in Bobbie Bean.
But even after the race, I'm going to keep my site up and use it as a resource for people. We'll keep it up as an online newspaper. So we'll keep making an impact even after the election.