Frequent emailer GG writes:
Obama has done the right and honorable thing by not accepting public funding. For far too long politicians from both sides have taken advantage of U.S. taxpayers in fuding their campaigns. I would think that Conservatives, "True Conservatives" would actually aplaud the Obama move on not accepting campaign contribuitions. But, alas, they keep proving me wrong as usual. Nothing new here.
Of course, the complaint from conservatives is not the fact that Obama is opting out of public financing. I and many (probably most) conservatives do not believe in the public financing scheme. I am with GG that politicians should not use the tax payers to fund their campaigns. I have yet to read criticism of Obama from a conservative on this issue based on some conservative support for public financing of elections. GG is just making that up. Perhaps, though, GG should have a talk with his candidate, who said in rejecting public money, "It's not an easy decision, and especially because I support a robust system of public financing of elections." So GG doesn't even agree with his candidate, but, as we see, his candidate's actions don't match the candidate's words. I guess that's what GG calls "right and honorable." Others might call it expedient.
This is the criticism. Obama claims to be a new politician, open and honest with the people. A man of his word. But what has he done? Via Yahoo News.
Last year, Obama filled out a questionnaire where he vowed to "aggressively pursue an agreement with the Republican nominee to preserve a publicly financed general election." But since clinching the Democratic nomination earlier this month, Obama has not broached the subject with McCain. The only discussion occurred about two weeks ago between Obama's and McCain's lawyers,
Obama lawyer Robert Bauer said he discussed the public financing issue for 45 minutes on June 6 with McCain counsel Trevor Potter. In interviews and e-mails, both Bauer and Potter agree that Bauer raised concerns about McCain having a head start because he had secured the nomination in early March and Obama did not until June 3. Potter said he told Bauer that given Obama's fundraising "I was sure there would be no McCain advantage by the end of the summer."
That meeting, Potter said, "was not part of any negotiation" on public financing.
"There was no aggressive pursuit of negotiations with the McCain campaign, there was no pursuit, period, of negotiations with the McCain campaign," Potter added later in a conference call with reporters.
Obama wants all the appearances of being a new politician without actually acting like one. Relatedly, he apparently is now claiming that he "extended health care for wounded troops who had been neglected" even though he didn't even vote on the bill he cites as evidence. Whoops.
To be clear, Obama's rejection of public financing is a smart move. He has a fundraising and organization edge over McCain. His prodigious fund raising is a sign of his broad support. There is nothing dirty in not accepting public funds or being strategic in one's choices. Yet, Obama did say he would take public funds and now has rejected those funds when they are inconvenient to him. This is a pattern with Obama: take the bold stance until it thwarts his ambitions, and then chuck his alleged principles overboard. All politicians change their positions from time to time, and certainly electoral considerations take part in this calculation. I for one hope John McCain changes his position on drilling in ANWR. But Obama's actions just go to prove what I said yesterday: Obama claims to be a new politician, but in actuality he is just like the old. So it is worth pointing out that one of his fundamental campaign themes is a house built on sand.