Hamilton, Madison, and Jay

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Location: Mesa, Arizona, United States

Who are we? We're a married couple who has a passion for politics and current events. That's what this site is about. If you read us, you know what we stand for.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

The Politics Of Hypocrisy

It is disheartening when politicians break their word. It is frustrating, but not surprising. As the WaPo explains today, it is what politicians do but it is no less disappointing:

BARACK OBAMA isn't abandoning his pledge to take public financing for the general election campaign because it's in his political interest. Certainly not. He isn't about to become the first candidate since Watergate to run an election fueled entirely with private money because he will be able to raise far more that way than the mere $85 million he'd get if he stuck to his promise -- and with which his Republican opponent, John McCain, will have to make do. No, Mr. Obama, or so he would have you believe, is forgoing the money because he is so committed to public financing. Really, it hurts him more than it hurts Fred Wertheimer.

Pardon the sarcasm. But given Mr. Obama's earlier pledge to "aggressively pursue" an agreement with the Republican nominee to accept public financing, his effort to cloak his broken promise in the smug mantle of selfless dedication to the public good is a little hard to take. "It's not an easy decision, and especially because I support a robust system of public financing of elections," Mr. Obama said in a video message to supporters.

Mr. Obama didn't mention his previous proposal to take public financing if the Republican nominee agreed to do the same -- the one for which he received heaps of praise from campaign finance reform advocates such as Mr. Wertheimer, president of Democracy 21, and others, including us. He didn't mention, as he told the
Federal Election Commission last year in seeking to preserve the option, that "Congress concluded some thirty years ago that the public funding alternative . . . would serve core purposes in the public interest: limiting the escalation of campaign spending and the associated pressures on candidates to raise, at the expense of time devoted to public dialogue, ever vaster sums of money."

Instead, he cast his abandonment of the system as a bold good-government move. "This is our moment, and our country is depending on us," he said. "So join me, and declare your independence from this broken system and let's build the first general election campaign that's truly funded by the American people." Sure, and if the Founding Fathers were around today, they'd have bundlers, too.

He can claim that he did this for good reasons; that, in some way, he contributors are the American people. But the fact of the matter is that he turned down the public financing because of the greater amounts of money he will rack up in contributions. It is being speculated that he could raise as much as $100 million for the month of June. That is an astronomical amount of money. And he can cite that he is preparing for the general election fight -- that people are going to come after him and he needs a war chest -- but that does make sense. Given the fact that John McCain is swearing off any "assistance" from grass-roots activists and 527s, Senator Obama can be assured that attack ads will be condemned by Senator McCain. (That is a bad strategy for Senator McCain as we independents do not cost him a cent, and if we engage in this election using facts, why condemn us? We are trying to help him win, and he has a long slog ahead of him against Senator Obama. Every little bit helps.)

We can smell what Senator Obama is shovelling. The problem is his followers do not, and will not accept the fact that he broke his word. He supported public financing. He said he would work with John McCain to make the system work. Now he has changed his mind because of the insane amount of money he is raising through contributions and bundlers. This is not the change he continues to peddle. It is the same, old-fashioned way politicos have carried out campaigns in the past. It just has the "new," spit-shine "Chicago Way" brand attached to it.



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