Obama’s position on public financing: Just words

Jake Tapper reports on Obama’s broken promise on public financing for the general election:

In a web video to supporters — “the people who built this movement from the bottom up” — Sen. Barack Obama, D-Illinois, announced this morning that he will not enter into the public financing system, despite a previous pledge to do so.

“We’ve made the decision not to participate in the public financing system for the general election,” Obama says in the video, blaming it on the need to combat Republicans, saying “we face opponents who’ve become masters at gaming this broken system. John McCain’s campaign and the Republican National Committee are fueled by contributions from Washington lobbyists and special interest PACs. And we’ve already seen that he’s not going to stop the smears and attacks from his allies running so-called 527 groups, who will spend millions and millions of dollars in unlimited donations.”

In November 2007, Obama answered “Yes” to Common Cause when asked “If you are nominated for President in 2008 and your major opponents agree to forgo private funding in the general election campaign, will you participate in the presidential public financing system?”

Obama wrote: “In February 2007, I proposed a novel way to preserve the strength of the public financing system in the 2008 election. My plan requires both major party candidates to agree on a fundraising truce, return excess money from donors, and stay within the public financing system for the general election. My proposal followed announcements by some presidential candidates that they would forgo public financing so they could raise unlimited funds in the general election. The Federal Election Commission ruled the proposal legal, and Senator John McCain (R-AZ) has already pledged to accept this fundraising pledge. If I am the Democratic nominee, I will aggressively pursue an agreement with the Republican nominee to preserve a publicly financed general election.”

Commenter Neo quips:

I guess we’re to presume that this questionnaire was filled out by yet another low level staffer while Obama was outside busy smoking a few dozen cigarettes.

Of course, instead of taking personal responsiblity for the decision, what does the Obama camp do? Blame McCain:

Obama spokesman Bill Burton is blaming Senator John McCain’s campaign for failing, he says, to negotiate in good faith on a course to public financing.

“In the past couple of weeks, our campaign counsels met and it was immediately clear that McCain’s campaign had no interest in the possibility of an agreement,” Burton said. “When asked about the RNC’s months of raising and spending for the general election, McCain’s campaign could only offer its expectation that the Obama campaign would probably, sooner or later, catch up. And shortly thereafter, Senator McCain signaled to the 527s that they were free to run wild, without objection.”

Burton said that while Obama had essentially shut down fundraising for Progressive Media USA, which aspired to be a major anti-McCain media voice, McCain had sent no such clear signal to GOP 527s.

At the same time, no well-funded GOP 527 has yet emerged to attack Obama.

The Captain slams the Obama campaign and Obama himself for its/his duplicity on this issue:

The reasons that Obama offers are laughable in the extreme, and self-contradictory in several points:


One of the reasons Obama offers is that the McCain campaign and the RNC take lobbyist money. So does the DNC and many of its subsidiaries. Obama has lobbyists among his major bundlers. It’s an absurdly flimsy excuse.

So too was the other major reason Obama cites in his video. He claims that the Republicans have mastered the art of the 527, which has nothing to do with public financing. Democrats have their own 527s, and in 2004 used them much more effectively than the GOP, thanks to George Soros and other big-ticket Democratic donors. This excuse doesn’t even pass the smell test.

Obama then stares sanctimoniously at a point just above and to the right of the camera while declaring his undying support for public financing, which he proves by abandoning it. He then declares the presidential system to be “broken”, but never explains why he hasn’t lifted a finger to fix it during his three years in the Senate.

Well, like with so many other issues, this is just one more in a growing list of examples of Obama’s pledge to do one thing, while later on down the road backtracking on his promises. This self-proclaimed loather of “typical Washington politics” continues to prove that he is no different from most other say- one-thing, do-something-different politicians. And yet when you call him out on his double standards, hypocrisy, and breaking of his word, both he and his campaign often respond by saying or implying that the whole issue is nothing more than a meaningless “distraction” from the “real issues.”

His whole campaign is based on a false “agent of change” image he and his handlers have carefully crafted for the last two+ years. They know that if you strip that image away, there’s not much there in terms of experience and noteworthy political accomplishments, so they work hard at maintaining the facade because it’s the only thing that could possibly carry him through the general election. So the standard response when issues like this arise is to either cry “distraction” or – in typical liberal Democrat fashion – blame someone else for the situation you put yourself in.

One other thing has been made clear though all this as well: While Obama talks a big talk on the need for others to take personal responsibility for their actions, he himself has shown little to no interest in it whenever it suits his political purposes.

Barack Obama: Changes in position you can’t believe in.


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