Written by Justin Burnell
Sunday, 10 May 2009 13:50
If the luminaries of local media are all pretending to give a shit about a porn star who might run for U.S. Senate, who are we to ignore it? Justin Burnell reports from Stormy Daniels "listening" tour.
On Wednesday, undeclared Senate candidate and adult entertainment actress Stormy Daniels walked in to Serio’s Po-Boys & Deli for the second date of her “listening tour.” The tour is meant to help Daniels decide if she should officially declare her candidacy against incumbent David Vitter.
She arrived in a deep-V’d leopard print blouse and a tight black skirt. Immediately greeting owner Mike Serio, she posed for pictures, while Serio jokingly apologized for not having a stripper pole ready. She ignored the comment and thanked him for giving her a venue. Shutters clicked as she talked like an awkward debutante to Serio about the importance of open political dialogues. He suggested he introduce her to a table of businessmen. “Real people come here,” he said “you want to talk to them, not the media.”
The scene was surreal, with a bright, low-quality film set feel. Serio guided her to the table with his arm around her. The businessmen, a combination of Italians and generational Louisianans, stood to hug her or kiss her cheeks. They smiled and greeted her like a newly acquired trophy wife. One of men still sitting asked about the chances of a “hands-on interview.” The table laughed. Daniels laughed self-consciously. She stood awkwardly, as if trying to reconcile two different worlds. One can assume that she has gotten used to attention based on her sexuality. At Serio’s it seemed she felt this might not be the attention she wants now.
The men returned to their seats, and Daniels stood at the end. As they asked her policy questions, her posture relaxed. She said that she supports the Fair Tax—a national sales tax (23% of total payment) that supporters say will level the tax burden more than the national income tax but opponents say will overly burden the middle class. “I don’t want to work, pull myself up, I don’t want to pay just so some lazy person gets a free ride,” Daniels said. Despite all the jokes made at her expense, no one seized this opportunity.
One man said he was scared his wife would find out where he was. She told him that he should have brought her. “I get a lot of support from women on the message boards. They stick up for me when men make stupid comments,” she went on, “Men will say that ‘she’s blonde’ or ‘she’s good at sex, she must be dumb.’ I’m like, what does that say about your wives.”
She went on to explain that she “believes very strongly in sexual education.” This also caused a few laughs. She stated that one of her chief goals would be to further hinder the proliferation of internet child pornography. Many times she told the press that she had not yet decided if she would run for office, stating that her main goal is to gauge interest and raise questions about David Vitter’s character.
While she says that this is not a political or publicity stunt, the press seems to have judged it as such. The articles rang in muted smiles and mock seriousness. The Associated Press quotes University of New Orleans Professor Ed Chervenak saying, "It's probably going to be fairly easy for him to ignore her. What it really shows is the lack of any real credible Democratic challenger.” Local star reporter Chris Rose barely hides his grin as he lists among Daniels’ accomplishments being president of her high school 4-H club. Best-in-show must be awarded to Politics Daily’s Tommy Christopher for the line: “While she may seem to be a longshot now, imagine, if you will, the sight of eager throngs all over the state, waiting in anticipation for Stormy Daniels to come.”
Stunt or not, it seems clear to all that Daniels is not a serious contender. She has told the press that she will probably not run, or that she is unwilling to take the pay-cut the job would require.
As the “listening” session wound down, Daniels posed for pictures with young men and signed autographs. She began talking about the film she is directing and producing that will begin shooting in New Orleans in June. She said directing is what she would actually like to pursue.
A rail-thin, mustached man approached Daniels. Wearing black jeans, a black long-sleeved shirt with every button buttoned, a cowboy hat, black boots and red Marine Corps cuff links, he waited patiently until she was finished talking. He asked her for an autograph and held out a dollar bill to her. She stared at him for a moment then accepted it and asked someone for a pen. She signed the dollar against his chest. He thanked her and walked quickly out the front door.
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