Boston Globe: Obama's Rejection of Public Campaign Financing Means We Need More of It

The Boston Globe published a really weird, yet inadvertently hilarious, editorial in which they claim that because Barack Obama broke his promise to accept public financing of his campaign...that means we need even more campaign finance reform in terms of both more money and legislation. I kid you not. First the obligatory knuckle rap on Obama by the Boston Globe for going back on his word:

SENATOR Barack Obama has presented himself as the candidate of change, but the change he announced yesterday is a throwback to the no-holds-barred rules of campaign finance that prevailed before Watergate. Obama will be the first major party candidate since Watergate to reject public financing in the general election, instead relying on his base of more than 1.5 million donors for a war chest that could easily double or triple the $84.1 he would get in public financing. His decision deals a body blow both to the system of campaign finance and to his own reputation as a reform candidate.

After that quick bit of castigation, the Globe defends Obama's actions by claiming that he was "justifiably worried" about being outgunned by the big bad Republicans who "Swift-Boated" poor widdle John Kerry in 2004:

The campaign-finance system was none too sturdy even before Obama's action. He defends the move by noting that, while the law sets caps on spending by candidates who accept the Treasury's money, the party national committees and independent activist groups can bring their own funding to bear in a general election. Obama is justifiably worried that his Democratic National Committee might be outgunned by its Republican counterpart and that privately supported groups of the sort that so effectively Swift-Boated John Kerry in 2004 could try to do the same to him this year.

The Globe next repeats Obama's lame claim that his methods of raising campaign cash is really the same as public financing:

Obama also defends his rejection of public financing by arguing that his legions of grassroots, small-sum donors achieve the purpose of public financing by drowning out the impact of larger contributors. According to one of his aides, more than 90 percent of the donations the campaign receives are for $100 or less. Obama also rejects donations from lobbyists.

Although the Globe seems to believe that their beloved Obama is morally pure, they worry that other candidates in the future might not share his high moral plane when it comes to raising campaign money by similar methods:

Yet, while these circumstances should protect Obama from the worst pressure of special-interest groups, he has set a worrisome precedent. The techniques of Internet fund-raising that his aides have so effectively mastered could in a future election be used to assemble a mass donor base with a more self-interested agenda. By the next election, it is quite likely that neither major candidate will limit herself or himself to public financing. John McCain, long an advocate of campaign finance reform, said yesterday he would accept public financing this year.

The comedy highlight of this editorial leaves us laughing in the last paragraph where the Globe claims that because Obama was somehow forced to break his pledge, that is a reason why even more campaign finance reform is needed. Of course, Obama himself is not criticized. Instead the Globe goes over 30 years back in time to slam Richard Nixon:

To make public financing more attractive, Congress should expand the amount available to candidates and place new limits on the national committees and the independent, Swift Boat-style groups known as 527s for the section of the Internal Revenue Service code that authorizes them. Changes like this would reduce the chance that candidates of the future will revert to the shakedown-style fund-raising of the Nixon administration, which brought on the Watergate reforms. Whichever candidate wins in November should put campaign finance reform at the top of his priority list.

Yeah. That would be a laugh riot. President Barack Obama, who broke his pledge to accept public financing of his campaign, putting even more campaign finance reform at the top of his priority list.

Campaign Financing Boston Globe
P.J. Gladnick's picture