THE BLOG
12/20/2007 01:17 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Obama's 'Present' Vote Ignored Dangers of Sex Shops Near Schools

by Taylor Marsh

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I'm getting quite a lot of heat these days for my posts on Mr. Obama. Frankly, I don't care because when a man running for office hasn't been vetted by the media or our own party, it's a dirty job, but someone has to do it. I talked about the "live birth abortion" and Obama's "present" vote, over which no doubt the wingnuts are salivating. For some reason, people seem to think that Mr. Obama's legislative career doesn't matter; that he deserves a pass on it. Do you think Republicans will give him a pass? There are a lot of Obama fans that just don't seem to get how this works. Ask John Edwards, he knows. Hillary's been through this for fifteen years. It's going to be a meat grinder next year, no matter who our nominee is, but when you serve up beauties with "present" votes it makes it an even bigger target.

Besides, Obama is continually talking about Clinton being a "triangulator," as do many of the Hillary haters. People talking about her calculations. I don't agree with all of her votes, especially on some foreign policy matters, particularly her Iraq war vote, but also Kyl-Lieberman. But when she's pushed she votes and puts herself on the line. She never votes "present" when it matters. When pushed at YearlyKos on lobbyists she could have pandered. She didn't. She also took the heat, including boos. She didn't back down over Kyl-Lieberman either, even though it cost her in grumbling. It's what she believes, with Wesley Clark and Joseph Wilson backing her. Larry Johnson told me on the radio the argument was a silly one.

Obama got a pass when going after her on Kyl-Lieberman, even though he voted for similar legislation earlier in the year, but more importantly, skipped the vote that would have put him on the record. He also has the exact same votes as Clinton on Iraq, and when Senators Kerry and Feingold offered legislation on the floor to redeploy, Mr. Obama made a speech against it. Not to mention that he never held a hearing on his own foreign relations subcommittee. He also skipped the MoveOn.org vote too. How convenient it is just not to show up and be counted. It's a lot easier. But it's not more principled, no matter your excuse. It's triangulating. It is also quite calculating. Because what better way to hit your opponent than to duck a tough vote where she was counted, and you'd been counted months earlier, then rail against her because no one is paying attention to the facts.

But it seems people are starting to wonder about Mr. Obama's voting past.

Now we come to something I know a lot about, which incensed me today more than most times I read about Mr. Obama's wiggling out of taking a strong stand on things that matter.

Can you imagine in your wildest dreams voting "present" on a bill that would prohibit sex-related shops from opening near schools or places of worship? This is not only unconscionable, but it shows the invertebrate nature of a politician who doesn't understand the first thing about the dangers of instruments of the sex industry in places where schools reside, something I know a lot about. In fact, most adult operators respect and go along with these restrictions. They get it, because they know what community backlash is like. How do I know this? Because in the past I've done investigative research into the sex industry and know more about it than virtually anyone else writing about politics on the web, which I've written about many times before.

The piece in the New York Times today has many troubling moments in it highlighting Obama's legislative record, which the press is finally, at long last, after months and months and months getting to, but the closer is a shocker.

Mr. Obama was also the sole present vote on a bill that easily passed the Senate that would require teaching respect for others in schools. He also voted present on a measure to prohibit sex-related shops from opening near schools or places of worship. It passed the Senate.

In both of those cases, his campaign said, he was trying to avoid mandates on local authorities.

Obama wanted to "avoid mandates on local authorities," so he basically ignored that putting sex shops near schools is nothing less than leaving kids vulnerable. Never mind that even the Supreme Court ruled in 1999, backing Rudy Giuliani's fight for antipornography zoning laws, against the ACLU and the adult industry in New York. Antipornography zoning is critically important to communities. Not standing up against putting sex-related shops near schools is the most reckless thing I've ever heard coming from a politician, let alone a presidential candidate. The community standard test has been around forever, with no community thinking stopping sex-related businesses from operating close to schools is anything but the right action. Giving a nod to expose children to all sorts of elements is just wrong. Even most in the adult industry realize it's a non starter with citizens, and we haven't even gotten into the church aspect. This renders me... absolutely stunned.

Judgment? Calling judgment? Anywhere? Yo, leadership.

I can't wait to hear the Republicans go after this one in the general election, can you? On top of the "live birth abortion" record, Obama's banning handgun nonsense, well, it will be quite a party for the wingnuts. It's giving me indigestion just thinking about it.

Hey, but for a man who thinks it would be a good idea to put Republicans like Arnold Schwarzenegger in his cabinet, never mind Ah-nold's "style over substance" reality, nothing surprises me anymore. Read Paul Rosenberg.

The insanity from the amateur hour campaign of Mr. Hope never stops.