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Monday, October 20, 2008

Barack Obama broke his "promise" on public campaign financing

But I forgive him.

Afterthoughts (Oct 21): This post was intended to be somewhat facetious, but one commenter (see Comments below) took me to task on a couple of points. Indeed, while Obama did not actually "promise" John McCain to use only public financing--his agreement to do so would have been conditional on McCain renouncing 527 spending, although McCain could have done nothing to prevent it--Obama's own rhetoric was critical of campaign financing in general and many liberals and progressives were disappointed with his decision in the end, even while understanding the reasons for it. But the discussion raises a more basic point, as I say in the Comments section and will repeat here:

Some Obama supporters think that no one should make any criticisms of him until after the election. I disagree with that, and so do many many progressives who support Obama but have issues with him over FISA, Afghanistan, the bailout, and a number of other points. Obama supporters to his left need to have a constant dialogue with him as well as among themselves about these things, and that dialogue needs to be public if it is to be a useful discussion or even to take place at all. For example, Obama is about to make huge mistakes in Afghanistan, especially if he surrounds himself with many of the same foreign policy advisers that Clinton had. I will be posting more about this in coming days.

More on campaign financing: The New York Times features a front page story today (Oct 21) about how both campaigns have benefited from so-called joint fundraising committees that allow large contributions from wealthy donors. "Many of these large donors come from industries with interests in Washington. A New York Times analysis of donors who wrote checks of $25,000 or more to the candidates’ main joint fund-raising committees found, for example, the biggest portion of money for both candidates came from the securities and investments industry, including executives at various firms embroiled in the recent financial crisis like Bear Stearns, Lehman Brothers and AI," the Times reports.

Socialists disown Obama. According to this article in the Chicago Tribune, socialists (and academics who know what socialism is) are poo-pooing the idea that Barack might be one of them--he's not even a closet Marxist, they say. Shucks, no red flags over the White House.

Slime-roll: Talking Points Memo has begun to monitor McCain robocalls across the country.

Something to make you sleep better tonight:

7 comments:

jqb said...

He never made any such promise. He said that he would "aggressively pursue an agreement with the Republican nominee to preserve a publicly financed general election" -- but that was always conditional on the Republican nominee agreeing to off the 527's; McCain explicitly refused to do so.

jqb said...

"to off the 527's" -> "to hold off the 527's"

Michael Balter said...

jqb is basically right. Here is one news account of what happened:

http://blogs.abcnews.com/politicalpunch/2008/06/obama-to-break.html

But I was being facetious, because my point is that it doesn't matter whether he "promised" or not (you will never convince McCainiacs that he didn't), what matters is the future of the country.

jqb said...

It doesn't matter much now that polls show that more than 90% of Dems favor Obama, but back in the ancient days before the financial meltdown and when PUMAs were roaming the land, this sort of thing fed the "Obama's just another lying politician" narrative.

Michael Balter said...

Some Obama supporters think that no one should make any criticisms of him until after the election. I disagree with that, and so do many many progressives who support Obama but have issues with him over FISA, Afghanistan, the bailout, and a number of other points. Obama supporters to his left need to have a constant dialogue with him as well as among themselves about these things, and that dialogue needs to be public if it is to be a useful discussion or even to take place at all. For example, Obama is about to make huge mistakes in Afghanistan, especially if he surrounds himself with many of the same foreign policy advisors that Clinton had. I will be posting more about this in coming days.

jqb said...

Some Obama supporters think that no one should make any criticisms of him until after the election.

You're changing the subject. The point was that this criticism wasn't valid.

And some Obama supporters kill kittens for pleasure, but that is neither here nor there. I can't see why I should care about those Obama supporters, nor about these nameless supporters who don't brook any criticism of him -- supporters I myself never run across.

jqb said...

Here is some irony for you: McCain accepted public money with the expectation that the 527's would do the dirty work, but the funding for them has dried up in part because of the economic disaster that McCain's policies produced.