Matthew McConaughey, who’s called himself a ‘folk singin’, philosopher, poet-statesman,’ says he’s not sure he wants to run for Texas governor because politics is ‘a bag of rats’

Matthew McConaughey participates in a Q&A after a special screening of his new film "The Gentlemen" at Hogg Memorial Auditorium at The University of Texas at Austin on January 21, 2020 in Austin, Texas.
Matthew McConaughey
  • Matthew McConaughey told The New York Times that he's unsure of a run for governor of Texas.
  • The Academy Award winner has in the past called himself, "folk singin', philosopher, poet-statesman."
  • He said the country is too polarized and that many have told him that "politics is a bag of rats."

Academy Award-winning actor Matthew McConaughey cooled the chances of him running for office in Texas in an interview with The New York Times on Thursday, partially because politics is "a bag of rats."

McConaughey, who has fashioned himself a "folk singin', philosopher, poet-statesman," sat down with The Times' Kara Swisher on her "Sway" podcast, and said he "wasn't interested in that" when asked about running for Texas governor in 2022.

"Is that a place to make real change or is it a place where right now it's a fixed game, you go in there, you just put on a bunch of band-aids, in fours year you walk out and they rip them off and you're gone?" McConaughey told Swisher. "I'm not interested in that."

In the interview, McConaughey, who has polled high in Texas, also touched on the pressure he's received from across the political spectrum to run for office.

"One side I'm arguing is 'McConaughey exactly, that's why you need to go get in there.' The other side is 'that's a bag of rats, man. Don't touch that with a ten-foot pole. You have another lane. You have another category to have influence and get done things you'd like to get done and help how you think you can help and even heal divides,'" McConaughey said, adding that politics was a "broken business."

Throughout the chat, Swisher brought up Beto' O Rourke's criticism of McConaughey's undefined political stances.

"Coming from Beto, I don't take that as shade. He called me a good man. I say he's a good man... he believes in what he's selling, and his heart is in the right place, and he's got the right compassion that a liberal-sided politician needs," McConaughey said.

McConaughey dug deeper in the interview about where he stands, expressing openness to third parties like The Forward Party, which was recently minted by Andrew Yang.

"People want a third party and we've got one and it doesn't have a name right now and it is the majority," McConaughey said. "I'm hesitant to throw labels... but there is a sleeping giant right now. I think it's necessary to be aggressively centric to possibly salvage democracy in America right now."

McConaughey was outright critical of SB 8, Texas' abortion ban, deeming it, "juvenile in its implementation," adding that the social and political landscape in Texas and the US is fragmented and toxic.

"I go to the individual," McConaughey said. "It's not going to happen by a policy. It's going to have to be a personal choice that more of us are going to have to make on our own and that collectively will build the army that's going to get us out of this not to just survive but thrive."

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