February 14, 2007


The Ever-'Present' Obama: Barack has a along track record of not taking a stand (NATHAN GONZALES, February 14, 2007, Slate)

[I]t's Obama's history of voting "present" in Springfield--even on some of the most controversial and politically explosive issues of the day--that raises questions that he will need to answer. Voting "present" is one of three options in the Illinois Legislature (along with "yes" and "no"), but it's almost never an option for the occupant of the Oval Office.

We aren't talking about a "present" vote on whether to name a state office building after a deceased state official, but rather about votes that reflect an officeholder's core values.

For example, in 1997, Obama voted "present" on two bills (HB 382 and SB 230) that would have prohibited a procedure often referred to as partial birth abortion. He also voted "present" on SB 71, which lowered the first offense of carrying a concealed weapon from a felony to a misdemeanor and raised the penalty of subsequent offenses.

In 1999, Obama voted "present" on SB 759, a bill that required mandatory adult prosecution for firing a gun on or near school grounds. The bill passed the state Senate 52-1. Also in 1999, Obama voted "present" on HB 854 that protected the privacy of sex-abuse victims by allowing petitions to have the trial records sealed. He was the only member to not support the bill.

In 2001, Obama voted "present" on two parental notification abortion bills (HB 1900 and SB 562), and he voted "present" on a series of bills (SB 1093, 1094, 1095) that sought to protect a child if it survived a failed abortion. In his book, the "Audacity of Hope," on page 132, Obama explained his problems with the "born alive" bills, specifically arguing that they would overturn Roe v. Wade. But he failed to mention that he only felt strongly enough to vote "present" on the bills instead of "no."

Posted by Orrin Judd at February 14, 2007 1:16 PM

"Those reporters are going to lean over my stretcher... and everyone of them is going to say, 'Now Senator, what about McCarthy?' Do you know what I'm going to do? I'm going to reach back for my back and I'm just going to yell, "Owww!" and then I'm going to pull the sheet over my head..."

Senator John F. Kennedy, 1954

Posted by: Greg Hlatky at February 14, 2007 9:07 PM

Barack Obama - more inconsequential than John Edwards! Who knew?

Posted by: jim hamlen at February 14, 2007 11:06 PM

specifically arguing that they would overturn Roe v. Wade.

So Roe can be overturned by passing a bill in a state senate, huh?

Posted by: PapayaSF at February 14, 2007 11:12 PM

... they wouldn't overturn R v W in the senate. That would require they stand up and be counted. They'll just a coded message to their lackeys over at the SC and tell them to overturn or confirm as the case may be.


Posted by: erp at February 15, 2007 10:24 AM
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