> If someone has a position from either candidate on porn, I'd love to hear
I'd be mighty surprised if either candidate ever took a position on porn per se. It's just not a major issue, although I'm sure both candidates have overall philosophies that will lead their Justice Departments to take/not take action on porn. (Homosexuality is another thing. It matters: When candidates support sodomy laws, those laws often make gay porn illegal or engender an atmosphere where juries find gay porn obscene simply because it shows gay sex.)
THE BUSH RECORD
Gov. George Bush has actually taken a stand on porn. In 1997, Bush signed a pornography Awareness Week" proclamation, designed to promote public awareness about the "harmful effects" of pornography and asking Texans to make it "unwelcome" in their communities. Here's a relevant portion:
"I urge all Texans to join the battle against pornography. Pornography degrades and dehumanizes our fellow human beings. In has no place in a decent society. The United States Supreme Court has ruled that obscenity is not protected as free speech. The State of Texas is committed to enforcing laws against hard-core pornography. I urge local communities to join us in sending a clear message that pornography is not welcomed in the Lone Star State."
However, last November, the American Family Assocation (the Rev. Donald Wildmon's fanatically conservative pressure group) asked all presidential candidates to sign their "Child Protection Pledge" (read: anti-porn and no-gays-get-children pledge) and their "Marriage and the Family" pledge (read: anti-gay pledge). Bush neither signed nor refused to sign these two pledges. That's not that odd, considering that the pledges are quite divisive and Bush would only get into trouble by answering the AFA's call to sign. Additionally, Bush was under extreme pressure from gay conservatives and civil libertarians to meet with the Log Cabin Republican group and show that he wasn't a bigot -- and signing either pledge would have sent the wrong signal. (Bush eventually met with a hand-picked group of gay Republicans, who pledged to support him. Subsequently, the Log Cabin Republicans agreed to as well.) (Citations: For the request to sign, see http://www.avn.com/ng/query.cgi?act=detail&template=news&event_id=1030; for the current list of signatories as well as the text of both pledges, see http://www.presidentialpledge.org.)
The Bush administration in Texas stood by while numerous attacks were made by state and local officials on strip clubs and adult businesses. Local, county and state court judges have upheld a number of extremely restrictive county and local laws and ordinances that harm adult businesses, strip clubs, and even libraries which offer unrestricted access to the Internet to patrons.
Speaking of which: Bush would force all schools and libraries to install the "best" Internet porn filters available, restricting access to information. (Citation: http://www.avn.com/ng/query.cgi?act=detail&template=news&event_id=1436; for more information on the problematic nature of such filters -- why they don't work, and do block legitimate information and not just porn -- see the section on Gore, below.)
It's not clear whether Bush (or his attorney generals) have supported the "Communications Decencey Act" or its progeny, the "Child On-Line Protection Act." Both laws have been struck down as unconstitutional (CDA by the U.S. Supreme Court, COPA last December by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals and on June 22 by the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals). I've found no amicus briefs nor any public statements. However: Texas has amazingly strict child pornography and obscenity statues. I've found nothing yet on obscenity prosecutions. But the child pornography statute is being used to go after pornographic and artistic works that are not child pornography. (Citation: http://www.freedomforum.org/speech/1998/5/6sturges.asp.)
Like the Clinton Justice Department, the Bush gubernatorial administration
has tended to go after kiddie porn more than obscene works, it seems. The
Bush state attorney general's office has established a huge anti-kiddie
porn effort. Additionally, the Texas state attorney general's office has
signed a side-agreement that has further suborned the Texan Internet
service providers and further eroded Texans' privacy rights. (Citations:
as an example of the big push by the Texas AG on kiddie porn, see
http://www.oag.state.tx.us/criminal/icppuform.html; for the agreement on
ISPs' agreement to turn in Texans who view obscenity and illegal
pornography online, see
THE GORE RECORD:
We all know that Gore's wife, Tipper, has not been a friend of the First Amendment. It's also been quite clear that Tipper has a strong influence on her husband's views. Tipper Gore, author of the astonishingly dim-witted "Raising PG Kids in an X-Rated Society," became an anti-free speech activist in 1984 after listening to Prince's "Purple Rain" soundtrack (which she had bought for her 11-year-old daughter). Not much has changed since Tipper was jousting at Senate hearings with Dee Snider of Twisted Sister (except that Snider's career has tanked):
"Mrs. Gore has officially resigned from PMRC but continues to support its agenda. Until recently the core of the PMRC, which remains heavily influenced by the Christian evangelical attempt to demonize rock music, comprised about 15 Washington wives, most notably co-founder Susan Baker, wife of the former Secretary of State. Mrs. Baker also sits on the board of James Dobson's Focus on the Family. PMRC's most significant achievement has been to help create 'Parental Advisory' labels which, though unsystematic, unreliable, and purely voluntary, have been used as a guide to censorship by state and local governments. Barbara Wyatt, the former Reagan Administration official who has headed the organization since December 1994, has tried to give PMRC a hipper and more diversified image. One of Wyatt's projects has been a telephone service (1-900-288-PMRC) for parents who want to keep abreast of lascivious and Satanic song lyrics by paying $1.75 per minute to hear them read in a monotone by office volunteer David Chamberlin. (He just reads the good parts.) Wyatt, who advocates more and tougher labeling, takes credit for bringing William Bennett, whose wife is on PMRC's board, together with C. Delores Tucker in order to stamp out evil rap."
Oddly, none of Tipper's (or Al Gore's) support for PMRC is being talked about -- not even by the Republicans (who at least might wish to point out the hypocrisy) or by Ralph Nader (who has rigorously attacked Gore on other issues).
I couldn't find any policy statements by Gore on pornography. It must be noted that Gore was part of the Clinton administration that signed the "Communications Decency Act" into law, and signed the "Child On-line Protection Act" into law. (Thank you very much, you bastards. Gore also didn't speak out on the anti-gay "Defense of Marriage Act" or DOMA. Yet, he's been openly critical of the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy and has said he'd create a presidential commission to study domestic partnerships at the federal level, as well as a marriage-like legal recognition of committed gay relationships.) It's hard to say whether President Gore would have done what President Clinton has done. It's also hard to criticize Gore for not speaking out when his job is to defend the administration's policies in public and be loyal to the president. (It's clear that Gore often opposes Clinton's policies behind-the-scenes; see Elizabeth Drew's book about the first year of the Clinton presidency, "On The Edge.")
Yet, Gore was vice president at the same time that the Clinton administration ordered the Justice Department to stop engaging in multiple-jursidictional prosecutions of pornographers. (By way of reminder: Between 1986 and 1992, the Reagan and Bush Justice Departments began going after pornographers big and small. They would prosecute companies in states -- like Utah, Tennessee and Kentucky -- where juries were almost sure to deliver a judgment of obscene, even for things like anal sex. They would also prosecute companies in several states at once, even in several counties in several states at once. Although the items were not obscene, the Justice Department hoped to bankrupt these pornographers by forcing them to spend millions defending themselves over and over and over. Several U.S. courts even admonished the Justice Dept. for this mis-use of otherwise legal prosecutorial discretion. One of Clinton's first acts as president was to order the Justice Department to immediately cease such harassing prosecutions.)
Although Gore promotes the use of filtering software in schools and
libraries, he hasn't called for forcing these institutions to adopt the
software (as Sen. McCain is advocating). At the same time, though, Gore
helped found www.netparents.org, a Web site dedicated to promoting
filtering software. (Citation: for Gore's support of filtering software,
as well as the large problems with the software, see
http://www.ncac.org/algoreletter.html; see also the text of Gore's speech
advocating the software at
In the same speech where Gore supported increased use of filtering software, Gore also called for "aggressive" enforcement of obscenity laws (see http://www.usdoj.gov/criminal/ceos/gore_sp.htm).
Oddly, obscenity prosecutions are way down under Clinton-Gore. There were only 6 obscenity prosecutions in 1998 (see http://frc.org/articles/ar99d2pn.html, an article written by the right-wing religious group Family Research Council, a non-profit research group funded and founded by Dr. James Dobson's "Focus on the Family" group and formerly run by GOP presidential candidate and goofy ideologue Gary Bauer). By other counts, obscenity prosecutions were down 86% since the Bush presidency (see http://www.afa.net/Pornography/jl072800.shtml).
Going after illegal pornography hasn't been a big Justice Department
priority, it seems. Deputy Attorney General Eric Holder stated in a 1997
memorandum that the DOJ will focus largely (but not exclusively) on major
porn operations that deal in obscene items and which also generate large
revenues -- and not smaller operators. Holder told U.S. district attorneys
to focus on Internet distribution and child pornography, rather than print
and items featuring adults. (See the complete text of his "Instructions
U.S. Attorneys" at http://www.usdoj.gov/dag/readingroom/obscen.htm.) It's
clear that the Clinton agenda has been fixated on kiddie porn and not
obscenity per se. Attorney General Janet Reno ordered each U.S. district
attorney's office to dedicate 2 agents in each office to anti-child
pornography efforts (citation:
Candidate Gore hasn't made any statements on pornography that I can find. However, when confronted with the AFA's anti-porn and anti-gay pledges, Gore neither signed nor refused to sign the "Child Protection" anti-porn pledge. He openly refsued to sign the anti-gay "Marriage and Family" pledge (citation: http://www.presidentialpledge.org).
Clearly, neither candidate is really pro-free speech. At least Gore tends to restrict his attacks to cases where children might be involved (to quote Helen Lovejoy on "The Simpsons": Won't somebody PLEASE think of the children!?!!?!?). Bush seems to be much worse, though, and often lets his flunkies run roughshod over civil rights while he himself stays above the fray.
Penis size isn't everything, but it's a lot when you don't have much choice.