You Say Public Financing’s Almost Dead Like It’s A Bad Thing

Full disclosure; I was once of the opinion that Obama should have kept to his pledge to use public financing for his campaign.

This was not for any strategic reason, mind you; there simply wasn’t one. My only real reason for wishing Obama hopped into the public financing fray was solely to prevent conservatives from getting their undergarments all into a knot over Obama going back on his pledge.

When really, they should be thanking him; at least now they won’t have to pay via taxes for Obama to beat John McCain this fall.

All joking aside, one would think that this would be a move that fiscal conservatives would applaud, but then I’ve long since passed the time where I actually believe the ponies that I wish for would actually materialize.

But, regardless the backlash, Obama’s done the smart thing, and decided to ditch public financing for… well… public financing, and this could be the death of… well… public financing.

While I am sure you have heard the argument before, I can’t stress how much more in tune with the intent of public financing Obama’s system is compared to that of the government’s. In the government’s system, each candidate gets the same amount of money, ostensibly putting them on a level playing field. The only problem is that no matter how much people try and tweak the system, there’s always a loophole or three to exploit.

As a result, taxpayers fund campaigns under this system whether they agree with a candidate or not; meanwhile, there are numerous ways for the candidate to reap money and resources outside of the system.

Thus, one of the true intents of the public financing system — to reduce the ability of high dollar special interests to use their cash to tip elections in their favor — becomes an ultimate failure. Channeling money through 527’s gives a major bullhorn to the few, but if the many have lost faith in the candidate, that candidate still has the $80+ million dollars from the government to fall back on.

By contrast, since Obama must now rely so heavily upon his supporters’ continued willingness to fund his campaign, he is now beholden to them. If that money dries up, he’s done.

And really, all Obama did was use the internet to create a fast and easy way for supporters to give him money. No smoke and mirrors, no behind the scenes, it’s as simple as this; as long as people dig his message, they’re gonna give.

Meanwhile, John McCain chastises Obama from a rather precarious perch. As Josh Marshall points out, McCain’s breaking the law as we speak, and it’s no bleeding heart Dem saying so… it’s a Republican.

Glass houses… stone throwing… maybe something the McCain camp can look into.

–Edited by Kathy

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