Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Here's a Great Idea: Let Democratic Party Decide if Nominee Should Take Public Funds for Campaign

Okay, here's the problem: Senator Barack Obama made what appears to be a promise to take public financing for his campaign if Senator John McCain would make a similar promise. According to a report on MSNBC, Obama wrote "yes" when asked if he would make a commitment to accept public funds for his campaign. Then he wrote the following in his answer: "If I am the Democratic nominee, I will aggressively pursue an agreement with the Republican nominee to preserve a publicly financed general election.”

Of course, that was before Obama started raising millions of dollars per month in contributions. It might have also been before his campaign thought about what had happened to John Kerry in 2004. Kerry accepted public financing and that meant that after the Democratic convention, which occurred before the Republican convention, he couldn't use the money he had raised in his nomination campaign to rebut the infamous ads run by the conservative oil man T.Boone Pickens and his friends.

So now, the question is, how does Obama get out from under this apparent pledge he made without getting pilloried by the media and the Republicans for supposedly "breaking" his promise?

A writer on Huffington Post believes that the Obama campaign should allow the Democratic convention to decide this issue. He points out that this isn't just about Obama, it is about the competitive position of the Democratic Party in 2008, not only for the presidential nomination, but for down-ballot races as well.

Personally, we think this is a great idea, assuming that the supposed "promise" is a problem at all. Another way to deal with this would be for Obama to announce that he has decided that he can't afford to allow 527 groups supporting Republicans to make charges he can't answer, and so, therefore, he is going to opt-out of the public financing process. Most reasonable people would accept that response, and for those who don't, too bad, they can vote for John McCain.

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