Thursday, June 19, 2008

"First since Watergate"

So Obama's opting out of public financing. No real surprise here. He had said he wouldn't, but then started raising cash by the truckload and had second thoughts. This is on balance an excellent thing, but it does require giving John McCain a golden opportunity to turn the sanctimony meter to 11.

I doubt that this is going to be a big deal, but it's kind of unfortunate that the AP (no link in solidarity with bloggers everywhere) is running the subhead "First since Watergate" which is prominently featured on Drudge, and which McCain used in his response. It's just bad luck for Obama that the rule happened to have been implemented in the wake of the original "-gate," as what he's doing, even though he said he wouldn't do it, is perfectly legal.

Unlike, say, what John McCain did when he opted into matching funds (to get the money and bypass the signature requirement) and then tried to get out once his campaign was solvent again. His request wasn't granted, but he continued to spend beyond the limit anyway! Sure, Obama didn't do what he said he'd do, and that's bad. But it's absurd that McCain can still play offense on the issue of campaign finance. He may have broken the McCain-Feingold Act.

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