From Mark Haleprin, via ABC:
“We have created a parallel public financing system where the American people decide if they want to support a campaign they can get on the Internet and finance it, and they will have as much access and influence over the course and direction of our campaign that has traditionally reserved for the wealthy and the powerful.”
It makes sense for Obama to try to back away from the pledge. One of the main advantages of democrats this election cycle is the enormous financial advantage they have. With Obama’s fund raising during the primary he stands to gain a big advantage.
However, calling it like it is, this is a HUGE flip flop on Obama’s part. One of my rules of thumb for determining when a broken pledge is a big deal is if a politician makes a pledge for political advantage and then breaks it when it becomes convent. It’s pretty shady how Obama will say one thing to sharpen his liberal “street cred” and then do another thing to gain political advantage. It’s very disingenuous.
But the fact of the matter is that this is the sort of thing that happens in Washington. It’s the nature of politics. But the problem, once again, is that the alleged candidate of change is showing that he’s absolutely no different than the politics of old that he decries every day. People need to hold their politician accountable regardless of how messianic they believe he is.
ON PUBLIC FINANCING VERSUS “DONOR FINANCING”
Donor netroots based financing is great. Duh. Given our current campaign financing rules, I hope that small donor fundraising becomes a bigger part of politics. It’s clearly been one of the great accomplishments by the democratic party during this primary. HOWEVER, all politics aside, a publically financed system with a cap on total expenditures is a much more preferable system.
While this election cycle has been historic, we can’t assume it will be the norm. Public interest in elections goes up and down and more importantly the publics willingness to fund campaigns through donations is even more fickle. Presidential campaigns are expensive and candidates will always seek to get as much money as possible. This is the reason why even barack obama accepts money from state lobbyists and friends/family members of lobbyists.
More importantly the problem with public financing as it is currently isn’t just raising enough money for campaigns to operate, its also a way of getting major corporations and questionable big dollar donors OUT of the system. Having a lot of money is great, but it doesn’t guarantee victory. And as passionate as some are about “clean” fundraising most people don’t care enough to make it a primary voting issue. In other words, I don’t want to get stuck with a uber corporate politician because the small dollar candidate lost. (this election and beyond) This is a historic opportunity to make a substantial progressive change to the campaign finance system and we’d be foolish if we blew it for one candidate.