opinion

See Hillary Run

Alex Henderson
In various polls conducted in 2005 and 2006, registered Democrats picked Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton as the person most likely to receive the Democratic presidential nomination in 2008. And on the Republican side, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice often has been mentioned as a possible presidential candidate, although polls have cited Arizona Sen. John McCain and former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani as 2008's more likely GOP contenders.

For adult entertainment providers, the possibility of electing a female president in the U.S. someday — although not necessarily in 2008 — raises the question: What would a female president mean for the adult industry? Would the effects be positive, negative or a combination of the two? XBiz contacted some accomplished women in the adult industry to get their opinions.

Kat Sunlove, legislative affairs director for the Free Speech Coalition, said that as a "longtime feminist," she finds it exciting that both Clinton and Rice are being seriously mentioned as possible presidential candidates. However, she doubts that either will receive their party's nomination in 2008.

"It seems unrealistic to me that Hillary Clinton could go from spending just a few years in the Senate to moving right into the White House," Sunlove said. "I think she is a much stronger candidate — a much greater possibility — for 2012. But that's to be seen. I do think that she is trying to move to the right, and I can only guess what her motives are; it could be positioning for a White House run. And more power to her — I would love it."

Sunlove added that despite being part of the Bush administration, Rice could have a hard time getting through a GOP presidential primary because she isn't socially conservative enough for the Christian Right, which, Sunlove said, "has pretty much gained control, at this point, of America's Republican Party."

Rice, for example, has described herself as "mildly pro-choice" and "reluctantly pro-choice" on the abortion issue. Asked how either Clinton or Rice might treat the adult industry if elected president, Sunlove responded: "I think that either Clinton or Rice would be inclined to make some noise about going after adult entertainment."

Bad For Adult?
Loretta Holt, president of the Sin City Chamber of Commerce — an organization that promotes adult entertainment in Las Vegas — fears that the adult industry would see an increase in obscenity prosecutions under a female president.

"I believe a female president would want to be a nurturer of the people and a matriarch figure and go down in the history books as an opponent of any industry that seemingly exploits women — even though we all know that the majority of the women in the adult entertainment industry are there by choice because the money is just too good," Holt said.

"I can't imagine anyone as conservative as Rice being a proponent of the adult industry. But then again, she shows a flash of independence every so often. Maybe there is a less conservative side to Rice that she will be willing to show once she gets out from under the oppressive thumb of the Bush administration. Now, if Clinton can ignore the political jokes that would crop up because of her spouse and his historic escapades, I believe Hillary may be willing to support the adult entertainment industry to an extent. After all, she was — and in some ways still is — a bra-burning liberal contender. So if I had to choose between the two for adult entertainment advocates, Hillary would get my vote."

Sexual freedom activist/educator Lisa Lawless, who heads the National Association for Sexual Awareness and Empowerment, said she would vote for Clinton for president because of the senator's positions on the environment, healthcare, sex education and family planning. However, Lawless believes that both Clinton and Rice might be vulnerable to anti-porn pressure if elected president — Rice from the Christian Right, Clinton from the more stridently anti-erotica feminists such as Catharine MacKinnon, a former colleague of radical feminist Andrea Dworkin.

"You have feminists who see sexuality as empowering to women, but then there are the older feminists who see adult entertainment as degrading to women, and I have a feeling that Hillary Clinton would probably see things that way. Attacks on the adult industry are more likely to come from the Republican side than from the Democrat side — I think liberals are more likely to view sexuality as a normal part of who we are as people, but on the other hand, I don't think the Democrats want to be seen as supporting the adult industry."

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