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September 1, 2011

…And because you didn’t, there’s a good chance that the GOP is going to take this opportunity to pounce.

It seems like just yesterday that Obama was being sworn into office.  As with the inception of most new presidential terms, the American people were filled with hope that the new Commander in Chief was going to right the (in this case, considerable) wrongs of his predecessor.  It didn’t take long, however, for the citizens to notice that they were looking at a man who had once promised to change Washington, but was now looking like he had, in fact, been changed by it.  Claims of reinvigorating personal freedoms and giving the country back to the middle class were now put on the backburner in order to repair the collateral damage left over from Bush-era policies.  But in all fairness, is there really time for restricting warrantless wiretaps and closing Guantanamo Bay when you’re left to deal with a record-breaking $1.3 trillion deficit.

With his first year in office analogized to the actions of a chicken with his head cut off, Obama was stigmatized as “trying to do too much” and as a result accomplishing nothing.  Granted, Obama had quite the mess to clean up and, after all, it’s politics; if people aren’t complaining about you, you either aren’t relevant or you just haven’t sexted an unwilling recipient yet.  But here we are, over two years later and many have been left wondering what kind of legacy the Obama Administration will leave besides the aftermath of one of the worst economic crises in U.S. history and grumblings of “They said they could, but did they?”  As much as some might not like it, the reality is that with Obama’s approval ranting hovering in the low to mid 40’s the last few months (even with a recent spike after the killing of Osama Bin Laden), it might be time to take a serious look at what the Republicans are bringing to the table for 2012.  Or more importantly, what’s for dinner?

When the GOP presidential hopefuls started tossing their respective hats into the ring, it was most definitely a Romney/Huckabee/Gingrich race.  Those nominations slowly warped into a Romney/Gingrich/Pawlenty race and now that the commotion has died down a bit, we not only have a dark horse in the running but one that is actually pulling ahead; Michele Bachmann.  Bachmann, a relatively new face to the White House mix, is proving that although she too might be in need of a fact-checker on speed-dial, she is no Sarah Palin, and possibly capable of breaking up the GOP Nominee Boys Club for good.

But first let’s take a look at the number one front-runner for the presidential nomination, a title that he has held since the very beginning of 2012 election talks, everybody’s favorite Mormon; Mitt Romney.  After a surprising second-place caucus finish to Mike Huckabee back in 2008, Romney was said to have been hanging up his presidential hat for good.  But now that the last three years have seen unparalleled unemployment rates and economic decline , the seasoned venture capitalist seems to be eager to show off his financial prowess in supposedly turning around the U.S.’s teetering economy.  Besides a few standard overzealous blips on the legislative radar during his tenure as governor as Massachusetts (read: the infamous RomneyCare), Romney’s only other major political hurdle is his religion.

Reminiscent of the JFK-Catholicism concerns of the 1960 presidential election, Romney seems to be doing his best to bypass any religion-based pigeon-holing, but doing so with enough aloofness and a trademark million dollar smile so as to avoid losing the socially-conservative Christian vote.  With the trend of goliath-esque issues like government bailouts and deficit/spending eclipsing social concerns like abortion and gay marriage, the last four years might have created the perfect storm for Romney to save the day.

Next on the list is former Speak of the House, Newt Gingrich.  After a thirteen year sabbatical from politics, Newt has started off his presidential nomination the best way he knows how: by shooting off at the mouth.  Doing so has more often than not worked to his benefit and this go-round is probably no different.  Reminiscent of the fiery Republican Whip of the early 90’s, Gingrich kicked off his candidacy with slamming the GOP’s Medicare proposal and publicly humiliating a Republican representative.  He makes no qualms about the fact that he is a big personality, and tends to make up for any goodwill faux pas with swift, public recoveries exhibiting the skills of a truly seasoned politico.

Newt’s aggressive legislative tactics, weak fundraising abilities and, as of late, propensity for infuriating people to the point that they no longer wish to work for him seem to be too large of hurdles to bypass Romney’s unassuming charm to make it to the head of the class.  In all honesty, having your campaign team publicly question your commitment to the race probably doesn’t fare well with your political party and more importantly, choosing a Mediterranean cruise over campaign events probably doesn’t fare well Joe Public.  Everyone knows that if given the opportunity they would pick Greece over Iowa too, but there’s some to be said for dedication to the cause when the “cause” is running the United States.

Despite Newt’s discipline problems, with his name recognition so deep-rooted in the American psyche and his renowned reputation as one of the “idea guys,” Newt might still have a shot as a contender for the VP seat in 2012.  One thing is certain, Newt Gingrich is a politician to the bone and he has decided to come back out and play with the big boys.  Meaning, even if his chaotic campaign has destroyed the last shred of a prospective win in 2012, you can be sure that if a Republican ends up in the White House, there’s a good chance that Newt is going to have his hands in the cookie jar somehow.

And finally, we have America’s anti-establishment sweetheart, Michele Bachmann.  The three-term Congresswoman from Minnesota is most known for being the chair of the Congressional Tea Party Caucus.  Just in case you’ve been living under a rock for the last few months, the Tea Party is a political movement dedicated to limiting government intervention and promoting fiscal conservatism, executed of course, with that oh-so-subtle panache that we’ve all come to love from the party.

Grass-roots fighters by their very nature, the Tea Party has vehemently defended Bachmann and her activists support her in ways that traditional republican candidates only dream of.  Bachmann’s sometimes polarizing ideologies and quirky exploits have provided her with a speedy trip up the polls, but it’s her fund-raising capabilities that are going to keep her there.  Already deemed a fundraising juggernaut less than two months after announcing her candidacy, Bachmann notably raised over $13.5 million during her last election cycle – numbers like that are simply unheard of in this type of economy.  Further, it was reported that virtually all of those campaign contributions came from individuals, not lobbyists/big business, and over 50% of the donations coming from people contributing $200 or less.  This tells us one thing for sure: Michelle Bachmann has a loyal following and there are a lot of them.  Enough to win a presidential election?  Maybe not.  A serious contender at the very least?  Undeniably.   Maybe that “slightly off” courage of conviction is exactly what the American electorate wants to see after the last four years.  Recent polls seem to show that is certainly the case.  Say what you will about Bachmann, she has been called everything from a fanatic to downright crazy.  But regardless of how you feel about her unorthodox methods, at this point, “underestimated” seems more accurate a description.

And because the Tea Party is never to be outdone when it comes to random political shenanigans, just last week Representative Bachmann announced that she was going to be the first presidential nominee to sign “The Marriage Vow,” a pledge sponsored by one of the country’s most socially-conservative organizations; the Family Leader Organization.  Upon signing the pledge, Bachmann agreed to remain faithful to his or her partner, oppose gay marriage, reject pornography, reject Islamic law, and declare that homosexuality is a choice and a public health risk, among other things.  The signing of this pledge, no doubt directly related to Bachmann’s unexpected success at the Iowa Caucuses, probably isn’t going to do much to help Bachmann’s attempt at reaching beyond the Tea Partiers and resonating as a serious candidate with the rest of the voters.  So although she’s clearly not providing the most politically correct platform, Bachmann’s no-holds-barred approach may just be the breath of fresh, albeit bigoted, air needed for the U.S.’s politically jaded general electorate in 2012.  She can only hope that Saturday Night Live does not pull off the perfect caricature as it did with Tina Fey’s impeccable Sara Palin.

So what does all this mean for the adult industry?  Honestly, as with most things involving politics, it’s just too soon to tell.  Obviously with a Republican in office, the sky is the limit in terms of utilizing the adult industry as a political agenda tool.  However, we’ve had a supposed liberal in the White House for some time now, and things aren’t exactly ideal by any means.  Is this a case of “better the devil you know”?  Or even more disturbing, have we gotten to the point where disconcerting thoughts like picking the lesser of two political evils is just the grim reality of politics in the 21st Century?  Let’s hope not.  But between Romney’s uber-conservative religious background, Newt’s deep-rooted affiliation with all things GOP and Bachmann’s new anti-porn platform, the adult entertainment industry is far from at ease in anticipating the outcome of this election, and rightfully so.  Should the electorate respond to the Obama administration’s failure to address the significant economic issues facing the country by electing a reactionary like Bachmann, we could see a level of hostility directed at the adult industry that has not been witnessed since the Reagan – Bush era.


*Note: This article was drafted with the purpose of addressing various political agendas affecting the adult entertainment industry and in no way was intended as a political endorsement of any candidate.  It should also be noted that the author is not associated with any election campaign and is not a member of any political party.

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