Obamacans: Is this the kind of change you all had in mind?
Obama opts out of public funds against McCain
Obama said in a video message to supporters he would refuse $84 million in public funds available for the November general election. He is the first U.S. presidential candidate to bypass the system since it was created after the Watergate scandal in the mid-1970s.Just another example of Obama's rhetoric not matching his actions.
"It's not an easy decision, and especially because I support a robust system of public financing of elections," Obama said in the video message.Obama's thought bubble: "Except for me."
ETA (6/20/08): I spoke with a staunch Obama supporter last night and even he is disappointed with Obama over this. Not so much over the money part (insert standard rationalizations here) but with Obama's rhetoric (!). If the system is so broken, my friend said, shouldn't Obama set the example? I pointed out to him that all the things he objected to (RNC, 527s) already exist and Obama's not taking public financing won't make any of that go away. He agreed.
ETA #2- Russ Feingold thinks this is a bad move. Bob Shrum (excuse me while I go throw up) thinks otherwise. When Ben Smith says this move is not out of character for Obama, he doesn't mean it in a good way.
Obama's move wasn't out of character. In fact - though he has at times adopted popular reform causes - Obama has never been a traditional reformer.And now this is a good thing? When Hillary was accused of "doing anything to win" it was a bad thing.
He came to politics through the community organizing movement, whose radical founder, Saul Alinsky, mocked highbrow reformers, and focused instead on the acquisition and use of power, with the ends often justifying the means.
In Obama's political life, that approach has translated into pragmatism. He's kept his distance from elements of the Democratic Party that demand purity, from Washington reformers to more ideologically-motivated liberal bloggers. Instead, his campaign has sought the Kennedy mantle, modeling the candidate after a revered Democratic family not known for its scruples.
"Their campaign is brutally pragmatic," said one Democratic operative. "They have the most exciting candidate since JFK and like that operation, they have their share of talented, ambitious and at times ruthless people. Barack gets to stay above the fray, while his campaign does whatever it takes to win."
Forgive me, but I've spent the last 7 1/2 years in Opposite Day Land with the Bush administration. I'd like leave.