Yesterday, Barack Obama became the first general election presidential candidate to opt out of the public financing system. In doing so, he walked away from $84 million of public money. However, by raising his own money he’ll have much more freedom to place ads in nearly every state, not just those that are highly competitive.
But that’s not the issue. According to the McCain people, Obama is a hypocrite.
Steve Schmidt, an adviser to McCain, was quoted in The Guardian newspaper:
“As we scrutinise Barack Obama’s words, it is increasingly difficult for those of us with the responsibility of following this year’s election closely to discern what Obama truly believes at his core on the issues of great importance to the American people.”
It’s not only the McCain people who have bashed Obama. Editorials in mainstream papers like The NY Times and The Washington Post also criticized Obama’s decision as did Democratic Senator Russ Feingold:
“Given Mr. Obama’s earlier pledge … his effort to cloak his broken promise in the smug mantle of selfless dedication to the public good is a little hard to take.” – The Washington Post
Obama’s argument on why he decided to opt out of the system is two-fold:
1. There have been so many ordinary Joe’s contributing that it’d be unfair to tell them to stop.
2. The Republican National Committee and 527 groups do not have a limit on what they can spend. In addition, the RNC and the 527 group FreedomsWatch, headed by W’s former adviser, the traitor Karl Rove, have pledged to spend a combined $650 million to run ads in order to defeat Obama in November.
Now, both of those claims are legit. As a guy who’s donated about $100 to Obama’s campaign, I think it’d really suck if I couldn’t donate any more to help him get elected. So that proves that claim.
The second claim is a little bit more difficult to prove. Early on, liberals were much better at exploiting the 527 ads, especially the group MoveOn.org. In fact, if you look at the OpenSecrets.org report on the 2004 527 organizations, many of the top groups are almost all liberal. Most of these groups focused on voter registration with a few running ads.
However, if you remember 2004, you probably don’t remember any MoveOn ads. But I can guarantee you that you remember those John Kerry Swift Boat ads. They led to Kerry’s narrow defeat in Ohio and, as a result, we ended up with four more years of W.
With the traitor Rove running the show for FreedomsWatch, these will be the kinds of ads that will run continuously on the air. With $84 million, Obama would not have a chance in hell to compete with this. In 2004, the RNC also outspent the DNC by $100 million. Don’t you think that had a large affect on the 2004 results?
As for the Obama-leaning 527 groups, the Democrat said he doesn’t want their help and has discouraged Democratic donors from contributing to these groups.
Obama has also said that campaign finance is in need of major reform. Oh, all talk, right? Wrong.
In 2007, Obama sponsored and introduced two pieces of legislation to overhaul the campaign system. Read the summary of one bill, which discusses contribution limits and openness among committes like the RNC and DNC here.
The second bill is called “The Fair Elections Now Act.” This bill deals directly with the real issue when it comes to legit and effective campaign finance reform: television advertising. This bill would allow candidates to purchase air time vouchers and would require non-public (think ABC, CBS, NBC) networks to allow candidates to use the airwaves at a discounted cost.
So, as you can see, this issue is far more complicated than Obama breaking his word. Obama did the right thing by not accepting the public money in order to help guarantee that he remains competive throughout the election.