One of the great movies of the 1990s was Paul Thomas Anderson’s “Boogie Nights,” the 1997 flick about the porn industry of the late 1970s/early 1980s.
It’s always been a bit conflicting though, when you believe that the vast majority of nudity/sex we see in the movies is unnecessary. The point can be made without witnessing the exhibitionism on camera, and being a party to the voyeurism behind it.
A similar dilemma comes to mind with Sarah Stogner.
She’s running for the republican nomination for Texas Railroad Commissioner. With “primary regulatory jurisdiction,” this position holds considerable sway over the most Lone Star of industries: oil and gas.
She does appear to have the chops for the gig.
According to her campaign website, her law firm has helped “operators, service companies and landowners in complex legal disputes … for almost 15 years.” Apparently however, she doesn’t believe those credentials are bringing her campaign due attention.
Last week it released a brief, dimly-lit video of her riding an oil pumpjack like a horse, but with barely any clothes on. Needless to say, this shocked political observers, so much so that the San Antonio Express-News (SAEN) editorial board rescinded their endorsement of her.
And therein lies our quandary.
The SAEN asserts that “it’s an indictment of these times that a candidate would appeal to voters in such a way” when “we expect candidates for public office to model civil discourse.” Point taken.
However, it does beg the question; do they not hold themselves to similar journalistic standards? If so, why link the video on their endorsement withdrawal? Clickbait? That’s almost beside the point.
Being a father of four daughters, it might make one of us (Baecker) uncomfortable enough if one of the girls posted a “birthday suit” picture on Instagram for their birthday, as Ms. Stogner also did. To so overtly leverage their sexuality for a political campaign would bring on heartburn.
It’s a bit hypocritical though, when the SAEN and other media outlets endorse politicians who actually DO whore themselves out to get/stay elected. By self-funding, it’s these very candidates that Ms. Stogner is trying to expose.
While she’s using the “assets” she has, others, aided by their media enablers, campaign on giving freebies courtesy of an involuntary donor; the taxpayer.
Subsequent redistribution to cronies ranges from the more egregious hand-outs to industries like renewable energy, to tariff-supported trade “losers.” There’s also the more subtle, like assistance nominally intended for the poor.
The result is invariably to hook “beneficiaries” on government dependance, tip the scales against other market competitors, and enrich non-value-creating activists.
But Sarah Stogner “disgraceful(ly)” lacks “decorum worthy of the public’s trust?” Gotcha.
Seasoned politicos were also stunned when Donald Trump got elected, which itself was partly due to his capitalizing on popular anger about this establishment blind-spot. More than one small-L libertarian we know expressly voted for him to “go be a wrecking ball” against it.
If Ms. Stogner prevails next Tuesday (this essay is not an endorsement of her candidacy), or even comes close, it might not be the last time we see someone clad only in pasties and undies if it alerts voters to the real political prostitutes in our midst.
Christopher E. Baecker teaches economics at Northwest Vista College, and is the policy director and editor at InfuseSA. Mimi Planas is the president of the Log Cabin Republicans of San Antonio, and is the president of InfuseSA.