Barack Obama’srecent flip-flop on the issue of public funding is indicative of the kind of politician he is turning out to be. Rather than the “new kind of politician,” he is just more of the same. I think we can all agree that the general perception of politicians is that they will say and do anything to get elected. But Obama promised to change all of that. Which makes his hypocrisy all the more disappointing. Obama pledged as recently as November 2007 that he would accept public financing for the general election if his Republican opponent did the same. In response to a questionnaire by the Midwest Democracy Network asking “If you are nominated for president in 2008 and your major opponents agree to forgo private funding in the general election campaign, will you participate in the presidential public financing system?” Obama not only said yes, but went on to say that “If I am the Democratic nominee, I will aggressively pursue an agreement with the Republican nominee to preserve a publicly financed general election.”
However, now that the nominees are solidified and Obama’s fundraising potential exceeds that of the public funding available, he has decided to forego his promise and decline public funding. That wouldn’t be nearly as problematic if he would simply come clean about his reasons and refrain from falsely attacking McCain on the issue.
In Obama’s speech “explaining” his change of position, he stated that his decision was based upon the fact that “the public financing of presidential elections as it exists today is broken, and we face opponents who’ve become masters at gaming this broken system. John McCain’s campaign and the Republican National Committee are fueled by contributions from Washington lobbyists and special interest PACs.” How did the public financing system suddenly become broken between November 2007 and now? Answer: It didn’t. It is simply a convenient excuse for a politician who’s campaign has raked in money at an astonishing rate and who now thinks he can earn double or even triple the amount he would receive from public financing.
And as for his statements regarding McCain and the RNC being feuled by contributions from lobbyists and PACs — they are simply false. The reality is that donations from PACs and lobbyists make up less than 1.7% of McCain’s total receipts and only 1.1% of the RNC’sreceipts (according to the non-partisan Center for Responsive Politics). It is interesting to note that Hillary Clinton actually accepted 50% more money from lobbyists than McCain. (Click here).
So once again Obama has revealed himself as just your average politician — someone who will change his mind for political expediency rather than having the intestinal fortitude to stick with his chosen path. This should be a bigger deal given his rhetoric that he was a different kind of politician bent on change. All I have seen so far is the same tactics used by most other politicians — change your mind, lie about why and misrepresent the other side.