This has been a highly sexualized campaign season. Congressman Mark Foley's email flirtations with teen male pages set the mood, of course, and since the Foley revelations, various campaigns have attempted to pin sex scandals on their rivals. One campaigner linked his opponent to teenage girls watching pornographic movies with probes connected to their genitalia.
In the Virginia Senate Race, George Allen — already in his own scandal for racist comments and an apparent history of racism — pulled a single passage from a novel written by his opponent Jim Webb. The line, "The man grabbed his young son in his arms, turned him upside down, and put the boy's penis in his mouth," may be on its way to becoming the most widely known fictional passage in contemporary America, and may even displace the memory of Bill and Monica and cigars. The controversy over Webb's fiction also worked its way into a wild confrontation between Wolf Blitzer and the Vice President's wife, Lynn Cheney, on CNN (although the exchange was primarily about Cheney's claims of liberal media bias). Cheney, of course, was the author of a hot a lesbian western novel called "Sisters" in 1981.
And then there's the one that has probably received the most attention recently: the ad attacking Harold Ford, the Democratic Senatorial candidate from Tennessee, for attending a party sponsored by Playboy for the 2005 Super Bowl, complete with Playboy Playmates in lingerie.
While most of the dialogue during this campaign has been sex-negative, focused on shaming politicians by linking them in some way, however flimsy the connection, to sexuality, there have been a few cases in which women candidates have tried to use their ample bosoms to attract positive attention.
While no one would accuse Republican psycho and democracy killer Katherine Harris of being an advocate of sexual libertinism, some did suggest that she was using her best assets in a series of photos taken early in her campaign to become the Republican Senator from Florida.
Porn star Mary Carey (NSFW) meanwhile had no bones about exploiting her sexuality in her races to become governor of California, but her recent decision to drop out of the race leaves Governor Schwarzenegger as the only reasonable choice for those of us who vote on the basis of physique.
With all the sex in this year's electoral zeitgeist, there is only one candidate that has used sex to gain our attention who actually deserves our attention. Loretta Null, the Libertarian candidate for Governor of Alabama, posed for a campaign poster in a low cut blouse with the slogan, "Loretta Nall for Governor. More of These Boobs and Less of These (photos of opposing all-male candidates) Boobs." Her Web site also includes Flash animations of someone stuffing bills down the front of her low-cut blouse. And there has also been some discussion about her preferences regarding undergarments (none, thank you.) It's all in the service of some worthy causes, like opposing the drug war and the Patriot Act, among other stances.
But let's let her tell it. I conversed with Ms. Nall via email.
RU SIRIUS: Have you been keeping abreast of how Katherine Harris has been using her campaign assets? Are you sad that Mary Carey dropped out of the governor's race? Who's the biggest boob in politics?
LORETTA NALL: I try not to watch Katherine Harris whenever I can avoid it. She makes me cringe. So, no, I am unaware of how she might be using her assets to campaign. Surprised though... she's so HOLY I figured she would have had them removed because they offend God. I did hear about Mary Carey. The biggest boobs in politics reside in Alabama under the names Bob Riley, Lucy Baxley, Don Siegelman and Roy Moore.
RU: I read somewhere that while you were vying for the Libertarian nomination to run for Governor, you confessed that you don't like to wear panties. Do you think people found that a breath of... errr... fresh air and did it help you win the nomination?
LN: Well, I didn't actually use the fact that I do not wear panties while campaigning for the nomination. The real story about the panties has to do with trying to visit my brother in prison long before I began to seek the nomination. You can read about that here. Also, I would appreciate it if, in this interview, you would link to the real story about the boobs shirt. I'm afraid the media has it all wrong. Here is a link to what really happened.
RU: Do you view sexual puritanism and shame as a serious political problem in America?
LN: Yes. Especially here in the South where sexual repression reigns supreme. I think the real problem though is that candidates have put themselves on a pedestal, have separated themselves from the public and would have us believe that they are as infallible as Jesus. This is not the case. In the beginning of my consideration of running for Governor I used to joke that I would release an "Every naughty girl thing I ever did" book to the media and to my opponents and simply take away their potential ammunition.
I think if people would stop acting ashamed of being human and doing human things then we would see less nastiness during the election cycles.
RU: With all of the recent attacks on civil liberties based on terrorism, the movement to reform or end the "War On Drugs" has kind of lost audience share. How would you compare the damage done to our liberties by the drug war with those done to us by the war on terrorism?
LN: The war on terror is an expansion of the war on drugs. It's the same people (government) doing the same things to American citizens (using fear, force and brutality) for the same reasons (to increase government power). Drug laws aren't passed because the government wants us to follow them. They are passed because the government wants us to break them so that they gain power over citizens through force. In all areas of the US local police have been federalized through Byrne grants and now Homeland Security grants. This is centralization of power. The drug and terror wars are similar in that everyone is a suspect. It is a climate of fear that turns neighbor against neighbor, mother against children. It's, "Don't trust your neighbors or family. Fear them. Only the Government can save you."
RU: Besides ending the war on drugs, what issues are you most passionate about?
LN: For one, non-compliance with the Patriot and Real ID acts. The Patriot and REAL ID Acts are the two most offensive documents to ever be passed into law in the United States of America.
Under these Acts Uncle Sam not only wants you: he also wants your email, your phone calls, your personal mail, your physician and pharmacy records, your library records, your bank records, the contents of your bladder and the bladders of your children. We are told that we must trade our liberty for security in order to help "fight the war on terror."
Our elected officials say the terrorists hate us for our freedom. Apparently our elected officials have decided to remedy that situation by taking away all of our freedoms so the terrorists won't hate us anymore.
The willingness of our elected officials both here, at home, and in Washington, D.C. to participate in the obliteration of our constitutional rights and civil liberties is disgusting and revealing. I will not sacrifice Alabama citizens to any such system.
Another position that I feel is important is opting out of "No Child Left Behind." It is a ridiculous program that forces teachers to focus on standardized testing as opposed to actual teaching. This program seeks to level things out by pushing the top students down instead of bringing the bottom students up.
RU: Are you religious and do you think it's possible to break through the assumption that our elected leaders have to be believers?
LN: I am not religious. I am atheist. I think it is possible to break through the assumption that our elected officials have to be believers. I have had a great deal of success with the religious people in Alabama. Many of my supporters are devout Christians who see my actions and policies as being more Christian in nature than those who use Christianity as political capital but rarely act as Jesus taught in the bible. I am not anti-religion by any stretch of the imagination. I believe that religion is a private family matter best left to the family and the church.
RU: How did you get into Libertarian politics, and do you have an ideological bent? Are you high on Hayek? Randy for Rand? RAW for Robert Anton Wilson?
LN: I got into Libertarian politics after a warrantless police raid on my property back in 2002. Before that I had never been really interested in politics... they tend to be very dull in the state of Alabama and so other than doing my civic duty and voting I didn't pay much attention. I realized after the raid that politics is the art of self-defense and began to look at all of the state parties to find the one that most closely espoused my values and feelings on the way things should be and came up with Libertarian. I really don't have an ideological bent.
RU: Do you think the recent media attention will lead to a higher vote count? Do you hope to win the election?
LN: Yes I am certain that the media attention will lead to a higher vote count. I am 10,000 emails behind due to all of the media coverage with the majority of those emails being from Alabama voters who first heard about me on one program or another and are going to write me in.