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January 25, 2010

First Sex Tape President

Last May I conjectured that by 2040 the U.S. would elect a president even though naked pictures or sex tapes featuring them would be available online. Nevertheless I'm startled to see how close we came to having that be true in 2010.

In the long run this is a healthy development, although traumatic for everyone involved in the short run. There will also inevitably be a feeling of wistfulness when we think about all the America presidents who we never got to see having sex. (#1: Grover Cleveland.)

—Jonathan Schwarz

Posted at January 25, 2010 11:58 AM

Comedy gold right here. You got me wondering what really happened in the W.H. Taft bathtub. Chet Arthur: offering moustache AND sideburn rides! Needless to say, unsettling mental images of "Tricky Dick" pretty much come up unbidden.

Posted by: Keifus at January 25, 2010 03:46 PM

Don't forget Bess Truman's rather suggestive lithographs.

Posted by: Dennis Perrin at January 25, 2010 06:22 PM

all the America presidents who we never got to see having sex. (#1: Grover Cleveland.)

Speak for yourself.

Posted by: weaver at January 25, 2010 07:26 PM

Let's just say that some of us have access to significantly more advanced ouija technology than that stuff they sell in Salem tourist traps.

Posted by: weaver at January 25, 2010 07:28 PM

Mass. recently elected a guy who posed nude in Cosmos.

Posted by: Susan at January 26, 2010 01:14 AM

I'm not at all certain I would have wanted to see Abe Lincoln having sex.

Or Lyndon Johnson, for that matter.

Teddy Roosevelt might have been interesting....

Posted by: NomadUK at January 26, 2010 04:07 AM

I'd much rather see Abraham Lincoln having sex, preferably with Joshua Speed, than Teddy Roosevelt (imagine that high-pitched voice yelling, "Oh god! I'm coming!"). But we all have our preferences.

Posted by: Duncan at January 26, 2010 10:03 AM


Sex with Teddy Roosevelt? Which one? The old, portly whiskered warmonger? Or this one:

Picture of young Teddy Roosevelt

(Fingers crossed to see whether I worked the magic!}

Posted by: N E at January 26, 2010 12:10 PM

okay, i apparently suck at following instructions, but the url below if copied into a browser will reveal the handsome young TR in all his hot glory, so prepare to swoon!

Posted by: N E at January 26, 2010 12:24 PM

It seems more likely that by 2040 the US will elect a president even though they do NOT have an online sex tape.

Or at least a Coitus Friendly Avatar.

Posted by: john at January 26, 2010 06:44 PM

Okay, okay, so maybe TR wasn't such a great choice.

But I don't see anyone giving me grief about LBJ.

Posted by: NomadUK at January 27, 2010 03:08 AM

I no longer buy the National Enquirer, but the HuffPost is kind enough to inform us that the sex tape was made while the woman was pregnant, and that the mother believed the baby to be "some kind of golden child, the reincarnated spirit of a Buddhist monk who was going to help save the world."

Posted by: mistah charley, ph.d. at January 27, 2010 09:48 AM

In a comment about USA Today's story that Elizabeth Edwards is finally leaving John, sidwell states, in part:

"I think Elizabeth realizes that John is a good man in a bad situation. I feel sorry for him and her. Life has given them more grief than one family should ever have to bear. John had to bury a son and now he is facing burying a spouse. It is so obvious it was all too much for him. He wanted NORMALCY - what human being doesn't. He sought solace in sex with a woman that was normal and healthy. In those times, he didn't have to face his mortality, Elizabeth's mortality, or the grief over his dead son - he could just ESCAPE. This man was grieving and trying to numb his pain with the giddiness of a new relationship and sex. Why do people get another pet, when one pet dies? It is self medicating - it is attempting to numb pain. Human beings exist in a perpetual state of pain avoidance and he was no different. So you wouldn't have cheated on your terminally ill wife, but what WOULD or DID you do to cope? Drink, gamble, shop, drugs, religion?"

This caught my attention because my beloved cat Pau died last week, and today I found myself wondering, should I get another cat? I even searched the local animal shelter website for a cat as similar as possible (orange tabby, male neutered, adult - they don't have one listed as available right now, fortunately). Even as I did this, I thought it was a bit strange - we still have a remaining cat, and she is too old to count on her adjusting well to the presence of a new pet.

More details about my late cat available by clicking on my name (this post only).

By the way, all those terrible cat-related puns that you are thinking of right now - let's not mention them, OK? We're talking about deeply tragic elements of the human and feline conditions.

Posted by: mistah charley, ph.d. at January 27, 2010 04:59 PM

Speaking of LBJ, here's a joke I recall having heard in the high school lunchroom while LBJ was president (so yes, it's not unlikely that if I got a new cat who was still a kitten, that cat might outlive me). It was presented as a true story, and it is not uncharacteristic of the man.

As I heard it, LBJ was showing some reporters around the private living quarters in the White House, and they came to his bedroom. He patted the bed and said proudly, in a strong Texas accent, which I ask you to imagine, "Gentlemen, I've had a hundred women on this bed - and NONE of 'em was as good as Lady Bird!" - referring to his wife.

Posted by: mistah charley, ph.d. at January 27, 2010 05:12 PM

I'm sorry for your loss, mistah charley.

Posted by: Save the Oocytes at January 27, 2010 05:29 PM

Is O'bomber the first president to openly decode that certain American citizens in foreign countries are to be shot, or bombed, on sight? Has anyone else done this - I know Bush liked to kidnap people and torture them and imprison them forever, and some of them died, but I don't recall him giving orders to shoot or bomb on sight.

Posted by: Susan at January 27, 2010 07:29 PM

I believe, Susan, that this is a continuation of a Bush administration policy. In fact, IIRC, I think the first American to get wacked in such a manner was in a car in Yemen, ca. 2003-2004.

Posted by: Rojo at January 28, 2010 05:18 AM

N E, thanks for that charming photo of the soon-to-be 17 year old TR.

Duncan, as long as it was *that* vintage of the old Rough Rider, I'd love to hear the sweet tenor moans and exclamations of pleasure escaping his downy lips. Though a bit younger than I usually want to complicate my life with, I'd definitely watch...

Posted by: Phillip Allen at January 28, 2010 08:00 AM

Glenn Greenwald's January 28 article suggests the policy is not new, but a continuation of the Bush policy adopted after 9/11. I guess we will all reflexively keep talking about the "Bush administration policy" and the "Obama administration policy" as if that is how this works, but this is a National Security policy, and changing Presidents won't easily or often change it. At least that's my hypothesis. I await evidence suggesting its invalidity.

The US military and other agencies of the US government have a long history of killing US citizens without first providing them with trials, especially in connection with suppression of the labor movement and the civil rights movement. That isn't Hollywood history, or Washington Post history; it's just the truth.

What's new is this business of getting the authorization expressly inserted into executive orders. That doesn't seem to have been considered important until recently. IT's probably a response to the development of our litigation culture, the expansion of human rights, AND the development of extraterritorial jurisdiction for human rights violations. That problem Pinochet had probably made some folks sit up and take notice. If the military kills a US citizen allegedly engaged in sponsoring terrorism somehow, that could give rise to a lawsuit down the road, either in the US or abroad. In the old days, killing people wasn't usually done with a targeted missile strike, which does seem rather identifiable. It's not as easy to deny that kind of killing, and those handy dandy lawyers of the John Yoo variety likely view an executive order authorizing assassinations as providing significant protection against irritating meddling by human rights lawyers smart enough to notice that a missile that blows up the car or house of a US citizen abroad probably didn't hit the car or house by accident. Not if the victims included a subversive US citizen who the military thought deserving of death by explosion.

It's not that the officers who control our military, intel, and special forces ever needed permission from a President to kill a US citizen they deemed or proclaimed subversive or dangerous or whatever, or that they would even necessarily care if a President told them not to do it. Hell, Presidents have been known to be assassinated, so perhaps deference to the Commander in Chief isn't the military instinct you read about in civics books. Lordy, imagine that!

The willingness of authority to provide the military with cover on this seems to be another policy position that Obama couldn't change, didn't feel he could change, or didn't think was worth the fight given all the other policy fights he has lost and is losing. It gets easier and easier to second-guess him. It should get easier and easier for him to second-guess himself too. But there doesn't yet seem to be that much evidence of that either.

Posted by: N E at January 28, 2010 08:16 AM

N E - you state

The willingness of authority to provide the military with cover on this seems to be another policy position that Obama couldn't change, didn't feel he could change, or didn't think was worth the fight given all the other policy fights he has lost and is losing.

No doubt this has been discussed before, but I can't remember the answer, so I'll ask: why do you think that the Czar is on the peasants' side, in his heart of hearts, and deeply regrets that it is not possible for him to do anything to relieve our suffering?

Posted by: mistah charley, ph.d. at January 28, 2010 08:54 AM

The LBJ sex joke I've heard had something to do with his Spanish mistresses calling him "El BJ." Wokka wokka wokka!

Posted by: ethan at January 28, 2010 10:38 AM

If some people stuck with definition essay writing, thence I will recommend to buy essays from some professional media essay writing service in such case.

Posted by: mAEllen at January 28, 2010 12:13 PM

mistah charley ph.d.

I have no doubt that Obama in his irrelevant heart of hearts doesn't approve of the policy of using missiles to assassinate alleged terrorists without first convicting them of a crime. All of Obama's meaningless rhetoric, and more importantly all of his half-measures, indicates his basic disagreement with that kind of policy. He isn't Dershowitz or Yoo, and there doesn't seem to me to be much reason to think he is. I'm not saying hearts of hearts mean anything--i'm just answering your question.

If Obama wanted to be Cheney or W or some other Teddy Roosevelt on steroids, he could endorse blowing people up right and left and make tremendous political gains from that. What would he lose? Your support? Mine? Gee, how valuable that has proved to be! As it is, he appears weak and vacillating to his enemies, but compromising and like a czar ruling over the peasants to his potential supporters, sometimes known as a base, though frankly I don't think any such thing as a base exists on the left. Despite some of its fiery rhetoric, the populist left can barely organize a vigil to light candles, and when such a vigil occurs, I would bet that half of the participants would be informants for the FBI. Not that its necessary or productive for the FBI to do that, but those law enforcement types just can't help themselves.

As a backseat, Monday-morning President, I offer my worthless opinion that Obama's instincts as to being a successful President have been as misguided as his campaign instincts were astute. He ran the kind of campaign he needed to run to win, given that the support of the intel agencies and banks was vital, but he seems to have misjudged what he could accomplish as President by skillful political conciliation and bipartisan moderation. He better get wise fast, or he really will deliver us to the GOP in 2012, and maybe Congress to the GOP in 2010. It won't be that hard for him to do. Then again, perhaps he knows that nothing has fixed what happened in 2000 and 2004, in which case he and we are really doomed either way.

I agree that Obama might as well be the czar for all the good his good intentions seem to do, if he still has any to speak of. But he isn't the problem, though of course he could still become part of it, as Clinton did, if he listens to the little voices in his ear (perhaps swearing a lot in the voice of Rahm). Then the miissiles really might start flying. As soon as Obama or some other President with enough moxxy succumbs to the temptation to put on the One Ring and use the power of the National Security State instead of resisting it, likely in response to elite pressure, very bad things might start happening. The fact that there was a brake on such adventurism and aggression in the second half of the Cheney administration doesn't mean there will be a brake in 2012 or 2016 or at any other time. There was elite consensus against an invasion of Iraq in 1991 but considerable sentiment for it (if not a consensus) a decade later. Times change, and gradual pressure and small leaks will eventually break a dam. The pressure of militarists in the National Security State for war and other brutality is considerable. So we really need to dismantle these power structures instead of just assuming Presidents can control them. They obviously can't.

Posted by: N E at January 28, 2010 10:16 PM