Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

A query for the campaign finance mavens

That means you, Hayward.

I have been making the argument to students that Barack Obama’s extraordinary fundraising success has forever raised the bar for presidential candidates and completely destroyed a public financing regime that he (and his opponent) allegedly favored. In the future, only candidates who demonstrate the capacity to raise this kind of money will be taken seriously.

Public financing will come to be regarded as only being for losers, like Dennis Kucinich. (And...?)

Never mind that Obama made a promise when it was politically advantageous and broke it when it was politically advantageous. (He’s different from other politicians, to be sure, but only inasmuch as no one seems to hold him accountable for his previous undertakings.)

Am I right about this? Will public financing die a quiet death (along with one of its principal advocates, who shall remain nameless)? Or will Democrats, once firmly ensconced in the White House and both branches of Congress, repent of their sins and seek to protect us from this year’s excesses, thereby insulating incumbents from the perils of well-financed challengers?

Discussions - 5 Comments

Don't hold your breath.

I think today's cartoon from Michael Ramirez really hits the nail on the head.

(Boy are we going to be sorry if we blow this!)

Here is former Sen. Bob Kerrey's take -

in the NY Post

I'm rushing off to catch a plane to San Francisco this morning, but the short answer is: Yes.

More to come, I hope, from my better half.

Yes, more or less. (Which Hayward were you expecting??) The Obama campaign has argued explicitly that their success with small donors is a form of "public financing" - without taxation (even better!) Where this doesn't work is with campaign that attract less attention. We've seen Obama, and McCain and Dean before him, do well with internet based fundraising, but if you're not the season's shiny new toy it is almost impossible to get the numbers to make this work.

How about an educated public that does a little research for itself. I have a dream that elecetions someday will not be won via the best use of sinister music during halftime of the big game. On the most basic level, is fundraising not a form of bribery? As for public financing, this troubles me on many levels. We have to pay with taxes for the dumbed down propoganda that comes between the thrid and fourth quarter. Where is the line drawn in terms of candidates. Can we justify not giving public financing to third parties? If that becomes the case then I think I will run for office and produce some sinister music adds of my own. Who are the people who get influenced by these adds anyhow? I have never talked to someone who said that the sinister music made them vote a certain way. Mabye its just so well done that the propoganda is subliminal and the rubes don't even realize it.

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