Matthew Hoy
By Matthew Hoy on June 20, 2008

Well, some Obamatons found my earlier post on Sen. Barack Obama's broken promise to accept public financing -- and the spending limits that go with it -- if his major party opponents did the same. The responses range (predictibly) from ad hominem attacks to outright denial that Obama had ever made any such promise that he reneged on.

For those who are interested, the questionnaire can be found here. [PDF format] The question and Obama's answer:

Question I-B:
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: Yes. I have been a long-time advocate for public financing of campaigns combined with free television and radio time as a way to reduce the influence of moneyed special interests. I introduced public financing legislation in the Illinois State Senate, and am the only 2008 candidate to have sponsored Senator Russ Feingolds (DWI) bill to reform the presidential public financing system. In February 2007, I proposed a novel way to preserve the strength of the public financing system in the 2008 election. My plan requires both major party candidates to agree on a fundraising truce, return excess money from donors, and stay within the public financing system for the general election. My proposal followed announcements by some presidential candidates that they would forgo public financing so they could raise unlimited funds in the general election. The Federal Election Commission ruled the proposal legal, and Senator John McCain (r-AZ) has already pledged to accept this fundraising pledge. If I am the Democratic nominee, I will aggressively pursue an agreement with the Republican nominee to preserve a publicly financed general election.

Obama's answer was "Yes" with a long-winded explanation about his steadfast and long-term support for public financing. It's also telling that he mentions McCain's identical pledge accordingly.

I respect Democrats who honestly say: "Yes, Obama's reneging on his earlier committment, but he'd be politically insane not to, considering how well he has demonstrated that he can money." Fair enough. But to pretend that when asked a question like: "Will you meet me for lunch?" and the answer is "Yes. I've long been in favor of lunch." That it is somehow not a pledge or a committment betrays a fundamental dishonesty.

Then there was this comment on the MoveOn.org-funded ad:

Regarding the ad. 17 years ago no one could have predicted that we would be in a war in Iraq. So how can you or anyone else predict that if McCain were to become president that little Alex won’t be in Iraq when that time comes.

This kind of logical contortionism is impressive. In 17 years, if we're still in Iraq, it won't be McCain's fault. There will be at least one president after him who will have completed his/her second term. That's like blaming President Bill Clinton because we still have troops in Bosnia -- that long ago became President George W. Bush's responsibility.

Oh, and I encourage Democrats to continue this line of attack that McCain doesn't care about the troops. This is a guy who refused early release from a Vietnamese prison camp and was brutally tortured for it. He knows far better than any president since Ulysses S. Grant or maybe Teddy Roosevelt just how hellish war is.


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June 2008



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