Barack Obama announced Thursday that he would reject public financing for his campaign, after claiming this primary season that he would follow the lead of his Republican opponent. McCain had already announced (he had no choice, that well is pretty dried up for him) that he would rely on public campaign finance for the general election.
Obama is taking much heat from all sides for this change of position. For example,
The Two Obamas
Op-Ed Columnist | By DAVID BROOKS | Published: June 20, 2008
God, Republicans are saps. They think that they’re running against some academic liberal who wouldn’t wear flag pins on his lapel, whose wife isn’t proud of America and who went to some liberationist church where the pastor damned his own country. They think they’re running against some naïve university-town dreamer, the second coming of Adlai Stevenson….
And then on Thursday, Fast Eddie Obama had his finest hour. Barack Obama has worked on political reform more than any other issue. He aspires to be to political reform what Bono is to fighting disease in Africa. He’s spent much of his career talking about how much he believes in public financing. In January 2007, he told Larry King that the public-financing system works. In February 2007, he challenged Republicans to limit their spending and vowed to do so along with them if he were the nominee. In February 2008, he said he would aggressively pursue spending limits. He answered a Midwest Democracy Network questionnaire by reminding everyone that he has been a longtime advocate of the public-financing system.
But Thursday, at the first breath of political inconvenience, Fast Eddie Obama threw public financing under the truck. In so doing, he probably dealt a death-blow to the cause of campaign-finance reform. And the only thing that changed between Thursday and when he lauded the system is that Obama’s got more money now.
Idealist Democrats have been losing presidential elections since Jimmy Carter’s attempt for a second term in 1980. In the intervening 28 years, only the world’s American champion of pragmatism, not to say political weasalism, Bill Clinton, has won election as a Democrat. Those other guys thought that the playing field was level, that their opponents the Republican party would do the honorable thing. They staked out the moral high ground. And lost. Every last time.
[Please click the link below for the complete article — but then please come on back!]
Now, Barack Obama, Harvard educated, articulate in a way that this country has grown unaccustomed to in its national leadership, just plain smart, has shown that he can play in the political big leagues.
He’s raised unprecedented amounts of campaign funding, through zillions of small, individual contributions. He’s in a position to outspend the Republicans, for the first time in forever. Even now, the Republican National Committee, the covert source of so much of the sleazy campaign initiatives like the Swift Boaters, has $54 million to the Democratic National Committee’s $4 million.
Obama knows that the Republicans will throw up the slander and innuendo in industrial strength quantity, and that the only way to counter this is NOT to ignore it.
In this country, idealists ignore gossip and slander, and lose. Every last time.
Senator Obama will use his funding to do as he’s recently done, establish a web site designed to counteract the worst of the calumnies, and even put up expensive television advertising where necessary to take the battle to the guys who have made an art of serving up the slime.
Already he’s advertising in states in which the Democrats have not for many years nationally advertised, long since having resignedly conceded them to the foe.
Not this year.
So, what changed between primary season and now, where so many hand-wringers are so concerned about the pragmatic about face?
Bunches of campaign $millions changed his mind.
Yr (justifiably) humble svt will concur with another commentator who is pleased with the revelation that a Democrat, indeed any politician of any stripe, is capable of reevaluating a long-held position based on new information.
In this frighteningly fast-changing world, isn’t that a desirable capacity for the leader of his nation? Especially after eight years of an administration that has not let reality change its skewed, distorted and disturbed mind-set one nanometer.
Barry, fund-raise like a demon. Spend like crazy. End. The. Madness.
It’s it for now. Thanks,