There is only one thing that bothers me about the recent Obama flip flop on campaign finance. He started his statement to his supporters by saying that he would be foregoing more than $80 million in funding by opting out of public financing. Why on Earth did he say that and why did his handlers let him say that? The $80 mil he is “foregoing” is a drop in the bucket compared to what he has and what he will continue to raise. Why he felt he needed to frame this in the context of sacrifice is beyond me.
That said, the idea that this flip flop makes him a typical pol is ridiculous. A typical pol, works within the current system and plays it for all it’s worth. McCain will stick with public financing and let the 527’s do the dirty work for him in the traditional fashion. Rather than being a typical pol, Obama is going outside the established system and is really running a campaign “of the people”. As other pundits have noted, Obama’s approach makes him beholden to no one. He has millions of small contributors, none of whom alone can unduly influence his policies. For that matter, his flip flop is not of the gargantuan proportions that McCain supporters would have you believe. Almost from the minute that Obama signed the “pledge” he started hedging, indicating that he would only accept public financing if he was assured that the playing field with McCain would be fair. He has obviously figured out that a fair fight this year means he needs all the money he can get. It’s a very sensible decision.
I guess the other thing that puzzles me is if public campaign funding is provided by tax payer dollars, why wouldn’t conservatives be overjoyed that their tax money is not going towards Obama’s campaign?