The $85 million dollar deal- a chance for true Statesmanship

My mother thought I should see this piece about Senator Obama in the New York Times- and I think it will be my litmus test. With the presidential election on track to be a $2 Billion dollar circus- if the two candidates agree, as Obama once did- it can be a straight $170 million dollar shootout- leaving all the big money on the sidelines. Instead of an escalation in who can shout loudest- it could be about who could make the most sense. I believe that campaigns have become one of the ugliest taxes out there- where only the people with the least to loose can buy the most.

If Senator Obama backs off his earlier statement, before March 4, he loses my vote. If he backs off after, he loses my vote. Public finance is the only way we’ll see a true change.

Read Their Lips – New York Times
A year ago, before Barack Obama’s prodigious fund-raising powers were clocked in at $1 million a day, the senator made a great show out of raising a good idea: He would take the narrower road of public financing in the general election if he secured the nomination and his opponent did the same. Senator John McCain, then a long shot, agreed. Mr. Obama even secured a ruling from the Federal Election Commission that he could return unused private donations and then accept public financing.

Well, Mr. McCain is now the presumptive Republican nominee and says he is eager to take Mr. Obama up on the idea if he beats Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton. Sounds good? Not so fast.

Representatives of Mr. Obama are cautiously saying this plan was an option, not a pledge, and it will not be definitively addressed unless Mr. Obama secures the nomination. An idea floated by a contender is now too “hypothetical” for a front-runner.

Campaign seconds will spar eagerly over what “option” and “pledge” mean. But researchers from government watchdog groups found a candidates’ forum from last November where Senator Obama answered with a firm “yes” when asked if he would participate in public financing, should the Republican nominee do the same. He promised to “aggressively pursue” this route.

We urge Mr. Obama to return to that position, and Mrs. Clinton to follow suit. She has not made a firm commitment, even as she endorses an updating of public financing subsidies to make it more attractive. After the hundreds of millons in private donations being splurged on the primaries, public financing would limit the general election nominees to $85 million each. This seems generous enough, particularly with the political parties and independent groups free to spend even more.

Enacted after the big-money political scandals of Watergate, public financing served the nation well as the major nominees’ chosen option for 30 years. But Congress failed to keep public financing in pace with inflation and private money is king once more. This election presents a chance to revive the public option.

With the ability for so many voters to do their research online, and the ability to move beyond the :30 spot- maybe we may really get a fair and well reasoned campaign based on the depth of the ideas instead of the volume of the rhetoric.

How do you feel about this?

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4 Responses

  1. scurrvydog February 16, 2008 / 10:40 pm
    Nope. Obama should raise all the $$$ he can. Kick the GOP in the balls over and over and over. This is an opportunity to bury McCain and marginalize these SOB’s.

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  2. Michael February 16, 2008 / 11:01 pm
    David, I couldn’t agree more. If Obama backs off the promises he made when times were bad simply because times are now good, I will see him for exactly what he says he isn’t “a partisan politician.” His entire rhetoric of change, hope and a United States of America instead of red states and blue states would be thrown out the window if he takes the money. I’ve heard some rumors that he enjoys the Senate “clubbiness” a little too much for my comfort.

    Thanks to you though. Finally someone who can see beyond partisan payoffs and get down to principle. Campaign finance reform/public financing levels the playing field so the average Joes get a chance to be heard. “Depth of ideas instead of the volume of the rhetoric” YES!

    You have my support on March 4 in the Democratic primary.

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  3. David Esrati February 17, 2008 / 9:12 am

    Scurrv,
    We can agree to disagree- but, are you saying it’s ok to buy your way into office?
    Sounds very un-American to me.
    Can’t we just put 2 guys in the ring- with gloves and a ref- and let them fight it out, without any help other than the crowd noise?
    If Obama truly stands for change- this would be a change. Walk the talk.

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  4. J.R. Locke February 17, 2008 / 10:01 am
    I agree Mr. Esrati. If Mr. Obama “raises” all the money he can, who is he beholden too? If he is the candidate of change and is creating a movement how much money does he really need?

    It would be a nice thing if Mr. McCain and Mr. Obama stick to the pledge.

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