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« Punching at a Whirlwind | Main | Bush's "Relevancy" Should Be More Prominent Than Ever »

February 29, 2008



You rightly present the case on financing as Obama should hear it. What he decides regarding this issue will be indicative of his abilities as a chief executive. The one good thing about this (and I use the term extremely selectively) is that he would make this decision prior to the election when the voters would still have a say in who occupies the Oval Office.

The bad thing is - the other choices have already demonstrated far less suitability.


Are you kidding me? This is the most puerile analysis yet from someone I have grown to have some admiration for. Obama certainly should take the high road, but not if that high road leads off a cliff. With all the Evangelicals out there abusing the role of their churches in politics and PACS and other unofficial resources at the disposal of the right wing slime machine, Obama has to be particularly careful how he operationalizes this pledge. Yes, he should accept public financing but only if the effect is to limit McCain and his henchmen in the same way. Obama certainly is the clean candidate. If he foregoes public financing it will be replaced by another kind of public financing. He has raised his money so far from small contributors and is not beholden to lobbyist interests. If the public does not understand that, they do not understand him and his candidacy anyway.

Milton Wiltmellow

"Explaining is losing", yes.

Does that mean blind belligerence is winning?

People know how corrupt the Republicans have become. The Republicans are desperate to go on the attack because that's all they have. Attack, always attack! That's it, that's all they have.

Obama displays strength with his calm responses (see his response to HRC's piffling over "rejecting" Farrakhan).

Once they've established public financing as an issue, the debate soundbyte echoes across the front pages.

Obama (calmly explains): "We've see the Republicans consistently dissemble and manipulate the system to their own advantage. When you (McCain) offer public campaign financing as collateral for a bank loan, you display the same trait the Bush administration has used to cheat the American people of their money and their political heritage.

The American people aren't bankers or financial wizards; they pay their bills honestly while financial wizards find tricky ways to steal their money. You even have lobbyists working from the back of your "straight talk express" to enrich themselves.

I will opt into public financing as soon as you repudiate those political consultants whose advice you've followed that disgraces your well-intentioned efforts to reform the system.

I will not unilaterally disarm!"

Something like that.

The bigger issue is the utter corruption of the last several years. This has to trump the bluster of hypocrites like McCain. Obama's campaign must repeat that in every venue possible -- without belligerence or defensiveness.


Obama could also ask people to donate to the Democrat Party at whatever level they choose. Hopefully, it would be at the county and state level.


Commonsense and Milton Wiltmellow are correct in their thoughts about Obama taking public financing. Currently Obama does with his one million campaign donors.

Why should he take a chance of losing the election to be 'fair' with the Republican winner. They wouldn't if in his shoes.

I would rather see Obama fund his own campaign. If he takes public financing and the 527s carry him to victory, there might be an obligation for payback.

By raising the money for his own campaign, Obama won't owe anything to anyone other than the American people.


Pardon me, but I denounce and reject the notion that a pledge was made! From Day One, the MSM says that Obama promised/pledged to accept public financing, but as I understand it, that's not at all what happened. When he said he would work for a deal with the GOP nominee, he would be going after something I think would have to be agreed upon: No 527s to pick up the slack if both candidates were to agree to public financing. I honestly don't understand why Obama isn't stronger on the fact that he did not promise or pledge anything. At least as I understand it, he did not.


I am not so sure that your average voter gives a rip about "public financing" or Obama's pledge. I don't. If he decides not to "honor" the pledge,I will not think less of him. It seems more of a practical descision to me, one that many people make in life because they could not see that far down the road. Besides, MCcain is moaning about this because he's afraid (rightly so) that he cannot raise near as much money as Obama. MCcain is simply trying to trap Obama inside MCcain's and the republicans own self-neutering limitations due to thier own self-inflicted wounds. Making it appear as a character issue. We never elect anyone with perfect character because they do not exist.

I think it would be smart of Obama to point out the hypocracy of MCcain on this issue. Couple the bank loan MCcain took out under this system along with the real reason MCcain is harping on this, It's not about integrity but MCcains concern over all the money Obama is raising that he may not be able too. MCcain gaming the system like this certainly speaks to his own hypocrasy. He may be able to counter the republican attack with this.

I believe that if Obama can clearly point these issues out that it will not be a major issue.

Feminism-not just a word

Well, Jane Hamsher in this piece posted in Buzzflash:


"But what Obama said was, "If I am the Democratic nominee, I will aggressively pursue an agreement with the Republican nominee to preserve a publicly financed general election," which caused groups like the Campaign Legal Center, Common Cause, Democracy 21, the League of Women Voters, Public Citizen and U.S. PIRG to write a letter to Obama urging him to abide by his "promise."

Well the whole thing's a bit moot now, because what Obama said he would do is pursue an agreement with the Republican nominee -- and that presumptive nominee, John McCain, is thumbing his nose at the public financing system -- ironically breaking the very law with his name on it (McCain/Feingold)."

More research into this is indicated.

If what Hamsher says Obama really said is what he really said- then shame on those who construed that to mean him as accepting public financing then and there.

What it looks like, is that Obama is trying his best to play smart- against an opponent who will say one thing and do another. If McCain gets to game the "system" and Obama agrees to public financing- Obama is in a tough spot. Obama will have to keep to public financing while McCain, the GOP machine with the help of the MSM, game the system, yet cry "wolf" if Obama makes one misstep.

That would be letting your opponent set the rules and decide who selectively enforces them.

If what Hamsher said is what Obama really said- then Obama is just being way, way smart.

Shame on those who should be supporting him if they decided to misconstrue what Obama said.

The goal is worthy. But goals have to be scored on an even playing field.

I see Obama trying to make the field even.

McCain won't sit down to negotiate financing in the general election, is my bet. The off-field score won't go to McCain in that case, it will go to Obama.

Lawrence in Dallas

Whatever happened to the simple age-old statement "I changed my mind"? This is crazy. The Republicans always convince naive Democrats to "honor" agreements and then sucker-punch the Dems by doing just the opposite. Remember last time when the Republicans and Democrats agreed to keep the conventions "civil" and free of cheap shots. The Dems agreed and the name of George W. Bush was never uttered. Then the Republicans unapologetically and unashamedly used their own convention as a no-holds-barred cage in which to beat the bloody hell out of the Dems from beginning to end. That's their modus operandi and it always has been. Therefore, Obama should simply say "In the process of campaigning, I've learned a lot about the power of money and media in politics and only a fool would not utilize what he has learned. Therefore, I've changed my mind about public financing. End of story. Like it or lump it." That's what the Rovian Repubs would do. And they'd never look back.

tit for tat

I think Obama should pledge not to fiddle about with lobbyists, and challenge McCain to do the same.

Barry Schwartz

I think Barack Obama should sit back and let his superior brain work on this problem unconsciously. Also take that interval to see how McCain's shenanigans are working out. That's what I would do with my own superior brain.

Procrastination is a bad thing, but impatience can be even worse.

T. Barr

I WON'T VOTE FOR BARACK OBAMA!! No! It's not because he's Black, Blue or Purple! I just can't turn my future over to some cool, cute, pretty faced guy who sings like a bird! Sorry, but I just can't do it, nor can I support those who do!
So, fair thee well to: Josh Marshall, Kos, MoveOn, Bill Maher, Huffinton,Carpenter, et al, who once were my daily read! See, ya!
T. Barr
Scottsdale, AZ

David Mussington

Don't let the door hit your *ss on the way out.



When they attack him about his name,
Obama should just say,
"Get a life, grow up. The Right practices politics like they're in middle school!"

Aboout this public financing thing, just say, "Whatever..!
We can't agree to a game in which the other side won't play by the rules...

End of story!

Say that and the pundicks got nuthin'

Keep givin'em nuthin!!


While I agree in principle that publicly financed elections should not only be the norm but also law of the land, I disagree with your assertion that Obama is somehow politically and/or ethically obligated to run a strictly publicly financed campaign in the 2008 general.

Simply put, I see no practical benefit or political virtue to a Democratic presidential candidate "unilaterally disarming" in the absence of meaningful media reform that would ensure equal air time for all candidates, set cost limits on campaign advertising, etc.

Besides, given the overall socioeconomic makeup of Obama's small-dollar donor base, one could argue that his campaign is, in effect, already publicly financed, gross fundraising limits (or lack thereof) notwithstanding.

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