I might be a special brand of crazy, but when I woke up to this news this morning, I started hyperventilating: Obama is not accepting public financing.
In shunning each tax-payer's $3 contribution we kick in when we pay our taxes, Obama is the first candidate to do so since Congress passed 1970s campaign finance laws after Watergate in the 1970s. McCain, the Republican nominee in waiting, has already taken steps to accept the public funds in the general election — matching funds that put a cap on how much each candidate can spend.
Obama said of his decision in a video released to supporters:
It's not an easy decision, and especially because I support a robust system of public financing of elections. But the public financing of presidential elections as it exists today is broken, and we face opponents who've become masters at gaming this broken system. 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.
There are a million factors to consider:
- Does the above statement mean he's going to police all 527s on his behalf, making sure they're silent and not "broken"?
- Obama is the best fundraiser this side of an ATM — he's coaxed $265 million in donations so far. But do his supporters want him raising money? Or focusing on being the best, most prepared person for the job?
- Last November he said this: “If I am the Democratic nominee, I will aggressively pursue an agreement with the Republican nominee to preserve a publicly financed general election." Is he going back on his word, or should "publicly financed" be in quotes with a winky-face after it?
- The campaigns and respective fight/momentum each has had to work with has been vastly different. Obama's been in a grudge match to the death until two weeks ago. That will inspire the wallets of supporters much more than a candidate who's been assured for months, creating an inequity that starting the general election fresh, with public-financing, would solve.
Those are just some of the thoughts that are racing through my tending toward indignant head. What do you think? Is Obama making the best, fairest decision for his own campaign? Is public financing broken like he says? Or did he just cash a blank check made payable to "The Next President of the United States"?