Friday, June 20, 2008

McCain: All Whine, All the Time.

(cross-posted at MyDD)

I'm surprised John McCain hasn't exhausted himself with his incessant harping on the need for ten town hall meetings, to which Obama has no real reason to agree. Much to his delight, he's found something new to whine about: Barack Obama's supposed "flip-flopping" on the public finance issue. He has called Obama's reevaluated stance on accepting public financing "Washington doublespeak", but let's not forget, McCain was sorta, kinda, maybe against public financing before he was for it. McCain's decision to use public financing has always been contingent on the Democratic nominee and exactly how much s/he could raise. Knowing the disadvantages the GOP faces in 2008, he's been trying to trap Democratic candidates into accepting public financing for months. Now that he realizes what a fundraising juggernaut Obama has become, McCain must be feeling pretty bitter that Obama has decided not to accept his proposal; with nothing he can possibly do to catch up to the Democratic nominee in donations, McCain is trying to get as much leverage as possible out of Obama's decision.

Okay, John. Would you like some cheese to go with your whine?

Watching John McCain attack another politician for flip-flopping is almost surreal - it difficult to determine whether he's forgetful, dishonest, or engaging in some form of political doublethink that most normal people could never hope to understand. This is a man who has flip-flopped on defense spending, the estate tax, Bush's tax cuts, his first term budget pledge, medical marijuana, FISA, investigations into the handling of Hurricane Katrina, various environmental issues, immigration, torture, social security privatization, a gay marriage amendment, and (most recently) offshore oil drilling. Yet, he expects voters to overlook his issue-based acrobatics and focus instead on Obama's decision to forgo public financing. Oh yes, for shame, Barack - changing your mind on an issue which is unimportant in the eyes of most Americans. If only our nominee could be as admirably consistent and unfailingly honest as the straight-talker.

Oh, wait... nevermind. All aboard the Flip-Flop Express!

The fact is, most people are either opposed to public financing, or just plain don't care. 46 percent of Americans would prefer that campaigns be funded solely with private money, whereas only 22 percent fully supported public financing. In 2006, approximately 7% of taxpayers designated the requested $3 on their tax returns to fund the system.

Obama would be foolish to accept public financing. As of May 21st Obama had raised a staggering $268,000,000, much of it from small donors, and that number will only go up as we prepare for the general election. As Hillary urges her donors to back Obama, his fundraisers have estimated that Clinton fundraisers could raise between $50 million and $75 million for his GE campaign. This doesn't include Hillary's small donors, many of whom will now make donating to his campaign a top priority. With all the flip-flopping McCain has done and all the money he's taken from lobbyists, he has little room to complain about Obama's principles. If Lou Dobbs and the Republican nominee want to gripe and allege that refusing public financing isn't "Change you can believe in," then they can have at it. Obama sent out an email Thursday saying that,

. . .the public campaign financing system allowed "special interests [to] drown out the voices of the American people" and ask[ing] his supporters to "declare our independence from a broken system."

And as Rep Rahm Emanuel has pointed out,

Obama has "more than realized the objective of public financing" by setting up a system to accept small donations over the Internet. . . . "It has given the American people a voice in our political process and has forever changed politics in this country by inspiring record numbers of Americans to participate in bringing change to Washington."

How many voters honestly plan to base their decisions on the sort of petty silliness McCain is promoting? This isn't a winning issue for him, and I expect he realizes it. But since he has so few other winning issues, he'll just run with it and hope it earns him a couple hundred extra votes. Maybe he thinks that if he confuses the voters enough, he'll be able to flop his way right into the Oval Office, but if the Republicans think we're going to allow voters to forget his dizzying political gymnastics, then they've got another thing coming.

John McCain: Same old politics, a little extra whine.


Anonymous said...

Welcome aboard, sricki.

I'm sorry, but I'm not buying the GOP's sudden affection for public funding of elections.

Love the pictures!

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