Sunday, February 24, 2008

TPM points out the wrongheadedness of allowing McCain's plaintive-but-hypocritical "but he pledged to opt-in!" argument to see the light of day.

And since he now wants to raise and spend as much as possible before the end of the summer, earlier this month he did actually opt back out. The FEC, the outfit that enforces the campaign finance laws, says McCain's not allowed to opt out. But whatever, he opted out anyway.

Explain to me how this guy gets out of the gate attacking anyone else about honoring pledges tied to the campaign finance system.
Here's my deal on the public financing system: I love the idea of it, and I can't wait until it can be implemented fairly. But there's so much money pouring into the race this year -- and the current public-funding spending limits are so low -- that if either or both candidates opt in, we're going to see some scary 527 action, on both sides. I'm fairly confident that Obama can be counted on to condemn the really below-the-belt stuff, but I lack that confidence when it comes to Clinton and McCain, and even Obama couldn't realistically be expected to disclaim the 527s entirely. (Especially if he opts in; as Paul Waldman points out, opting in unilaterally would pretty severely limit Obama's ability to respond to the venom that'll surely be coming at him from the Swiftboat crowd.)

So at some point in the future, I think public financing will be the way to go. (And frankly, if Obama [or even McCain, I say with my fingers crossed] makes it to the White House, I think that point will be sooner than later.) But until that happens, until the system is brought into line with the way recent campaigns have worked, I'm just not sure it makes sense for anyone to accept the spending limits that the public financing system imposes.

Homework assignment:

Kerry : Swift Boat Veterans for Truth :: Obama : _______

A) Some losers who met him at a party this one time in high school [for Truth]
B) The also-rans on the masthead of the 1990-1991 Harvard Law Review [for Truth]
C) Slumlords [for Truth]
D) John McCain

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