Monday, June 23, 2008

Public Financing By Another Avenue

Barack Obama's decision to opt out of public financing for the general election has definitely led to some major controversy among the media and his opponent. John McCain went so far as to call it "disturbing to all Americans." Big talk for someone who's on record saying that he would be fine staying in Iraq for another 100 years.

In terms of real people, I don't think this does much to sway people at all. I mean, do you really see people deciding who to vote for based on whether or not they accept public money? Is that one of the pressing issues of the day?

Perhaps more importantly, Obama has demonstrated that he is committed to following a different - and likely more effective - method of public financing for his campaign: asking the public to finance it.

I can't even say how many articles have focused on the way the Obama campaign has tapped into huge resevoirs of small cash donations from the general public. Regular people giving and owning a piece of the campaign (to paraphrase the fundraising e-mails I get) is probably a more authentic way to "publicly" finance a campaign than the official FEC program.

Yes, it's a little troubling that Obama is going back on his word on this issue. But is it the end of the world? Of course not. The end result is going to be the same. It's just that the road to get there is a little different.

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