Inside the Beltway: Prurient and presidential

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Respect for the office of president and the bulwarks of democracy? Forget about it. The barriers are completely down, yielding more confusion for citizens already fatigued by press bias and the endless trivialization of the presidential election. Questionable takes on the highest office in the land are flourishing, far beyond the relative innocence of, say, animated candidates dancing “Gangnam Style.” Indeed, a recent poll of adult porn industry workers favors President Obama over Mitt Romney, 68 percent to 13 percent. But wait, there’s more.

From AshleyMadison.com, a controversial online dating service for married people intent on infidelity, comes a survey of 23,000 “married women” revealing that “73 percent of women under 35 years old said they would rather have an affair with Obama than Romney.” For women older than 35, half prefer Mr. Romney and half Mr. Obama. This is just a sampling; the survey even breaks down results for swing states.

“What is clearly evident is that physical attraction may be a bigger determining factor than economics, foreign policy or even women’s rights when it comes to female voting preferences for president,” reasons Noel Biderman, founder of the 8-year-old site, which claims to have 16 million members.

Playboy magazine, meanwhile, predicts a “war on your sex life” in an essay by historian Nancy L. Cohen, who foretells “a losing battle for your sexual rights in a Romney White House,” studded with choice expletives.

“Nothing is sacred. Nothing,” says one Republican voter in Virginia. “It just plain depresses me.”

GENERAL QUARTERS

“We cannot afford another four years of feckless foreign policy. We need level-headed leadership which will protect our interests and defend our values with clarity and without apology,” says retired Gen. Tommy Franks, U.S. Army, and former commander of U.S. Central Command, on behalf of the newly mustered Romney For President Military Advisory Council. Several hundred retired generals and admirals from all branches of the armed services have signed on to offer their support.

“As I listen to Mitt Romney, I am convinced that he ‘gets it,’” notes retired Gen. James Conway, USMC, past commandant of the Marine Corps.

THIRD PARTY GOES FORTH

So far, 132.8 million Americans have watched President Obama and Mitt Romney duke it out, for better or worse, on live TV. At the close of their third debate Monday night, the audience will likely reach 200 million. The presidential bouts drive discourse and disagreement among the political parties and the news media; they are instantly transformed into historic events of record. Yeah, big deal. So say the organizers of Free & Equal, a nonprofit group championing third party candidates, and one that dismisses official debates as little more than scripted talking points.

They’ve readied an alternative. The group has persuaded former CNN host Larry King to moderate a freewheeling encounter between four independent presidential hopefuls, scheduled in Chicago for Tuesday night as a feisty finale to debate season. On the podium: Libertarian Gary Johnson, Green Party hopeful Jill Stein, the Constitution Party’s Virgil Goode and Rocky Anderson of the Justice Party.

“The previous debates between Obama and Romney have failed to address the issues that really concern everyday Americans,” says Christina Tobin, founder of the group. “From foreign policy, to the economy, to taboo subjects like our diminishing civil liberties and the drug war, Americans deserve a real debate, real solutions, and real electoral options.”

Motley political correspondents on hand: Thom Hartmann of Russia TV, Ben Swann of local Fox affiliate WXIX, and talk radio host Josh Tolley. Among the equally motley 59 event sponsors: The American Conservative, the Voice of Russia and the New Progressive Alliance; the debate will be broadcast though Ora TV, a free digital channel, and the cable network RT.

“Uniting honest media, honest organizations, and honest public figures across the political spectrum for this historic event is the beginning of a movement to shift the power of government back to the people,” observes Ms. Tobin.

THE SIMPLE PLAN

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