Following up on my column earlier this week about whether cigarette smoking would be considered a disqualifier when voters consider a presidential candidate, I got to thinking about what else the American public would hold against a politician in a national election.

Let’s leave out illegal activity, or a criminal record, and let’s consider this only in the present tense, not looking forward to how the next generation might vote. Let’s also eliminate race and gender, which are still open questions, but may become central in 2008.

Would America elect as President someone who admitted:

  • Being an atheist? No chance.
  • Being a devout Muslim? No chance.
  • Being Jewish? Perhaps, but not orthodox.
  • Being Catholic or another Christian denomination? Absolutely.
  • Making proclamations beginning “God personally told me…”? No chance.
  • Being gay? No chance.
  • Having one or two lesbian experiences in college, but heterosexual since then? Probably.
  • Having one or two gay experiences in college, but heterosexual since then? No chance.
  • Having an abortion? Probably not, unless they publicly repented, but not if that turned her virulently anti-abortion a la Norma McCorvey, either.
  • Being a draft dodger during the Vietnam War? Possibly, if he hadn’t led protests against returning Vietnam veterans (anti-war is okay, anti-troops is not).
  • Being single and sleeping around? Probably not.
  • Having an affair? Probably, unless it got messy because the spouse made a big deal of it.
  • Choosing to not have childen (rather than being physically incapable of procreating)? Sure.
  • Having used steroids? Probably.
  • Being an alcoholic? Yes, but only if it was long ago and you haven’t fallen off the wagon.
  • Regularly performing in an adult entertainment venue, video, or website? No chance, regardless of when it was (keep that in mind, Miss Webcam America!).