"Obama Lied, Public Finance of Elections Died"
That was how Hugh Hewitt memorably put it this afternoon. No one here at the Hedgehog Blog would mourn the death of public financing of elections. Limitations on private political contributions are an anathema to the First Amendment, and John McCain has made no greater political blunder than his co-sponsorship of the McCain-Feingold Act.
However the issue is character, and Senator Obama has once again demonstrated that he has little of it. After making a pledge to the electorate to rely on public financing for his presidential campaign, Obama is now repudiating his word simply because it is expedient for him to do so.
Perhaps even more insulting is his patronizing excuse for the change of position. He claims that the current public finance system is "broken" anyway. He suggested that the Republicans would exploit loopholes in the system by pouring money into outside entities that would subject him to "smears and attacks." This is a reference to the so-called "527" groups, private political action groups that support specific campaigns.
However, what Obama of course failed to mention is that the richest and most active 527 groups are his supporters, including America Coming Together (organized by the Democratic Party's government union wing), MoveOn.org, and the various George Soros supported committees. To opt out of public finance because the GOP may try to mount a pale imitation of the Democratic financial juggernaut is hypocrisy of the highest order.
Equally embarrassing, if Obama had a sense of shame, is his claim that his Internet private donation campaign is an"alternative form of public campaign finance." The Senator, backed by his MNBC trained poodle Keith Olbermann, insists that private donations from his supporters are the same as public financing. Look, as stated above, if public financing is drowning, I am not going to be the one to throw it a life preserver, but please, Senator Obama, try to preserve some dignity.
Lowell recently predicted to Obama supporters that Obama would now swing to the center, but that hardly explains his recurring vacillations. He called before AIPAC for an undivided Jerusalem as Israel's capital, and then recanted 24 hours with a lame "clarification." After winning the Democratic nomination by campaigning against NAFTA, now he's trying to portray himself as a born-again free trader. He is desperately preparung the ground for a retrenchment on his promise to withdraw troops from Iraq. And, of course, he was for public campaign financing before he was against it. Yet Obama's supporters seem oblivious to the fact that the man's promises are only good for the duration of the current news cycle.