Obama, Financing, and Walking the Talk

How good it feels to be ahead of the power curve!

Many months ago I speculated that Barack Obama would bail on his promise to use public funding of his campaign. Now the other shoe has fallen. Obama has officially rejected down public financing despite his previous promise to use it if his opponent accepted…which John McCain did long ago.

This and other Obama actions continue to indicate his willingness to talk it up, but not to walk it out.

Some suggest that Obama has always viewed the financing question as a way to get press. I speculated back when as to the motivation for making the promise in the first place-a cheap way to get good publicity.

Now it would be one thing if he simply reneged on a promise and moved on-politicians do that all the time. He is doing this because he has created a fundraising juggernaut and sees an advantage in using private financing. No problem there…happens all the time.

However, Obama wants us to believe this is not a practical political decision, but instead an attempt to fix a broken system. He wants us to believe his decicion is one of principle, and not practicality.

Among others, the WaPO ain’t buying it:

But given Mr. Obama’s earlier pledge to “aggressively pursue” an agreement with the Republican nominee to accept public financing, his effort to cloak his broken promise in the smug mantle of selfless dedication to the public good is a little hard to take.

Things clearly have changed since Obama filed this with the FEC to keep the public option open:

“Congress concluded some thirty years ago that the public funding alternative . . . would serve core purposes in the public interest: limiting the escalation of campaign spending and the associated pressures on candidates to raise, at the expense of time devoted to public dialogue, ever vaster sums of money.”

Apparently his devotion to this ideal is present-when it benefits him.

As the WaPo concluded:

Fine. Politicians do what politicians need to do. But they ought to spare us the self-congratulatory back-patting while they’re doing it.

This whole process is indicative of the Obama modus operandi.

An example-Obama has made much of his desire for open communication and a new bi partisan approach to government. But as recently recounted when asked “Have you ever worked across the aisle in such a way that entailed a political risk for yourself?”, Obama replied-at great length:

“Well, look, when I was doing ethics reform legislation, for example, that wasn’t popular with Democrats or Republicans. So any time that you actually try to get something done in Washington, it entails some political risks. But I think the basic principle which you pointed out is that I have consistently said, when it comes to solving problems, like nuclear proliferation or reducing the influence of lobbyists in Washington, that I don’t approach this from a partisan or ideological perspective.”

Short Answer: “No, I haven’t”

I understand why Obama ran for president this year…a chance came his way, and he didn’t have a record in office that could be used against him.  Wait another cycle or two and his record gets used against him-just ask John Kerry.

However, it becomes clearer and clearer that while Obama uses his marvelous oratorical talents to talk of a new day in American politics, the reality is too often there is little beef behind the image. For all his talk of the ideal of public financing, he runs from it when it is to his advantage to do so. Obama talks of the ideal of post-partisanship his presidency will lead to, but can show almost no real belief in the idea in his Senate activities.

In 1984 Walter Mondale asked Gary Hart “Where’s the Beef?” If Obama keeps this up, I think folks will range far beyond this simple observation. Instead, they are going to look at his comments and his record, and note the variations. I doubt they are going to view these changes as sincere changes found on the road to Damascus. Instead, they may well think they are listening to a man who is willing to talk the talk, but not to walk the walk, and will do or say anything to get elected.

So much for the new politics…


2 thoughts on “Obama, Financing, and Walking the Talk

  1. At this rate the Obama campaign will wiretap McCain’s headquarters to pick up ideas. Somehow the mainstream media will give him a pass for that, too!

  2. Even though I was a Clinton supporter, I hope to see Obama win in November. I fear, however, that actions like this will support the claims that he’s an opportunist and disappoint those on the left who truly want change…not such a good strategy.

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